[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

(This is a thread from Mizahar's fantasy role playing forum. Why don't you register today? This message is not shown when you are logged in. Come roleplay with us, it's fun!)

The player scrapbooks forum is literally a place for writers to warm-up, brainstorm, keep little scraps of notes, or just post things to encourage themselves and each other. Each player can feel free to create their own thread - one per account - and use them accordingly.

[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on October 16th, 2014, 8:01 am

Over the years, I've developed a rather large amount of information regarding the Isur, Izurdin and all manner of related topics. Even with all of the available info, there is still room for more elaboration on various aspects of the race. I want to lay some of it out here and then try and get it adapted into the Lore.

One of the things that I feel I need to expand upon involves the differences between isur who live in and around the Kingdom and those who do not. The overwhelming majority of the current info on the isur, aside from the racial basics, is geared more toward what I will refer to here as, "True" Isur. These are the isur who live in and around the Kingdom and accept Izurdin as their primary deity although other marks may also be found. Family, clan, race and Izurdin are the driving aspects of the isur's life.

A "True" Isur may in some cases be one who was born and raised within the Kingdom but for one reason or another left. These isur still maintain most of the qualities that their Kingdom-bound brethren hold dear but carry them on in places far from home. Izurdin is still the driving force of their religion although other deities may have placed their marks as well. The Kingdom may not be as important to these isur but it is a part of them and is never forgotten. These isur are not ones who have been banished or otherwise forced out of the Kingdom. They have left on their own for reasons that do not blatantly go against the values the isur hold dear (this can vary depending on the clan of course). An "True" Isur does not assimilate well into other societies because they still hold many of the racial prejudices and biases that have developed over centuries. While they may learn to adapt to life outside the Kingdom among non-isur, they never truly fit in.

Now, "True" Isur, both Kingdom-bound and Wanderers (another temporary term), are accepted into isur society within the Kingdom. The majority of the established information on the isur applies to these individuals. This includes access to Citadels, Clan Cities and organizations such as The Anvils, Izurdin's Hammer and the Silver Tower. However, these things are only available with the understanding that the individual maintains a good standing with the Kingdom or at the very least isn't in bad standing.

When it comes to the organizations, Anvils are the most common type of "True" Isur found outside of the Kingdom. This is because carrying the word of Izurdin to the outside world can be seen as a religious calling. In Pre-Valterrian times, the Isur were often regarded as teachers and engineers who used their industrial knowledge, great patience and immense strength to better the lives of all races. Although such things have faded drastically and in many ways went the opposite direction, for the Anvils, it is still something that many regard as an important part of their faith.

Izurdin's Hammer is almost exclusively Kingdom-bound as they are the primary defenders of the Kingdom from the outside world. One does not become a Hammer and then simply leave the Kingdom to go on their own as doing so only serves to weaken the Hammer against outside threats. Exceptions may include reconnaissance missions but even then it would only be to locations not all that far outside the borders of the Kingdom.

Sentinels of the Silver Tower, like the Anvils, may be found outside of the Kingdom performing duties for the Tower or taking on questions/missions to retrieve information/secrets that may be beneficial to the Tower. That said, this only happens to a rare few and even then only to those who have somehow proven they are loyal, trustworthy and stable to the Tower and to the Kingdom.

This brings me no to what I will call for lack of a current better term, "Fringe" Isur. Fringe Isur are those who have been born and raised outside of the Kingdom or who have left for one reason or another and do not carry on the qualities that the "True" Isur value so dearly. They may or may not remain devoted to Izurdin. They may remember or have heard of the Kingdom but do not claim any loyalty to it. Due to their distance, both physical and metaphysical, from the Kingdom and their race as a larger whole, they find it easier to assimilate into non-isur societies. They may even become valued, productive members of these societies. This would be the isurian smith working in a non-isur city for example. They are more easily accepted by these same societies as well. They stand out from non-isur however not in an awkward way but more as a unique, gifted, respected individual.

Unfortunately for the "Fringe" Isur, their separation from the Kingdom leaves them being viewed by the "True" Isur as only a little bit better than a non-isur. The perception is that by never having been much of a part of the Kingdom, the "Fringe" Isur is more out-of-touch with what it is to be a "True" Isur. While this may not necessarily be true, it is the perception and perception is everything. As a result, a "Fringe" Isur will find it basically impossible to ever be accepted as a member of Izurdin's Hammer as the Hammer are fanatical about the Kingdom and its protection. Also, the Silver Tower would be against taking on a "Fringe" Isur as an Initiate because of the perceived high probability that the individual would take the knowledge they've gained from the Tower and use it elsewhere for purposes not supported by the Tower. The Sentinels are EXTREMELY possessive of their secrets and magical knowledge to the point of eliminating those who dare go against their wishes. Remember, the Pitrius Clan controls the Tower and they are not the most accepting of the Clans to say the least. The Anvils are a bit more tolerating and accepting of "Fringe" Isur than the other two organizations however their fanatical faith in Izurdin ties them inevitably to the Isur as a race. If an isur does not accept both Izurdin and their race as the driving forces in their lives, the Anvils, while remaining tolerant, will not accept the individual into their ranks.

An important item of note regarding magical pursuits; "True" Isur prefer magecraft to all other forms of magic although the Sentinels do offer training (to the most deserving) in Reimancy, Voiding, Shielding, Alchemy, Glyphing, Magecraft and Summoning. A "True" Isur will never engage in the use of Flux and practicing Leeching is seen as an extreme form of weakness also not found in "True" Isur. Malediction is also frowned on as it is seen as a lesser form of magic than Magecraft. For "Fringe" Isur, Malediction isn't seen in such a bad light as they do not have access to the Magecraft resources found in the Kingdom. Leeching is still not seen as acceptable and Flux is still never sought after.

