- 1 Sphereworld
- 2 Geography of the Sphereworld
- 3 Magic in the Sphereworld
- 4 Life, death, rebirth and afterlife in the Sphereworld
- 5 Major mortal races of Sphereworld
- 6 Recent history of the Sphereworld.
Sphereworld is the working title of an original high fantasy world. While there is a good deal of completely original content, Sphereworld does not attempt to evade fantasy clichés. Instead, they are given a twist and new context where possible. As such, Sphereworld is designed with adventure and storytelling in mind.
Geography of the Sphereworld
As one might guess, Sphereworld is a world on the inside of a sphere. On the surface, there are six symmetrically placed natural spires reaching to the core. From these spires gushes out the primal fire (which, in essence, has nothing to do with mundane fire) which sustains the bright light at the center which acts as the sun of this world. Three huge flat pieces closer to the center than the surface, referred to as the three nights, orbit the sun. In addition, there are six smaller, spherical bodies on a lower orbit referred to as moons. On the outside of the Sphereworld is the endless sea of primal fire. More accurate geographical information will be made available as the world gets fleshed out. There might even be a map someday. As a true high fantasy world, floating islands are hardly the most exotic thing you'll find.
Magic in the Sphereworld
Magical energy manifests from everything, with the form of the essence or emotion that brought it forth. If it comes to existence outside a willful being, it will quickly dissipate into nothing. Greater concentrations of magical energy dissipate slower, and great enough concentrations may, over time, create natural spirits. Spirits are more likely to be born where there is a lot of magical essence. They are willful beings, but natural spirits are mostly or completely mindless until they grow and learn, or are given a mind. Even willful beings can only bind so much magical energy to themselves at any given time, and at a certain threshold determined for the most part by the amount of magical essences of the willful being, magical energy will dissipate naturally at the same rate as it manifests from the essence.
When pure (or homogenous) magical energy is brought into a great enough concentration, the energy will crystallize. While in crystal form, the magical energy will not dissipate, generate spirits, or generally do anything on its own. The magical energy from crystals may be released by a willful being with the correct essence to fuel more powerful spells, and with a great enough amount of crystals, it is possible to imbue an object or being with the essence of the kind of magic, regardless of whether or not the essence already exists within the target.
It is not uncommon for living beings to be born with some magic essences in themselves from the beginning. Outside of crystal-fueled empowerment, there exist other, far less effective ways of gaining new magical essence. To obtain a kind of magic you do not yet possess, you can expose yourself to the physical manifestation of that magical essence and attune yourself to it. An essence you already own can be made grow slowly through meditation. There also exist items that can improve your magical ability.
A magical energy can be used by a willful being to create physical or metaphysical effects suitable for the type of energy. A simple and small effect can be created on a moment's notice, while great and complex effects require at least some of the following: Preparation, research, spell components, expansive minds, additional energy in form of crystals and complex and time-taking rituals.
Bodies of beings do not generally hold a lot of magical energy at any given time. Instead, magic energy is created on demand for things like spellcasting by the magic essence of the being from physical energy. In other words, using magic results in physical fatigue, and using too much magic will result in bodily harm. Having more magical essence allows you to gain more magic energy from physical energy, allowing you to cast spells of greater magnitude.
While your essences determine your magical potential, you will be limited to very simple effects without study, research and training. Intelligent magi will soon find that your ability as a magic user isn't so much determined by the amount of essence you have, but how you use it.
Attempts to manifest effects within the body of another willful being will usually fail, due to interference from the spirit or soul. There are some exceptions to this, such as healing and mental magic. There exist methods of working around the interference, but they are complex and usually not worth the effort.
The amount of magical energy required to manifest an effect is generally proportional to the change in physical energy caused by the effect. The magical energy required also increases with the distance from the caster, but there exist ways of working around this.
Kinds and sources of magic
The greatest sources of magic in the world are the six elemental spires, which have magic crystals of their given element constantly forming on their sides. Each spire also causes its element to influence over a sixth of the world, with the influence being greater closer to the spire. The elements of the spires are: Fire, Air, Water, Earth, Light, Dark.
While the most common, magic is not limited to those elements. There are some far more rare basic level essences. In addition, basic essences can manipulated and combined to bring about advanced essences, with emergent properties.
Lesser, but much more numerous sources of magic are magic sites. These are places containing a great concentration of magical essence which, when harvested properly, yield magic crystals. These sites are powerful, and usually have a function beyond mere crystal generation. The amount of crystals generated by such a site is usually low, less than ten per month.
