nice long flavourful setting description
Terrain: Mountain (mountain cities and monastaries, being high up is getting closer to the good Gods and further away from the bad Gods)
Technology: Thaumics (holy technology powered by faith, we are blessed by divine gift for our diligent work to praise and serve the Gods)
Government: Technocracy (technology is a divine gift given to the most worthy)
Wildlife: Epic (fantastic creatures from myths)
Culture: Artisan (good work is both durable and beautiful, truth has to be beautiful)
Society: Centralized (the Church guides us in all things, without it we are lost)
Creed: God Kings (divine tech-priests/tech-popes)
Fire 3, Light 4, Electricity 3, Water 3, Stone 4, Darkness 2, Air 2
Locations of note:
The Red Steppes
Naxitl – famous library, destroyed in a fire some years ago
The Order of the Emerald Star
Flora and fauna:
Development: The Red Steppes, these ancient mountains and hills lie to the north of the realm and are dotted with various mining encampments used to mine the metals and crystals used in the great cathedrals across the realm, due to the intense mining dust and mud run down the steppes causing the rivers and lakes surrounding the Steppes to turn an eerie red color.
Result: the mining and the red dust wakes up some kind of sleeping monster(s), endangering the lives of the miners.
Development: Race: In desperate need of slaves for the mines, tech-pope Tlaric IV communed with the Higher Powers, and was gifted the ability to take statues and imbue them with something resembling life by placing special holy collars and manacles on them.
Result: Neither fatigue nor darkness nor stale air could slow the mining-golems in their burrowing construction. With eyes of ivory and marble-veined-flesh that rippled with muscles and cogs, within a week, the site that would become the Techgnosticon was first carved deep in the mountain. As a testament to the Almighty (Spin?), the God that pushes both cog and gear and wheel, the Techngnosticon was a cathedral that blended monastery and machine and mountain. Upon completion, many marveled – yet not the Pope. She urged the crafted army of (truly) stone masons to go forth and build a monument to her greatness… And yet, suddenly, they were still. The collars would only work for the will and edification of the Great Mechanic – and no other.
Development: Cloudport, the equivalent of a bustling, yet small, port city nestled on a plateau between two peaks somewhere on the lower half of the mountain. Myth has it the city was once a true port, and water came up to this height – but now, it is a trading hub accessed by hot-air balloon, complicated pulley-elevators and a mineshaft-'train-system.' Trade is the name of the game in Cloudport, ruled by merchants – in fact, the Mayorship is bought , rather than elected, with the proceeds going to the city-treasury. (Unless it's a metaphor)
Result: An Eidolon is born; Marius Scenon the Merchant Prince, Marius sits in Cloudport with his fingers in numerous industries and his coin purse buying many of the machinations and personages that pass through the city. A hideously fat man with golden skin he sits on a throne of precious metals looking for ways to expand his power. People fear invitations to his feasts, for it has been said he devours those who displease him in one mighty bite. (Sandshaper-2, Gilded-2, Insatiate Jaws-3)
Development: A Cultural Innovation develops: Some fool taught the golems to sing hymnals! The innovation of Golems as musical instruments was a strange one thought up by a little known Tech-Priest obsessed with expressing himself despite being tone-deaf, the practice of making the golems sing by implanting your own faithful and musical thoughts into the golems has begun to spread through the realm.
Result: Holiday: The Festival of Ol'orra. A week long celebration, full of song, music and wine. An integrel part of the celebrations are musical contests, in which choirs of singing Golems compete for the honor of a year-long assignment at The Celestial Halls, located on the top of Mount Puchtec.
Development: Tech discovered: Famine and plagues devastated the lands. High Tech-Priest Tla'ak heard his people's cries for help, and went on a sacred walkabout. For 62 days and 62 night, dressed in nothing but rags, eating no scraps of food and drinking not a single drop, he searched the lands for a solution. Kolwai, the Goddess of Life, took pity on him, and let her blood spill forth from the ground in front of him. Scores of sick and injured people soon came to this holy site, selling all their possessions in order to make the pilgrimage. The Blood of Kolwai would cure almost any wound and regrow missing limbs, but not even it could bring somebody back from the The Lands Beyond Life.
Result: As Tla'ak sought solace and salvation through sacrifice and saintliness, Cardinal Wendyl's piety took a different turn. It was her belief that this was a test of the Great Mechanic, a call for evolution. The loquacious speaker gathered the downtrodden, the idealistic, the pragmatic and even the sadistic to her side, and began her experiments on the poor of her parish, Raven's Nook. Failing organs were studied – machinery replaced those functions of import that could be replicated and anything else was left to rot or flourish as it would. When Tla'ak returned with his cure, Wendyl saw it as heresy, thus bringing about the Machinist Schism. Her machine-(wo)men marched upon the Techngnosticon, seeking to seize the Holy Seat of Government, yet the attempt failed. The Machinist schism was declared heretical, a violation of the Great mechanic's invention of the human body, yet many members of the cult remain – some as Bishops with secret leanings, and the rest on the Far Peaks.
Development: Cultural innovation: In preparation for the honoring of the 17th anniversery of the unfortunate death of His Holiness, Tech-Pope Atzalsan IIX, blessed be his name, the High Dancer Leuleinl, honored be her name, was asked to commemorate the occasion with a spectacular performance. She sought inspiration from nature, in the yearly mating dance of the shallat birds, and choreographed an intricate dance number with two dozen dancers dressed in bright colours. All the High-Priest were so amazed with this performance, that they all announced in unison that the dance be performed again, at that same date in every following year. It later became part of the priestly education to learn this complicated and exquisite dance.
