Saturday, February 9, 2013

The World of Ecletia

When we sat down to play Dawn of Worlds the intention wasn't just to play the game for the fun of playing, but to make a world we would actually want to make.  A couple of things were decided ahead of time.  We were going to make a world with all new non-human races, at least a hint of Steampunk, and a focus that isn't on humans.  I am currently in the process of using Eclipse to make the races to be used with Pathfinder rules which actually doesn't seem like it will need a lot of houserules beyond the races themselves.  This post is just attempting to describe the world as a whole and give a listing of the races.  I'm going to order this in the order that the races came to be so as to follow the narrative as it was written.  Some things remain unnamed as we are still working out details.

The Age Before Intelligent Life

Many of the foremost scholars in history believe that before civilized life as currently known on Ecletia began there was someone else who lived and built, possibly even ancient undiscovered cities.  There is an island in the center of the civilized lands where ruins can be seen on clear days.  Nobody has managed to explore this island creating theories ranging from mind control to simple magnetic interference.  Even in the most ancient of stories there is no recollection of people living there, but surely someone built the ruins.

Marking the end of this time was the birth of The Cognitions who would later come to be one of the foremost powers of Ecletia.  The Cognitions are a partially amphibious race that sprouted from the creatures of the swamps with a decision to live.  They have thin, tall bodies covered skin that shines with a light slime and large black eyes.  Their foreheads and long hands still retain some light plating similar to scales.  The Cognitions from the beginning were not a physically strong people living short 5 to 7 year existences.  Centuries later they would develop technology to extend their lives, giant brass and clockwork suits to protect their weak physiology.  The Cognitions above all else are concerned with science, pursuits of the mind, and expansion of science.

The Emergence of Intelligent Life

Several hundred years after the Cognitions crawled out of their swamps, but still a couple of hundred years before their inventions began, life once again took a path of the mind.  For many years an island not far from the mysterious ruins had faced constant electric storms.  Their gorilla population was long harmed by these storms until a fateful day when evolution took it's course.  The Bolbucks became a race of ultra-intelligent gorillas with fur that could hold back the bolts of lightning that so harried their earlier ancestors.   Soon gorillas were wiped out and the Bolbucks were all that were left.   They would come to master electricity and produce much of the power cells of the modern world by harnessing their constant thunder storm.

There is some debate whether the Bolbucks or the Polgrades came upon the world first, but only scholars of those races care to engage in these arguments.  Hundreds of miles away in the deepest jungles of Ecletia the Polgrade civilization began with a burst of magic.  With faces similar to jet black jungle cats and wirey builds the Polgrades toyed with the very physics of the world drawing forth life where there was none and even in ancient times performing feats of healing that modern medicine fails to meet.  Their kind split decades later when they came to form cities while the more primal and vengeful of their race reclaimed the jungle and found magics dark and powerful.

The Age of Civilization

The city of Turan was founded on the northern cliffs by the Cognitions marking the beginning of civilization in a truly organized fashion.  Soon after the Bolbucks would form their own city.  The Polgrades at the same time were emerging from their jungles to settle into buildings and cities.  Theologians look at this period of time as proof of the divine while scientists argued that it simply shows a similarity of mental improvement.

At this time life around Ecletia began to bloom and claim their rights as sentient races.  Two examples of those on the lower-range of sentience came to be the Ku-Tai and the Cragborn.  The Cragborn were monsters to the north in the frozen wastes who seemed to exist only to enact terror upon those nearest them.  The Ku-Tai argued that their existence is, in fitting with their philosophy, to create a balance in the world.  The Ku-Tai are tiny bug-like faeries who soon created codes of honor, living, and good more complicated and dedicated than any of the other races.  They keep largely to themselves except for their export of Petal Wine a powerful narcotic drink that they take in only the smallest of quantities but many others have taken up with gusto.

With the beginning of intercontinental transport and trade another race of creatures were discovered.  Although it isn't known exactly how long merfolk existed (as they keep at very best haphazard records) it is very much agreed that the first time a merfolk found a ship the first act of piracy was perpetrated.  Marked by brightly colored skin designed to blend in with the coral that makes their homes and with webbing between their long fingers and toes, merfolk are a graceful race frequently painted by artists and carved into seafaring objects.  The merfolk would eventually come to an awkward peace with the world in which they didn't actually kill people aboard ships but would often climb aboard and steal shiny, pretty things.  An entire meta-trade developed over time in which merchants would buy back objects from the merfolk that were lost at dramatically decreased prices that the flighty creatures didn't realize were bad.

Humanity developed at about this time and soon formed a symbiotic relationship with wild unicorns.  With both races sharing a fair amount of innate psychic ability they thrived.  The human race's connection with unicorns is not yet fully understood, but it is well known that the greatest human knights are those with horned horses.

As the Cragborn charged down to attack the civilized world, a miracle came to be.  A group of humans around a volcano were swallowed by flames and magma but the females were abruptly reborn as the Galvins.  Galvins look nearly like human women but with hair of such lustrous reds that it seems to shine in low light.  They are functionally immortal, turning to ash upon their death but reviving with the touch of a torch as an infant child.

At this time all but the youngest of the races known as the Old Races had come to be.  Four groups would come to dominate the world scientifically, culturally, and economically: The Bolbucks, The Cognitions, The Polgrades, and The Raccoons.  Having apparently lived more or less peacefully in the forests for years without realizing the world was bigger than their woods, The Raccoons emerged and quickly found a knack for language, science, and invention.  They created airships and eventually an entire city in the sky.  Despite their miniature status they still remained convinced they are the center of the world and are widely regarded as the most pretentious of the races.  They also created the MNREUFTTBB (Most Noble Races of Ecletia United Forever Through Trust and Bonds of Brothership); a coalition to unite the world which demonstrates their odd habit of expanding the names of people and things to the point of near nonsense.

The New Races

Science and progress continued, but the will and ideals of man had not.  Soon before the Cognitions blew apart the moon, they landed a rocket ship upon it and the Lunari were welcomed to Ecletia.  With varying animal like heads and the bodies of humans they looked an odd lot to the existing Ecletians.  Their worship of strange gods and ideals also went against the largely scientific world that Ecletia had come to be, though none could deny their aptitude for magic.

The Ossien were found soon after by a Bolbuck mining expedition that promptly enslaved the short, hard bodied creatures.  With heavily sloped foreheads and a long protrusion of spine reaching up from their backs they were odd looking folk, only becoming stranger when it was discovered that these protrusions of spine could be ripped from their back to serve as a cultural weapon.  The Ossien spent many years as slaves until the REU stepped in and declared their freedom.  The Ossien have a very regimented strict society that demands honor and familial obligation be properly served.  Because of this, many Ossien remain essentially servants to Bolbuck masters.

Where Are We Now?

Exploration into space has been ceased entirely (as the destruction of the moon was a slap on the wrist for scientists the world over), but technological advances continue every day.  Gunpowder weaponry has become common, but the technology is certainly still not perfect and many prefer a good sword.  Literacy is available to most anyone willing to seek it among the more civilized races and cities thrive.  But there is adventure to be had across the sea or against the bandits and sky pirates who have sprung up!  So grab your best vest and tie, tip the doorman, and prepare to embark on the next great quest for adventure.  Ecletia, HO!

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