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 Post subject: Solphos [Plane][Public]
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:53 am 
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A Planeswalker's Guide to
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SolphosFool's GoldRenaissance


Solphos is a plane of high alchemy and occult science.

It's a plane where technology has been pushed to its limits, the culmination of a tradition of science and magic intertwined. It's a plane ruled from fortified megacities called periochs, each a testament to mortal ingenuity in glass and steel. Forget about your antiquated swords and dragons, or your laughably obsolete gunpowder and wooden ships. By the Three Primes and the Four Elements, the people of Solphos have conquered the fabric of reality itself.

The chymia magna are the Great Alchemists. Their ranks include visionary chymists, engineers, magi and explorers; they are humans, goblins and even mutants unclassifiable by biology; but all are united by a desire to rebuild society from the ground up and learn the secrets of the universe. They are led by the Philosophers of the Winged Staff, a technocratic council of the finest thinkers and sorcerers on the plane. Under the rule of the Philosophers' Cabal, the people of Solphos pursue the endless path of scientific advancement: the Great Work.

On Solphos, anything is possible with the power of knowledge. The future is within your grasp. Will you seize it?




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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:54 am 
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H I S T O R I A


With the mass production of animic vapor perfected, souls could be manufactured on a truly industrial scale.
-Historia Solphii, volume IV




Antiquity

Solphos has seen the rise and fall of countless kingdoms. The last great empire of the Dark Age, the Empire of Corindia, lay claim to the whole vastness of the known world - an entire Continent, the seas surrounding it, and colonies beyond. But it too fell, leaving ruined metropolises and technological marvels scattered across the earth. It is from here that the story of Solphos begins.

Modern Solphosian civilization begins in the ashes of the Academiae. These arcane colleges, insulated from the petty strife and warmongering of the Continent by their neutrality, were relatively unscathed by the decline of the regimen antiquum. It was not long before the Academiae were the last remaining loci of stability in the world. From these ancient organizations developed the Institutes: occult technocratic universities, ruled by a cabal of Philosophers that controlled the world. So began the Protonaissance. As the people of Solphos progressed ever further, they began to see themselves as chymia magna, the vanguard of a venerated scientific ideal.


Cataclysm

But even as Kardiapolis and the other nascent periochs thrived, their accomplishments did not come without cost. Corruption became widespread in the halls of the Institutes. Industrial pollution transformed the natural landscape into an irradiated wasteland, the Dark Lands, forcing the periochs to seal themselves from the outside world. Most damningly, the chymia magna harnessed cosmic forces beyond their understanding, damaging the fundamental fabric of reality. They exulted in their mastery even as the stars burned out and the sun slowly crumbled from the sky.

The Cataclysm is the name given to the catastrophe that struck the Furopolis Institute four years ago. An explosion in the Institute collapsed its West Wing and severely damaged parts of the perioch, leading many to seriously question the status quo for the first time. The student Lumina Revelaris and the venerable Philosopher Lacertus were among them. But their advocacy went against the plans of the ruthless Philosopher Scepter: she struck down the budding academic career of the former, and branded the latter Haereticus and banished him forever to the Dark Lands. The Great Work would continue.


Golden Reckoning

Thirteen months ago, in a secret warehouse in Hydropolis, all came to a breaking point. Philosopher Zik's experimental mishap created an apocalyptic substance called philosopher's gold, which assimilated all it came into contact with. His mistake cost him his life. It consumed the perioch of Hydropolis in three hours. With frightening pace, the spreading golden corruption threatened to remake the entire plane in its image.

In a turn of dark irony, it was Philosopher Scepter who became the only hope for Solphos's salvation. She used her immense influence, determination, and magical skill to search for a weapon against the gold. As she did, her past sins returned to haunt her; she came to regret her blindness to reality in her schemes for power. But before she could make peace with her demons, Lumina Revelaris returned a planeswalker to reveal Scepter's crimes to the populace. By the laws she herself had set, Scepter was stripped of her title and exiled.

Lumina worked with the remaining Philosopher, Cestus, to fight the gold; but it became clear that they would not stop it in time. It was Scepter who returned penitent from the Dark Lands with Philosopher Haereticus and the missing piece of the puzzle. With the Azoth, an all-powerful staff forged by Cestus from Scepter's vision, Philosopher Scepter embarked on a solo mission to destroy the philosopher's gold once and for all. One hour later, the gold stopped shy of Kardiapolis's walls, inert. But Scepter never returned. A new sun shone on Solphos, counterbalanced by a strange new celestial body - a sphere of silver at dusk, a Luna.

A full account of Philosopher Scepter's exploits can be found in the only firsthand record of the Golden Reckoning from start to finish: the Fool's Gold Diaries.


Enlightenment

It is now one year after the Golden Reckoning. The philosopher's gold is now orichalcum, a miraculous building material that is being mined and used to reconstruct a civilization close to collapse. Philosopher Cestus has begun a Society of Fabers, a plane-spanning guild of masons and engineers, to build a Solphos stronger than before. But Philosopher Haereticus, changed by his aberration in the Dark Lands, has started a cult in worship of Philosopher Scepter. He claims his former colleague has transcended reality and become a God of Alchemy called the Lunar Trismegistus.

The Questioning Philosopher Lumina, following in Scepter's footsteps out of a newfound respect, tries to mediate the dispute with her newspaper the Libri Liberi. But even so, battle lines are being drawn. Just what happened to Philosopher Scepter? From whence did the Luna appear? Is it true that there are things even science cannot explain?

Here is where history ends, and your story begins.


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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:54 am 
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V N I V E R S V M


"The fates of all things are linked. If we fill the river with vitriol, the land shrivels for lack of nutrition."
–Anachor, child of Haereticus




Terra Munda is a gargantuan landmass that stretches from ocean to ocean. It is the cradle of Solphosian civilization and the domain of the regimen antiquum. Here lies Kardiapolis, the great capital and the seat of the Philosophers; Kreopolis, the mountainous industrial perioch; Furopolis, the ruined city of thieves; and Neopolis, the burgeoning mutant colony. Also here is the Hydropolis Chancery, a memorial to the perioch utterly ruined in the Golden Reckoning.

Terra Nova is a mysterious new continent that has recently been discovered far across the black seas to the east. It is only slightly touched by pollution, but remains extremely hazardous to the enterprising seafarer. Many have perished on expeditions there. With tensions flaring on the Old Continent, it seems unlikely that the new continent will soon yield to scientific inquiry.


Kardiapolis: Heart of Civilization

This sprawling megacity lies on an island off the west coast, protected by treacherous cliffs and toxic seas and linked to the mainland by a single heavily guarded luminiferous bridge. It was once the capital of the Empire of Corindia and the greatest trading port in the world. Now its harbors are a thing of the past, but it still wields immense influence over Terra Munda: the Philosophers personally oversee this zenith of culture, learning, and civilization.

Kardiapolis is built like a gargantuan fortress. It has multiple concentric walls of indestructible electrum alloy that reveal how the boundaries of the perioch expanded over the ages. As space on the island shrank, Kardiapolis built upward: the architecture here is all burnished towers and grand vistas, with skyways and linkbridges crisscrossing the air between. The streets are lit with ozone lamps, furnished with arches, and decorated with hauntingly beautiful sculptures.

  • The Turris Kardiapolis. This enormous brass skyscraper towers over the rest of Kardiapolis, funneling electricity to the perioch with spiderlike galvanic arms. It is the Philosophers' seat of power; apart from offices and courts, it also houses the finest laboratories and foundries in the world. The Abyssi are a semi-mythical dungeon beneath the Turris that Philosopher Scepter once used for secret mind control experiments.

  • The New Future Institute. Also known as the Kardiapolis Institute, this is the more recently founded of Solphos's two Institutes of scientific inquiry. It is a vast complex that dominates Kardiapolis's northwest quarter. The students of this Institute specialize in galvanics, mechanics and optics, thanks in no small part to the patronage of Philosophers Cestus and Lumina.

