Whilst we encourage you to create your own lore for the world, many of our players have found a certain amount of context for the world and its state of advancement helps provide a scaffold to work with. As such, you can consider this chapter to be scene setting for how the three planes look and feel and operate. You'll find notes on technology, society, religion, organisations and so on. For more of a flavour of each, we also provide a recommended materials list. We hope you find this helpful!
A collective of the various races of the world, occasionally aided by the enigmatic Nimps. The Morund produce the finest material works in the world. Be it clothing, armour, weapons, clockwork, or simply objet d'art. They pride themselves on the quality of their works, and any being from any race may join, having proved themselves of sufficient skill, or committed themselves to an apprenticeship.
The Morund have become so wealthy over the past 150 or so years, that they were able to build Begureu, the single largest city in the world. Sandwiched between Matteland and Athirael, it's a place of learning and science, and home to the famous Begureu University. It's also particularly notable as also being the only place where Nimps come to and go from to wherever they reside.
The collective itself is divided into Courts, each of which specialises in a different area. Morund warehouses and stores can be found in the capital cities of every major nation except Athirael, as the Henagon and Morund are currently on less than friendly terms.
Structurally, a Court is led by a Privumate, under whom will be three Abi (singular: Abess). Under those are the Grand Scholars, Proficients and at the bottom are the Novitiates.
Some examples of Courts include:
Court of Cloth
A Court who spend their lives creating the finest clothing known to anyone anywhere. Whether it's the latest fashions in the realms of Man, to the lightweight silken warrior armour of the Henagon, the Court of Cloth provides.
Court of Metal and Glass
This Court produces the most incredible pieces of worked metal, including watches, heliographs, scientific instruments and medical tools. Widely rumoured to be the wealthiest of the Courts.
Court of War
Manufacturers of the tools of the darkest arts. Armour; swords; firearms; compound bows; and explosives can all be found here, along with the most advanced medical knowledge.
Recently this Court has issued diplomatic advice, stating that it will not under any circumstances manufacture gaseous chemical weapons, after being requested to build something even they weren't willing to create.
Court of Machines
The fastest growing of the Courts, the Court of Machines studies and invents the devices which power the world. From the first steam engine to the most advanced mills and looms, the printing press and the new steam trains, this Court is devoted to the advancement of technology in the service of all peoples.
Court of the Magisterium
The Court devoted to the study Physical Manipulation. They're the current holders of the Ghost of Loru'Therency, although this isn't known outside the very top levels of their own ranks. This Ghost stone amplifies Manipulations.
The Magisterium conduct research and investigation into Manipulations, attempting to understand trigger events, and what causes them to allow the poor creatures who suffer them to be able to break the universe.
Journalism & Publishing
Officially claiming the title of the oldest newspaper in the world, and with the broadest distribution. The Tribune, by way of its wide network of reporters and fleet of fast ships created in conjunction with the Morund Court of Machines and the Nardlor brings the news of all nations to those around the world.
Currently led by a board of directors, headed up by Chairwoman Bulak Murzush.
The oldest publishing house in the world, having existed now for over 350 years, and official printers to the royal family of Matteland. Currently employs new steam-powered machine presses created by the Court of Machines, and employs around three hundred people, over several buildings along Silver Street in Catsborough.
Recently has started producing textbooks for schools, supporting the rise in public education in the various societies around the world.
Also known for its longstanding relationship with 21 Cathedral St, a bookshop known for its collection of rare and first edition books.
Global Mining & Trade Operations
The great advances coming from the Court of Machines today are in the field of controlled petroleum detonation. Petroleum, with its uses for everything from petroleum jelly, paraffin wax, lubricating oils and so on, to say nothing of use for lighting the world's streets is the current miracle substance.
This rise in the need for oil is expected to allow the Lurniage to overtake the rest of the world's nations as the economic superpower of the next century, with their projected reserves.
It's worth noting the effect the new ability to create aluminium is likely to have on the world stage. Whilst far too fragile and soft to effectively make weapons out of, it's quite possible that we'll see hundreds of uses for what is expected to be the new wonder-material of the next century.
If aluminium is expected to be the wonder-material of the next century, then surely electricity is near to magical. With its ability to power light-giving devices, which promises to remove gas-lamps from people's houses, the proof of concept of long distance voice communications devices, and even galvanism changing how we think of life itself, electricity will surely change everything.
Work & Employment
In this new age of industry, we find a new belief emerging - that the dignity of a person is held in the work they do, and in the belief (rarely evidenced it must be said) that through hard work and assiduous judgements, one can rise through the ranks. One may be born a pauper, and die a landed gentleman.
