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1  Organization and General Discussions / Discussions, Development Ideas & Proposals / Re: What's the Matter with Santharia? on: 13 November 2015, 13:22:41
I think we're all approaching this question wrong. Rather than make the site easier to access on Google, why not go for an easier approach and try making the site easy to find through social media. Building a good website is hard, totally restructuring an old one without losing data is harder. On the other hand, constructing an easy-to-read, attractive looking Facebook page is incredibly simple.

I suggest that we reconstruct the Santharian Facebook from little more than a showcase for our art to an active advertising effort. This means members need to spread it as far as possible as quickly as possible.

It also means we need something to advertise. We have a lot of stuff here, but we can't advertise already written work. What we can advertise is empty space. We need to be able to say to potential developers not, "Look at all this cool stuff we've done," but rather, "Look at all this cool stuff YOU could be doing."

To this end I'd advise something like opening up a new continent or the like: we do have three continents with exactly 0 development after all. Of course, we'd write the framework for this new development space as a massive group project. I wouldn't dream of loading it all onto one person.

Any thoughts?
2  Santharian World Development / Cosmology, Myths and Religions / Re: The Cult of Mortality on: 31 March 2015, 06:36:38
Women: I would assume they'd be equal to a man of equal mental and physical strength, at least in theory, though, as in real life, individual members may not stick to that 100%. But yeah, the philosophy has no reason to discriminate. Though this may just be because our modern society has embraced equality - this kind of idea wouldn't come so easily to a person living in medieval times. I'm still going to say women are equal though - if gods and goddesses are equal, and men and women are lesser gods and goddesses, why wouldn't men and women be equal?

Beauty: I wasn't even thinking about that when I wrote this, but let's see. Here we have 3 options: either a) looks don't count, and anyone can attain any status no matter what, b) looks do count, so only those who look good naturally can attain godhood, or c) looks do count, so all gods use extreme amounts of cosmetics.

Right off the bat, B seems antithetical to the utilitarianism in the Cult, so that's probably out. Cosmetics don't really fit into the "bettering oneself through training" idea, so I kind of have to say it doesn't matter how you look, though it is up for dispute - after all, all of the Twelvern gods and goddesses are pretty good looking, so maybe it is a factor, however minor.
3  Santharian World Development / Cosmology, Myths and Religions / The Cult of Mortality on: 30 March 2015, 13:32:39
Overview- The Cult of Mortality is a group of people who believe all gods are simply mortals who trained their minds, bodies, and souls to a state they call Empowerment. It was founded and has remained prominent in the city of Carmalad, where it is generally tolerated, if not accepted, as a major belief system of the region.

Prevalence- The Cult of Mortality flourishes in Carmalad and the surrounding regions, where it was founded in 1550 a.S. and has continued to grow ever since.

Brief Outline- The Cult of Mortality believe that by perfecting oneself both physically and mentally, one may attain godhood. They see people as imperfect, far inferiour forms of gods, and thus rank people based on how close to becoming gods they are. They believe that once one becomes a god, they help to hold off the end of the world by connecting to the All-Spirit, or the collective soul of everything in the world, and helping to bind it together. All of the beliefs of the Cult were written down by the founder, Nasojeren Tharor, in a book called "The Book of Broken Chains". In it, he explains that the binding of the All-Spirit was beginning to fray, and that if nothing is done, the world will end within the century. He said that all of the gods of the Twelvern existed and formed the world, but had all begun to die off soon before the writing of the Book. He claimed that all information contained in the Book had come from Seyella herself, as she attempted, with her final breath, to fend off the end of time. From the "Book of Broken Chains": "As it would turn out, all beings, no matter how perfect, must die, gods included. Seyella has passed the mantle of godhood unto us mortals, that we may inherit the power and purpose she and her brethren used to possess."

People- Members of the Cult of Mortality look, by and large, like a normal person with one small exception. Upon induction into the Cult, a member has tattoos done on the backs of their hands. As they progress through the Cult's ranks, they are given more and more tattoos progressing from the hands up the arms to the face and chest, such that when one is considered to have attained godhood, their upper body and face are entirely covered in tattoos.