One form of "Fringe" Isur is the one who rejects Izurdin and/or their race as being a positive, driving force in their life. These are the isur who have been banished or have left on negative terms. They may also be ones who have never been in the Kingdom and have no real care about it or the pursuit of those qualities that "True" Isur value. These isur are regarded by "True" Isur and may even other "Fringe" Isur as being no better and even much worse than a non-isur. They are never allowed into the Kingdom and would likely be killed if they tried to get in. Otherwise, these isur may enjoy lives lived among non-isur and even become successful, welcomed members of those societies.

So how does one know if their character is to be considered a "True" Isur or a "Fringe" Isur. To sum it up, if your character is devoted to Izurdin as their primary deity (yes, you can still have marks from other gods but Izurdin is the most important), has strong ties to their isur family and clan (meaning you have been born and raised in the Kingdom and have not separated from either on bad terms), views their race as the most precious (may still be accepting of others but the isur are most important) and keeps the good of the family, clan, race and Izurdin as a high priority in life or at least a driving motivation, then the character is generally going to be considered a "True" Isur.

If your character was not born and raised in the Kingdom or maybe was but has not maintained strong ties, does not see themselves as a part of the Kingdom; maybe only giving a nod to it at best, considers their real home to be anywhere other than the Kingdom, places any deity above Izurdin, acts in ways that do not hold the family, clan, race or Izurdin as important, driving factors in life (or maybe just gives a simple half-hearted nod to such things), chances are your character is a "Fringe" Isur.

I want to clarify however that neither type is better or worse than the other. They are simply different and enjoy different benefits. If a character can be considered a "True" Isur, they can benefit from all that the Kingdom has to offer. If a character is a "Fringe" Isur, they may find more acceptance in the outside world and may navigate it much easier and with greater results. The problems only really come into play when a "True" Isur tries to extend the benefits they get from the Kingdom to the world outside or when a "Fringe" Isur tries to partake in the benefits of the Kingdom.

While I am on the topic of the Isur, I want to address a few more elements that I have yet to detail in the Lore. The first thing is the Sentinels of the Silver Tower. The Sentinels are a unique entity in not just Mizahar but among the isur as well. Unlike many other magical institutions in Mizahar, it does not attempt to compete with Sahova nor does it try to mimic it. The Silver Tower is a creation of the Pitrius Clan with a primary purpose of managing the practice of magic use throughout the Kingdom. It is not a research facility or a center of learning where all isur may find a home or even an outlet for their magical interests. The Sentinels monitor magic throughout the Kingdom and either assimilate it if it is deemed beneficial or eliminate it if is deemed a threat. Those who are brought to the Tower are taught how to practice magic responsibly in service to the Pitrius Clan, the Kingdom and Izurdin, basically in that order. There is no room for failure so if one does not live up to the expectations of the Instructors and the Elders. Thus, one does not fail and then continue on practicing magic out of the sight of the Sentinels.

Getting accepted as an Initiate at the Tower isn't always voluntary either. If one is found to have the potential for practicing magic or is already practicing it, they are approached by a full Sentinel and given a choice, either come to the Silver Tower for evaluation or risk banishment from the Kingdom or even death by refusing. One does not simply apply to the Tower or get sent there. They have to be approach by a Sentinel or have some sort of family tie to an existing Sentinel who then brings them to the Tower to be tested. From there, one of two things happens. First, if discovered by a Sentinel and brought to the Tower, the would-be Initiate must pass the three Tests, one of the mind, one of the body and one of the soul. If they pass, they are made official Initiates and work with Instructors to develop an area of study that would best suit them and the Tower. If they fail, they usually die as a direct result of the failure or are otherwise "removed" due to being perceived as a threat to themselves and the Kingdom as a whole.

If one is accepted as an Initiate due to family ties and/or due to someone at the Tower having an expressed interest in the person, they are allowed some time to prepare themselves for the Tests before having to take them. During this time, the Initiate is allowed to remain in the Tower and are taught a bit about the Sentinels and the Tower including how it all came to be, the history of magic among the isur and the importance of the Tests. This is meant to provide the Initiate with at least some context as to why they are at the Tower and the importance of being there.

The Tests come when the Initiate least expects them. They are a mixture of illusion, hypnosis and real, physical hardships. The tests are meant to sift through the weak of body, weak of mind and weak of soul for these three aspects of an individual must be solid if they are to be of any use to the Tower and to the Kingdom. If the Initiate is able to pass the tests to the satisfaction of the Instructors, they are named an Apprentice and are granted the right to study magic at the Tower. Their studies are meant to mold and shape them into becoming full Sentinels who are capable of not only managing magical practices in the Kingdom but also able to defend the Kingdom from outside magical threats.

It cannot be expressed enough that the Tower is VERY strict when it comes to its teaching of magic. The Pitrius Clan founded and operates the Tower. They are secretive, defensive and brutal when it comes to their knowledge of magic. They do not take anything related to magic lightly. This is why "Fringe" Isur are not allowed to study at the Tower. That said, if a "Fringe" Isur were to be discovered practicing magic within the boundaries of the Kingdom, they would still be approached by a Sentinel. How would a Sentinel know that an isur is not a "True" Isur? Remember that all Isur are born with the mark of Izurdin and all who share the same mark can recognize one of their own. Among the Isur, this is amplified due to the racial religious fanaticism shared by all "True" Isur. When a "True" Isur meets a "Fringe" Isur, both can feel the strength of one's bond to Izurdin and that feeling is what clues a Sentinel in to just how devoted to the race an isur is. It's not an immediate detection kind of thing where the isur knows everything about another isur. It's just a feeling one has as to how close one holds family, clan, race and Izurdin. While many isur may perceive and react to this feeling differently than others, the Sentinels have only one perception; if you waver at all, you are not worthy.

Now, on to Izurdin's Hammer. Becoming a Hammer is to some extent, much easier than becoming a Sentinel. That being said, it is still far from a simple task. A would-be Hammer must present themselves to a ranking Hammer and request formal evaluation. They present their qualifications, have someone, preferably another Hammer, backup their claims, and then they must duel an existing Hammer in a wrestling match. It doesn't really matter if they win or lose as it all comes down to how they performed. Of course if they lose and lose bad, they won't make it in but if they put forth a good effort and it shows, they have a good chance of making it. In the end though, only "True" Isur with EXTREME devotion to family, clan, race and Izurdin will be allowed to join and even then, only those who show unwavering loyalty to the King and the Kingdom will make the final cut.

