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Quincunx

sludge of love
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#1
Please ask me questions and point out holes! Thank you!!!


  
SUMMARY AND PLOT CONTEXT

Four young women - a seer, a siren, a warrior, and a witch - set out across pearlescent post-apocalyptic sci-fi wilds in search of a legend. Standing in their way are ruin-rough terrain, ruthless raiders, and many monsters. And of course, the vortex is ally and enemy. There's also potential for romance. Inspired by Vincent Baker's "Apocalypse World", but is fairly divergent and not a tabletop game.

World Overview Our heroines are traveling Xhorun, a world of many climates that used to be covered in pastel shimmering skyscrapers, trade routes, and war machines. Everything changed when the vortex descended - intangible, invisible, sickly, soundless, shrieking - and began flickering at the edges of everyone's perception. Extreme weather ebbed and flowed, destroying roads and tech. Monsters, many more than the war machines could fight, were stirred from the forests and seas. People died. Empires fell.

It's been fifty years since the fall. The great nations of Xhorun are structural jumbles of pearlescent brick, mages shouting spells from the dark, war-bands who protect the stronghold at the cliff's edge. A stronghold that could be doomed by a big enough swarm of monsters. Some people have gone mad from the vortex, but others can tap into it and produce incredible effects. Some don't gain any cost or benefit at all. Who interacts with the vortex, and how, depends on their mental fortitude (and in the heroines' case, their power set).

It's rumored that there is a place with secret answers and secret treasure - the epicenter of the vortex's descent, a memory of the moment between. It's a ruin on a green continent, an ancient artist's home merged with the trees and sprawling underground. When the vortex came, people say the land shook, monsters surrounded the walls, and something new fell inside. It's said to hold clean springs, preserved food, the darkest of jewels, and the softest of silks. This palace is called Adamant Muse, and our heroines are searching for it.

Power Sets Overview Your character's power set determines how they use the vortex. It doesn't determine their personality, or any other details.

[B][I]The Seer[/I][/B] has a second set of eyes in the vortex, opened with a whisper. She can project her senses to faraway places, glimpse into the future, and see people's secret vulnerabilities.

[B][I]The Siren's[/I][/B] songs tantalize individuals, and stir crowds to action, frenzy, or unity. They can also grant a second wind to the her allies, or even alter the landscape around her.

[B][I]The Warrior[/I][/B] has little interaction with the vortex, except for her uncanny battlefield instincts. She wields weapons with graceful ease, and calls tactics with great wisdom.

[B][I]The Witch[/I] [/B]can channel the vortex's screams into destructive power - blades of darkness, tongues of flame, fingers of thunder - with a shout of her own.

Some people have powers similar to these. Also, many people and professions don't interact with the vortex, but those aren't our heroines.

Tech and Resources Overview The tech level is futuristic, including laser weapons, antigravity material, fuel cells, and robots. While these things are available, it should be noted that hi-tech items are scarce and expensive.

Breathable air is abundant, but water needs to be purified. Meat is hard to come by and animals are only farmed by the rich; plants are a steady source of food, although in dry times they can't sustain everyone. Shelter against the elements and the monsters is an important concern.
 
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Quincunx

sludge of love
DONATING MEMBER
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I lean aggressive, but I can do either.
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Magical, Scifi, Action
Genre You DON'T Like
Furry, settings without running water, boarding schools without any weird/supernatural/creepy elements, vampire/werewolf-centric stuff.
#2
LANDS AND SCENERY
Here's a map of Xhorun. Whiter areas are higher altitudes, and greener areas are lower.

Xhorun orbits a single sun, and has an equator. It is orbited by a whole moon and a moon cleaved in half, which are respectively named Jyn and Lah.

The southern ends of Saria and Ioria are icy tundra. Northern Saria is mostly desert, and northern Ioria is badlands and prairie. Giria is cool and covered in various forests. The land uniting northwestern Saria and northeastern Ioria, usually called Nomshe or The Nameless Lands, is full of green, temperate lowlands. It was home to most of the monsters before the vortex drew them out. Mina's Sea was also notoriously hard to cross due to its abundance of monsters, at least before the vortex descended. Finally, the islands near Xhorun's north pole are ice deserts with no visible human presence.