  • The Grand Lodge. This gothic cathedral is the headquarters of the Esoteric Society of Fabers, the artificers' guild founded by Philosopher Cestus to rebuild Solphos after the Golden Reckoning. The innermost chambers are off limits to the public. It is rumored that the stonework hides thousands of secret rooms and encoded messages, but the gargoyles discourage any would-be trespassers.

  • The Zik Memorial Hall. Rechristened in the memory of Golden Reckoning victim Philosopher Zik, this concert hall and the attached gallerias are the crucible of the Solphosian artistic world. Famous machinist-composers like Papilia and Storn compete to design the most exquisite clockwork orchestras that Solphos has ever seen.

  • The Caeles Observatory. The Astronomers' Guild of Solphos convenes here to research the celestial cosmos and speculate on the nature of outer space. They are particularly interested in the Luna, or the "moon" in vulgar parlance, which is nothing like the stars or the sun or anything understood well by astronomy.

  • The Catacombs. These subterranean sewers and passageways are built-over remnants from the Empire of Corindia. Only lightly policed by crystalline golems, the Catacombs are a haunt of thieves, couriers, spies, and others who have a reason to hide from the world above. Despite the efforts of determined spelunkers, the true extent of the labyrinth remains unknown.


Kreopolis: Engineering Life

The perioch of Kreopolis is nestled in the smoky Midaes nitre vents, deep in the mountainous heartlands of Terra Munda. A heavily industrial perioch, Kreopolis is the major source of almost all products used by Solphosian civilization, especially animal products and manufactured goods. Because of its location in the heart of the Continent, it is also the perioch closest to the natural world: biologists, physicians and genefacturers flock here for study and field research.

The landscape of Kreopolis is dominated by massive industrial complexes, smoke-belching refineries, and splicing pools the size of lakes. There are inhabited areas, but they are scattered sparsely across the perioch and connected only by luminiferous railway lines. The rest of the perioch is featureless backcountry. Kreopolis is the only perioch so large that it requires multiple natron domes to fully shield it from the Dark Lands atmosphere.

  • The Transterrum Aquifer. This vast underground sea lies beneath Kreopolis, occasionally linked to the surface by sinkholes and cavern complexes. Natural philosophers are still investigating its bizarre benthic ecosystem, but that doesn't stop aquanauts from trespassing or enterprising restaurant owners from serving up tentacled eyeless delicacies.

  • The Physicians' College. This venerable stone building is where the apothecaries and surgeons of Solphos hone their craft. Medicine is a respectable pursuit and considered more altruistic than alchemy. However, the accidental release of zombies by apprentices of the ars vitalis remains a perennial problem.

  • The Epistimic Promenade. This beautiful mosaic thoroughfare is host to the annual Continental Fair - half celebration of Solphosian technological advancement, half cutthroat competition between Institutes and alchemical conclaves to outdo one another. Success here is the only way other than Institute examination to be accepted into the Philosophers' research staff.

  • The Clankworks. This is the colloquial name for Kreopolis's titanic manufacturing district, which supplies all the Continent's demand for industrial goods of all kinds. Furnaces, exposed gears, whirring saws and heavy machinery make the heart of the Clankworks incredibly dangerous for all but trained steam-golems to operate.

  • The Sallow Morgue. The most controversial of Kreopolitan institutions, this massive depository of organs is supplied by the remains of convicts sentenced to disembowelment. The Morgue's curators auction off the body parts to physicians, genefacturers, dealers, necromancers, and others who might find use for them in their craft.


Furopolis: Slums, Sin, and Smoke

The northern perioch of Furopolis was founded on agriculture, but as hydroponics advanced and the land suffered from pollution, its influence and fortunes declined. The Cataclysm, which destroyed the West Wing of the once-proud Furopolis Institute and forever stained its reputation, only hastened the perioch's slide into lawless dystopia. Furopolis now struggles to recover from the Golden Reckoning, a disaster which created new wounds and opened old ones for the city of thieves.

The Upper Perioch is the wealthy part of Furopolis. Its imposing spires and skyscrapers cast a shadow over the Lower Perioch, the sprawling squalid slums that cover what used to be farmland. Barely shielded against the Dark Lands atmosphere and mostly ignored by the Upper Periocha, the slums are a heavily polluted hive of fire hazards, crime, poverty and disease. Philosopher Lumina's humanitarian aid has improved living conditions somewhat, but there is still much work to be done.

  • Revelaris Press. Also known as the Everpress, Philosopher Lumina founded this institution mainly to distribute her free newspaper, the Libri Liberi. It has since branched out into a general publishing-house. The building is easily recognizable by the huge arms of its automated printing-press engine, an innovation that scribes, inks, and distributes books at astonishing speeds.

  • The Furopolis Institute of the Alchemical Arts. The older and more famous of the scientific Institutes of Solphos, this vast campus now suffers from a not entirely undeserved reputation of corruption and inflexibility. All the current Philosophers are alumni of this school, as was the former Philosopher Scepter. The West Wing of the Institute was irrevocably damaged in the Cataclysm and is now permanently closed to entry.

  • The Greater Corindia Trading Company. The most influential criminal organization in Solphos makes its headquarters here, nestled among dozens of legitimate fronts and seemingly abandoned buildings. Those who would enter must first deal with a small army of necromantic alchemists and an utterly corrupt civic guard.

  • The Pulse Circus. This neon-lit stadium hosts nightly sports matches, tournaments, races, and gladiatorial battles. Spectators from all over Solphos crowd the stands in support of their favorite teams. The high lethality of the Circus means the rosters are constantly changing, but the most skilled racers and duelists can rise to celebrity status. This is the only place in Solphos where arcane dueling is legal.

  • The Necropolis. During the Golden Reckoning, almost a third of the Lower Perioch was aurified before the philosopher's gold was stopped. That part of Furopolis remains utterly lifeless and inanimate, like a city caught in its dying throes: a necropolis. Some mining operations have begun to smelt the gold into usable orichalcum, but for now, the haunting golden sculptures remain as a reminder of scientific folly.


Neopolis: Glimmers of the Future

The first new perioch to be founded in centuries, Neopolis was born of the optimism surrounding Solphos's emergence from the Golden Reckoning. It is the brainchild of Philosopher Haereticus, who sees it as an opportunity to undo past mistakes. To the people of Solphos it represents the promise of a new city, a new beginning, and a renaissance of all that was good about the Age of Science - not to mention a booming multimillion-talent investment opportunity.

At present, Neopolis is still largely unfinished. Situated on former mutant territory in the deep south of the Continent, the desolate plains remain a mess of scaffolding, construction tents, walkers and heavy equipment. Most of the workers on the Neopolis project are mutants, as they do not sleep and resist the irradiatum field of the Dark Lands. On cold nights they sing old hymns about exile, as well as new hymns about rebuilding the world.

  • The "Fountain of Youth." This hot spring was beneath the notice of the construction workers until rumors began to spread that a corpse had been revitalized by its waters. Now they have begun to regard it with reverence, and some refuse to drink any water but that from the fountain.

  • The Deific Hall of the Lunar Trismegistus. Philosopher Haereticus built this church to venerate Philosopher Scepter, who he believes ascended to become a God of Alchemy. The bizarre-looking building has become a pilgrimage site for Deists and others who share the mutant Philosopher's views. No one but the Deists themselves know what rituals take place behind its walls.

  • The Irradiatum Laboratories. This ramshackle research outpost was set up to research the irradiata, the dangerous energy field pervading the Dark Lands that warps creatures into mutants. Unfortunately, the alchemists' protective wear was slightly imperfect. Many of the staff, quite to their chagrin, are beginning to be aberrated themselves.