However, the various different peoples of the world are responding to this in different ways. For those resident in the Morund Collective, it's essentially true. There, a person's mind and work are all that matter. Whether that's a positive thing is subject for debate. However, when compared to the caste system of the Henagon, it's certainly got its good points. On the other hand, the Henagon would state that in their world, everyone knows their place, and doesn't have to strive. Whether that is true or not we leave to the reader to discern.
Medical and Social Care
Great strides have been made in the fields of medicine of late. Nursing has come on leaps and bounds within the last twenty years, to the point where it can legitimately be considered beneficial to a person's outcomes. Indeed, whilst it appears that we are now in the process of actually taking strides for the first time into truly understanding the mechanisms of disease and death, it pales in comparison (at this time) to the outcomes achieved through the work of the nursing profession in sanitary reform.
It's widely believed amongst those studying such things that the vectors of disease must lie in different directions to those traditionally believed to be the case, as a result of the lowered rates of mortality in the hospitals run in the modern fashion, with an emphasis on cleanliness and the boiling of instruments. We look forward to seeing where this knowledge takes us over the coming years.
Wealth & Trade
Thanks to the creation of new Nardlor vessels with advanced hull designs and steam engines powering paddle wheels, we've seen a rapid increase in the potential speed of ships. This has been causing a revolution in the sending of materials, including possibly most notably that of foodstuffs. Fresh goods can now be sent across seas, and possibly one day even the oceans themselves.
Thanks to the development of these new hulls (and maybe even the rumoured advanced propulsion method, if gossip is to be believed), it's even possible we may see a navigation to the far side of the world in our lifetimes, finally laying to rest or confirming the legends of a fourth continent.
Forms of Wealth
Whilst currency will always be the main form of trade, thanks to its highly convertible nature, it's worth noting that not all peoples of the world value the same things. The Taurac peoples value knowledge and expression and art more than any other. The Henagon rate personal political power above all other forms of wealth. The wealth of the Lurniage is in the ground under their particularly large feet and the promise of a free future.
The simple fact remains though that with the exponential rise in the growth and power of cities and the factory working class in most cultures, wealth is starting to become something that even the common person understands. Certainly, in societal terms, this growing class of working, salaried peoples will driver larger change than anything else.
Since the invention of the musket, the future of weaponry has clearly been in the realm of firearms. However, such weapons are still prohibitively expensive for the common man.
The recent advances in rifling have however made the modern soldier vastly more effective. The most capable new breech-loading rifles, in the hands of an expert, can fire up to ten rounds a minute at an accurate range of up to around 350 yards.
Combined with the development last year of the autoloading rifled field-gun, one can only wonder what conflicts of the future will look like. Certainly there will be little use for mounted cavalry and massed troop formations walking at each other given the deadly, long-ranged nature of these new tools of war.
Thanks to the advent of cannons, fortifications have become decreasingly relevant, and with the new large field artillery created by the Court of War, the age of the castle is now well and truly over.
Thankfully, the world has been experiencing a period of relative peace for the last 35 years. The consequences of this ending, given the capacity of newer weapons like this truly makes one shudder.
Religions & Sects
The Golden Ones
All across the world, religions are reasonably similar. How far they are believed however is highly changeable. Some believe their origin stories to be simply myths and legends. Others hold them to be entirely true and accurate accounts of an age long since passed.
In almost every culture is a belief in either a being or beings of near omnipotent capability, which existed tens of thousands of years ago. The descriptions of these vary, from humanoid to animistic, to accounts of nothing like anything on this world. However, despite the current trend towards agnosticism and atheism, most peoples still believe in these beings on some level. They are often referred to as "Golden Ones".
The Remin, Kabakuro and Similar
Unlike the Golden Ones for which there is little to no evidence, the Remin and their ilk are established fact. Some say their powers were magical in nature, whilst others maintain their power came simply from advanced technology.
Whichever is the case, little is known about where these peoples went. Some theorise that they exist on the legendary fourth continent, some have posited that they were wiped out by creations they made, and others believe they left to join the Golden Ones in a realm of perfect existence.
Suggested Further Research
- North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell - book and BBC adaptation
- Little Dorrit and Bleak House by Charles Dickens - books and BBC adaptations
- The Last Samurai - film
- The Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwell
- Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
- Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray - book and 1998 BBC adaptation
- Victoria TV series by ITV and WGBH
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, book and 2006 BBC adaptation
- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, book and 1993 film by Agnieszka Holland
- Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Topsy-Turvey, film by Mike Leigh
- Desperate Romantics 2009 TV series by the BBC
- The Frankenstein Chronicles TV series by ITV
As noted in the Timeline, the Golden Plane was created by Manovelar some 2 million years ago, to be a place where the various sentient, sapient races of the world at that time could live without fear of death.