It should be noted that almost all of Xhorun is colonized by humans, and most of that space is urban areas. While the colonized areas are definitely affected by the local climate, a lot of wildlife has either adapted to human activity or been pushed outside (at least, before the apocalypse).
 

Quincunx

sludge of love
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I lean aggressive, but I can do either.
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Magical, Scifi, Action
Genre You DON'T Like
Furry, settings without running water, boarding schools without any weird/supernatural/creepy elements, vampire/werewolf-centric stuff.
#3
CULTURE - GENERAL
Xhorun used to be made of nations with rich cultures and hierarchies of their own. The descent of the vortex acted as an equalizer of sorts, forcing each region to deal with similar problems. Still, Saria, Ioria, and Giria have different solutions, and retain differences as well as their new similarities.

Government Economic System Religion Linguistics Naming Conventions Clothing


  • Before, Xhorun had a country on each continent, ruled by an elected body. Now, there are strongholds here and there, with varying systems of government. Most common are quasi-landlords who came to power through force and war-bands (although some were elected, and others' families have owned the land since before the fall). They bring order and protection to everyone within their borders. In exchange, the tenants follow the rules, and either pay rent or labor within the stronghold for room and board. Those who don't like it have plenty of world where they can go it alone.

  • Markets and trade have been more lush, but today, the vast majority of Xhorun runs on a barter system - goods and services are either traded for other goods and services, or oddments (before, that was the name of a popular trinket, but now it describes anything pretty and portable). There are commune-style strongholds, but they're few and far between, and often involved in violent conflict with other strongholds.

  • Before, Xhorun had a handful of dominant religions - some monotheistic, some polytheistic, some aggressively spreading themselves, some not. The four major seas are each named after a deity from a different pantheon.

    Those religions only exist in fragments or heavily changed forms today. New religions have also sprung up in different places. What they preach and who they worship varies, but all of them offer answers about the state of the world, and sometimes that includes a way back or a way forward. They also have explanations for the vortex and those who channel its powers, and not all of those explanations are nice.

    Despite the proliferation of religion under adversity, atheism and misotheism are also common. There are those who believe there must be a naturalistic explanation for the vortex, and those who blame their gods for the way Xhorun is now.

  • The most common language spoken in Xhorun is Xhor, although it's more of an English-like patchwork of different cultures' economically-important terms and related grammatical structures. It was created from the need for a common language between people trading goods across Xhorun. Other languages - Sarissa (Saria), Yori (Ioria), and Gi (Giria) - appear in various dialects. Most people who know these languages are older and natively speak them, but everyone speaks at least conversational Xhor.

  • With the vortex descended, most people go by a given name and a family name - names with longer structures are reserved for the descendants of particular bloodlines with particular traditions.

    (OOC note: I don't want to give lots of restrictions on names and acceptable sounds, unless you want me to. All I ask is that your character's name follow the above structure, and sound more like Xhorun's languages than English.)

  • Before the vortex descended, clothing could be manufactured quickly and traded between continents. Now, people are stuck with what they can craft, what they can buy from craftsmen, or what they can scrounge. Hoods, synthetic fabrics, plastic buckles, bandages, very loose fits, and very tight fits are all common. Colors largely depend on what dyes and bleaching agents are available in the region.
 

Quincunx

sludge of love
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Furry, settings without running water, boarding schools without any weird/supernatural/creepy elements, vampire/werewolf-centric stuff.
#4
CULTURE - REGIONAL
(OOC note: the only culture that's really "required reading" is Ioria, since characters start in the Iorian mountains and are unlikely to know much about Saria or Giria. Giria is the continent on which Adamant Muse is located.)

Ioria Saria Giria


  • Iorian Culture
    Ioria has badlands in the north and tundra in the south, but its cultural values were similar across the kingdom - anyone who can survive is worthy of respect. Hard work and craftsmanship were also prized. Individualism was and remains a strong theme in Iorian fiction, as well as its old world politics and philosophies. The new religions reflect this by appealing to people who want the power to change their own fate, or sometimes rebelling against it by appealing to solidarity between those sharing similar circumstances.

    Ioria's native language is Yori. Yori's phonetics are loose, soft, and playful. Yori speakers like to combine words to create long "frankenwords" that describe specific things from the most basic concepts.