The Dark Lands: Beyond Civilization

The lands beyond the periochs were once beautiful, but centuries of pollution and magical flux have slowly eroded the natural landscape into a shell of what it once was. The Dark Lands, as they are known, are characterized by inhospitable extremes, unusual and disturbing mutant flora, and vast expanses of desolate wasteland. Of particular note is the irradiata, also known as the aberrating field or the irradiatum field. This radioactive energy suffuses the atmosphere of the Dark Lands, and has a highly unpredictable but always inimical effect on life.

Roving tribes of savage mutants populate the uncharted wilderness, as do horrific aberrated creatures such as the colopede and the panoptic wurm. Jagged mountains of black onyx, deserts of deadly poisonous silica, forgotten monuments of the Empire, and more lurk within. To the north of the Continent, the strange ecosystem is replaced with an endless swathe of lifeless golden landscape: a casualty of the Golden Reckoning, and a grim testament to the danger that Solphos once faced.

  • The Hydropolis Chancery. This solemn amphitheater is all that remains at the site of the former perioch Hydropolis, which was aurified completely in the Golden Reckoning. It contains a scale model of the former city, a museum of salvaged items and photographical records, and a monument unmarked except for a single inscription: "Never again."

  • The Magnus Line. This ambitious railway project is intended to link all of Solphos's periochs with a high-speed magnetic train, bypassing harrowing days of Dark Lands caravan travel. At present, only the Kardiapolis-Kreopolis line is complete. Heavily armed escorts accompany construction convoys, as one ill-timed mutant attack could undo weeks of progress.

  • The Midaes. This river, cutting through the heart of Terra Munda, is the crucible of life on the Continent. Kreopolis lies on the nitre vents at its source, while its estuaries are surrounded by intricate cave networks. Assembly spiders spin natron webs that dampen the irradiata, allowing a rich ecosystem to develop within the Midaes caverns.

  • The Cruciatum Tunnels. The mutant planeswalker Natos Cruciatur once led a vast army of feral mutants known as the Cruciatum clan. Their complex society has disintegrated following Natos's disappearance, but its labyrinthine tunnels remain. Many chase rumors of otherworldly relics hidden in these dangerous tunnels.

  • The Pelagus. Terra Munda and Terra Nova lie within this oily black sea of salt, wracked with eldritch storms and malicious tides. It was not always so deadly, but like the rest of the Dark Lands, it has changed for the stranger. At times it seems like the sea has a will of its own.


Last edited by chinkeeyong on Tue Sep 08, 2015 5:08 am, edited 30 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:54 am 
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C R E A T V R A


"Life is a circle / In circles scribed / Where mortals walk."
-Natos Cruciatur




Humans: Pioneers of Solphos

Homo sapiens is the oldest, most numerous, and most diverse sapient species known to civilization. Many races were united under the banner of the Empire of Corindia, but humans were the first; and though the regimen antiquum is long gone, humans remain the dominant inhabitants of Terra Munda second to none. It would not be a stretch to say that Solphosian civilization was built by human hands.

The human nations of the Continent were once divided by race and skin color, and some of those traits still show in the humans of today. But the all-encompassing, cosmopolitan culture of the Empire of Corindia did much to erase such boundaries. More than anything, one's education and achievements are what define one as a human being.


Goblins: Brilliant and Tenacious

Homo homunculi is the other great sapient species of Solphos, believed to be a long-distant offshoot of the human genome. The human nations and goblin tribes of antiquity have had a tumultous and uneasy relationship; to some extent, modern goblins still suffer from the stereotype of the uneducated goblin criminal. But recent strides in integration, headlined by the appointment of the goblin Philosopher Zik, have allowed the tenacity and innovation of the noble goblin race to truly shine.

A fully-grown Solphosian goblin is superficially similar to a human, but stands no more than a hundred centimeters tall. They are gangly, with exaggerated ears, limbs and facial features, and they are possessed of a remarkable digestive fortitude which allows them to subsist on a diet of nearly anything solid. Leathery hairless skin the color of burnt umber is the norm. Goblins think in a stream of consciousness: what they lack in discipline and attention span, they more than make up for in creativity and persistence.


Mutants: Changed for the Stranger

Homo mutandis is the name for any sapient genome so aberrated, whether by Dark Lands irradiata or other corruption, that it is no longer recognizable as any species classifiable by natural philosophy. It was once thought humane to exile convicts to the Dark Lands rather than execute them, and thus a significant proportion of mutants now under the protection of the Philosophers are former convicts. Some are their descendants - a new generation of mutants who have embraced an identity unique from both human and goblin.

By definition, no two mutants are the same. Irradiatum-induced degradation of the genome follows little rhyme or reason. Reconfigured limbs, the development or regression of sensory organs, and altered thought processes may all result from aberration; though some individuals display more resistance to mutation than others, it will only worsen if untreated. The oldest mutants are so radically and monstrously deformed that they appear little different from the natural fauna that populates the Dark Lands.


Elementals, Oozes, and Golems: Animated by Alchemy

When raw mana reacts with an inanimate alchemical substance, it produces a sentient lifeform animated by magic itself. Variously classified as elementals, oozes, or golems depending on their state of materia, these alchemical constructs are a common sight in Solphosian laboratories - sometimes intentional, but mostly accidental.

Golems in particular are favored servants, as they are subservient, intelligent, and capable of work under extreme conditions. Elementals are more ephemeral and fickle, and must be shackled by binding glyphs to the service of the alchemist. By far the most common are oozes, owing to the frequency with which fluids are manipulated in the laboratory. Escaped ooze infestations are a perennial problem of Solphosian life.


Demons, Weirds, and Horrors: Things From Beyond

The world we see is only a facet of a larger reality. In the ætheric dimensions beyond our own, there are eldritch creatures that do not obey our natural laws. These creatures are called æther-dæmons: they take many physical forms, but all are highly dangerous, and their incursion into our world threatens the very foundations of reality as we know it.

Dealing with æther-dæmons is a recipe for disaster. They are living tears in the fabric of space that unravel everything around them. Some have been domesticated and caged, but only with intricate geometries that should be impossible by the laws of this universe. The only consolation is that they are easy to recognize from a distance. But even that is fleeting: rumors tell of a dæmonic Domitor that has already obtained a corporeal form in this world, with the sole purpose of its ultimate ruin.


Angels and Archons: Inscrutable Sentinels

These rare and cryptic apparitions are largely a mystery to science. If they can communicate, they do not deign to do so in the presence of mortal observers; any attempt at contact is met with indifference. What is known is that they are not living creatures - at least, not as understood by natural philosophy - and they are zealously dedicated to battling æther-dæmons and closing spatial rifts across the plane. It is believed that the world itself generates these righteous avatars as enforcers of the laws of physics.

They certainly appear constructed. Angels and archons take the form of heavily armored fusions of man and machine, encased and hidden by chromed cybernetic harnesses from head to toe. Angels are kept aloft by incredibly powerful booster engines and stabilizing steel wings, while the masked archons thunder through the skies in rocket-powered thopter squadrons. All wield the power to manipulate natural forces like gravitation and magnetism at will.


Sphinxes: Hermits of Antiquity

The last of a highly intelligent ancient species, sphinxes are reclusive creatures that dwell in ruins and complexes. They speak a tongue of their own unrelated to the languages of the periochs and pursue their own lofty studies far from the prying eyes of civilization. Some intrepid alchemists seek out sphinx hermitages in the Dark Lands to learn their secrets, but beware: sphinxes are territorial creatures, and have no compunctions about devouring trespassers and petty thieves.