Specific kinds of magic
This section is just a brief introduction to some of the specific kinds of magic. It would be impossible to list all possible kinds of magic, as there is an infinite amount.
Each basic kind of magic also has some meta-magical ability, allowing it to influence the metaphysical, rather than physical realm.
Water magic, at its simplest, allows control over liquids. A simple effect which requires a lot of energy, is conjuring water out of thin air. Advanced water magic can do the following on its own, but becomes far more effective in tandem with other essences; coupled with dark magic, it can create all sorts of mental effects. With light, it is very good at healing. With fire, it can be used to decrease temperature. With air, it can be used for powerful divination. With earth, it can manipulate the properties of materials. Meta-magically, water magic can be used to "touch" things in the metaphysical realm. Untrained, this ability isn't too useful, but those who have honed their skills in this can perform very precise manipulation, allowing them to create, alter and undo spells and enchantments of great complexity.
Air magic, in its simplest form, gives control over gases. A powerful air mage can create crushing or tearing pressures. More commonly, though, air magi use small amounts of force, but with great precision and often high magical complexity to manipulate objects from a distance. Personal flight is a commonly manifested effect among those who use this kind of magic. Those who are both skilled and powerful use air magic to manipulate the weather. Meta-magically, air magic allows one to sense the metaphysical realm with far greater accuracy than any other basic magic type.
Earth magic, in its most basic, grants control over solid, lifeless matter. Manifesting movement, however, requires more magical energy than manipulating fluids. Advanced earth magic can be used for partial inertial nullification, to render kinetic impacts harmless or at least less dangerous, or divining the contents of soil or rock. Powerful earth magic users can split the earth or force stone into a shape of their choosing. Meta-magically, earth magic can be used to project a field of friction in the metaphysical realm, causing effects to be manifested to require more magical energy. If the field is very powerful, manifesting magical effects becomes nearly impossible.
Fire magic, at its simplest, gives the user the ability to create heat. The energy required for fire magic effects does not increase as greatly over distance as other basic kinds of magic, and thus, powerful fire magi can be very destructive, even untrained. Advanced fire magic allows one to transfer heat from one area to another. With sufficient training, a fire mage can also learn to feel any energy flux around oneself. Meta-magically, fire magic can be used to create a field of magical conductivity, allowing the manifestation of effects at greater distance using less energy.The four kinds of magic described above are commonly referred to as elemental magic, and they form the set that most closely interacts with physical reality.
Light and dark magic are also sometimes referred to as elemental magics, since there exist great towers for them as well, but it is usually clear from the contexgt which meaning of "elemental" is being used. To characterize water, air, earth and fire magic each in one word, they would be manipulation, divination, protection and destruction, respectively.
Light and dark magic are different. While they can be used for creation and diminution of physical light, respectively, their true potential lies elsewhere. Both kinds utilize emotion for control of spirits or souls. They can be used to create a dependence on negative or positive emotions (respectively) or turning emotion into energy. In sphereworld, emotions are not just a state of mind, but also a metaphysical state. With these effects, a dark mage can utilize the lingering hate or sorrow of a corpse to give it false life, or a light mage can use their own compassion orfeeling of righteousness to heal or even resurrect another living being.
The most significant kind of magic outside the big six is nature magic. It comes from a great spirit born of the melange of all of the ambient magical energies of the world. Every living being is born with some potential of nature magic, but that potential can only be tapped through reaching harmony with the great spirit, commonly referred to as Gaia. In sheer power, Gaia dwarfs most gods, but Gaia is not a god. Gaia is an asentient but willful being in the form of a spirit. Gaia is usually referred to as a female entity. Her will is for life to flourish. Those in harmony with Gaia can, through her, make plants grow or wither, and control animals. Many other effects, too. Nature magic is very versatile.
Life, death, rebirth and afterlife in the Sphereworld
Most mortal races have a natural lifespan between 50 and 150 years. Magical means can be used to slow aging, but stopping it completely requires amounts of power only few can mount. Aging can be reversed, but this usually has side-effects.
A soul very slowly becomes strained while attached to a mortal body, and when the strain reaches a certain point, the mind of the subject begins to lose coherence. There exist ways to ease the strain, but the only way to remove it is to spend a significant amount of time dead. The strain worsens if the soul is given a container other than the body it was born to and grew up in.
So, even if a mortal being manages to keep themself young indefinately, death is still inevitable. Within ten thousand years, the mental effects from soul strain will make survival impossible. Of course, very few manage to avoid death long enough for this to ever become a problem.