The Anvils, as mentioned before, are the most open of the three groups. To become a member, one must be unwaveringly devoted to Izurdin above all others. They must also show exceptional ability in crafting, be it blacksmithing, carpentry, jewelcrafting, etc. While devotion to family, clan and race are extremely important, there is none more important than Izurdin. This is the only group that may, I repeat, MAY, accept a "Fringe" Isur into their formal ranks but only if that isur can show that their faith in Izurdin is the driving force in their lives and that their family, clan and race combined come in at a close second.
User avatar
Gillar
Forging the World
 
Posts: 1308
Words: 1172195
Joined roleplay: March 23rd, 2009, 6:44 pm
Race: Isur
Office
Medals: 1
Featured Contributor (1)

[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on March 23rd, 2015, 2:31 am

Gods, Goddesses, Gnosis Marks


I'm not sure if it is the fault of the Founders, the Staff or the Players; maybe its a little bit of each, but I think there is an extreme misunderstanding going on regarding the divine, their marks and mortal reactions to the gods. More specifically, how a mortal reacts when in the presence of the divine be it for the purpose of being marked or any other encounter. I lost count long ago of how may gnosis threads and gnosis help desk requests that don't even scratch the surface of how one should be behaving in the presence of the divine. There are some who do relatively well with it but even then I don't think the true magnitude is realized.

So much of what I read regarding interactions between mortals and gods leaves me with the imagery of a mortal sitting down for a cup of coffee with a god and discussing how worthy they are of getting a mark. It literally makes my eyeballs itch sometimes. While it is true that the gods of Mizahar roam the lands, meddling in mortal affairs and interacting with mortals in countless ways, this does not change the fact that these beings are still gods. They are responsible for aspects of existence that go far beyond just a symbol or a single interaction.

Let's take Dira for example, one of my favorite Mizahar deities. Death is one of, if not the most, important aspect of life. It frames nearly everything one does in life. It has countless feelings, thoughts, emotions and events tied to it; most quite sad, painful and often horrifying and brutal at times. Now, imagine that every death and everything associated with every death ever (I mean every death and everything associated with every death from the beginning of time until the end of time) is focused into a single being. Then imagine that being suddenly appears before you in all their divine splendor. You aren't going to be holding your head up, meeting its gaze and then talking to it like it was just another person. It doesn't apply to only Dira either. Even one such as Sylir, God of Peace and Civilization would warrant a profound reaction. This is a god who represents all of civilization, the source of sentient beings coming together to form a cohesive society. All of civilization from the beginning of all things to the end of all things is centered on this one being.

So a god chooses to appear before your character. A god (or goddess) who represents EVERYTHING associated with a certain element of existence; everything that has ever existed or will exist that is tied to that element. This being, the center of so much energy, power, influence and every single emotion, thought, feeling and experience related to their divine domain now stands before you. You are going to feel overwhelming insignificance, no matter who you are or how powerful you may think you are. You are going to feel the crushing weight of just how unimportant you are pounding down upon you. This feeling of infinite insignificance will bring about equally strong feelings of fear and uncertainty. These feelings of fear and uncertainty however will quickly bring about some level of curiosity. Why are you not dead yet? Why hasn't the sheer force of this being's presence crushed you out of existence? Why are they there to begin with? What do they want?

Curiosity helps to lighten the situation just enough to allow for some level of functionality in your character. This leads to an atmosphere more suited for possibly discussion yet still it remains framed in the idea that you are standing before a being so superior to yourself that its all you can do not to soil yourself right then and there.

This is where the god would introduce themselves (even if no introduction is necessary) and begin to inform the character of the purpose for their visit. During this experience, NEVER should or would your character treat things as if it were just another meeting with a stranger. No matter how welcoming, nice or kind the deity is, your character is still in the direct presence of a god.

Now let's say you've done something significant enough to bring the deity to you. By significant enough I mean something far above and beyond simply taking an interest in the gods area of influence. In the case of Dira, simply not being afraid of death is not enough. With Krysus, simply killing someone by accident isn't enough. With Vayt, poisoning your grandmother isn't enough. With Rhysol, backstabbing your sister whom you've hated since childhood isn't enough. Remember, you are an insignificant speck of dirt on the bottom of a divine boot until you've done something that earns you the right to maybe become something more.

So what get's the attention of the divine? Doing something that isn't by accident is a good step in the right direction. Doing something that stands out from the daily examples of whatever it is you are going to do. What do I mean by that? For example, people are betrayed and lied to countless times every single day since the beginning of existence until the end. What makes your act of betrayal or your lie any greater? What makes it great enough that the God of Lies and Betrayal, the Father of Corruption and Minister of Evil, Rhysol, would look at you any different than he would any other insignificant mortal? Again, the same goes for any other god. What makes your lack of fear of death any more significant than any other? What makes your hatred for the undead or your respect for death great enough that Dira, Death personified, would bother with you?

Going back to the deity appearing to your character, let's say they are their to mark your character. On top of everything else that has come with the experience of meeting a god in the flesh, that god is there to reward you by marking you with their symbol. They are sharing a sliver of themselves with you. Such a reward is forever life-changing even soul-changing. The event should leave your character feeling intense feelings of humility, respect, thankfulness and an overwhelming desire to do even more for this being who has honored you in such a way.

I'm not saying with all this that a character should be pissing themselves and cowering in a corner when a god appears but there should be a VERY STRONG acknowledgement that the being standing before you IS A GOD. Of course, the more marks you have from a god the closer you will feel with them and the more comfortable you are in their presence. Once you are marked, I kind of equate it to an occupation. With one mark, your the new employee and the god is your boss. You are quite nervous around the boss. You don't want to be seen doing something they wouldn't approve of. You try to do everything in your power to look good and get a raise or a promotion. When the boss comes around, you are very respectful, obedient and humble.