Dragons: Terrors of the Wastes

The first dragons were mighty prehistoric predators driven to extinction by the ravages of time. Now careless genefacturing has revived these ancient terrors, and they terrorize the wilderness near the sulfuric vents and high mountains where they make their lairs. In their bellies are natural furnaces of elemental sulfur, and their carcasses would be incredibly rich sources of the Prime Essence if harvested - but dragons are cunning and deadly to hunt. Without the equalizing destructive power of rockets or railcannons, unprepared travellers in the Dark Lands make tasty feasts for the lords of the wastes.


Hydras: Alien Behemoths

The most feared creature of the Dark Lands is the hydra. Ancient creatures so heavily mutated by the irradiata that they have become host to multiple consciousnesses, hydras are hyperintelligent predators that spell certain death for any who stumble into their underground lairs. Adapting instinctively to any weapon used against them, wielding psychic power that crushes lesser minds like grapes, hydras have only one weakness - their solitary and disinterested nature. If a hydra were to bring its full might to bear against civilization, we would be as helpless before it as ants are before us.


Animals, Beasts, Insects, and Wurms: A Living Ecosystem

Thanks to the mutating influence of the irradiata, the wilderness of the Continent is home to many varied forms of wildlife. The longhorn is a venerable species of livestock kept for its meat and its natural affinity for splicing. Cryptids are a classification of highly mutable Dark Lands insects that harass travellers with their snapping mandibles and acidic jets. Some species of the Continent are genefactured hybrids escaped from Kreopolis splicing laboratories: the pteryx, a winged reptilian beast, is the most famous of these.


Beebles: Vicious Scarlet Death

Picture a scurrying, grotesque ball of flesh with the ferocity of a piranha and the malice of a gremlin. This is Beeblus beelzebebii - a highly intelligent, utterly evil vermin that sabotages laboratories and murders researchers in the name of amusement. Exterminators are specially trained to disarm beeble tripwires, neutralize their chemical mines, and smoke out beeble nests. An infestation of beebles is believed to have caused the Cataclysm that destroyed the west wing of the Furopolis Institute.


Constructs: Servants of a New Age

The budding field of automation has become something of an obsession of Solphos's youngest researchers. Powered by the action of clockwork or galvanic impulse, automata are machines constructed by artificers that are capable of performing simple scripted commands. At present, the technology of robotics is too rudimentary to create more advanced constructs that do not also go haywire or rampant - but the printing-press engine of Revelaris Press has ignited a new interest in automation. Perhaps one day some sort of differential computational engine - a "computer" - might be possible?


Gargoyles: Antique Guardians

In days of yore, the elite of the Corindian Empire used these stone guardians to protect their valuables. In more modern times, the gothic sensibilities of the Esoteric Society of Fabers have placed gargoyles back in vogue among the artificing crowd. Gargoyles are much more intricate and difficult to construct than golems: the sculpted mechanism for flight requires a great degree of craftsmanship. But once formed, they make swift and indispensable sentinels.


Leviathans, Octopuses, Serpents and Squids: Horrifying Sea Monsters

Two major aquatic bodies define Terra Munda: the Pelagus, the malevolent ocean in which the continent rests, and the Transterrum Aquifer, the lightless underground sea beneath Kreopolis. Both are home to exceedingly disturbing and unnatural forms of marine life. Skullcuttles, fractalobelemnoids, electrocephalopods, and more pose significant dangers to the intrepid aquanauts that plumb their depths. All are irrascible creatures that turn stingers, razor-sharp beaks and neurotoxin jets upon anything trespassing within their territory.


Spirits and Wraiths: Lost Souls

It has long been known that the consciousness is separate from the physical body. Aurorae are souls untethered from their bodies due to some great trauma experienced upon the moment of death - some induced experimentally by researchers of the sapient psyche, some due to extreme emotional shock. In any case, all aurorae are highly sought after for their reagent properties in alchemy and deist magick.

Wraiths are a subset of aurorae. These vengeful spirits have achieved corporeal form by bonding with smog in the atmosphere, and murder those that linger too close to the chimneys and rooftops of industrial areas if not exorcised.


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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:55 am 
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S C I E N T I A ∙ E T ∙ M A G I A


"Do not be fooled by the ancient tales of wizardry. Magic has rules and restrictions, duplicable experimental results – it is not an art, but a science."
-Conlis, chymical pioneer




Introduction

It is by the power of science that the Solphosian civilization was built. It is through magic that the people of Solphos conquer the strictures of space and time. The intersection of science and magic is called alchemy, and it is an elaborate art that forms the foundation of Solphos itself. No visitor to the plane can go without a basic understanding of this complex and storied tradition.

On Solphos, the ars scientifica and ars magica have always been two sides of the same coin. Science is the lens through which the alchemist views the world, uniting chaotic and disparate experiences into a single perfect framework. Magic, the implement with which the alchemist imposes her will upon the understood universe. In other words, science is theory and magic is application. The mastery of one leads naturally to the mastery of the other.

The alchemists of Solphos believe that science can unlock any secret. When you know the world absolutely, you wield absolute control over it. This belief is called Sophism: the belief that knowledge is the highest power.


Seven Elements

Alchemy begins from the very foundation: the foundation of the world.

We all know that our world comprises many substances. There are earths, which are solid to the touch; fluids, which shift and change shape; and airs, which invisibly permeate the atmosphere. Yet all of them are materia, the substance of the tangible realm. We can perceive them, interact with them, and affect them via physical means. This is because all are composed of corpuscles, impossibly miniscule building-blocks that are invisible to the naked eye. These indivisible, indestructible particles combine to comprise our universe.

All corpuscles are imbued with different qualities, or philosophical elements, which alter the properties of the materia they form. The elements are -

  • Sulfur. The element of vigor, catalysis, combustion, and energy.
  • Mercury. The element of change, transfer, mutability, and transmutation.
  • Natron. The element of fixedness, solidity, weight, and inertia.
  • Air. The element of clarity, grace, detachment, and the conscious.
  • Water. The element of concealment, connection, emotion, and the unconscious.
  • Fire. The element of conception, destruction, inflammation, and the impulse.
  • Earth. The element of stability, protection, vitality, and the primal self.

Of the above, sulfur, mercury and natron are the Three Primes, or the Major Elements. They form the overarching magical weave that the materia is shaped by. Air, water, fire and earth are the Minor Elements: they are written within each corpuscle itself, determining the immutable inner qualities it conveys to the larger whole. All govern the ultimate shape and state of the materia.

The seven elements are the crux of alchemy. Alchemists search the realm for unique reagents as sources of the all-important elements; they then manipulate the fundamental weave of the materia to separate the elements from each other and combine them into new and innovative configurations of their own design. Henceforth, the interaction of disparate reagents produces strange and fantastical effects upon the tangible realm - what one might call "magic." All of alchemy boils down to this fundamental equivalent exchange.


The Animus

When alchemists speak of "animic entities," they do not refer to wildlife. The animus is another word for the soul, the consciousness, the sapient psyche: it was proven decades ago to exist separate from the corporeal body, and remains a perennial interest of pursuers of the alchemical arts. The reason? The animus is a rich source of all the Prime Elements of alchemy, and far outstrips coal or steam in energy output. In other words, the collective souls of the people of Solphos are a vast, untapped, renewable energy source.

Souls are extracted from willing signatories upon the moment of death, using a remarkable galvanic device known as a phylactery cathode. Once the animus is trapped, it may be harnessed for a wide variety of industrial and civil activities, from the mundane generation of galvanic power to the more esoteric applications of alchemists and necromantic adepts. Animic cells are uniquely suited to power golems and constructs, imbuing them with a semblance of sapience impossible through pure alchemy or mechanism.

Those involved in the study and manipulation of the animus are known as animologists, though this term is not widely used: the knowledge of such a dangerous art is heavily restricted by the Philosophers' Cabal for fear of misuse. The atrocities committed by the former Philosopher Scepter remain fresh in the minds of the people. Nevertheless, the black market trade in souls is alive and booming - if one knows where to look.