Members of the Cult are extremely utilitarian, considering ones spiritual value determined by their tangible value. It should be noted, however, that though only real world abilities and strengths are valued, mental values, such as intelligence and creativity, are held to be much more important than physical ones. As such, most members are scholars or bards, even if not professionally. Additionally, members have a tendency to be arrogant, seeing others as unenlightened, lesser beings not comparable to their godly exaltedness.

Coat of Arms- The closest thing the Cult has to a unifying symbol is the Transcendence Sigil, portrayed here: To be designed at a later date.

In general, the sigil is only portrayed through tattoos. Both the first tattoos a member gets and the last ones are of this sigil, with the first ones on the backs of the hands and the last ones in the centers of the chest and back.


Organization- The Cult of Mortality is a very hierarchical organization for obvious reasons. However, most ranks are only symbolic, because of the belief that the qualifications for the rank give such power to the people who meet them that additional reward is unnecessary. Also note that not all tattoos are specified in this list, only the significant ones. Those things noted, the hierarchy is as such:

  • Council of Overgods: Overgods are the highest ranked members of the Cult. It is composed of people who have not only attained godhood themselves, but have been deemed suitable of leading others who have reached the same status. Overgods are the only group within the Cult who don't have any distinguishing markings aside from those of a god. Because of the difficulty of this job, there are only ever four overgods at any one time, forming the leading group of the Cult.
  • Gods: Gods are the second highest ranked members. Considered to be at the pinnacle of physical and mental mastery, they are revered by all lower level members as role models and sages. They are covered from the waist up with tattoos of patterns or important symbols, like mountains for resilience or flames for power and rage.
  • Archmortals: Archmortals are considered the transitional phase between mortality and immortality. As such, they serve as teachers for low level members and leaders of smaller groups of medium to high level ones. At this stage, members are trained in the highest levels of both the mental and physical disciplines, attaining the final pieces needed to become gods.
  • Livelords: The group consisting of those who still have a mortal perception of the world, the livelords are those who haven't yet trained themselves to view all those below them as little more than swine. While this doesn't mean they're not arrogant, it does mean they can see some value in those not of the Cult, which is generally frowned upon above this level.
  • High Minds/ High Bodies: At this level, members are split based on which aspect of life they excel in, either mental or physical. Here, they are taught to master the opposite discipline, balancing the two and bringing the member closer to Empowerment. Upon reaching this level, members get a tattoo on their left shoulder with an eye for High Minds and a sword for High Bodies.
  • Bound Spirits: These members are those who still associate with friends and family from outside the Cult. Often, this level is skipped entirely, as it is very hard for one to keep friends who they believe are inferior. It also serves as the final boundary between medium and high level members.
  • Adepts: These people have successfully trained themselves to apply Cult doctrine to their day to day lives. They serve as the face of the Cult, meaning they are the ones who speak at public gatherings in representations of the Cult. This is because members any higher than this are either wholly removed from the real world or attempting to reach such a state.
  • Caelbound Practitioners: At this stage, those part way through implementing Cult teachings into their lives are deemed fit to learn otherwise hidden techniques for the improvement of one's life through godly powers gradually attained part this point, or at least that's what the current Council of Overgods would like the public to believe. Interestingly, members of this level are required to swear silence about anything learned at or after this level.
  • Chained Ones: These are people who have wholly accepted the doctrine of the Cult but haven't yet implemented it into their everyday life. They are the border between low and middle level members as they have learned the entirety of the Cult of Mortality teachings, but have yet to apply them.
  • High Trainees: Higher level doctrine is taught to trainees of this level, such as basic methods for implementation of doctrine.
  • Cadets: Newest, lowest level members or people considering joining the Cult are taught the fundamentals of the dogma of the Cult
.

Worshipping practices- In the twenty-third day of each month, all members of Bound Spirit level or below gather in a ceremony called the Reverence for the purpose of paying respect and tribute to those who have attained what they call godhood in exchange for blessings. This ceremony consists of exhibitions of dancers, acrobats, and musicians, as well as plays and storytelling. These festivities are followed by a prayer session led by the eldest Overgod, giving thanks to all their gods for their services in helping to maintain the order of the world.

Festivals/Celebrations- The Cult of Mortality has but one annual festival: the Heavenly Inauguration. In this festival, held annually on the fourth of Changing Winds, any and all new gods are announced and plaques with their names on them affixed in a hidden place by an Overgod. There is a common folktale in Carmalad that states that should one ever find and remove one of these plaques, they are forever bound to the service of the soul of the god in question, even after their death.

