Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kipman Archetypal Image and the Realm of Opening

Closk Hotblood -- a Kipman Soldier

Closk is a mongrel. He has features from half-a-dozen different animals. Primarily, he is human -- tall, heavy-set, imposing, a physique reminiscent of a bull or bear. He also features a bear’s muzzle and ram’s horns. His eyes are human, an intense blue. He is in his late 20s. He has patchy fur all over his body, interspersed with tan skin and the occasional patch of reptilian scales. One hand looks like a bear paw, while the other is human. He has the backward-jointed legs and hooves of a sheep. He is dressed in ragged clothes like that of a 19th-century peasant, heavily soiled and patched -- a coarse canvas shirt and ragged pants, with a jerkin of studded leather armor over it. In his human hand, he carries an old, heavily-notched hand axe. His face tells the viewer to die horribly.

See the picture after the jump:

This is a great picture. It show a mix of at least four creatures: human, ram, bear, and lizard (scales). Closk looks angry, violent, and poor -- the biggest attributes of most Kipmen. But there's something wrong. Perhaps his face looks a little too bear-like, without enough humanity peeking through. Maybe it's how the bear claw is out of shot. Maybe it's that as a torso shot, we can't see his sheep legs. I'm not really sure -- I just know that something (small) is off, that he looks a little too generic and not quite the image I was looking for.

I'll let you know if I figure it out.

We've explored the three biggest cross-Realm governments -- and discovered they may not be appropriate for The City of Lives. But individual worlds, like Star Trek's planets-of-the-week are certainly appropriate. Let's start taking a look at them with The Realm of Opening.

I have no idea, as I begin brainstorming, what the Realm of Opening is. I was looking for names for Realms, and several "Realms of" came to mind: The Realm of Chance, The Realm of Opening, the Realm of Joy. So, based purely on the name, what is the Realm of Opening?

A new world.

The Realm of Opening is a strange place. It is the beginning of a world,a  land just forming. It is both dangerous and inspiring. It is a combination of magical and physical "new"ness. At the core, it's a young world -- noxious gases fill the air, volcanoes belch lava, the only living things yet evolved are microscopic. However, someone or something -- a god, other Far Realms entity, or a phenomenally powerful Crafter -- has set up a zone of life, where the land reshapes itself and the animals mutate and evolve day by day instead of epoch by epoch.

Archetype; The Realm of Opening is in many ways inspired by the Genesis planet of Star Trek III, but also by the beginning of Narnia as told in The Magician's Nephew. In the former, the new world blossoms unpredictably and dangerously; in the latter, Aslan breathes life into a new world, a powerful and benevolent force starting from nothing and putting it together piece by piece. Because I have envisioned (at least for now) each Realm as a planet -- in fact, a universe -- of its own, the gods of The City of Lives aren't powerful enough to build one like Aslan did. But they can mold a young planet as they'd like. Hence the Realm of Opening.

Real-Life Inspiration: The real life inspiration for the Realm of Opening is the early Earth, its chaos and deadliness.

Theme: The Realm of Opening is about creation. It is wonderful, inspiring, scary, messy, and all sorts of other contradictory adjectives. It is metaphorically a piece of art -- a story, painting, music video -- in the midst of being created.

Twist: I've been playing around with the idea that the Light -- the god that began the City of Lives and whose worship is the City's main religion -- and the Elder Trio -- the mysterious beings who currently rule the City after wiping out the Sons of Light -- are enemies. They are both Far Realms entities vying for power among the Near Realms, creating influencing, and ruling Realms. So, since the Elder Trio took over the City of Lives, perhaps the Light desires a new Realm of its own.... so it's secretly creating the Realm of Opening. Secretly, so that its followers in the City don't feel abandoned. And that -- that the god of the City has run off to make another world -- is quite a twist, a potentially world-changing secret a group of PCs could discover.

Hm. Perhaps the Holoceners -- primitives with incredible magical talent -- live here in the Realm of Opening. They are young as a species, having only had a culture for a half-dozen centuries. They certainly fit the unmanaged creative chaos of the Realm of Opening. Let's put them in!

Well, this seems like it could be an interesting place, but it's a bit nebulous. Let's put in some Locations to work with.


Caverns of the Tuol Children
Description: The first sapient species of the Realm of Opening hunt, gather, and Craft in their underground lair.
Threat: The paranoid Tuol (also known as Holoceners) have a dim view of outsiders.
Aspect: Don't Poke The Primitives
Ta'shin -- Tuol Chieftain Who Reforms The Earth As He Sees Fit
Shrine of the Eternal Descendants
Description: The Tuol/Holoceners worship those amazing people who are yet to be born. This is where they do it.
Theme: The Light holds a hidden power over the Holocene people.

Face: Hok -- Priest
And One Of The Predicted Descendants

Thousand-Mile Gorge
Description: A constantly shifting landscape of dangerous geology.
Threat: Precious metals come shifting in and out of the stone, in easy reach... but you probably won't make it out alive.

Aspect: Phenomenal Risk For Phenomenal Reward
Face: Afton Brand -- Explorer Extraordinaire And Self-Proclaimed Expert

I like it. Let's keep it around. Next time, we continue our tour of the Realms and visit Riannos, a paradise filled with conflict.