At two marks, you've gotten your promotion. You and your boss have gotten a bit closer. You may go out to the bar from time to time with the boss and a few of your colleagues. The boss may even invite you out for a game of golf. You are still respectful and know there are boundaries and lines you don't cross. You both share a few inappropriate jokes from time to time. The boss gives you the better projects to complete.

Three marks and you're sleeping with the boss. You get favors others don't and are held to a much higher standard than others. Things you do are noticed more and the boss keeps an eye on you. You and the boss share feelings, dreams and desires. You may even one day get married to the boss. Problem is that the boss is still the boss so there remain boundaries and lines you don't cross yet the boss is more forgiving if you slip up once or twice.

Four marks and the boss has adopted you as their own child. There is little they wouldn't do for you and vice versa. Although you aren't the biological child, you enjoy almost the same treatment and rewards, occasionally even better, than the "real" son or daughter does. Of course there still remains the chance you may get spanked if you do something wrong but in the end, the god will forgive.

Now these types of comfort levels and such with a god really only applies to the number of marks you have from that particular god. If you encounter another god who hasn't marked you or you haven't been around much at all, you're going to feel much like you did before you were ever marked by any god. The difference would be that the more contact you have with the divine in general, the more comfortable you will be; within reason. It all depends on how many marks you may have overall and how many times you've been in the presence of the divine. See the previous analogy.

So, I guess what I'm getting at with all this is that the gods, while known for mingling with mortals, are still gods. When they reveal their true identity to your character, you should be reacting in a way that best represents the fact that you are standing before a being so far beyond you that with the slightest thought, you could be wiped from existence or be elevated to unimaginable greatness. This is a being that is responsible for some element of existence; every aspect of that element and everything related to it since the beginning of things until the end. Meeting a god and/or gaining a mark should reshape your entire character; all the way to the deepest part of their soul. Take such an event seriously.
User avatar
Gillar
Forging the World
 
Posts: 1308
Words: 1172195
Joined roleplay: March 23rd, 2009, 6:44 pm
Race: Isur
Office
Medals: 1
Featured Contributor (1)

[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Elias Caldera on March 23rd, 2015, 4:46 am

I know I'm guilty of reacting to the presence of a god with a less than appropriate attitude considering the grandeur of the situation. In fact, I still cringe sometimes when I look back at the relatively short amount of dialogue I had in my initial gnosis request.
Last edited by Elias Caldera on March 23rd, 2015, 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Elias Caldera
Playa
 
Posts: 902
Words: 1255874
Joined roleplay: September 14th, 2013, 1:28 am
Location: Ravok
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Scrapbook
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 7
Featured Character (1) Featured Thread (2)
Overlored (1) One Million Words! (1)
Ravok Seasonal Challenge (1) 2018 Mizahar NaNo Winner (1)

[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Pulren Marsh on March 23rd, 2015, 5:52 am

Thanks for writing this article, Gillar. I think that magic has become so readily overrun with popularity that the trend is start living in a pure high fantasy world where the congress of energies both magical and divine begin to take on a mundane feel. People become jaded in a way that takes away the very aspects of fantasy that drew them in the first place. Pulren has only been aware of Gods in the forms of Dira and how he has felt as if he has slipped Her grasp, which in turn caused him to give Her deaths of others in some twisted form of a consolation. Of course, this concept is ridiculous in an ooc fashion, but to Pulren it is as real as kelp.

Same with Rak'keli. When he was Leeched nearly to death, the quick attention of Aoren brought an immediate respect for the healing Goddess, as Her intervention through Aoren was the only thing that save Pulren. As he learns about the Gods and Goddesses of Mizahar, all he can do is respect their power, much as he fears the gravity of magic and its weight as far as potential madness.

So, yeah, thanks for this. When I used to MUD, the appearance of a Deity was so massive that you could feel a shared holding of breath by everyone in the room as this omnipresence appeared and was felt by us all. Even in such a completely imagined landscape, the presences of those Deities still humble me even in the memory.
Image


Image
User avatar
Pulren Marsh
Your favorite Uncle
 
Posts: 769
Words: 503554
Joined roleplay: March 22nd, 2014, 3:33 am
Location: Syka
Race: Human
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Plotnotes
Medals: 1
Overlored (1)

[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on July 27th, 2016, 5:19 am

With the return of Ravok, I am feeling the need to speak again on the Black Sun and the Ebonstryfe. I've already spoke at length earlier in this thread about both but I can't help but think there is still some confusion. The Black Sun is Rhysol's priesthood. Within Ravok, they are highly respected and feared. They spread the idea that Rhysol is the source of safety and security in a world wrought with chaos. They preach that faith in Rhysol, in dedicating all that one is to Him and living to serve Him, one will benefit from the blessings only He can give. Their proof is the safety and security (relative) citizens enjoy living in Ravok. They speak on the horrors found outside of the city and how, even if life in Ravok isn't perfect for all, it is still better than not living there.

Outside of Ravok, the Black Sun works to establish covert religious cells from which to operate. Agents and Acolytes of the Black Sun are tasked to seek out and capture fragments or pieces of broken deities which are then handed over to Rhysol. They also work with members of the Ebonstryfe to spread chaos and corruption throughout other societies. The Black Sun works to convert others to Rhysol by secretly breaking down and destroying everything a person holds dear in life and then offering an escape from it all through Rhysol. Rhysol's mark offers a type of control over the defilement of others thus filling the hole in one's soul with evil and corruption. While Agents and Acolytes of the Black Sun spread their corruption in a less physical way, the Ebonstryfe works a bit differently.

The Ebonstryfe, while often working alongside the Black Sun, tend to be a bit more brutal in their exploits. Inside Ravok, they act as the secret police, the militant arm of the Black Sun. They are responsible for the disappearances of those who dare challenge the will of Rhysol. They are also responsible for managing a sort of controlled chaos within the city. It is not unheard of for Soldiers of the Ebonstryfe to go undercover and blend into various aspects of society for the sake of causing conflict. By orchestrating thefts, assassinations, defamation, coups and other foul deeds, all in secret and behind the scenes, the Soldiers spread corruption and betrayal without themselves being implicated.