Manovelar suffused this world with its power, creating a place where the peoples can achieve almost any effect they wish at will. When moving back into Midplane however, they are only able to take a few of these, and as such the various peoples and creatures of that world tend to exhibit the same sets of abilities when interacting with Midplane.
Manipulation, Timelessness & Society
The major unintended side effect of the creation of a plane such as this is that it has caused serious stagnation of its peoples. In a world where almost anything can be created by simply desiring it, and anything changed through the snap of a finger, there has been no need to invent technology.
Instead, they have frozen technologically, staying at a roughly late medieval period of advancement, and simply gaining anything they need through the use of manipulation.
Perhaps more interesting though is the primary difference between the Golden Plane and everything that exists in Midplane and its plane; namely that creatures of the Golden Plane never age beyond their species' natural most healthy age. Anything moving to it de-ages to that point.
This has created a situation where tight population controls are enforced in almost every peoples, and death only occurs through some form of intentionally giving up of life. This does not need to be violent, by dint of their manipulations.
Some choose to be reborn as children, some transfer themselves from physical form into beings of energy (and what happens to them is currently unknown - perhaps the Triumvene know, but if they do, they aren't telling), and some simply choose to not exist anymore.
The other aside of this is that individuals can get extremely old, to the tune of tens of thousands of years. The result of this, combined with advanced abilities to avoid almost any illness, sickness or disease through manipulation, has allowed many members of the peoples of this place to become, if not wise, then at least incredibly knowledgeable.
Wealth & Trade
The very concept of wealth itself has taken on a new meaning, as a result of any "thing" being able to be had with almost no effort. The limits to this are essentially ones of scale - there's no limit on the number of castings a creature can give, but there's still hard limits on the amount of Cohesion they can use in a single casting. Using more than that causes the same side-effects it would in Midplane. However, on the Golden Plane, Cohesion replenishes instantly. This creates a situation where a creature can't, for example, create an entire city immediately just by snapping their fingers, but they could certainly create a hundredweight in gold by simply wanting it and manifesting it.
Instead, wealth on the Golden Plane is measured by creativity and fun, joy and novelty. In a place where material possession and time, (through the absence of enforced death) are essentially meaningless, the peoples of the world have created a version of life centred around art. There are plays which last a hundred years, symphonies which last decades, and paintings which stretch for miles, taking years to fully examine and appreciate.
Perhaps one of the strangest pieces was a piece of performance art, where over the course of ten thousand years, a Squank lived as every part of a pond, from the water in it, to a frog, lily pad, thousands of forms of bacteria and a heron which once drank from it.
It was widely acclaimed as novel, and soothing to watch, if possibly lacking in ultimate refinement and excellence.
In a similar way, trade has evolved quite differently to Midplane, thanks to a total lack of material possession determining value. Instead, trade exists to transfer services still, but not goods. So a person might trade their talent for music, for the services of someone else as a sculptor. A Squank might trade a tear of their memories for a song created to immortalise it. An Azodin might trade their roar in the performance of an opera in return for an Octophele's knowledge of the life of a creature in Midplane.
Such are the trades that are made. Equally interesting is the concept of the Manipulatively Enforced Contract, or MEC. MECs are legally binding, as with any normal contract, but have manipulations tied into them, so that should they be broken, the breaker might for example spend the next thousand years as an amoeba, or have to serve the other party for one hundred years, or in extreme examples, simply give up existence.
These contracts are unbreakable and enforced immediately, their penalties being woven into the fabric of the plane itself.
Known as the Man of Stone of First of the Triumvene, Manovelar was the creator of the Golden Plane, and acts as its protector. It can regularly be seen interacting with the creatures of this place, and as such is a God of a form, but not in any way which requires faith. Much like postmen, Manovelar simply exists.
However, Manovelar isn't the most forthcoming creature with regards to its aims. As such, various religious cults have grown up around it, aiming to influence or win favour with it. As far as anyone can tell, none have actually succeeded, but thanks to their lifespans, it's not stopping anyone from trying.
They've got a lot of time to figure it out.
More broadly, no-one has any real idea why the peoples who were brought to the Golden Plane were saved from death, and why others weren't. It may have been some form of favouritism, or just random chance. Certainly Manovelar isn't giving up its secrets.