    Clothing in Ioria is influenced heavily by region. Up north, clothing is thin, breathable, and short. In the south, coats and cloaks are layered, and occasionally made with furs rather than synthetic fabrics. Clothing is generally medium-dark to very dark in color. This is because the chemicals normally used for customary bleaching make good fuel.

    (OOC note: if you're looking for a picture of your character and want it to include Iorian-looking clothes, present-day subcultures that match it (which are good keywords to put in your image search) might include dark-colored karasu-zoku, ninja goth, cyberpunk, nu-goth and strega outfits. Keep in mind that people have different styles based on wealth, profession, and personal tastes - for example, a hired gun making ends meet will have a different outfit than someone who performs for rich people.)

    Ioria has a unique resource, a pearlescent clayey material called sielite found in both light and heavy varieties. It makes tough, smooth things that have a soft-hued shimmer. The heavy variety is used as bricks for construction, and the light variety is used for art and plate armor.

    Saria and Ioria were wedged in a long war before the vortex descended. Nobody is sure exactly why or who fired the first shot, but those who remember the old world are sure it had something to do with one nation believing the other's economic system threatened human rights.

  • Sarian Culture
    Saria's geography is similar to Ioria's, with a northern desert and southern tundra. Its cultural values focused more on the idea that all humans are equal and deserve at least a minimum standard of living, and the old world monarchy provided notably more for its people (while taxing the nobles more). The descent of the vortex destroyed the government and its welfare system, but the ideals remain - Saria has the largest amount of communal strongholds of all of the continents.

    Its native language is Sarissa. Sarissa's phonetics sound like the lilt of the wind or the tongue of a snake. The language tends to favor liquid or flowing figures of speech.

    Saria's clothing is influenced similarly to Ioria's - clothes are appropriate to the climate. Fabrics tend to be neutrally-colored due to a lack of dyes and bleaches. However, the color blue-green was considered lucky in the old world, and now is a symbol of wealth (due to how hard the dye is to come by), and people who are rich (or were at one point) often wear blue-green accessories such as belts, tassels, and ribbons.

    Saria has many veins of rissite, a mineral that causes certain materials to hover in the air when they fly over it. It is effective through several layers of rock and soil. Rissite veins exist in urban areas as well as rural ones, and people often use hoverboards or hoverbikes over them to go places quickly.

    Ioria and Saria were wedged in a long war before the vortex descended. Nobody is sure exactly why or who fired the first shot, but those who remember the old world are sure it had something to do with one nation believing the other's economic system threatened human rights.

  • Girian Culture
    Giria is a country with cool weather, distinct seasons, and many forests. Its people value family, particularly mothers, and their tradition of giving matronymic middle names (the mothers' name combined with the suffix "-arre" for feminine names, "-go" for masculine names, and "-lo" for unisex names) persists today. Its gender roles also dictate that women do the traditionally-respected jobs of crafting, agriculture, and art, while men hunt and do manual labor, jobs considered lowly and dirty.

    Giria's native language is Gi, a language with guttural and strong phonetics. In Gi, the words for aunts, uncles, and other extended family are also differentiated by whether they're related to the mother or father.

    Clothing in Giria adapts to the seasons, but traditions and trends that have survived the apocalypse include long sleeves as fingerless gloves, streamlined fits, and long tops and coats. Colors are generally light or pastel, due to an abundance of bleaches and a moderate dearth of dyes.

    Giria is home to a genetic engineering project that used to be very active, but is now buried and thought to be lost. Some humans were altered by this project, and their descendants are more resistant to diseases - and more likely to have vortex-related powers.
 

Quincunx

sludge of love
DONATING MEMBER
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Furry, settings without running water, boarding schools without any weird/supernatural/creepy elements, vampire/werewolf-centric stuff.
#5
TECHNOLOGY

Materials Weapons Fuel and Power Transportation Robots What Isn't There


  • Materials in this world include textiles (almost all synthetic), dyes, bleaches, metals, and plastics, plus some that are more futuristic.

    "Plasma cells" isn't a scientifically accurate name for the micro fuel cells that can be attached to some firearms to produce burning blue energy blasts, but that's what stuck. Blasts from scavenged cells merely char sielite plating, but newly-developed cells (which are hard to come by) can burn through it.