Outside of Ravok, the Soldiers perform tasks similar to those in the city. They seek out potential threats to Rhysol and work to corrupt and destroy them. They infiltrate all levels of society and spread corruption and ruin. Unlike the Black Sun, they do not seek to convert or bring others to Rhysol. They seek only to bring about the slow, twisted, torturous downfall of society and everything related to it.

Now, to be a Soldier of the Ebonstryfe or an Agent/Acolyte of the Black Sun, one's life must be dedicated to Rhysol in mind, body and soul. This is true dedication and not an act of lip service just to gain prestige and power. One's personal ambitions are second to the will of Rhysol. In order to become a member of either group, one forever gives themselves to Rhysol. After that, they dedicate their lives to serving the Black Sun and/or the Ebonstryfe in the quest to serve Rhysol. Just serving Rhysol doesn't make one a member of either group, they have to actively serve one of these organizations in order to benefit from what there is to be had.

Actually becoming a member of one of these groups is a life-changing event that will forever shape a person. Characters who choose this path find there is no turning back. Lack of devotion and/or dedication to the organization and/or Rhysol will result in being hunted down and destroyed. Too many characters, past and present, claim affiliation with the Black Sun and/or the Ebonstyfe without giving the required effort to maintain such ties. Again, simply saying, "Oh, I'm evil, I like Rhysol, I once did a quest to become a Soldier" isn't nearly enough. Also, if you are not actively working to serve one of these groups, you do not get ANY of the benefits, including pay. Serving other deities above or against Rhysol will also bring about his wrath. Remember, if you are of the Black Sun or Ebonstryfe, you are marked by Rhysol. He knows where you are and how to find you at all times. While he may not lower himself to face you personally, you can bet that he will send others to do it.

Also, one may ask, "If Rhysol is the God of Chaos, why does he have organized groups serving him?" Before the Valterrian, there wasn't as much order to Rhysol's following. As a result, despite being one of the most powerful deities, he was never able to gain enough earthly power and influence to really be the threat that he was capable of being. It wasn't until the Valterrian and Rhysol's murder of Sylir, that opportunity truly presented itself. Rhysol's new Voice during that time and for centuries after, convinced him that by twisted and corrupting the things that made civilization solid, productive and good, he could attain the greatness he desired. So, by defiling the ideas that Sylir held dear, Rhysol birthed a new city, Ravok, a twisted mirror of Syliras. The Ebonstryfe was a defiled mirror of the Syliran Knights and through a corrupt, controlled sense of ordered chaos, Rhysol was able to find the foothold he needed to increase his power. Without a bit of order to direct it, chaos can never be anything more than simply chaos. Twisting the idea of peace, order and civilization causes greater suffering over the long run thus working to feed Rhysol's hunger for something greater.
User avatar
Gillar
Forging the World
 
Posts: 1308
Words: 1172195
Joined roleplay: March 23rd, 2009, 6:44 pm
Race: Isur
Office
Medals: 1
Featured Contributor (1)

[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on December 14th, 2017, 6:05 am

Just a little something that I had been thinking about in regards to Ravok. Prophet had questioned me about some things that got me thinking more and I thought I would post this as a part of my Creator Insights. It is basically a bit about the early days of Ravok, its people and how it all became what it is now. Of course this is something that could go into great detail and while I do offer a bit of detail, this is mainly a broader breakdown of how I envision Ravok's birth and growth into what it is today.

Ravok didn't exist before the Valterrian. Lake Ravok however was a center of life and prosperity as it provided a seemingly endless supply of food. There were small fishing fleets that trolled the waters while various fishing towns lay on its shores. When the Valterrian happened, the fleets were shattered and the towns laid to waste. The survivors of both the fleets and the towns found themselves fleeing the horrors that wandered the shores and taking refuge on the lake. They cobbled together crippled ships and debris to form a floating makeshift town; a place for people scattered and broken by the Valterrian to find some form of safety and security.

The influential families of Ravok came from those early survivors. The early organization of the survivors involved leadership comprised of the few remaining influential merchant families who operated the fishing fleets and controlled the towns. From these early merchant families came the Nitrozians, followed by the other present day families. On the mainland, the after effects of the Valterrian was still being felt and rumors of a safe haven in the center of Lake Ravok began to spread among various survivors throughout the surrounding region. Driven by fear of the horrors that hunted them, numerous people braved the journey across the great lake in search of safety.

As more and more people discovered the floating makeshift haven, there was a growing need for rules and laws as well as a need for a way to support security as well as tend to the basic needs of the growing population. The entire place was largely chaotic and unpredictable. There was plenty of fish and fresh water but other needed goods and services were not easily met. This caused no small amount of conflict among the survivors who then numbered a few hundred. It was soon after a strange, darkly beautiful and enticingly charismatic arrived at the haven.

The woman was rather quiet at first but brought with her the uncanny ability to inspire and lead people. It all started small. She would help people with chores, tend to the injured and aid the sick and all around act selflessly for the people. She was able to inspire others to do the same until they were able to begin establishing the foundation for a functional society. The surviving merchant families (who eventually evolved into the Nitrozians) were voted on by the people to provide a structure for goods and services as well as to set up an early bartering system. A security group was formed (this would evolve into the City Guard) to keep the peace. Basically the haven became an organized town. As more survivors trickled in, the city began to physically grow as teams were sent out on the few surviving ships to gather building materials from the mainland.

The young woman who had inspired all of this was chosen by the people to be their leader. She modestly accepted and continued her work toward establishing a strong, secure, flourishing town floating in the center of Lake Ravok. When the town had grown to several thousand people and had physically expanded both in size, building quality and overall social structure, roughly over a hundred years after the Valterrian, the woman, who remained young, beautiful and strong, revealed to the people that their growing prosperity was thanks to the God, Rhysol. She revealed herself to be His Voice and that it was His wish to provide a new beginning for those who had suffered and lost so much in the Valterrian. She pointed out the plentiful food, the relative health of the people, the lack of any real dangers from environmental factors or really anything else as being the blessings of Rhysol. Everything she claimed could be backed up by the facts of the people's relatively blessed existence at the time.