Whilst Manovelar might be the most active of the Triumvene on the Golden Plane, the existence of the other two, Crahurnian and Garrian, is known to the beings here. Neither visits, but Crahurnian has let it be known that the legends of both other creatures are true.
Garrian is currently sequestered somewhere in Midplane, although where isn't known. Some of the creatures of the Golden Plane are hunting it down, attempting to make contact. Crahurnian is known to reside on another plane, which the Golden Plane cannot reach through manipulation. How travel to that place is achieved isn't known to anyone here.
Ghost Stones & the Chevaliers d'or
The Ghost Stones are well known to the peoples of the Golden Plane. A number of them got together and created a group known as the Chevaliers d'or, protectors of the Ghost stones. They have dedicated themselves to ensuring the stones and the axe Gavelloran are never united, as they (possibly alone) know what the stones and axe were built to do.
Its current leaders are:
- Shovan, Octophele, 1.38 million years old, oracle
- Pherenia Nimary Jorinie Saralim, Disapperature, 158,000 years old, High Queen of the Disapperatures
- Memories Yet to Arrive, Azodin, 369,000 years old
- Zeemar-Loya, Kinisepath, 39/257,000 years old, traveller
- Norvat-Regar, Kinisepath, 56,963,000 years old, healer
- Eaweri, Uffrith, 67,000 years old, politician
- Heyayee, Squank, 161 years old, diplomat
The Chevaliers d'or have a presence on both Phyverse and Midplane. In the case of the latter, it takes the form of the Knights of the Gold, who are rumoured to be long-since gone, but continue in secret. On Phyverse they're known as the Stonerunners, and considered an esoteric sect.
Suggested Further Research
- The Belgariad & The Elenium book series' by David Eddings
- Harry Potter as an examination of magic limiting societal growth
- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - book
- Stardust by Neil Gaiman - book and film
- The Tempest & A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare
- The Q episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
Phyverse is also the creation of one of the Triumvene. In this case, it was Crahurnian, to be a place more like that of Midplane, where science would reign supreme. It removed its power from that place, rendering manipulations null and void, and over time has occasionally moved other creatures there, to prosper without risk of harming races less developed, and to study how the universe should work.
Science & Technology
Much unlike the Golden Plane, the peoples of Phyverse have advanced incredibly far beyond those of Midplane, learning the secrets of the universe. They have space stations; have begun terraforming their nearest planet; developed advanced faster-than-light travel capabilities; incredible medical and communications technologies; and entirely space-faring peoples.
Despite their incredible advances, the unequal distribution of its benefits has kept the world far from the utopian vision its better inhabitants aspire to. The main planet the peoples of this plane live on is known as Xera. Its neighbour, Myra, is currently being terraformed by the Myran people, a group who have declared independence, and believe themselves superior to Xerans. It's a world of harsh conditions, with a rich atmosphere, but untamed terrain. Much younger than Xera, it's highly geologically active, with volcanic eruptions and earthquakes a monthly feature of life.
Outside of these two planets is the Interstellar Alliance of Spacefaring Peoples, or IASP for short. This group is a loose alliance of dozens of peoples, who spend their entire lives aboard spaceships, asteroid colonies and stations. Appearing before the settlement of Myra began, an uneasy tension has developed between it and Xera. Xera relies heavily on the mining of the natural resources IASP conducts. IASP for its part needs the heavy industry of Xera for the maintenance of its various ships and stations.
As a result, a strong trading relationship exists between the two, and also to a lesser extent between IASP and Myra. However, the peoples of IASP fear Xera for their numbers and vast armed space-fleet. Xera fears IASP for its hundreds of mass drivers, which it uses for mining. Myra fears both, as it's still far from capable of existing in any meaningful manner without the resources of IASP, and due to the threat that Xera may take back by force its colony.
Wealth, Technology & Power
The Golden Plane has little concept of material wealth. Midplane is beginning to grapple with the extreme shifts possible thanks to advancing technology, new company formation and social upheaval. By contrast, Phyverse is rather different.
It's a place ruled by advanced technology. Even the most downtrodden, awful hellholes in this plane have technology that the Kings of Midplane would go to war over. It's a place of great innovation and advancement. A place where corporations have become more powerful than individual governments, and pan-national governments have the power to end all life everywhere at the flick of a button.
The technological revolution which Midplane is undergoing has happened twice in Phyverse. Technology advanced rapidly, exploding for 400 years, after the creation of the plane by Crahurnian. It then stagnated as the various peoples of the planet found their world stripped of resources in a desperate grab for advancement, energy and power.