Temples/Housing- The Cult generally prefer to hold their ceremonies in outdoor theatres, partially because of the natural lighting and partially because it is the best atmosphere for their performers. These temples are always marked by what they call the Mark of Commune, which is a sword with an eye on it; it symbolizes the unity between mind and body taught by the Cult.

Origin and History- The Cult of Mortality was founded by Nasojeren Tharor, a human of Caltharian descent. He first came up with the idea for the core beliefs of the Cult when his father died of disease. Bring as he was fourteen at the time, this death tore his life apart, sending him desperately searching for answers. In the "Book of Broken Chains", he says that he "reached out to the world, and the world reached back. That was the first and last time [he] came into contact with Seyella. She met [him] on her deathbed and instructed [him] on the path to godhood, teaching [him] how to discover more for [himself]." He spent the next four years of his life using Seyella's techniques to bring himself closer to the final secrets of the gods while simultaneously learning to read and write from various traveling scholars. Do traveling scholars exist/Are they common enough for Nasojeren to be trained by several of them?

At the end of this time, Nasojeren wrote a pamphlet detailing his beliefs and gained exactly three followers. These four people would eventually forme the first Council of Overgods who would assist Nasojeren in creating the rest of the philosophy in the "Book of Broken Chains". The Cult was officially founded in 1550 with the holding of the first Reverence, by which time it had already accumulated over a hundred devotees. At first, the general populace of Carmalad protested, saying that their gods could never die, nearly burning Nasojeren as a heretic. Throughout it all though, the Cult kept training themselves and holding Reverence each month, much to the annoyance of the people of the townsfolk. Nasojeren, however, simply used the shock value of his philosophy to attract fellow "heretics" to the Cult. Indeed, in the "Book of Broken Chains", he says that "were it not for those first outraged citizens, this world would have bit the dust Anyone have a Santharian expression for 'bit the dust'? long ago."

In 1552, the "Book of Broken Chains" was published, causing another public outcry. Probably not coincidentally, this was around the same time protesters began failing to show up at Reverence. Since those early days, the Cult has stopped publicity stunts quite so frequently, solidifying itself as a real belief system instead of a group who take advantage of the outrage of others. This has caused it to grow with reasonable consistency, with almost one thousand currently practicing members.

Importance- The Cult of Mortality is a very real presence in Carmalad and the surrounding areas, with enough members to influence politics in a substantial way. Aside from that, it continues to spark controversy among some of the more devoutly religious people in Carmalad, though not on as dramatic a scale as it used to.
4  Santharian World Development / Cosmology, Myths and Religions / Re: Faerhorál, Demon Lord of Fire on: 28 February 2015, 14:31:00
Okay, thanks for the help. It seems I need to learn to be more vague in my writing huh... I'll remember that for next time. Anyway, I put in your changes and modified to sentence about the sun- it seems I forgot that sentences have a tendency to require verbs :P
5  Santharian World Development / Cosmology, Myths and Religions / Re: Faerhorál, Demon Lord of Fire on: 21 February 2015, 12:45:58
Ok then, that makes sense now. I could see that I was missing something, I just couldn't see what :P Anyway, that should fix that up. Magic is confusing... undecided
6  Santharian World Development / Cosmology, Myths and Religions / Faerhorál, Demon Lord of Fire on: 20 February 2015, 13:39:22
Overview.
Faerhorál is one of the six Demon Lords, who supposedly originated and are perhaps even controlled by Coór, representing mockeries of the Gods. His purpose is to twist the element of Fire, so he is master of all things irrational and rash, not to mention the element of Fire itself.

Appearance.
Like all other Demon Lords, Faerhorál may appear in many shapes. His main form, while described differently depending on who you ask, is usually a being that seems to be made entirely or to a large degree of fire. In a plethora of mythical texts he is often referred to as a creature wearing armour over his "front" side, including his "face", which is shaped like that of a skull and has two horns protruding directly from above where his ears should be. In one of the most famous depictions by an ancient Caltharian artist we see a battleaxe attached to his right arm, though it is unknown what its use might be to such a great beast, given the fact that its fiery body is a weapon in itself. By some accounts Faerhorál also has a pair of leathery wings that have a wingspan of at least 40 peds, judging by some vivid descriptions and ancient art. No one has ever been able to tell exactly where these wings attach of course, whether to his "body" or his armour - though in the face of such a terrifying creature, can anyone really blame the few who have survived an encounter with him from any range for turning tail and running immediately?