Signs and Sigils

Geometric designs bear paramount significance in the Solphosian alchemical tradition. Much as a machine must be built to exact specifications to function, an alchemical spell must be inscribed and defined in the form of a sigil - a two-dimensional symbol that shapes the magical power and expresses it to the alchemist's desire. Sigils may take many designs, all of them documented and specialized in purpose.

The geometric qualities of Solphosian magic are all-encompassing in scope. Ingredient pouches are embroidered with sigils of inertia in natron thread, to render their contents safe. City planners and architects design numerous sigils into their works to boost efficiency and structural integrity. Young children are tattooed with sigils in the hope of influencing their future fortunes. For more complex spells, basic signs are combined into larger symbols called glyphs - some of which may surpass entire rooms in scale.

The stylus, or enchanting pen, is an indispensable implement of alchemy. The ætheric qualities of this utensil's nib allow its user to trace sigils cleanly and rapidly on any surface without permanently marking it; or failing that, to score the fabric of the æther itself, and in so doing trace sigils upon the air. In this way, a deft alchemist can forgo the need to prepare concoctions beforehand and rely entirely on spur-of-the-moment spells as the situation calls for them. It is no coincidence that the longest-lived arcane duelists can also write the fastest.


Correspondence

The word correspondence refers to the exchange of information. In the Solphosian context, the glyph of correspondence is a basic sigil that allows the alchemist to instantaneously communicate with others over great distances through the æther. There are no physical components to the spell and no physical connection that needs to be made between the sender and recipient - all that is needed is their relative geographical position and a steady stylus hand. This revolutionary technology is an integral component of Solphosian life.

Each of the civilized periochs is dotted throughout with correspondence offices, public establishments which together comprise the correspondence network. With the provided services and facilities, even a complete stranger to alchemy may transmit and receive messages from any other correspondence office in the world. Experienced alchemists have the additional option of interfacing with correspondence anchors - privately maintained broadcasting offices which host libraries or forums across the ætheric void. This worldwide web of interconnectivity is a technological marvel without equal in the Multiverse.


Scientific Disciplines

  • Theoretical alchemy or pure alchemy, the study of the composition of materia. Transmutation and transfiguration fall within the domain of the pure alchemist, as does the art of concocting potions and powders. The goal of theoretical alchemy was once to discover the perfect substance, but it has lost focus somewhat since the tragic discovery of the philosopher's gold.

  • Galvanics, the study of electromagnetic phenomena. Galvanism powers nearly every aspect of Solphosian society, from the ozone lamps which light the streets to the magnetic railcannons that line the perimeter of each perioch. However, the combustion of souls used to generate large-scale galvanic energy is leading some to condemn it as "inhumane."

  • Genetics, the study of life. Natural philosophers, as they are known, research the foundations and patterns of living ecosystems through long-term observation. Genefacturers are more hands-on scientists who surgically alter the life threads of living cells to produce new organisms. Genetically modified livestock and crops are the lifeblood of the Solphosian culinary industry.

  • Hydroponics, the study of agriculture within the laboratory. The majority of food consumed by Solphosian citizens is grown en masse in hydroponics facilities scattered across the Continent. The demand for mass-produced food has only increased since the loss of Hydropolis, the premier agricultural perioch, in the Golden Reckoning.

  • Mechanics, the study of the principles of engineering. Rather than seeking to overcome every obstacle through magic, mechanists and architects understand that simple artifice can be used to streamline complex tasks. Most modern tools are designed with an eye for mass production, though some artisans still persist in a tradition of handcraft.

  • Optics, the study of rays and their interactions. Once much maligned by students of other disciplines, the appointment of Philosopher Lumina created newfound respect for the art. The luminifer, a solid frictionless beam of energy, is the most extraordinary application of this discipline.

  • Physics, the study of forces, waves, and the ætheric weave. Force adepts use their training to manipulate substances without the necessity for contact - a crucial skill when handling dangerous substances. The most powerful applications of physics can disintegrate solid objects into their component corpuscles in an instant.

  • Robotics, the study of servitor constructs and their applications. This ancient field has recently experienced a revival of interest due to the unveiling of the automated printing engine at Revelaris Press. The "computational engine," a theoretical automaton capable of executing complex instructions, is the holy grail of this discipline.


Deist Magick

The foundation of the Deific Church of the Lunar Trismegistus has created an alternative to the Sophist school of thought. Some now believe that alchemy is not the only method of performing magic, that the scientific outlook restricts the worldview of the mage, and that a supernatural, paranormal method of influencing the world exists. This highly unscientific concept has come to be known as deist magick.

According to the so-called Deist worldview, the land is rich with an invisible and indescribable power called "mana." Once a practitioner has formed a spiritual connection between his animus and the land, or a "mana bond," that power can be harnessed and used to perform miraculous acts such as the summoning of creatures from other worlds. Furthermore, the Deists believe that there are many "colors" of magic, each attuned to a certain personality (or "aura") and associated sympathetically with elements of nature.

The Deists have provided no evidence at present to support these theories. Nevertheless, the "magickal" phenomena produced by their "magicians" are observably separate from the traditional trappings of alchemy, if impossible to duplicate. Research into their novel form of spellcasting is ongoing.


Last edited by chinkeeyong on Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:48 am, edited 27 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:55 am 
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"Power is everywhere – in the sky, in our souls, and in the very steel beneath our feet. We are not looking to find power, but to tap it."
–Theton, technogogue




The Philosophers' Cabal
The reclusive archmages who govern the plane of Solphos.
Color identity:
Established: ~200 years ago
Insignia: The Azoth, two serpents coiled around a winged staff
Motto: Per radium sophia - "By the Staff, Wisdom"
Uniform: Ceremonial black lab coat
Allies: The Esoteric Society of Fabers, the Sophists
Enemies: The Greater Corindia Trading Company, the Fetterless

This occult circle of master alchemists and engineers is the driving force behind all of Solphos. The Philosophers govern the realm of Terra Munda from their seat in the Turris Kardiapolis, dictating the flow of civilization through their institutions and their servants. Only the most brilliant and visionary minds are selected to become part of the Philosophers' Cabal, and the process is so secretive as to be impossible to discern.

The Philosophers themselves number three: Cestus the Forger, Haereticus the Renewer, and Lumina the Pioneer. Though ideologies and personal feuds have at times divided the Philosophers, they stand united on matters of governance and stability. Their ultimate goal is to ensure the advancement of civilization on Solphos, and eventually complete the Great Work that is said to unlock the secrets of the universe.

  • Philosopher Lumina (planeswalker :planeswalker:)
    female human wizard (card)
    A bright and energetic young woman, Philosopher Lumina Cordatis Revelaris is the youngest and most recently appointed of the Cabal. She is an idealistic reformer who battles corruption and lobbies for the rights of her citizens, all while struggling with her responsibilities as a planeswalker. Revelaris Press, her publishing-house, distributes a free newspaper called the Libri Liberi.

  • Philosopher Scepter (whereabouts unknown) (private :bmelee:)
    female human wizard (card)
    Philosopher Scepter Ariadnus Penitei was a powerful, ruthless archmage who manipulated her way to power. However, she repented during the Golden Reckoning and turned her resourcefulness and determination towards ending the crisis. On her final mission, she succeeded in stopping the gold but was never heard from again. Some now worship her as an ascended deity of alchemy called the Lunar Trismegistus, including the current Philosopher Haereticus.

  • Philosopher Zik (deceased :fear:) (private :bmelee:)
    male goblin wizard (card)
    The appointment of Philosopher Zik Fulminis was a step forward in representation for goblinkind. He was beloved as a manic genius, a brilliant philosopher, and a great patron of the arts - but in a moment of folly, he created the philosopher's gold that would take his life and cause the Golden Reckoning. A monument to him stands at the Zik Memorial Hall in Kardiapolis.