    Bravum is a synthetic textile developed by Ioria during the war with Saria. It's naturally colorless, and can channel energy from lasers (at least, that's what people are getting from the leftover science magazines). The laser will color the bravum and make it glow. Bravum can be wrapped around blades or edges to create "laser swords", "energy lances", "light axes", etc. For ranged use, it can be fired from a gun or cannon as a "laser net round" or "laser ribbon".

    Gravitum, or "grav", is a synthetic element that is a clear solid at room temperature, can be cut into shapes, and reacts to become lighter than air when xenon gas is pumped into it. (It's a fantastic feat of chemistry that the xenon is used up much more quickly than the solid grav, making a single piece of grav viable for long-term use as long as it's refilled with xenon regularly.) When filled with xenon and left unmasked by textiles or other coverings, grav takes on a pale-blue-to-purple glow. Before the apocalypse, it was in use on every continent.

    Rissite is a crystal that only naturally appears in Saria, but has been exported in moderate amounts to other regions. When steel is placed above it, the steel floats stably and can fly quickly and easily along a fixed line of rissite. Because of the relatively low cost of these materials, many Sarian roads use rissite with steel vehicles rather than antigravity materials.

    Sielite is a pearly white, clayey material found in Ioria. It has a light and a heavy variety. Before it's fired, it's easy to shape, and afterwards, it's hard to break, stopping bullets and slowing down primitive kinds of energy weapons. It always retains a pearl-like, iridescent color. The heavy variety is used as bricks for construction, and the light variety is used for art and plate armor.

  • Bravum and plasma cells are both fairly rare materials used specifically for combat. Weapons generally fit into one of the following colloquial categories, from most common to most rare:

    -Jammers - blunt melee weapons
    -Renders - bladed melee weapons
    -Blasters - firearms that shoot solid or energy projectiles
    -Bombs - explosives, improvised or not
    -Scatters - firearms that use bravum

    The apocalypse also left behind plenty of bullets.

    Saria and Ioria both had naval warships, armed planes, terrestrial tanks and walkers, and other war machines. However, these were a casualty of the mass technological malfunctions that occurred during the vortex's descent. Anything on the ground has been stripped down for parts and fuel, and much of what was in the water has been lost to the waves.

  • Power plants are defunct and batteries are long gone, but plenty of biodiesel is left in carrying containers, cells, and tanks, and is good for powering generators. About half the population doesn't have a generator or a place with good wiring, though, and makes do with candles, gas lamps, blankets, and shade. Biodiesel can also be used to power cars. Explosive firing mechanisms are still intact and can be scrounged.

  • Before the apocalypse, Xhorun had cars, trucks, boats, planes, and even space travel. Grav and rissite made terrestrial vehicles hover. Now, only simple boats and terrestrial vehicles powered by biodiesel are still functioning. Everything else is broken.

  • Some robots are still functional from before the vortex descended, and some have even been made afterwards, powered by biodiesel cells or plugged into walls. They generally have a very streamlined aesthetic, and have varying sizes and functions:

    -Delites - robots no taller than two feet that resemble cute robotic critters (usually puffballs and floppy-eared cute things rather than actual animals) with various functional modifications - trays to carry drinks, Swiss army knife-like limbs full of tools, hollow bellies to store things in. They are also capable of recognizing their familiar voices, executing commands, and remembering things for their users; older familiars often have information about old world events or items stored in them.
    -Brites - robots whose primary feature is delivering information. They usually look like a video screen with legs, grav wings, or some other feature that lets them get around. Their data is stored inside them rather than on an external network, and can be easily edited, so they're good for merchants advertising to a stronghold or leaders giving bulletins to their people. Brites used to be used for advertising, so some advanced brites have facial recognition and data reporting; today, those brites are more likely to be used as sensors than as advertisers.
    -Strikers - any type of robot designed for combat. This can include smart weapons built into architecture, or combat drones, both of which vary wildly depending on the nation that developed them.[/B]

  • There is no internet, cloud, or other external network - people aren't sure whether the data or the cables no longer function, but they can no longer connect to it.

    There are no androids. Robotic technology simply never advanced that far.

    There is no space travel. Manned and unmanned vehicles used to be sent to explore other planets, but that died during the apocalypse. It is currently unknown whether any bodies in Xhorun's solar system can support sentient life.