Page 1 of 1

Elsewhere - Setting with Lifeforce, Sorcerers and stuff

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:41 am
by Bluelantern
Elsewhere as a setting is a cluster of universes connected by a single pocket universe called "Elsewhere"

Elsewhere is an demi-plane with unusual properties. At its center it's stable and safe; there is a floating continent capable of sustaining life. But around that the place is a maelstrom of spatial distortion that can easily kill. This instability is related to its ability to "annex" itself to other universe. At any given moment, Elsewhere will "intersect" very briefly with a bit of another universe. This typically doesn't produce any visible effect in that universe
However, sometimes Elsewhere will intersect an area with a living being, which then causes Elsewhere to "hook" to that entity. While hooked, Elsewhere is more likely to intersect with that universe again. Which leads to potential new hooks. Eventually this will lead to the universe being perpetually stuck to Elsewhere and acquiring sorcerers and Sorcery.

The magic native to Elsewhere, it involves using the aspects of “lifeforce” to fuel magical effects which are separated between sorcery gifts and ritual sorcery. The lifeforce components in humans are breath, stamina, wakefulness, health and youth. Sorcery gifts are each tied to a different lifeforce component and can be used by a simple act of will. Sorcery rituals are a series of actions that can be combined and changed to create a vast variety of effects, still using lifeforce components, but often more than one. Rituals are much more versatile than gifts, but require much more prep time and research.

Sorcerers: as part of Elsewhere's annexation process, some people will be born with extra lifeforce. The term is interchangeably used to mean "people that practice sorcery" too and sometimes "true" or "born" are added to the former and "practicing" is added to the later to distinguish the two. Having extra lifeforce makes sorcery easier, it allows the casting of small effects without causing side effects of lifeforce expenditure and bigger effects by fueling more lifeforce into the effects. When Elsewhere “hooks” to a person, that person will start having sorcerous children; the sorcerous status is thereafter hereditary, but might experience dilution as sorcerers have children with non-sorcerers. First generation sorcerers will start with an average of twice as much lifeforce as non-sorcerers. “Diluted” sorcerers might have anything between twice and one-and-a-half more lifeforce. Sorcery sometimes skips generations.

The energy that permeates all living things and empowers sorcery magic. Spending lifeforce aspects will have suitable effects on a person. Each aspect will be better suited for some things than others, which is reflected in rituals and gifts. It is separated in five different components:
Breath: spending it will cause the feeling and the effects of asphyxiation. Breath has an affinity for automated and reactive effects. Example: temperature regulation that does not require explicitly thinking about changing the temperature to the desired level.
Stamina: spending stamina causes physical tiredness and can lead to an inability to move. Stamina has an affinity for physical and energy effects. Example: telekinesis.
Wakefulness: spending this will lead to mental tiredness and the need to sleep. Its affinity is for mind-affecting and sensory effects. Example: mental communication.
Health: typically, spending health will lead to effects similar to starvation and general ill-being, but some side effects might be more painful or exotic. It’s fairly flexible, but has an affinity for the very physical nature of things. Example: change iron into gold.
Youth: Ironically, spending this will not outright cause people to age on the spot, but their aging will accelerate until it matches their current youth level; another possible side effect is cancer. It naturally degrades over time. Youth is the most powerful of all lifeforce aspects and it has affinity for permanent and strong effects. Example: the creation of permanent artifacts.

It’s also possible to manipulate one’s own lifeforce to improve healing, change one aspect into another and transfer lifeforce into other people. Sufficiently skilled practitioners can use their manipulation of lifeforce to control their bodies more directly, from relatively simple applications like not scarring to controlling their own
heartbeat. When someone is “full” they don’t produce more lifeforce, but it’s possible to give someone more lifeforce than their “full” total and for them to hold to that extra for a time. How easy it is to hold onto extra lifeforce is inversely proportional to its recovery speed, with Youth not requiring any effort at all.

Components sorted by size: Youth; Health; Wakefulness; Stamina; Breath.
Components sorted by recovery speed: Breath; Stamina; Wakefulness; Health. Youth doesn’t recover naturally.

Re: Elsewhere - Setting with Lifeforce, Sorcerers and stuff

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:38 pm
by Bluelantern
More on Sorcery:

Sorcery rituals are the most commonly practiced and easily available form of magic. Taking the form of various actions which can be used to create magical results. Rituals are separated into schools, which can be considered akin to languages (or better yet, computer languages) with the different components being the “words”. To be able to use a sorcery school one must learn a certain amount (but not the entirety of) steps and their properties.

Otherwise, ritual components can be nearly anything and because of superstitious assumptions, scientific ignorance or even purposeful opacity some sorcery schools can have very esoteric and non-straightforward steps. In fact, the Daliath religion purposefully made a sorcery school where their various religious practices allow the casting of sorcery rituals.