Result: A monster is born, Some tech-priests amazed by the beauty of the dance saught to alter the golem-slaves into dancers but found their thought processes to strict and their motions too rough, finding ways to delve into the minds of the golems and altering their bodies the Tech-Priests thought they were getting closer, until the golems went mad and turned on them, caught between the freedom to understand art and beauty, and the desire to serve the golems lashed out in confusion and escaped. Loose now these long limbed mad golem monstrosities wander the mountains, trying to find someone to serve them and then flaying their new masters in a brutal method that crudely imitates dance. The peasants call them "The Dancing Dolls" in hushed whispers
Development: A Settlement is founded; South of the Red Steppes a group of peace loving Tech-Priests, afraid of the growing conflicts and sects within their society, founded a large fortress city. ChapelGuard is an enormous walled up fortress monastery that welcomes all who desire purity and peace, protected from the outside world with its amazingly high walls the only thing that can be seen poking up over the walls are the three spires of the central church. The three spires carved from smooth white stone are adorned with golden scripture and gears that lead up to the chapel bell nested in the middle of the three spires that rings to call mass and can be heard from miles away.
Result: While for ages the Holy seat was located in the Technocropolyconwhatnot, Pope Ey'tuil chose to relocate her court to ChapelGuard. Some say it was fear of a Machinist revolution, others say it was aesthetic differences. Subsequent Popes followed in her footsteps, thus occurred an unspoken change in the location of where His/Her Holiness did business.
Development: When the realm of Tonalan was still you, many strange and wonderful creatures roamed the lands. Greatest of them all was Tlantlali, The Great Devourer. No Coyo, nor Neska, nor Chan nor Azpan could stand against such a mighty foe. The mighty beast terrorized the lands for many ages, unto one day, when the Gods sought to bring peace to the lands. Three Gods were chosen, Apala of the Gods Up High, Ximal of the Gods Down Low and Esotan of the Gods Far Beyond. <insert 2 hour long epic battle sequence here> In the end, the gods managed to slay the beast, but at the cost of their own lives. Ever since then, at <time of the year>, great gladiatorial games would be held, pitting three brave fighters against a giant snake.
Result: Treasure: If, at the end of the game, there would be a victor, he or she would be given a sacred suit of armor, made out of the soft belly scales of a zennen snake. This suit, while being more durable than iron, does not weigh more than normal clothes, and due to it's coloration would make its bearer almost invisible in dense foliage.
Development: The Coyo or "Mountain People" as the Nesca used to refer to them as are a humanlike group of Nascent with stocky builds and fair skin, with hair ranging from shining blondes to deep browns. The Coyo tend to be a faithful and industrius lot, though they contain within their culture an unhealthy spark of greed. Their celebrations of faith tend to be more reserved than the Nesca's.
Development: The Nesca are the once nomadic people inhabiting the steppes and lowlands of the realm. Tall and slender compared to the Coyo, the Nespa peoples also exhibit darker skin and hair than their brethren. The Nesca culture praises competition and strength, ideals which usually work their way into Nesca faith celebrations. The Nesca fear corruption of the realm and are hard pressed to tolerate heresy.
Development: In the center of the great lowlands rises Mezatlatan the great Nesca temple city. A vast construction that presents strikingly different architecture than Coyo inspired settlements, Mezatlatan's walls are intricately carved and brightly painted with religious symbols and godly images. The inner city houses a massive colorful temple with 10 towers each houses a bell that ring in unison during celebrations. Mezatlatan also possesses numerous arenas the Nesca use for their competitions and sports.
Result: Organization: A sect called The Order of the Emerald Star, originally from the Coyo monastary on Razorwing Peak, lead by the High-Priest Ijffdrie (sometimes called the Wild Minded (mad, insane)), infiltrated the holiest of holy places in the Temple of the Stars in Mezatlatan, and stole the Eye of Illumination, one of the few relics that survived the War of the Scarlet Whispers. Due to this, the sect has been marked heretical and any loyal followers of <name of main religion> are commanded to work towards their total eradication.
Conflict: The Machinist Schism
During the Machinist Schism, irreconcilable differences of doctrine spurred an altercation between two philosophical factions of the Church of the Great Mechanic.
The Ardents, or Catholics, who believed that the faithful should live as, an in the context of how the Great Mechanic made them, emerged as the victors. They worship the traditional gods and their Saints are the great thinkers.
The Machinists, believe that the Great Mechanic (aka Great Mechanist) set herself up as an example to be followed, and that salvation and enlightenment comes not through passive contemplation and mere acceptance of existence, but by industriously challenging the natural form, and integrating the lessons of technology and biology into an emergent, self-evolving form. Predominantly, the belief is that eventually, technology that can access and mechanize the Soul will arrive, and when they have created themselves as Her equals in spiritual, biological, and mechanical, perfection, she will raise them to her side.
Led by Cardinal Wendyl of Raven’s Nook Parish, the Machinists marched upon the Technocron – but were unsuccessful. While the remnants of the Machinists fled to the Far Peaks, they were not fully banished from the realms. Certain priests and bishops still come across their teachings, tweaking them or using them as validation for creating new heresies, further splintering the Faith. Urban myths of mad hermit priests that ‘perfect’ the poor and dying have proliferated into an Art form. Some also claim these activities are coordinated by a secret cult of Machinists who have somehow managed to remain hidden, despite holding high positions in the church hierarchy.