The Voice established the first organized faith in Rhysol in the form of The Black Sun and established a small temple (which would grow much larger). It was shortly after the creation of the temple that a mountain of a man appeared in the city and accompanied The Voice. He was introduced as Gru'tral, a friend of The Voice and a devout follower of Rhysol. Wherever The Voice went, Gru'tral was at her side. As the city continued to grow and prosper, The Voice attributed it all to the mercy of Rhysol. Generations of people grew up experiencing prosperity that they were told was thanks to the God. The town turned city was named Ravok after the lake that cradled it.

The families of Ravok that had helped establish the foundations for the city, eventually evolved into the great Nitrozian family which dominates most of the city's current business climate. Other smaller families were able to claim their own societal niche as well. They laid claim to various aspects of city function and would grow their influence by maintaining a stake in any smaller businesses and operations that may crop up through offering loans, buying out, intimidation and extortion. It was actually the various Families that established something of a dangerous, unpredictability to the city that required The Voice to take action.

Roughly a couple hundred or so years after the Valterrian, the influence of the Families was becoming something of a threat to what The Voice had helped build. Rhysol, who had yet to reveal his full presence to the city, enjoyed the conflict and corruption that the Families brought. However, The Voice reminded him that if the people didn't believe they were better off living in Ravok and giving thanks to Rhysol, the whole thing would collapse and Rhysol would lose thousands of people worth of faith. She proposed the establishment of an organization that could better control the Families and crush them if need be. It was then that the Ebonstryfe was born and Gru'tral was tasked to command it. To help him, The Voice also proposed the creation of superior beings who would infiltrate the families as well as all other areas of the city and aid The Ebonstryfe and The Black Sun in maintaining a form of ordered chaos within the city. They would work to create conflict as well as squash it if necessary. Through this controlled chaos, the city could continue to function and Rhysol would maintain his center of power.

Thus the Druvin were born. A few existed already outside of Ravok while others were created later. Eventually they were all introduced into the city and took their positions. The Families were more or less put in their place and their influence was monitored and directed behind the scenes by the Ebonstryfe.

As time went on, Rhysol eventually revealed his full presence to the city. The moment was filled with the God walking the streets, answering prayers, performing miracles and overall showing the people of Ravok that he was the one deity who truly cared for them.

The city, having evolved from a floating collection of debris that a few haggard survivors clung to for safety into a prosperous yet unpredictable contradiction, now operates with a centralized government formed of representatives from the Ravok Families, The Black Sun, The Ebonstryfe and heads of the different organizations that make up the foundation of the city. This ruling council had always been led by The Voice. In the absence of a current Voice, another Druvin typically leads the council. While all representatives have some say within the council, The Voice or whoever sits in for that position, has the final say in all matters. Rhysol has been known to occasionally attend meetings but he seldom speaks and revels when conflict erupts.
User avatar
Gillar
Forging the World
 
Posts: 1308
Words: 1172195
Joined roleplay: March 23rd, 2009, 6:44 pm
Race: Isur
Office
Medals: 1
Featured Contributor (1)

[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on March 25th, 2018, 1:38 am

Image
I recently updated the Ixam to make the Jungle Ixam a bit more useful to jungle regions. I saw them as being a little too small to be usable as mounts by most people. This update was basically an increase in the Jungle Ixam's size and thus the ability to carry larger riders; riders who were more on par with the average humanoid in Mizahar.

As I read over the Lore for the Ixam, something I wrote a few years ago, it got me to thinking about a few things. Unlike horses, the Ixam represent a major step up as far as mounts are concerned. They are larger, stronger and deadlier than your typical horse. They are small in number in regards to the wild and even smaller in numbers as far as existing domesticated specimens are concerned.

Ixam are huge lizards. I compare them to a somewhat more evolved dinosaur from the real world. Imagine Komodo Dragons that are 5x as large as tey are in the real world or smaller lizards such as geckos, bearded dragons and the like that are 100's of times larger and more aggressive.

While the Ixam are capable of being captured and trained, I can't emphasize enough that doing so requires huge amounts of skill and experience. While Horsemanship helps with the ability to ride these creatures, Animal Husbandry is essential to training and handling the Ixam. Animal Husbandry in reptiles in general may give some advantage, it is minuscule at best. Those most capable of capturing, raising and/or training an Ixam (of any type) have spent their lives around the creatures and/or have learned from those who have.

Anyone with an Animal Husbandry: Ixam less than competent will have a very high chance of getting eviscerated and eaten by the creature they are trying to tame. Most people do not possess the Husbandry skills to train an Ixam. Because of this, the most common method of acquiring an Ixam is to procure an egg, hatch it and learn, through trial and error, how to relate to, associate with, train and domesticate the hatchling.

This is perhaps the best way to attain the skills needed to eventually bond with the Ixam and make it your mount. That being said, it is not impossible to capture a young, juvenile or even young adult Ixam and domesticate it. This however takes an immense amount of work as you will need to develop at least a competent Animal Husbandry: Ixam, through your thread work with the creature, to be able to attain a solid bond with the creature. Anything less and it will most likely rip you apart the moment you try to mount it. As mentioned in the Lore, Horsemanship combined with the appropriate level of Animal Husbandry: Ixam, is still required to get the most out of the relationship with the Ixam, in addition to not being eaten or shredded.

What this means, is that if you put in the right amount of thread work that acknowledges the extreme threat of being brutally killed, you may be able to domesticate a wild Ixam of the age of juvenile or young adult.

Otherwise, hatching an egg will take some time but can produce a truly loyal and bonded mount that will obey your every command while also becoming an amazing partner and companion.

Now that I've mentioned how good it can be, it's time to touch on just how bad it can. If you have no skill in Animal Husbandry: Ixam and little to no skill in Horsemanship AND decide you want to attempt to capture and/or domesticate a wild Ixam, one of two things are going to happen (dependent on the type of Ixam).