  • Captain Fractus
    male human soldier
    Once the right-hand man of Philosopher Scepter, Fractus continues to maintain her secret network of soldiers and spies. For now he serves his duty as steward of the Turris Kardiapolis, hoping to one day receive news of his mistress's return.


The Sophists
Those who believe in the traditional, established ideals of science and rationality.
Color identity:
Established: 250+ years ago
Insignia: The upright triangle, representing the Three Primes
Motto: Ad magnum opus - "Towards the Great Work"
Uniform: Lab coats and styluses
Allies: The Philosophers' Cabal
Enemies: The Deists

The chymia magna, or the Great Alchemists, believe themselves destined to achieve a grand vision of the world. These pioneers, researchers, and artisans make up the vast majority of Solphos's citizenry, and it is under their watch that Solphos has grown and advanced. Until as recently as one year ago, the Sophists lacked even a name or identity - their ideology was ubiquitous, a matter of course, a fact of life. But the recent appearance of the Deists has led these men and women of science to rally against what they see as an affront to reason.

  • Halus Revelaris
    male human wizard
    The brother of Philosopher Lumina. Though he once overshadowed her in genius and academic achievement, he is pleasantly surprised to find his little sister eclipsing himself in fame. He is most renowned for his research in atmospheric conditioning and his accidental creation of the natron golem Nucleus.

  • Nucleus
    alchemical golem (card)
    A nigh-indestructible creature made entirely of inert natron, Nucleus is a simple but well-meaning servant of the people. It rose to fame when it assisted in humanitarian efforts during the Golden Reckoning, and even now remains a popular figure in culture. The golem's prodigious strength is currently being put to use in the construction of the Magnus Line railway project.


The Deists
Those who scorn scientific principles and believe in a lunar God of Alchemy.
Color identity:
Established: One year ago
Insignia: The crescent moon, representing the Lunar Trismegistus
Motto: "Truth Lies Within"
Uniform: Hooded white robes
Allies: The Luna...?
Enemies: The Sophists

When Philosopher Scepter banished the philosopher's gold and healed Solphos with the power of the Azoth, the cosmos of the world was irrevocably changed. Old faults in reality were repaired; Scepter and her mount Claror vanished forever; and a new celestial body, the Luna, appeared in the sky. Some took these as signs of the divine - signs that Scepter herself had ascended and become a God of Alchemy.

The Deists call the former Philosopher Scepter "the Lunar Trismegistus." Led by the Philosopher Haereticus, they comprise humans and mutants that have discovered a common spirituality at odds with the rationalist preaching of the Solphos of old. They practice "deist magick," or magic unbound by the strictures of alchemical sigils and ingredients, and rather than the Great Work, seek the transcendental Ideal of one's soul. Most worryingly to the Sophists, they believe in the power of faith. They believe that there are things science simply cannot explain...

  • Philosopher Haereticus
    male mutant cleric
    Once known as Philosopher Lacertus, this wizened old alchemist was cast out from the Turris and stripped of his name and title. Now he has returned as Philosopher Haereticus sine Nomine - "heretic without a name," much changed by the tribulations he faced in the Dark Lands. His outspoken and radical Deist beliefs have led some to once more question his suitability as a Philosopher.


The Esoteric Society of Fabers
A coalition of community-minded artificers... or something more?
Color identity:
Established: One year ago
Insignia: A hammer and calipers
Motto: Omnes renascentur - "All Will Be Reborn"
Uniform: Aprons and work tools
Allies: The Philosophers' Cabal
Enemies: The Fetterless

The Golden Reckoning was the apocalypse to end all apocalypses. It left Kardiapolis and the other periochs on the brink of collapse. To that end, Philosopher Cestus the Forger envisioned a grand rallying of engineers and sculptors - a Society to span Terra Munda, a Society that would rebuild Solphos and remake civilization stronger than ever before. So began anew the Great Work.

Today the Fabers are a thriving guild, with close-knit ties and familial appellations that bind its members to one another. But as Philosopher Cestus has grown more reclusive, the Esoteric Society has grown more occult. Its activities are increasingly hidden from the eyes of the uninitiated, and the constructions of its members are increasingly thick with hidden meanings and strange symbolism. The Solphos known to its people may not be the Solphos the Fabers plan to build...

  • Philosopher Cestus
    male human artificer (card)
    Philosopher Cestus Marculus Camine is an immensely gifted engineer who is famous for his sprawling works and mechanisms. Sturdy and well-built, he is never seen without his steam-powered sledgehammer. He founded the Esoteric Society of Fabers to rebuild Solphos, but has recently fallen into a deep depression due to the loss of his close confidant Philosopher Scepter.


The Greater Corindia Trading Company
The black-market organization that's the beating heart of the underworld.
Color identity:
Established: 250+ years ago
Insignia: A stylized raven
Motto: Nominare pretium - "Name Your Price"
Uniform: Cravats and mercantile clothes
Allies: Anyone willing to look the other way
Enemies: The Philosophers' Cabal

Illegal, illicit, or immoral - one way or another, it passes through the Company's hands. This sprawling and decadent trade empire is active in every perioch of Solphosian civilization, demanding protection money from merchants and harboring criminal activity under its black wings, and has been since the flourishing of Furopolis as a business center. Its members have no high ambitions or cruel schemes - they simply follow profit wherever it goes, and if it happens to involve breaking a few eggs, no business is without its costs...

The heart of the Greater Corindia Trading Company is in Furopolis, where it slumbers smugly under the protection of a corrupt civic guard and more than a dozen false names and safeholds. Despite Philosopher Lumina's attempts to fight it, the Company is more elusive than a shadow and more resilient than a hydra. Its arms continue to multiply; its plots continue to bear fruit. For as long as there remain hapless citizens to cheat, bribe, and unsoul for profit, of course.

  • Acerva
    male human rogue
    A gentleman with a schemer's heart, Acerva is one of the Company's most successful and well-known brokers. He deals in rare ingredients, animic vapor, and other chymical components of a restricted nature - and in exchange for his wares, he always demands something irreplaceable from the buyer. Pray his discerning merchant's eye doesn't fall upon your soul.


The Fetterless
Forces of anarchy and entropy that threaten Solphosian civilization.
Color identity:
Allies: None
Enemies: Everyone

The other factions discussed in this treatise each have some form of organization and common creed. Not so for this gallery of scoundrels, who scorn all ties to civilization and order. Each of these figures has made an enemy of Solphos itself, and each would care nothing if the world was ground into ash. Take care, traveler, lest you encounter one of the villains listed below...

  • Auric Avarius (planeswalker :planeswalker:)
    male human rogue (card)
    Auric is a former master thief who fell victim to the philosopher's gold. A latent planeswalker, his spark interacted in bizarre ways with the eldritch metal that warped his body and mind. Now he stalks the planes in a golden-tinged fugue, ever seeking new trinkets to add to his hoard - by any means necessary.

  • Lord Beelzebebus
    male beeble (card)
    This vile creature became the king of all beebles through subterfuge and cold-blooded murder. From his seat of power in the ruined Furopolis Institute's west wing, he orchestrates a scheme of grand sabotage that will bring the machine of civilization to its knees. No one yet knows... and his plan will come to fruition soon enough.

  • Natos Cruciatur (planeswalker :planeswalker:)
    male mutant shaman (card)
    The lord of the Cruciatum tribe is shrouded in mystery. No one knows from whence the hooded figure came, or to what blighted corner of the Dark Lands he vanished - but it was Natos who taught the secret of so-called deist magick to the Cruciatum, and to the itinerant Philosopher Scepter after them. Now his former army of monstrous mutants has largely dispersed, but some still await their warlord's glorious return...