Once a body of a mortal being dies, the soul begins to slowly detach from the body. At this point, resurrection is relatively easy. You simply need to heal the body and recreate the lost connections between the body and the soul. If the soul is still present, but completely detached, that increases the difficulty. If the body is gone, or in a state from which it can not be recovered with ordinary healing, the soul contains an image of the body which can be utilized to reconstruct it, but this requires some very powerful and/or specialized magic. If you do not have the soul, no resurrection is possible.
The soul takes usually about three days to completely detach. Soon after this point, if there is a god who hosts an afterlife watching over you, they will come and pick your soul up. With certain kinds of magic, a detached soul can be bound to an object, to be resurrected later or for other purposes. Souls not picked up by a watching god are free game. There are beings, divine, mortal and other, roaming the world, picking up souls hey chance upon. Most their attention is on densely populated areas and graveyards. A soul waiting in the wilderness is commonly taken in by Gaia.
The afterlife, by default, is more of a feeling than a place, determined more by how you lived your lives than whose afterlife you're in. Such afterlives are mostly meant to protect you from those who would utilize your soul for their own purposes, rather than let it rest in peace.
While the soul is resting peacefully, it will reorganize itself, and prepare for a new life. Specific memories are locked away, and the image of the body is cleared so a new one can be adopted. Generally the host of the afterlife will give prepared souls back to the world, to sentient mortal beings about to be born. If no soul is given, one will form.
Major mortal races of Sphereworld
Mortal refers to a sentient living being that has not overcome the inevitability of death. There are too many mortal species in the setting to list, each with too many details to list, so this is just a quick glance at some of the most significant ones. (Yes. Even some significant ones are missing. The setting is still WIP, after all.)
The races can be divided into two categories: Very humanlike, with elemental attributes. The common names of these ones have the suffix -kin or -folk, and they can all interbreed. In these cases, the child takes the race of one of the parents, but often receives some traits of the other parent's race as well. The other category is, well, those that aren't very humanlike.
Just as you'd imagine, humans can be found all around the world, though they're only really numerous in the lands of earth and water. Humans are occasionally born with some elemental magic essence, but in most cases, they must obtain the essences of any magic they wish to learn.
Also known as waterkin. Amphibious humanoids with light blue to dark blue skin, with a skin texture resembling a scale pattern. Underwater, gills, fins and flippers come apparent. On land, they look very much like humans. Most live on land at the waterlands. They are intelligent, have a natural lifespan slightly longer than humans, and are generally born with some water magic essence.
Commonly referred to as searkin. Humanoids with red to dark red skin. Slightly smaller than humans, with somewhat frail but fast and agile bodies. Otherwise greatly resembling humans. Commonly found within the firelands, born with varying amounts of fire magic essence.
Better known as smoulderkin. Large, thickly built humanoids with gray to black skin, with pink to orange glowing veins. Found in the firelands, born with some fire magic essence, occasionally some earth as well. The brightness of the glow of the veins is indicative of their power in fire magic.
Oots, or grayfolk, are primitive humanoids native to the lands of light. They are tall, skinny and they have grey skin with varying tones. Their facial features resemble the scream painting. They are colorblind, and are rarely born with light magic essence.
Called skyfolk by most. They have a strong humanoid body with the head of a bald eagle, large, feathery wings on the back and talons for feet. Tribal natives of the airlands, Falere are sometimes born with air or nature magic essence.
The highkin. Humanoids with light purple to light blue skin and slim, limber bodies considered aesthetically pleasing by most other humanoid species. Very intelligent and long lived, mostly residing within the airlands. Usually born with air magic, and commonly some other elemental magic essence as well.
Bakra, or stonekin, are humanoid natives of the earthlands. They have tough light gray to light brown skin with a pattern resembling rough, dry dirt. They have facial features resembling moai statues with no mouths. They need not eat, they receive all sustenance they require from sunlight. They spend most their time standing alone without moving. They are usually born with some earth magic essence.
Also known as skitterkin. They small, about a meter tall dark green humanoids with big eyes and mouth native to the darklands. They're fast runners, and while primitive, fairly cunning hunters. They hunt in large packs, and the sight is very quick and chaotic. They are sometimes born with some dark magic essence.