Plains Ixam are herd animals and if you attempt to capture an individual without any skill, you will likely be trampled, crushed and flattened by the the rest of the herd. Although somewhat docile compared to other Ixam, they do not tolerate outside threats and will band together to protect the herd.

Desert Ixam are more solitary although they are rather skittish. They prefer to run rather than attack when threatened. They prefer cacti for food so they are not predatory. However, they can be quite aggressive to threats and are rather agile on the sands of the desert.

Jungle Ixam are arguable the most dangerous of the Ixam as they are pack animals. They are best compared to wolf packs; working in groups to take down prey. Hunting one down and domesticating it is quite difficult as you need to somehow isolate one and figure out a way to capture it before it and/or its pack rips the flesh from your bones. Some Myrian tribes have accomplished the impossible in domesticating and breeding these Ixam in some small numbers.

Mountain Ixam are individually the most powerful of all Ixam. They are massive in size, reaching over seven feet in height and extending around 24 feet in length. They are omnivorous and highly individualistic. They have a strong food fixation and are highly aggressive when hungry. Most who have attempted to capture and domesticate a Mountain Ixam have simply vanished.

The point is that the Ixam offer an amazingly versatile, unique and dangerous mount/companion however, if you want to wish to acquire one, there are two ways to go. The easy way is to somehow acquire an egg, hatch it and raise it to domestication. This is the longest method as it takes at least 21 years to be able to ride.

The longer, more involved way is to capture a juvenile or young adult and learn, through trial and error, with no small amount of pain and wounding/potential death, how to relate to and gain trust from the Ixam in order to domesticate it and develop a bond.

It is never simply a matter of nabbing one and breaking it. It is never that easy.
User avatar
Gillar
Forging the World
 
Posts: 1308
Words: 1172195
Joined roleplay: March 23rd, 2009, 6:44 pm
Race: Isur
Office
Medals: 1
Featured Contributor (1)

[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on June 7th, 2018, 2:40 am

Image
The time comes once more that I have a few things related to Mizahar to comment on. The first thing is something of my own doing that I want to elaborate on in a way that doesn't quite fit into official Lore write-ups.

Travel Times. I recently updated the travel times to include Sea Routes. I struggled a bit with that particular update because of what I felt was a need for balance up against the desire to keep things from seeming too crippling to story and setting. I considered many factors when coming up with the distanes and times involved just as I did with the overland travel times.

I actually looked at Christopher Columbus' journey from Spain to the Bahamas for inspiration. It took him 2 months to travel a bit over 4,000 miles. During that journey, he lost 2 ships and many members of his crew. It was dangerous and not at all pleasant to make that trip. That is also considering that he didn't have the elements of magic, monsters and a fantasy setting to contend with like we have here on Mizahar.

A ship can potentially travel 24 hours a day for many days before needing to stop, at least in the real world. On Mizahar, sailors and ship captains are not prone to pushing themselves to that extent. That is of course unless there is some reward on par with the effort and risk that may come from a particular journey.

The real life era of the tall ships and of English and Spanish exploration, expansion and exploitation was one of adventure, hardship and loss all wrapped up in one not so fancy package. With Mizahar, take all of that and add in magic, gods, monsters and a world recovering from a divine apocalypse only 500 or so years prior. It creates a potential for wonderful story and experiences to further evolve the characters who live within this world.

Anyway, moving on to a related yet different topic, Setting and Mood. Revisiting the travel times brought to mind what we are doing with Mizahar as a whole. There are some current and former players who would like to see rules, restrictions, guidelines, etc, lightened up. They believe that this would help enhance things for players in general. Unfortunately, I see this as a short-sighted perspective.

Mizahar focuses strongly on writing; the stories and characters and how they all tie into a greater whole. That is but one aspect however. Mizahar is also a game and with any game, you need structure. Structure helps to maintain fairness and stability in a game. When we first created Mizahar, the founders had a vision for the setting and greater story. Mizahar is a world rebuilding after a divine apocalypse. All the technological, magical, social and cultural advances it once enjoyed are gone, completely wiped out. The land itself has been reshaped and where there were once millions of people, of all races, living in the world, there are but a fraction that remain.

The cities that exist are tiny shadows of what there once was. The people of those cities are afraid of the world outside. The idea of expanding, growing, establishing contact and trade with other places is still frightening. There is no real infrastructure established to really connect cities to each other.

The world is wrought with dangers both mundane and fantastic. Gods are also trying to rebuild their own followings and do what they can to rebuild what once was. They were as devastated by Ivak's wrath as the mortals of the world were.

Travel throughout Mizahar is difficult and dangerous to put it mildly. There are no countryside inns to offer respite from a long day's travel. There are a sad few roads that still remain that, while offering a bit more ease of travel, are not maintained like they once were and are still subject to all the terrible unknown threats that plague the lands outside of the cities.

Mizahar is a world of endless possibility but it is also a world baring a terrible burden of being severely remade by raging divine forces. This is the setting we had in mind and it is a setting we continue striving to maintain. Keep in mind it has only been around 9 years both in real life and in game time since Mizahar opened up. While this is a wonderful thing, it also means that epic level undertakings IN-GAME are not going to produce results overnight. New roads spanning hundreds of miles, sprawling cities, technology, etc., aren't going to appear within a few seasons or even a few years. This is why we have the structures, guidelines and rules that we do and it is why I am always thinking of new ways to quantify various aspects of the game. It is not meant to hinder anyone or work against the great writing so many of you produce for Mizahar. It is meant to give context, clarity and enhance structure for the GAME which in turn I hope helps inform your writing and give you substance from which to develop your stories and characters.
User avatar
Gillar
Forging the World
 
Posts: 1308
Words: 1172195
Joined roleplay: March 23rd, 2009, 6:44 pm
Race: Isur
Office
Medals: 1
Featured Contributor (1)

[Gillar's Scrapbook] Diary of a Madman

Postby Gillar on July 16th, 2018, 5:10 am

Image
It's been awhile since I've posted some thoughts in this scrapbook. I've been pondering the whole idea of Gods and Gnosis and how/when they mark a person. Of course, when the Gnosis concept was first introduced years ago, we had an idea of gods granting a bit of their power to their followers through elaborate marking of their flesh. It was a general idea that, over time, evolved. The introduction and functionality of gnosis has evolved over time but one thing I'm not sure we have ever really pressed effectively is just how profound a moment it is to be marked by a deity.

