An Unnamed New World
First of all, hi! Long time no see! Also, the title sounds like this is going to be a hot take about the state of the world, maybe some deep implications about metaverse or a convoluted monologue about how technology transformed our lives. But actually, it’s about a new world I started creating.
It all started with me deciding to start a new TTRPG. Instead of an existing world, I thought I’d start something new and… my mind wandered. I don’t know if I’ll create it in detail, but I liked what I have so far and wanted to share. Call it a concept.
I haven’t named names so I’ll use some general terms for now. For example, I’ll call this world, “the World” with a capital ‘W’. Should I get more serious about details, I’ll of course find some name for it. While it’s obvious, I’d still like to spell out clearly that this is WIP so a lot is prone to change and a lot hasn’t been determined precisely. Ready? Let’s go.
At first, it was the World and its indigenous denizens: Animals, plants, humans living simple lives (and possibly other humanoids too). The denizens of the World were special because they had an extraordinary subconscious (this is not meant to be scientific, I need better words) and imagination that was enhanced by their connection to the World.
This connection was so powerful that it actually manifested magical beings that lived in the World. Some of them were the product of the creatures’ imagination, of their awake mind, of all sorts of feelings and thoughts. Some of these creatures were nice and kind, others cruel and dark and they were so diverse that no one had met all kinds of creatures in the World.
Manifestations of the creatures’ subconscious were much less diverse, focused on the strongest of primal feelings. Positive feelings such as love were usually manifested as a prince or princess of the Fae. Negative feelings, equally as powerful but ones that creatures try to avoid rather than explore, were reflected in their manifestation: They were the Old Ones, lurking in the dark, unwanted and hard to understand. Theirs were not a path that a sane mind would be willing to walk.
Over time, the number and the type of most of these creatures (both types of manifestations) would change, but their existence won’t. The World always have magical manifestations.
One day, beings from outside the World took notice. These beings were known as deities in many worlds and drew power from the faith of others. They realized that the denizens of the World would generate much more power than a regular world and started interacting with the humans (and/or humanoids — I’m not decided on this yet, so I’ll just say humans from now on), and some Fae. The Gods promised power, although the naive denizens of the World didn’t really understand the concept of having power over others, so the Gods would present different angles: “Wouldn’t it be interesting to try, this is a different power?” “Imagine the fun things you can do” and so they started giving away powers. They would bestow actual powers to magical beings and for non-magical creatures like humans, they would grant them magic items that they can activate.
The Age of Gods
Over time, they started to infiltrate the World and these first creatures became their missionaries and priests. The priests depicted “the gods” depending on the items and powers they were given, ie if they were granted an amulet that produces fire, they would call theirs the God of Fire. The more followers they brought, the more and more interesting powers and items they were granted. This started creating a feeling of competition, invoking feelings like ambition and that turned into bigger followings for the celestial beings, just as they had hoped for.
The gods favoured non-magical creatures like humans for their power were granted by items that were easy to manage and take away. In fact, most gods started to alienate and outlaw magical creatures. Priests and gods ruled over the World.
Over time, people started to grow curious (a curiosity sometimes encouraged by the outlawed Fae) about how the powers of the gods worked. Some powerful high priests actually saw the bigger picture and figured that these beings weren’t literal gods. Others simply wanted a way out of the gods’ rule as it became more and more oppressive over time. This curiosity and research eventually resulted in a few priests asking themselves: “What if I believe in my own self? Would I become more powerful?” and the result was surprising: They were able to create a sort of energy but they weren’t able to use it. Thankfully, the Gods themselves has given the solution to this predicament: Infusing items with that power. After more research and attempts to trick the prideful gods into letting some of their secrets, a few became the first Artificers.
The artificers got their hands on items and instead of their own selves, they believed in the potential of these items to be powerful and infused them with that energy. Soon they realized that there were many more people who could use these items than who can infuse them and in fact, they could wield the items better than the others. They were named Sorcerers. As soon as the gods realized what was happening, they banned the practice. But of course, this wouldn’t stop the people. In fact, realizing their potential, the Sorcerers came up with a plan to overthrow the gods.
The Age of Sorcery
The sorcerers fought the gods for years and years. They grew their power and experience and chipped away at the previously unshakable belief that gods and their followers were untouchable. One day, the leader of the sorcerers challenged the gods to a fight. The gods did find it odd but didn’t want to pass at the opportunity for a quick win. In the end, they did seem to be winning the battle so they figured the sorcerer just lost it.
The gods’ avatars appeared before the sorcerer, with many people watching. The sorcerer started attacking. The gods realized he was powerful but nowhere close to matching even one of the Gods’ power. They scoffed and laughed. They let the people see how weak he was and how invulnerable they were against the most powerful of the sorcerers. But then, the trap sprung. The gods felt something was wrong and the sorcerer suddenly struck one of the gods dead! The gods decided to take a step back, only to realize that not only they were suddenly much less powerful, but also unable to run away: The sorcerers had actually prepared a ritual to trap the gods in this world, cutting off their access to other parts of the multiverse. And even though the creatures of the World added much power to the gods, it was only a fraction of their power. So they stood in front of the sorcerer, helpless and people watched them get struck down by the sorcerer one by one. Whatever power the gods have in the World had suddenly decreased. As immortal beings, they would come back to life again, but with much less power.
And so started the age of Sorcery. Long story short, the Artificers and the Sorcerers became a high caste, forcing the others into servitude or menial tasks.
This transformation took years and for generations, the sorcerers ruled. Meanwhile, the regular folk started inventing mechanisms and technology. Sorcerers found these developments repulsive, but harmless and almost cute. The arcane was about the belief in the potential and the potential was endless. What could a few gears or steam accomplish? What was the point in “electricity” when one could call down lightning?
The Mechanism Revolution
They found out the answer when the Mechanism Revolution started. True, a sorcerer had many ways to deal with a person holding a gun. But unlike magic, mechanisms could be wielded by anyone and when ten people held guns, it was a different story. When the people working for the supply lines for food and magic items turned on them, it was even a more different story.
And so, the World changed once more. Some parts of the world fully embraced Mechanisms and even banned magic. Some did the other way around. Some magocrats brought upon incredibly harsh precautions to stop a revolution from happening. In other places, people believed in the potential of magic more than the Mechanisms. Meanwhile, new and old magic creatures are still manifested in the World and the Old Ones especially grow in power as anxiety and conflict never seem to leave the World. Gods and their priests, unwanted since their rise, now exist almost exclusively as parts of cults, trying re-grow their influence.
Will the latest trend, Mechanisms take over? Will the old powers and beings make a comeback? Or is there even a newer trend in line? (think radioactivity, computers)
So… this is the world. As mentioned, I’m not sure about races like dwarves and elves. Maybe they’ll exist, maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll just be erased over time or simply isolate themselves. I imagine the technology level to be Second Industrial Revolution-ish. There are also differences from our world of course. For example, they have elemental minerals such as thunderstone or “firestone” (needs a better name) that allows different gadgets, weapons or even branches of technologies.
Anyway, thanks for reading. I’m very curious to hear what you liked and disliked and if you have any musings. Also — if you thought this was similar to something you read/watched/played. Let me know in the comments!