Due to complex factors in their making, sorcery schools have different strengths at how efficient they are at spending lifeforce, furthermore they might just be easier or harder to learn or have components that are variously harder to enact (because they require expensive materials, an specific state of mind, precise movements, or anything really).

Creating a new sorcery school is no easy task, taking years of dedication to truly understanding magic and then figuring a way to pivot into a new way of doing things. The various rituals to fully create a school also total a Youth expenditure of at least ten years. This kept the number of sorcery schools very low throughout history and most people who went so far as to create one had a very strong goal in mind. Creating a new sorcery school is akin to enchanting an artifact, but the effect is cast in the world and it self-propagates making sorcery “contagious” through even the most minimal contact between universes.

Examples of ritual components: drawing symbols on people’s skins, burning herbs, drawing a circle and putting various materials around (crystals, tools, candles, etc). The Daliath church’s sorcery school largely uses prayers.

Re: Elsewhere - Setting with Lifeforce, Sorcerers and stuff

PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:46 pm
by Bluelantern
Here is an overview on all worlds attached to Elsewhere to be elaborated further in the future (or upon request). They are listed more or less in order of importance/influence.
Elan: Was annexed about 350-400 years ago, making it the current inhabited world that has been in contact with Elsewhere the longest. The local magic is called “Synth” and allows some limited forms of bioengineering which had significant influence in this world’s development mostly noticeable through the existence of augmented humans. It has 6-8 continents, but most of the plot developed stuff focus on Lor-ersi and Gi-ersi continents and the tensions between the groups known as Daliath (partially augmented followers of a religion), Govad (completely augmented former nobility) and the Govite (the unaugmented commoners).
Earth: Was annexed about 200-250 years ago, the only current inhabited world with no known native magic and also the only one that’s unaware that Elsewhere and magic exists. This happened because most sorcerers that are found by Elsewhere simply decided (or were forced) to stay instead of trying their luck going back.
Efross: The process of annexation started less than a century ago, making it the most recently annexed world. Everyone has the local native magic, which allows heat storing/release. The world is going through a magical ice age and the population leaves in a stone age tech level.
Exile: a world that sustains limited life and used to be inhabited a long time ago. It was discovered through portals found in ruins. There are limited attempts to settle it nowadays, mostly by Elsewhere polities who wish independence from other worlds resources, but Elan is trying to get a presence in the world as well. Evidence points to some kind of mass extinction event that affected this world, Elsewhere and Epoch all at same time at around 50 thousands years ago.
Epoch: this world is a dry, cold and completely barren dustball. Was mostly ignored until the recent discovery of crystals that can store memories and might or might not be the result of sorcery, but while the crystals were publicly known none have shown evidence that sorcery was. The place is sufficiently inhospitable that pretty much all settlements are magically warded research sites.

Also more on:

Portal creation is a well-guarded sorcery secret that’s very hard to figure out. Currently the only groups that know how to create portals through ritual sorcery are the High Library of Magic and the Merchant Enclave.

The current known way to make portals is limited to portals between Elsewhere and one other world. It’s also limited by the fact that while one end of the portal will be wherever the ritual is initially performed the other will be more or less random. This happens because the method used today takes advantage of Elsewhere’s spatial uniqueness and “rides” on the points where it intersects with other realities.

This severely limits one’s ability to target the portals properly. Generally the only parameters one can input amount to “right planet, right atmospheric level, not under or right above water and no extreme temperature”, beyond that the ritual becomes impossible hard to design.

To work around this limitation, they make the portal slightly unstable so it can be “nudged” to pick a new place to land on. This typically gives people 10 to 20 tries allowing the portal to land on the right side of the continent, once that’s picked it’s possible to move the portal a few miles to somewhere more convenient and then let it settle definitely.

Of course all these factors influenced how interworld travel affected (or failed to affect) Elsewhere’s development. Creating portals is more a game of dice than figuring out where you want to land. It meant that when Earthborn sorcerers started to find Elsewhere they were faced with the decision of either staying or risk a uncertain journey home. One can’t purposefully land a portal inside the enemy’s basis, but they have deniable plausibility if a portal lands on a country’s wilderness.

Portals can still be used as shortcuts but only in a patchy sort of way where by luck one might find out that it’s faster to go through portals A, B, C and D than using conventional methods of interworld travel. Portals between Earth and Elsewhere are sometimes used to transport goods that way, usually illegally, but for most they are used to bring things from Earth for the benefit of Elsewhere and Elan, neither consider the act illegal. Typically, people interested in making money from portals will create portal hubs of half a dozen portals which is a massive investment and heavily regulated by all involved worlds.

It is actually possible to develop better targeted portals, but it would require a better understanding of physics than any sorcerer currently has, in no small part because only Earth has sufficiently advanced technology to figure it out.

Re: Elsewhere - Setting with Lifeforce, Sorcerers and stuff

PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:33 am
by Bluelantern
I've created a world-anvil site for Elsewhere ... discoverer