  • Tindel Vatskimmer
    male half-goblin rogue (card)
    Some men want to watch the world burn. The terrorist and criminal mastermind Tindel Vatskimmer is one such man. Born ugly and unwanted by either human or goblin, he carved his own place into the underworld with his gifts of cruelty and twisted imagination. Now he plots to bring down the Philosopher's Cabal itself and show the world the senselessness of its own existence.

  • Vanus
    æther-dæmon (card)
    There are many dark things that lurk in the æther between dimensions, but Vanus is the most powerful and inhuman of them all. Wielding eldritch void-magic that eats and frays at the laws of reality, Vanus and his invaders seek to tear apart the world of Solphos so that it can absorbed into Vanus's own dark realm. Even now he walks among the skin-dwellers - and who among them could destroy a being that never existed?


Other Personages
Unaligned characters who nevertheless deserve a mention in this article.

  • Alydia Truthseeker
    female sphinx (card)
    The victim of a temporal fracture that flung her into an alternate universe, Alydia is an ancient historian who must come to terms with the fact that her vast knowledge no longer applies to the world she finds herself in. She searches constantly for a way to reverse her fate and find a way back to her own timeline.

  • Ciccus
    male human warrior
    The master of a well-known company of pest exterminators, Ciccus makes his living dealing with infestations of colopedes, beebles, oozes, æther-dæmons, and other menaces to everyday Solphosian life. He and his merry band often find themselves in more trouble than they can handle alone.

  • Papilia dea Symphonia (planeswalker :planeswalker:)
    female human artificer
    Papilia is an eccentric musician planeswalker whose face is always hidden by a brass mask. She hails from the artistic plane of Listesso, but the exquisitely machined clockwork orchestras of Solphos have struck her fancy. Now she has settled in Kardiapolis's artistic circles and is rapidly building a legend of her own.


Last edited by chinkeeyong on Sat Aug 08, 2015 6:48 am, edited 27 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:56 am 
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"Who says a bastion of science can't also be a discothéque?"
–Philosopher Zik




Fashion

The people of Solphos gird themselves in clothing that mimics the most distinguished of their society - the alchemists, researchers, and engineers. They wear long coats and robes, cloth caps and leather boots (even the mutants). For accessories, the periocha sport mechanical parasols, delicate styluses, and alchemical gloves. Everything is inscribed with sigils - mostly decorative, but sometimes truly magical.

Some entertainers and radical types dye their hair to stand out from the crowd. Makeup is widely used in the form of ungents or illusory charms, and a rare few have cosmetic surgery performed upon themselves. Many from an alchemical background also bear geometric tattoos about their face, neck, and hands, which are said to improve one's skill at the chymic craft.

Some periocha without the fortune of possessing all their limbs make do with wheelchairs and assistant golems, though some are wealthy enough for alchemical or mechanical replacements. Those who are short of sight and cannot afford biomantic recovery use seeing-glasses or glass-blown eyes, which are just a little less reliable than their biological counterparts.


Language

Solphos has two languages: Lingua libria, the formal and refined language of old Empire, in which all trade and scientific correspondence is conducted; and Lingua vulgata, the colorful provincial melting-pot tongue of day-to-day life. These are usually abbreviated as simply Libria and Vulgata. With the exception of some mutant immigrants and unfortunate Furopolitan slum-dwellers, every citizen of Solphos is literate in both.

Most humans choose names in Libria, such as "Magnus" or "Meridus." Most goblins instead choose names in Vulgata, such as "Kaz" or "Pendel." Mutants use the name they had before becoming aberrated, or else choose new names heedless of tradition, such as "Mercator" or "Nova."

An example of a Solphosian name might be Philosopher Lumina Cordatis Revelaris. "Philosopher" is an occupational style, like "Professor." "Lumina" is her given name. "Cordatis" is a merit name she earned through service to society. "Revelaris" is her birth name and family name. The proper formal address is thus "Philosopher Lumina," and the informal address is "Lumina," "Lumina Cordatis," or "Lumina Revelaris."

"Alexia." "Without words." An expression used by the Deists to describe indescribable experiences and inner truths.
"As above, so below." A proverb that means "patterns in life repeat themselves."
"A. Z. B. N." Four arcane sigils traditionally used to sign off at the end of a written letter or address. Their meaning is lost to time.
"By the Three Primes!" An exclamation that invokes the alchemical elements, and is considered very potent among the scholastic class.
"Per radium sophia." The creed of the Philosophers' Cabal is sometimes used as a parting remark, especially by those who fancy themselves close to that organization.
"That's golden." A sarcastic remark implying that "that" is actually horrible.
The Alchemical Library of Fluids. A famous and respected scientific encyclopedia. It once catalogued alchemical substances, but now covers all kinds of obscure knowledge.
"The snake eats its tail." A proverb that means "destruction begets creation." Less commonly, "creation inevitably meets destruction."


Law and Order

The periochs of Solphos are policed by a well-organized force of guards and mechanized dragoons in the employ of the Philosophers' Cabal. They wield the might of nightsticks, alchemical styluses, and patrol-golems to protect the peace. In times of need, the periochs also employ railcannons, heavy mounted magnetic ballistae, and luminiferous bows, handheld galvanic crossbows that can perforate with corpuscles of solid light.

Apprehended criminals are held in underground jails before being tried in the courthouse by a jury of learned mages. Justice is served through community work or jail time. The worst offenders are sentenced to disembowelment - a grim process in which every organ in the criminal's body is surgically removed, and then the animus extracted and bound to power a lamp-post for eternity.


Measurements

Distance is measured by the meter. Weight is measured by the talent, which weighs as much as a scholar's bundled robes. Energy is measured by the tap, which is enough energy to sustain one man's animus for one day. Prefixes such as "kilo-" and "micro-" are appended to these units to describe larger or smaller measurements as necessary.

Coordinates - whether marking a point in the world, or a point in the æther of the Correspondence - are expressed in an arcane system of celestial directions that are nearly incomprehensible to outsiders. Examples of coordinates might be "Three-quarters into Caeles's equinox" or "The Luna, from the Aquarius extended."


Money

The Solphosian economy is heavily regulated by the Philosophers' Cabal, which funnels taxes and levies toward the erection of grand public projects. To that end, most workers' guilds and chymic conclaves are controlled by the state. The only alternative is the black market and joining the Greater Corindia Trading Company for protection.

Money on Solphos flows from the Bank of Kardiapolis, situated in the Turris Kardiapolis. The Bank issues paper notes and checks inscribed with unique runes and enchanted against tearing or fading (coins have been phased out). It also provides investment bonds for scientific research and public construction works.

The talent is the currency of Solphos, worth approximately one talent's weight of elemental natron salt, or one day of comfortable living for a household. One hundred librae (singular libra) make up one talent.


The Arts

Solphos is home to many distinguished men and women of letters, music, and artistry. Those skilled with the stylus find their calling in the Writers' Guild in Furopolis, where they pen gripping scientific romances and adventurous flights of fantasy; meanwhile, the Zik Memorial Hall is home to the masterful paintings and sculptures of Solphos's artisan class, as well as the incredible clockwork orchestras of Kardiapolis's machinist-composers.

Artists are respected by the technocratic Solphosian gentry as fellow visionaries, and sometimes even allowed to stand among the higher circles of learning - though the pursuit of the arts will never be quite as lofty as that of alchemy and the sciences. With enough popularity or the right patron, artistry can be a lucrative profession. In recent times, many Deists have taken to the craft - not just to curry favor in society, but also to pass hidden messages to their fellows in treatise and sonata.


Transportation

Because of the density of Solphosian living, it is common for its citizens to simply walk everywhere they require. For longer distances, each residential enclave is within walking distance of a correspondence office - which offers expedient, if expensive, teleportation services - as well as a luminiferous tram that can transport cargo at blistering speeds.