More commonly known as nightkin. A mortal race that in recent centuries appeared in small numbers across the world, in the form of a very slim and small black humanoid with a disproportionately large saucer-shaped head and huge eyes. They had a mind between that of an animal and that of a child, and would not grow or mature physically or mentally, unless taken in and raised by a sentient being. When they are adopted, their growth continues, and they grow into an aesthetically pleasing humanlike form. When they grow, the black of their skin cracks open to reveal another color; red, purple, green or yellow. When they've reached maturity, the black parts of the skin form an unique pattern resembling a tribal tattoo. Valerne have relatively long lifespans, and are born with dark magic essence, and usually at least one other essence.
Meibri are bear-sized mole-like beings, with poor vision and good hearing. Their bodies are sensitive to vibrations, and they can use their senses to tell if it's raining on the surface from underground. Found deep within (no pun intended) the earthlands, they are almost always born with some earth magic potential.
Belbeble are huge, purple, partially transparent, a bit squidlike, a bit jellyfishlike amphibious beings. On land, they look a bit like a four meter tall bolete with six stems. They live underwater, where their tentacles extend to their full lenght of over twelve meters, and are rarely seen on land. They are extremely long lived, and very intelligent. Their way of thinking, however, is very alien to most other sentient species. They can be found in the seas of the waterlands, and are always born with some water essence.
Recent history of the Sphereworld.
Roughly three thousand years ago, several Falere tribes banded together to claim the spire of air and the floating continent from the introverted and relatively small but advanced civilization of the Soralore. The power of the Soralore, however, was far greater than the Falere had anticipated, and they were repelled easily. The Soralore, feeling threatened, decided to subjugate the Falere. Not much fighting was needed before the last of the tribes surrendered. So begun the Saree'le Empire.
Far before, the Soralore had created Bariatus Vocna, the Eternal Servant. A great spirit to harness ambient air magic energy for the Soralore to utilize for things like labor and transportation. As a result, there was no place in the society for the Falere even as slaves, and the proud and aggressive Falere were not easy citizens to govern. Left to their own devices, they would surely rise up against the Soralore again. Keeping them down or genociding them was simply not feasible, so the Soralore found that they would have to keep the skyfolk occupied somehow.
So they sent the Falere to conquer the endless archipelago of the waterlands. The island city-states succumbed quickly and without much bloodshed to the ruthless and massive aerial attacks, picking them off one by one. Just according to the calculations of the Soralore. Within two centuries, they had claimed the spire of water.
The rest of the world had become aware of the Empire and thier conquests, and were gearing up their militaries. During the years of war, the Falere population had grown even larger, but the Soralore could see that no further expansion was possible.
Then the solution became obvious. They couldn't kill off their Falere warriors, but their enemies could. With that in mind, they sent their armies to conquer the firelands. The Falere fought the searkin and smoulderkin to a stalemate lasting over a century.
Then, out of nowhere, two gods previously unheard of appeared. Zolex, wielding light, and Notic, draped in darkness. Zolex helped the skyfolk and the natives of the firelands see their true enemy, while Notic convinced the Soralore watching over the waterlands to betray the Empire.
Soon, the Soralore were under attack from the firelands, most their own army turned against them. Their defensive advantage from the floating continent and the Bariatus Vocna, however, allowed them to create a standstill.
In the meanwhile, on the other side, the island city-states gathered together to form the Coalition of Coasts, an Alliance of Aquamagi, to overthrow the Saree'le Empire. They snuck some of their most powerful magi to the floating continent, and then, in a great, concerted ritual spell, forced the eternal servant to collapse into the manifest storm. At the first moments, the storm released all extra energy in one huge kinetic blast, breaking the floating continent onto pieces.
The war was over, and after a mere thousand years of its birth the Empire of Saree'le was no more. Any Soralore that lives today will tell you that the whole thing was a huge mistake.
The Coalition towed the smaller pieces of the floating continent to the twisting streams, creating the floating archipelago. They elected a central ruling body, the Council of the Coasts, while still retaining great autonomy for each individual island city. Upon the floating archipelago, they began building their common culture, society and civilization, and today, the Council is the de facto hegemony of the world.
The manifest storm, soon after the destruction of the floating continent, wandered off to the firelands. Random effects from air magic were bad. When it switched to fire, the results were nothing short of devastating. It rages there even today, as a giant hurricane of fire. The people of the firelands have a deep hatred for the people of the waterlands for having caused it.
The Soralore and Falere have managed to build a common civilization not based on warfare or subjugation within the airlands and what's left of the floating continent. They are fairly hedonistic and on friendly terms with the Council.
Notic has not been heard of from since his appearance. Zolex sits within the Marble Halls, ruling over most of the lightlands, and claiming dominion over the entire world.