When one is marked by a god or goddess, it is a truly life changing event that comes about due to an action or culmination of actions that draws the attention of the divine. That in itself brings me some pause as I consider exactly what it must take to draw the attention of a divine being. Simple everyday actions such as forging a horseshoe or scaring a child, respecting the death of a loved one or killing a mortal enemy is not enough to gain the attention of a god or goddess. Actions that are taken that are natural to a person's outlook on life, history or general way of being is not important enough to a god or goddess to make them want to mark you.

Actions that truly draw the attention of a deity involve those that go against a person's nature, show them rising above hardship and extreme difficulty, goes against the grain as it were. I read Help Desk requests for Gnosis and, while some are very well done, others seem to miss the mark. The divine are fickle and don't toss their marks around as a contest to see who can give the most. They want followers who can best spread their influence across the world. Thus, single instances that resemble something the deity would like are not things that the deity will actually care about. If you make a few horseshoes, Izurdin will not care. If you bury a few corpses and say a prayer or two of respect, Dira will not care. If you hide in the shadows a few times and be real secretive, Akajia will not care. If you kill a few people out of self defense or swim a few meters, Krysus and Laviku will not care.

The gods and goddesses of Mizahar are looking to mark those who stand out from the rest. They are looking for those who do things that aren't normal for them or who are forever changed by their choices in life and the actions that result from said choices. If for example, you sacrifice yourself, selflessly because you feel it is the right thing to do, in order to save another, Kihala may step in, save you and mark you for your sacrifice for the living. If you risk your own life to stop the threat of an undead being who will most likely destroy you, you may gain the attention of Dira. If you feel driven to kill someone, and succeed, who has corrupted and destroyed your life until that point, Yahal, God of Purity and Faith may answer. Laviku may have his attention turned toward one who throws their all into piloting a ship through a terrible storm; risking their very lives against the dangers of the sea.

Of course, what is profound to one character or one deity may not be so to others. It should all be based on the character and the specific deity that may be doing the marking. A deity doesn't mark a person they don't know. Likely, that deity has been watching the person for some time, waiting for the person to step up and do something worthy of the gods time and attention. I'm not talking about world-changing actions of epic proportions. It is far more personal than that. As I've mentioned before, acquiring a Gnosis Mark is a profoundly personal, intimate event that will change the course of life for the one who is marked. The relationship between the marked and the god who marked them should take up a large portion of the person's life.

This is why gods do not mark someone willy nilly as it were. They don't have quotas or specific criteria they look for in their followers. They look at the individual and decide if that individual, through their actions, have displayed their ability to further the god's will upon the world.

Of course there are some deities that grant their marks on a large scale. Konti, Jamoura, Isur and Akalak come to mind with their racial gods. These marks are almost always single marks that signify the individual's connection to those gods through blood and/or birth. It doesn't however mean that those individuals are automatically suited for further marks from said gods. That is where individuality comes into play and where the individual's actions may or may not gain the deity's attention.

I guess what I'm getting at with all of this is that when you the player are looking to gain a Gnosis Mark either through your starting gnosis via the Help Desk Request or through seeking one out in thread, I ask that you look at how the gnosis mark would affect your character on a profoundly personal level. Does it fit your character concept and does it work with your perceived character future. Of course things change as we get more into our characters and learn of their likes, dislikes, wants, needs, hates and fears but knowing how a gnosis mark may affect these will help it all feel more profound. As for Storytellers, knowing the player characters we are writing for and knowing how the gods and their marks work with those characters is essential to being a good storyteller. Gnosis shouldn't be given out freely without taking into account the individual characters and how the gnosis may or may not affect them. Granting a Gnosis should be based on the individual and their actions and should be a result of actions that are profound FOR the particular character. While negative Gnosis marks as well as some of the more restrictive Gnosis can be used to address some actions by characters, these should be VERY few and far between. Remember, just as it takes a hell of a lot to gain the positive attention of a deity, it takes even more to gain the negative attention.

Some Gnosis such as Krivas (Ssena's Gnosis), Vexation (Krysus' Gnosis) as well as the Gnosis of Nikali and Sagallius, I often suggest against for many characters for a variety of reasons. If you are new to the game and not all that familiar with certain aspects, it is not to immediately pursue some of these. Nikali's gnosis is best left for those who enjoy slave/servant RP. Krivas is meant for those who have a strong grasp on what scares their own characters before being able to scare others. Sagallius is a tough one due to the understanding of manipulation and how to manipulate others. Vexation is a cursed mark that, while offering some profound benefits, can destroy a character almost immediately if you are a new character or aren't comfortable with what is needed to satisfy the curse. It is also a very harsh gnosis to inflict upon characters because of this. Of course, if such Gnosis', be it Vexation, Krivas, or others, are appropriate for the characters, by all means go for it. I just suggest a lot of thought and time before indulging in them or for that matter, any gnosis.

Finally, going forward, I hope to see players taking a lot of time and thought into what gnosis marks they would like to see their characters acquiring. These are life changing, character changing events that should drive your character's over-arching story in life. There should never be established criteria for how a god marks someone and you, as a player, should never look at acquiring a mark in such a way. It is all intimately personal to each individual character and being marked by a deity should reflect the fact that you are willing and capable of spreading that deity's influence throughout the world. If anyone ever has questions regarding Gnosis and anything related to it, please send me a PM or even post it in the Questions and Answers Forum.
User avatar
Gillar
Forging the World
 
Posts: 1308
Words: 1172195
Joined roleplay: March 23rd, 2009, 6:44 pm
Race: Isur
Office
Medals: 1
Featured Contributor (1)

Previous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: donnama11 and 0 guests