In more rural areas, such as Neopolis and some manufacturing districts of Kreopolis, longhorns are used as beasts of burden to haul passengers and cargo to the nearest tram station. Travelers closer to sea level in Kardiapolis and Kreopolis can charter nautical transport across the waves, assuming one isn't too worried about what else is sharing one's waters. And if one has the coin, an aeronautical craft or mirrorwing can take passengers great distances in the air without being tracked.


Last edited by chinkeeyong on Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:00 am, edited 11 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:01 am 
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"Perhaps the invention of a 'printing press' is in order. I, for one, am sick of deciphering Zik's writing."
–Philosopher Cestus




Writing for Solphos

Solphos is an Enlightenment-era, mysterious, Da Vinci Code kind of plane. Stories about Solphos should be Enlightenment-era, mysterious, Da Vinci Code kind of stories. If you want to write a horror story or a romance story in Solphos, that's fine. But make sure that it's mysterious, arcane, and wonderful. Otherwise it isn't Solphos, just as a non-mythic story isn't Theros and a non-gothic story isn't Innistrad.

This Planeswalker's Guide is intended to provide writers with a lot of juicy details and arcane tidbits to chew on. Go nuts with the detail. Make up weird coordinates and place names. Have background characters whisper in code just out of earshot. Solphos is a mysterious and exciting plane, so it's all about the arcane tidbits. Drown your readers in little details that tantalize and suggest there's just a little more to the picture than it seems.

Some themes of Solphos that you could use in your own stories: Science, and how it changes lives for the better. Knowledge and the unknown. Death and rebirth. Reason and folly. That which cannot be understood, only experienced. The endless path of improvement.


Alchemist's Checklist

Throw darts at this list and see what you get:

  • Technobabble and apocrypha.
  • European alchemical symbolism.
  • The main character experiences an epiphany!
  • Frantic stylus action.
  • Secret passage!
  • Thinly-veiled reference to the Masons.
  • Problem-solving with the power of science.
  • A human moment.
  • Anachronistic magitech appears everywhere.
  • Success, but at a cost...
  • A previously unknown and very unpleasant secret.
  • Suddenly, æther-dæmons attack!
  • What dies shall be reborn.


Pompous Prose

A Solphosian piece of prose has just a little touch of long-winded scholarly eloquence to it. Everyone on Solphos writes like they're Oxford graduates paid by the word. Read a few turn-of-the-century scientific texts before you put pen to paper, or you could read a sample of Lumina Revelaris's writing to get an idea of what I'm talking about:

The apocrypha of my own interactions with the Trismegistus, for the most part, are true; regardless of what the Deists do or do not believe, and indeed what the Luna may or may not imply, that most exalted of alchemists to me will always be the mortal Philosopher Scepter. I was always her superior in the primitive magickal craft, and yet she always possessed an ineffable quality that made others look to her in time of need that I could never match. We quarreled, yes; we bickered, yes; but in those days of crisis, when it seemed that Apocalypse itself was approaching, Scepter found always the resolve to act that I lacked. The day will never come that her passing fails to cause me grief.

You don't have to write exactly like this, of course, but try to hit that scholarly vibe at least a little. Helps the mood.


Music Recommendations

If you like to listen to music while writing, or you want to get a feel for the ambience of Solphos, here are some soundtracks to get your alchemical gears turning.

Inner Universe (unofficial theme song of Solphos)
Magia
Anno 2070 OST (Tycoon)
Civilization: Beyond Earth OST
Deus Ex: Human Revolution OST
Freelancer OST
Mirror's Edge OST





Here ends the Planeswalker's Guide of Solphos. I hope it has been enlightening and enjoyable, and perhaps inspiring enough for you to try your hand at writing a Solphosian tale of your own.

Per radium sophia.

Chin Kee Yong
Designer of the Solphos block
A. Z. B. N.

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The format of YMtC and the Expanded Multiverse.
YMtC: My Deck of Many Things | NGA Masters | 2 | 3 | Roses of Paliano | Duel Decks: War of the Wheel | Jakkard: Wild Cards | From Maral's Vault | Taramir: The Dark Tide
Solphos: Solphos | Fool's Gold | Planeswalker's Guide | The Guiding Light | The Weight of a Soul
Game design: Pokémon Tales | Fleets of Ossia: War Machines | Hunter Killer | Red Jackie's Run


Last edited by chinkeeyong on Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:53 pm, edited 14 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:10 pm 
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I'm really loving what you've posted so far of this. It's a bit of a barrage of information but it's cool to see some of the stuff referenced on the cards laid out here.


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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:24 pm 
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This is an interesting setting (I haven't looked at the cards yet.)

The magic alchemy system feels really out there. No mana from lands? That's actually pretty bizarre, I don't think any other M:tG plane does that.

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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:39 pm 
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Kamigawa does--or at least, magic in Kamigawa was filtered through the drawing of particular characters, as I recall. Very similar to how Lia Xin focusses her magic actually though I think she more consciously draws mana from the land.


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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:45 pm 
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Kamigawa does--or at least, magic in Kamigawa was filtered through the drawing of particular characters, as I recall. Very similar to how Lia Xin focusses her magic actually though I think she more consciously draws mana from the land.

Oh, really? I didn't know that (about Kamigawa, that is. I knew it about Lia Xin.)

I should read the Kamigawa novels some time. I've got them right there, like, six feet away from me. In fact, I have two copies each of Outlaw and Heretic for some reason...


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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:11 pm 
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For a while I had two copies of each of the Mirrodin books.

I can't remember how I ended up with them because I sure as hell didn't WANT them. :I

Also don't quote me on the Kamigawa thing till Barinellos weighs in--I might be misremembering.


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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:14 pm 
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I was reading the Make A Plane threads, and the class warfare plane had an alchemy thing that really reminded me of Solphos.

Let me say, even though you obviously planned the apocalypse to be part of this, that I'm glad you at least finished the story with closure and didn't extinguish all life.

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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
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I had a LOT of copies of the Gathering Dark for a while.

You see, the Coldsnap fat pack was a great way to get boosters AND a stock of snow lands, plus those nifty storage boxes. Never mind I already owned a copy of Gathering Dark before Coldsnap even came out...

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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
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For a while I had two copies of each of the Mirrodin books.

I can't remember how I ended up with them because I sure as hell didn't WANT them. :I

Also don't quote me on the Kamigawa thing till Barinellos weighs in--I might be misremembering.

Darksteel Eye is the only other MTG book I have two of, except for like two of the Harper Prism books. At least Darksteel Eye is one I've actually gotten around to reading.


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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
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:( I can't find ANY copies of most Magic novels. Except for multiple copies of the Otaria trilogies.

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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
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My Kamigawa books are pretty much in about three pieces each due to copious amounts of re-reading. Prior to the conclusion of Saviors, the kami acted as filters for the plane's mana. Prayers and devotions to the kami were akin to spells like Seething Song, which somehow allow one to access mana via repetition or ritual. At the end of Saviors, the Sisters implied that the nature of magic on Kamigawa would change with their taking charge of the plane. I took this to mean that a more traditional mana system had been instated. Anyway, I like what I'm seeing in your original post. Don't leave us hanging.

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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
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Cateran wrote:
My Kamigawa books are pretty much in about three pieces each due to copious amounts of re-reading. Prior to the conclusion of Saviors, the kami acted as filters for the plane's mana. Prayers and devotions to the kami were akin to spells like Seething Song, which somehow allow one to access mana via repetition or ritual. At the end of Saviors, the Sisters implied that the nature of magic on Kamigawa would change with their taking charge of the plane. I took this to mean that a more traditional mana system had been instated. Anyway, I like what I'm seeing in your original post. Don't leave us hanging.

Oh, interesting.
Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: [Plane] Solphos
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:28 pm 
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Thanks for the clarification, Cateran!

Yeah I think what we saw of the plane in AoA kind of implied that maybe things were working differently there now.


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