Damanisenna (not-wasteland thing)

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Damanisenna (not-wasteland thing)

Postby Kappa » Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:33 am

"Damanisenna" is a word from a local language, meaning "the living land" or "the place where life is".

This is ironic, because most of the time when we encounter this world there is no longer any life in it.

Let's start this story with an examination of the local magic system, which I usually translate as "alchemy".

The foundation of Damanisenna's magic is a set of magical substances called 'essences', which can be painted onto any sufficiently smooth surface in specific patterns in order to create objects.

Here's a basic diagram of the essence cycle, showing the five foundational essences, their pairwise derivatives, and the catchall essence known as Mana:


These essences are numbered from 0-15 in the base-16 local number system, as follows:

  • Void
  • Chaos
  • Order
  • Light
  • Matter
  • Air
  • Water
  • Earth
  • Fire
  • Shadow
  • Energy
  • Prism
  • Structure
  • Life
  • Spirit
  • Mana

It's possible to get even more specialized essences by combining these, but eventually if you combine enough different essences that they get all muddled up and don't have a specific outcome, you get Mana, which can then be separated out into the initial five to start all over again.

The thing about this magic system is that it's really easy to do impressive and interesting things with it. Actually, kind of too easy. There aren't really any safeties on it; you can totally set up a self-perpetuating alchemical reaction that will eat everything in sight until it consumes enough matter to destabilize itself and blow up. Which somebody did. It turned a continent into a very large crater, dropped the sea level by a seriously uncomfortable amount, and wouldn't actually have killed the planet all by itself except that since the traditional way to cheaply extract alchemical essences from the environment is using magical plants, and plants need water to live, some desperate people tried to invent an alternative and didn't think through their design very well and ended up unleashing a plague of ravening fiends, which promptly devoured everything in sight and then starved to death.

So now the planet is pretty much completely devoid of life, but there are still enough caches of emergency alchemy supplies lying around that a random interdimensional visitor can find one and learn the local magic system, at which point it's totally possible for them to restore life to the planet all on their lonesome unless they screw up and accidentally reinvent fiends or something. Don't reinvent fiends. Nothing good comes of fiends.

As settings go, I think this one is a fun little puzzle and a potential source of a useful magic system for clever careful characters with an experimental outlook. I also like to strand my characters there for other characters to encounter, because having the person who's been there a while longer try to explain the bacon bushes to the new arrival is always hilarious. (If you had a flexible magic system for creating miscellaneous potentially magical objects, wouldn't you invent the bacon bush?)
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