Aside from his main form, Faerhorál other transformations include a fire dragon for power, a tager bird-lizard for inconspicuous flight, and a mhorashty for communication with - and manipulation of - mortals.

Special Abilities.
A Demon Lord like Faerhorál has a huge arsenal of abilities, and while his existence might be entirely mythical, the many sources that reference him provide this the creature with a lot of extraordinary and unique attributes. To start with, he is physically massive, many times larger than any human. Additionally, very little can harm him because he is made of fire, so most weapons just pass right through him. His irregular body composition has several other advantages as well, such as being able to split it off into a legion of Fire elementals. He has great control over all fire, being able to, in theory, cast all fire spells with ease. However, he usually prefers to annihilate his opponents by way of a violent maelstrom rather than with a more precise method, say, by using Grip of the Malefic.

Faerhorál is also fabled to be able to assimilate any outside fire into himself, though with his enormous size and the naturally inconsistent size and shape of fire, this has never been confirmed.

He can, like all of his brethren, use ecuá magic, though his usage of it is exceedingly rare: he will only use it as a last resort against those completely resistant to all fire, and even then, rather sparingly.

While he is supposedly incorporeal in the Netherworlds, Faerhorál is incredibly weak, at least compared to the other Demon Lords. He can, at most, summon a small fireball, maybe to start a localized forest fire, but he can't use any of his more catastrophic abilities. It is said in some areas that whenever a candle flickers, it is Faerhorál attempting to manifest himself through the fire into this world.

History/Origins.
Like the rest of the Demon Lords, it is said that Faerhorál was formed from the Darkwinds to distort the will of the Gods. More specifically, he bends the element of Fire. He changes Armeros' honourable battles into massacres where everyone, no matter how fit to survive and win, dies; and changes the power of fires from guides as Foiros intended into blockades, preventing any passage of any kind. An alternate, and admittedly older, myth states that he was born from the destruction that was caused when Foiros created the ball of fire that would later become the sun.

Faerhorál is really summoned on purpose, though if a powerful enough door to the Netherworlds is opened close enough to large amounts of wanton destruction, it is said that he may just be dragged through by accident. He is nearly impossible to control once summoned, though it can be done with enough power. Some demonologists like the idiosyncratic Waudrin Ghortz say that the key to controlling him isn't having vast power, but in fact being able to make yourself imperceptible to the Demon Lord through the use of Ecuá magic, though such magic does have the downside of making him imperceptible to you as well.

Some texts describe the Demon Lord's changes of appearances in great detail: Once summoned, Faerhorál can only be classified as a force of nature, or more accurately, against it. He rips through everything in his path, melting any stone or metal within a few strals and burning anything flammable instantly. He continues this way for around a week, during which time his size gradually decreases as the energy that he is composed of begins to close in on itself. During the last day, he is only about two peds tall. Even at this size though, the area that he destroys doesn't get any smaller, he just gets more compact. At the end of his time on Caelereth he explodes, taking out everything and everyone within five leagues in a giant, gruesome fireball that appears to be as bright as the sun.
7  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Bestiary / Re: Folihydra on: 19 February 2015, 14:06:02
Overview:
This is what happens when Nature feels the urge of being cruel, when the Gods decide that a touch of insanity is what this world needs. This hellish spawn is hard to classify, for it looks like a gigantic vine with all of its humongous tendrils converging into a single body, but it moves, breathes, and feeds like the most terrible beasts that walk the lands of Sarvonia.

Appearance:
Standing as tall as a small mountain, close to the 15 peds in height, and extending with roots and vines like tentacles for at least 30 peds in length, this creature is as much an animal as it is a plant. It is completely green, from it's stalk and head, to the very last nailsbreath of its tendrils, covered in what feels like the intermediate point between moss and fur.

15 peds is a small mountain? I would suggest changing it to "It appears to be as large as a small mountain." Or something to that effect.

The head is similar to that of a whale, however the Folihydra has teeth, at the very least a row of sharp, white, stone-like teeth, which we presume are used to devour and crush large prey such as deer and perhaps even bear. It has no discernible eyes, however the fact that it can accurately tell where to strike to catch its prey with pinpoint accuracy suggests that it has some way to tell where it is moving to.

 You have "accurately tell" and "with pinpoint accuracy" in the same sentence :P

Special Abilities:

Territory:
The few encounters with this humongous creature suggest that it lives in the warm forests of Sarvonia, close to rivers and lakes where its roots can absorb the water necessary to sustain this monster. 

Based on this sentence, I would assume that very few if any detailed studies have been done on this beast, but based on the diet section, someone has been able to track one (or a group) for a few months at least to get that "once a month" statistic. IMO you should say it is studied and encountered at least somewhat often, as it gives you more freedom to elaborate on things like its abilities and usages. Also keep in mind that when very little is known about something, stories are usually made to fill in the gaps, so if you do choose to keep it rare, there would probably be a story to tell about it in a Myths section. Just a suggestion

Behavior:
Territorial and aggressive with anything that comes close to it.

Diet:
Whatever it can swallow whole, which is most any other creature in the forests they inhabit, however it seems they only need to eat once every month.

Mating:
Unobserved, presumably it doesn't mate, but rather reproduces like a plant, adding more mystery and challenge to the classification of this creature.

Pretty nice looking so far. I would suggest that you elaborate a little bit more on a few things though, like the behavior. How about how it acts towards others of its own species? Or things it can tell is stronger than it? Interesting concept, looking forward to how it plays out.
8  Santharian World Development / Cosmology, Myths and Religions / Re: Faerhorál and the Missing Demon Lord Entries on: 16 February 2015, 03:42:37
Ok then. That clears some things up.  grin
9  Santharian World Development / Cosmology, Myths and Religions / Re: Faerhorál and the Missing Demon Lord Entries on: 15 February 2015, 08:28:01
On summoning Demon Lords: How often is it done? All 3 entries say a few times at least, but the Demons entry says that  "Wild speculation even supports the idea, that a mighty summoning performed during the War of the Chosen even managed to summon a Demon Lord."

So basically, how hard is it to summon one of these things? dontgetit
10  Santharian World Development / Cosmology, Myths and Religions / Re: Faerhorál and the Missing Demon Lord Entries on: 15 February 2015, 07:53:43
Ok, I'll get working on that then! This should be fun evil evil evil

If anyone else wants to write one of the other two, I'm only doing Faerhorál, so those are still open  :)
11  Santharian World Development / Cosmology, Myths and Religions / Faerhorál and the Missing Demon Lord Entries on: 14 February 2015, 13:49:44
So I was poking around on the Dream site, when I noticed something about the Demons entry: it contains a picture by Isilhir of "The Demon Lord of Fire, Faerhorál, rising from the depth to confront a pure soul." I looked for it, and no such entry was ever written. (Sidenote: I found another thread that asks this exact question, but it's from 2005, and the mentioned entry is still unwritten. :P)

I was wondering if I could write that entry, or one of the ones for one of the other 2 unwritten Demon Lords. evil evil evil
12  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: Modifications to the Avennorian Entry on: 12 February 2015, 09:33:55
Ok, that should have fixed everything. evil
13  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: Modifications to the Avennorian Entry on: 09 February 2015, 13:29:58
Ok, that should have fixed everything up. Tell me if you notice anything, but I think that the only places Avennoria is referenced is when I specify that it's an ancient kingdom or in the government section, where that's what I was discussing anyway.

Note to self: look before you leap next time Bad Idea
14  Santharian World Development / Places and Map Design / Re: Modifications to the Avennorian Entry on: 09 February 2015, 12:00:45
Wow, that's a pretty big oversight on my part...   :P
Well, I'll go revise this with that in mind. Hopefully most of what I wrote didn't rely too much on Ancient Kingdom geography and trade.
15  Santharian World Development / The Santharian Herbarium / Re: The Cylian Poppy on: 06 February 2015, 07:08:15
About the entry: thanks a lot!  grin Besides, that's the nicest anyone's ever been to me *sniff*  ;)

About the apostrophes: Nonsense Arti. This is the internet, where no nuance can exist on penalty of death!!!!! evil
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