A global war resulted in a unified, single global government, whose reign kept the world frozen in time for millennia after millennia. The great Kabakuro family dynasty of the Ithri rose to power, and held it for 972,681 years, until a planet-wide uprising overthrew them, and in the process, brought the various nations back into a pre-industrial state.
Over the last eight millennia or so, the various peoples of the world have once again re-advanced, to the same level they were previously at, although the path has been different. Solar, geothermal and wind generation powers these worlds.
Similarly, just as in the industrial revolutions people fled from the countryside the cities to seek work and wealth, an exodus has occurred here. Those of Xera with the means fled to space to try and forge a better life. There they discovered the remains of the ships and stations of their forebears, nearly a million years before. Some of that technology they can use, and do so. Others still remains beyond the ken of those alive now, although the belief is that it will all be workable within the next 50 years or so. As such, a trade has grown around old artefacts, with some trading for sums of money which a family could live off to the tenth generation, in the hope that the payoff will be worth it when the machine can be used. Above all else, the currencies of the peoples of Phyverse are hope and power.
Xera is governed by an alliance of governments, known as the Collective Government of Xera, or CGX for short. Each of the major peoples of the world (Nimps, Mot'zalla, and Veksenue) rule in their own fashion, but their governments collectively operate together to negotiate with the other major powers.
Myra has two major powers, the Kabakuro and the Hadas. Each governs autonomously, and negotiate with Xera and IASP individually.
Myra sits in geosynchronous orbit around its sun, and it's tidally locked in that orbit. As a result, one side faces the sun, one out into space. Almost everything which lives there does so in a thousand mile wide belt around its equator. Around the sunward pole, it's too hot for almost anything to live. On the spaceward side, it's too cold. The top side of the belt is home to the Kabakuro, and the Hadas take the bottom. Where the two territories meet, there's a free-trade zone, governed by no-one. It's in these two places that diplomatic needs are met.
If Xera is a unified body of governments, and Myra pair of individual ones, IASP is a chaos of groups, each with their own interests, rarely working together. Its dispersed nature means it has no central body for negotiation. Instead, as factions rise to prominence, de-facto leaders emerge. The current crop of leaders are:
- Seritlanthus, Narobarus and Torbiulunas, Esengutah from the asteroid platform Ypnor
- Lerion, a grade 8 Artigenence, primary AI onboard the space station Weeping Dawn
- Sel, a Falgyr, and Olni, a Nimp, from the shipyards and construction firm Buildtec
- Michabriel, an Angelucian, of the mining consortium Terranab
It's well known how the peoples of Phyverse came here. The history of the exodus from Midplane is well established, and whilst Crahurnian hasn't been seen in generations, it's known that it was her influence which enabled the final collapse of the Ithri dynasty.
The wake of the fall of the old empire, a new group rose to power, known as the Worshippers of Crahurnian. Now the most powerful religious group anywhere, with members numbering in the billions. Their central tenet of faith is that it will watch over them, and ensure no lasting harm comes to the peoples of their plane. As it was created as a place to protect others from accidental harm, one can see the logic in this belief.
Most of the peoples of Phyverse do not travel to the other two planes. The Golden Plane peoples have nothing the peoples of Phyverse value, and mostly they do not wish to interfere in the natural development of the peoples of Midplane.
However, there are minor exceptions to this. The Nimps have been recently increasing their contact with Midplane, although this is mostly limited to the Morund Collective in Begureu, where they keep an embassy of sorts, and the Hadas, who occasionally turn up in Carinerino, seemingly maintaining technology.
Travel between the three planes is possible through various means. Those of Phyverse can do so through their understanding of the universe, which has enabled them to build gates which essentially tunnel from universe to universe, at fixed points. The Golden Plane peoples, from what we understand, pray to Manovelar and it moves them to where they wish to go. The exception to this are the Disapperatures, who seem to be able to move between planes at wild.
Currently all the planes exist in a state of peace with one another. However, that may be as much due to the disinterest which Phyverse and the Golden plane share with each other, and the lack of knowledge those of Midplane have about the other two, being currently in the dark about their existence.
Suggested Further Research
- The Culture novels by Iain M Banks
- Stargate SG1 TV series
- The Expanse by James S. A. Corey - books and TV series
- Star Trek Deep Space Nine - TV series
- Blade Runner & Blade Runner 2049 by Ridley Scott/Denis Villeneuve
- Serenity by Joss Whedon
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers