History, Factions, and Politics
THE STORY OF ALYRIA
the story of alyria - an introduction to the world as it is...
** To view this and other stories via the web, please visit the History section of the Materia Magica website at http://www.materiamagica.com/game-guide/world/history.html ** In days gone by, a medium-sized blue-green planet named Alyria existed, and continues to exist, in the northern quadrant of the galaxy of Sirchade. Orbiting the planet are the twin moons, Trigael and Marabah, which emit a form of energy best described as chaotic; saturating the world of Alyria in this power. This affected life on Alyria, as all such things do. From the common roots of primal ancestry evolved several forms of life, which were known as Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, and Gnomes. As such things must be, these races discovered their differences and went their separate ways, with little or no mingling. As self-discovery continued, overall intelligence grew. Humans were interested in exploration and discovery, and as such populated several landmasses. Dwarves were concerned with the heart of the world, and in the natural expression of stone, and as such delved deep underground. Elves and Halflings were quiet beings, preferring to follow the ways of nature and existed in the forests and glens. Gnomes were enthusiastic about kinetics and machines, and lived primarily near waterfalls, volcanoes, and other natural sources of energy. With time, order developed from chaos. The separate races built towns, cities, and roads; selected leaders to guide them, each in their own way, loved, lived, and died, watched over by the twin moons that circled the planet daily. One of the greatest discoveries of that time did not go to the Dwarves, who had become obsessed with the mining of precious metals and gems; it did not fall to the Halflings or Elves, who were perfectly content with nature and shunned change; nor did it fall to the Gnomes, although many of their machines were considered great discoveries in themselves. The humans had discovered how to tap into the natural chaotic forces that flowed through every tree, every rock, every stream on Alyria. They called it Magick, and with it they were able to perform great feats of enterprise and construction. That is not, unfortunately, all it was used for. Everything must balance, and in time, Magicians were divided into three groups, depending on the way they used the forces that governed Magick. These groups were simply known as White, Grey, and Black. White magicians were concerned with the loftier pursuits of self-discovery and pure-hearted results. Black magicians were concerned with control, and power, and how they could exert that over the other denizens of Alyria. Grey magicians drew from both sides of the spectrum to create a healthy, natural balance; and as such were closest with Nature, which can be heartless and cruel one moment and beautiful and generous the next. As the races began to intermingle more, as transportation became more reliable and swifter, the Humans shared their knowledge of these occult mysteries with those who were interested, and so the world became a more orderly place. That is not to say there were not occasional wars and skirmishes, far from it. Yet the races existed together fairly peacefully for a long while, learning and exploring with each other. From the Grey Wizards, a subgroup emerged, calling themselves Druids. These were the magicians who had felt closest to nature, who saw that life balances itself, and the wheel of fortune turns slowly but surely as it moves through all creation. Because the Druids were able to understand the natural processes surrounding them, they could encourage the natural fauna of Alyria to grow and develop into sentient beings. One of their early experiments was an attempt to make a stronger race, one that would be close to nature, and respond to it, and yet intelligent enough to make its own decisions. They chose the bull, a large and unruly beast, and evolved a small group using their Magick and understanding of natural processes. The bulls were able to walk upright, and became intelligent, and the Druids were pleased. They called these beasts Minotaurs. As the Minotaurs grew in intelligence, they also grew in arrogance, for the Druids made no secret that they were attempting to create the strongest race. They learned order and hatred on their own, escaping from the Ivory Towers of the Druids and ravaging the local populous. Marking the experiment up as a failure, the Druids closed their Towers to the general populous and became even more sequestered. The White Wizards and Black Wizards were concerned about this; the White Wizards because the Minotaurs were causing so much destruction; the Black Wizards because they could not control the strong race of Bulls. They disagreed as well, on what should be done to stop this growing menace, for the numbers of Minotaurs were increasing daily. The White Wizards wanted to bring the natural balance of order back to the world, and conducted many experiments designed to bring nature to the world in a physical form. In doing so, they discovered the Faerie plane, a higher plane of existence, created from the chaos of energies that swirled throughout the universe. The Faeries, until now, had existed completely separately from the physical world, yet were attracted by the warm blood and presence of Alyria and sought to journey there. Chaos flowed through their beings as naturally as blood through a Human, giving them substance and form. However, the Faeries did not have souls; once they were destroyed they remained gone forever; and grew jealous of the races upon the Physical Plane who had them. Two groups existed among the Faeries; the Feys, and the Sidhes, governed by a Queen and a King, respectively. The Queen of the Faeries wanted control of the physical plane, which to them consisted mainly of Alyria and its Magick; the King merely wanted to continue living in peace (and ignorance, some might say). From the Queen's desire, Feys journeyed to Alyria through magickal doorways created of chaos energies, and discovered that, while the warm blood of the denizens of Alyria appealed to them, they could not stand the sun, for it burned away the chaotic darkness that made up their beings; nor could they stand water, for it nullified and purified the chaos within them, thus destroying their physical forms. It is due to these restrictions that the Queen's plan to rule the World of Souls failed; for the races discovered these weaknesses and used them to their advantage. The King, somewhat alarmed that his Queen should have control over something he did not give her, sent his own race to the physical plane, the Sidhes. The Sidhes were pleasant creatures to look at in physical form, if somewhat cold in their mannerisms. Choosing Alyria as their final battleground, the King and Queen raged war against each other, in an attempt to gain control; the Queen wanting control, and the King merely not wanting her to have it. The White Wizards were aghast at the chaos they had caused, and were taunted by the Black Wizards, who had gone their own way and had continued the Druids' racial experiments. They took the newborn spawn of one of Alyria's more fearsome, if stupid, creatures, the Dragon, and subjected it to magical rites designed to improve intelligence and form. This gave them the ability to walk on two legs and to communicate with others. The Black Wizards were not as successful as the Druids in this experimentation, however, for the Dracons, as they were called, had neither the brains nor the brawn of the Minotaurs. Yet, they did possess one powerful ability left from their former beings, the ability to use the natural gasses and forces within their bodies to produce fire, electricity, and acid as offensive measures. The Dracons did not care for the Minotaurs, either, who considered them beneath them and the two races warred continuously. In that, the Black Wizards had succeeded where the White Wizards had not, giving Minotaurs a counterbalance, an equal enemy, and so the order of Alyria was somewhat restored. The dismay of the Druids, however, was greater than that of the Black Wizards, for they had started the chain of evil events by tampering with the forces of Nature. Vowing that no Druid should ever again seek to alter the Balance of Nature, the Druids withdrew from the people into the last primal forest on Alyria, the location of their fabled Ivory Tower, and vanished from the sight of mankind forever. A thousand years passed, and the world began falling into disarray. The Great Council of Wizards was no more; the separate members having left in anger over petty quarrels and disagreements hundreds of years before. Without the Council to discourage racial strife, the separate races became more and more disillusioned with each other and eventually withdrew into their separate homelands, not wishing to intermingle with that which was not them. Wars erupted between the races, and thousands upon thousands of innocents died in meaningless squabbles. The War between the Dwarves and Humans was one of the great Race Wars, and had gone on for more than a century. The great Battle of Istani was, in both Dwarf and Human view, the key to the victor; whomever won this battle was the more superior race. However, just as Huruk (the Bearer of the Golden Hammer of Triumph) and Farren Trueblade (the Wielder of the Last Mighty Ironsword) were exchanging final blows, there was a tremendous eruption over the whole of the main continent, Sepharia. A hideous thunderclap of sound and force blew across the opposing armies, deafening and stunning those who were not killed instantly into dropping their weapons and staring, openmouthed, at the western horizon from whence the blast had come. Slowly, ponderously into the sky rose a massive Isle, which had, until just then, been the western peninsula of Sepharia. It was well known as Verity, the land of the dark Sorcerer, Riga, who was reputed to be over a thousand years old, and had originally sat as one of the heads of the Black Council of Wizards. Dark thunderclouds swirled about the base and top of the now airborne peninsula, as it continued its ascension into the sky. Occasional streaks of lightning would erupt from beneath the Isle, and tons of earth and molten rock poured over the land for fifty miles in all directions. From within the dark clouds came a great Voice, the voice of Riga, which proclaimed the following: "I, Riga, am now the ruler of all the lands upon Alyria. As I have spoken, let all now feel the Power of my Words." With that, there fell upon the peoples of Alyria a crushing blow, a mental force, a spell so powerful that it caused all who were outside to fall upon their knees and raise their voices in praise to the great Sorcerer Riga, even though deep within their entranced minds they were screaming in utter Horror. Even the faeries could feel the power of the Voice, and fled shrieking back to the Faerie Plane so that they would not fall under its power. Utter Silence befell the land; the birds even ceased to sing. From within the dark Tower upon the floating Verity Isle, Riga laughed and cackled, for now all that was upon Alyria was his. Thus did Riga's five-hundred year reign begin, referred to by historians as the Age of Silence, for not once during that long span of years did the birds sing again. As the centuries passed, Riga reigned with a careful, if often cruel, hand. Those who opposed him were immediately slain. Riga, however, began to feel the weight of the years upon his back, for Sorcerers, even though their magic can greatly extend their lifespan, cannot live forever. In his quest for companionship, Riga created the winged Aeriels, which guarded his tower, but he was never able to bless them with the power of Speech, such a feat being beyond any mortal Sorcerer without divine intervention of some kind, but Riga served no Powers, thinking them crutches for the weak. It was thus that Riga accepted his first and only apprentice, a young Sorceress named Cassandra. She was indeed beautiful, and rumor spoke of a romance that existed beneath the guise of learning. Cassandra learned of many things; the Temporal Displacement Spell, with which one can reverse the effects of time in a wide area range; the Spell of a Hundred Years of Silence, with which one can remove the subject's ability to speak for a hundred years; and it is rumored she even learned the dreaded Armageddon Spell, with which one can incinerate all life upon the planet, checked only by boundaries of water. Needless to say, the spell had only been cast twice in the history of Alyria, both with equally dreadful results. As Cassandra drank in the knowledge the Sorcerer was bestowing upon her, she became more and more curious about the secret of the Sorcerer's power. She knew not where he gained the increased magical strength, required to cast spells like the Armageddon Spell and to use the magical Voice in the manner which he had done; however, she did know about the room at the top of the Tower, the one in which she was never allowed, the entrance so covered with wards and magical alarms that she could feel their glowing presence from a hundred feet away. Cassandra began to plot and scheme, planning the Sorcerer's downfall. What lay beyond that door she could only dream, but she knew it was the key to the Sorcerer's power and by rights it should be hers. The only thing standing in the way of her plan were the loyal, dumb Aeriels, who heeded every beck of their Master's call. After much wheedling and manipulating, she managed to get them banished from the tower during the nighttime hours, claiming they made her nervous. They did, but not for the reason that the Sorcerer assumed. Her chance came one evening, upon a rare occurrence in which the light of the twin moons, Trigael and Marabah, were extinguished by the cold shadow of Alyria, and all the land was utterly dark. Without the power of the Moons, a Sorcerer's power is greatly diminished, and Cassandra knew this. She waited in her bed with a jeweled knife gripped firmly in her grasp, over and over repeating the words of an Incantation of confusion that would cloud Riga's senses for that brief instant she needed to be able to slip the knife past his shields and into his withered flesh. Riga came to her that night, as she knew he would. As Riga fell to the floor, blood cascading from the mortal wound she had given him, she smiled gleefully at the power that would soon be hers. Not everything went as she had planned, however, for at the passing of the Sorcerer Riga, the shutters of the tower banged violently at a sudden wind which had sprung up from nowhere. The Aeriels began wailing outside the thick stone walls, and to her alarm Cassandra heard the sound of the window breaking, and saw the white wings of an Aeriel as they began to fly into the bedchamber. Her magic being limited by the lack of the Twins, Cassandra hastily retreated up the stairs, heading for that repository of power for which she had yearned for so long, knowing that its magic would give her the strength she needed to destroy the rebellious Aeriels and take control of what had been Riga's. The door, held shut by magic, had shifted ajar at the Sorcerer's passing. She pushed open the door and beheld the key to Power, a glowing red Stone, which hovered in the center of the room, held in check by the power of an elaborate pentacle interwoven with sigils and runes engraved in the stone beneath her feet. Hearing the beating wings of the Aeriels behind her as they flew up the stairs, she hastly crossed the pentacle and grasped the Stone within her hands. A circle of fire enveloped the room, and the very foundations of the tower shook, causing structural damage throughout the building. Cassandra's hands remained gripped tightly on the Stone; the Stone which Riga had siphoned power from but had never attempted to use directly, for he feared it, as it was not of this world. Two hundred years passed, and the events on the floating Verity Isle faded into legend, save for the memories of a few wayward adventurers who dared to discover its location and unlock the mystery of the Tower of Riga. It is said that the fierce Aeriels still guard their now-Masterless tower, and slay anyone who dares come near. World events now assuming a normal course, several feudal Lords came together to form the first Alyrian Council, with plans to better the world and all those who lived upon it. The greatest of these lords was known as Agrippa, for he governed the majestic, ancient towne of Rune. The other great nobles were Lord Vendredi, the master of the magical city of Sigil; Lord Telleri, the ruler of his self-named city Tellerium; Lord Vashir, the overseer of the rogue-infested town of New Rigel; and Lady Undya, the governess of the clerical city of Xaventry. ** For more stories, please see the History section of the Materia Magica website at: http://www.materiamagica.com/game-guide/world/history.html **
factions - groups of people (and/or creatures) united by an ideology
Factions exist throughout the world of Alyria, and your standing amongst the varied factions can be important depending on your goals. Faction standing can affect many things, such as: * Ability to equip/use certain faction-bound pieces of equipment * Cause faction members to attack you on sight, or possibly to assist you * Give you access to exclusive faction banks * Give you discounts at exclusive faction stores, or the ability to buy from those stores at all using credits from the faction bank (some faction-run shops may not accept gold or any other form of currency, except as issued as credit from their bank) Faction Types There are many different faction types, which are primarily used for classification purposes. These faction types are similar to clan types. Current faction types are: Guild Region Racial Towne Class Clan Alliance Cartel Coven Court Order Faction Points and Standing Levels To increase or decrease in standing with a faction, you will gain or lose faction points. When you are first 'noticed' by a faction, you start out neutral, with a faction standing of "ambivalent" (0 points). As you gain faction points, your standing level will change. Faction levels range from feared to legendary, and points range from -27,500 to 27,500. Faction standing levels are: Legendary 22,500 to 27,499 faction points Esteemed 17,500 to 22,499 faction points Distinguished 12,500 to 17,499 faction points Liked 7,500 to 12,499 faction points Appreciated 2,500 to 7,499 faction points Ambivalent -2,500 to 2,499 faction points Apprehensive -7,500 to -2,499 faction points Disliked -12,500 to -7,499 faction points Disgraced -17,500 to -12,499 faction points Despised -22,500 to -17,499 faction points Feared -27,500 to -22,499 faction points The FACTION command displays a list of factions and your current standing with each one. Gaining and Losing Faction Points You can gain or lose points with particular factions via the following actions: * Completing certain quests * Firing upon and sinking faction ships * Slaying faction NPCs Additionally, some factions have restrictions as to who can gain points with them (such as specific race-bound factions). Opposing Factions Many factions will have goals opposing other factions, and so helping one will necessarily disadvantage the other. Some relationships will involve many factions all opposed to one another; gaining favor with one will result in losing equal favor with another, or all of the others equally, as appropriate, and vice versa. Faction Banks Some factions have their own banks. These banks can be used by faction members in shops associated with that faction. For example, the Alyrian Bazaar, located near New Rigel, is run by the Alyrian Merchant's Association, a well known trading faction. You can obtain vouchers that, when used, give you a certain amount of credit in the Alyrian Merchant Association's bank, which can then be used to buy goods from the Alyrian Bazaar.
ELECTIONS and POLITICS
mayoral elections - the process of electing a citizen adventurer to mayor
Elections deciding who will become the Mayor of Rune will take place for the Alyrian 4-day period encompassing the 12-15th of the months of January, May and September. Elections are held in The Council Chamber in Rune Town Hall, off of Rowan Road. Election officials ensure that elections are held fairly and that only citizens of Rune may vote. To become a citizen of Rune, one must be a property-holder in Rune, and demonstrate that they are active homeowners in the area. Once they have proved this to the satisfaction of the election officials, voting is as simple as using the voting booth for the citizen of your choice. Mayoral candidates do not have to be citizens of Rune to be voted for or win. Citizens may only vote once, and homeowners switching their citizenship from another town on the day of the election may not vote in it. Lord Agrippa is very apprehensive about testing out this new-fangled 'democracy' thing, and is wary about anything that could confuse the results; as such, election fraud is taken very seriously, and the utmost scrutiny is applied to make sure that alternates are not used to tamper with results. At 11:59pm on the last day, the 15th, votes are tallied by election imps and their impartial supervisors, and a winner is announced. In the event of two or more candidates tying with the same number of votes, one winner be will be chosen at random from among the tying candidates. The election officials will take down the election booth, and the mayor may go acquaint themselves with the High Judge of Rune, who serves as mayoral advisor. The Mayor of Rune is the only person authorized to wear the Rune Mayor's official top hat of office, with which they may affect change around town. When interacting with the High Judge of Rune, the mayor has several lines of inquiry available to them: Asking the Judge about 'protocol' will lead him to explain that the position of mayor confers certain rights and privileges, primary among which is the ability to change certain basic elements of the towne. The properties of individual rooms may be toggled, but each change will make the town less familiar to the town council, and as such the Mayor may not change things too much. Each property has a degree of newness associated with it, representing how acceptable it is; making a room reinforced against earthquakes would represent a small change, whereas making a room no-regen would represent a big change. Asking the Judge about 'room qualities' will lead him to list the room qualities that can be changed by the Mayor, along with how much of a change they represent. In order to change a room's qualities, the Mayor must be wearing the Rune Mayor's official top hat of office, and say, "I, Mayor so-and-so, do formally declare this room to be, and then the desired property to be changed." For example, if Sylvaer were elected Mayor of Rune, she would say, "I, Mayor Sylvaer, do formally declare this room to be reinforced.", and then, until she or a future mayor reverted it, that room would be immune to earthquakes. The mayor and all adventurers may ask the Judge about 'what policies various administrations have enacted', and the Judge will list which Mayors have changed the Towne of Rune and how, as well as how much more the current mayor can change things before having to revert room qualities and undoing changes. Once every 3 Alyrian days, the mayor may have the Town Crier issue a proclamation by going to Town Square and SAYTOing the Crier [<proclamation>] The Mayor may revert a change that either the current or a previous administration has enacted, and will regain the trust of the council in doing so, permitting them to change more later. Both the council's trust and all mayor-enacted changes persist across time and regime changes, and all changes to the town are permanent until changed by a Mayor. As such, future mayoral candidates and incumbent mayors can be judged and differentiated by their willingness to listen to their constituents' wishes for change or preservation, as well as their willingness to uphold campaign promises.