September 2023

  • Religions in the Asteanic World

    Religions in the Asteanic World

    The Doctrine of Eternal Waters

    Also known as the Temple of the Divine Ocean or just Asteanic Polytheism.

    The Asteanic people believe they originated from the Eternal Waters, an ancient realm of water from which they were once expelled. All Asteanic individuals are descendants of the ancestral deities, Bellaris and Regulla, and most of their other major deities as well. The majority of Asteans also adhere to the concept of Reincarnation, believing that after death, they are reborn as water elves (a concept difficult to prove or disprove).

    What sets Asteanic religion apart is the absence of any gods associated with the creation of the world. Instead, they have adopted local creator deities when subjugating other lands. For instance, in Orenic lands, this has led to a syncretic religion known as the Cult of the 18 Gods, blending local creator deities with the Asteanic deities.

    As the Orenic belief is that after death, all individuals merge into the Collective Spirit from which they were originally born, this has stirred up strife within the Asteanic community. The conflict has even spread throughout the entire Asteanic world. This concept is equally challenging to prove.

    Old or Azurian deities complement the Thefna Asteanic pantheon, associated with natural forces and feared rather than worshipped. Azurian deities are regarded as demanding and hostile toward Asteans. The major Asteanic deities symbolize the Asteanic capacity to withstand those forces of nature.

    Asteanic belief is that all Otherworldly beings are aspects of some deity. Aspects linked to their major deities are sometimes invoked and venerated. Special temples house some of these aspects, serving as significant pilgrimage destinations. Asteans also venerate numerous local lesser deities with whom they interact closely.

    The official doctrine of the Temple of the Divine Ocean rejects the idea that anyone, even the aspects of the gods, can predict the future. Divination is considered heretical.

    But in general, their religion is quite tolerant of other faiths. They recognize other nations’ gods as local deities, and when they settle in foreign lands, they also worship them. Only the monotheistic beliefs are foreign and incomprehensible to them.

    While Asteans generally offer animals or material goods as sacrifices, it’s not unheard of for a human to be offered as a sacrifice before significant military campaigns or other extraordinary events. However, this tradition has almost died out, as many Astean people no longer tolerate this brutal tradition.

    Asteanic polytheism and the priesthood of the Temple of the Divine Ocean support a complex, multi-caste social hierarchy through traditions and myths.

    However, a deep rift exists in Asteanic culture when it comes to beliefs about the Concept of  Collective Spirit and the Concept of Reincarnation. Both concepts acknowledge the same gods, but the central dispute revolves around what happens to the soul after death, leading to significant differences in their approach to traditions and the world.

    Most Asteans believe in the reincarnation as water elves, a cornerstone of the Asteanic religion since its inception. Believers of the Concept of Reincarnation view themselves as superior to other nations, as only an Asteanic person can be reborn as a water elf when a proper waterfuneral is performed. As you can imagine, this raises the question of what happens if one parent is not Asteanic? This has led to complex debates among believers in reincarnation on whether the soul comes from the mother, the father, or both. Among the common people, there is a belief that one Asteanic parent is sufficient.

    Additionally, believers in reincarnation regard ancestor spirits in the Otherworld as beings who failed on their life journey, not achieving rebirth, and becoming trapped in the spirit realm. Hence, the veneration of ancestors is not prevalent among them. Why worship a failed ancestor?

    Supporters of the Collective Spirit Concept believe that after death, the souls of all the world’s people unite into one great Collective Spirit, from which all the world’s souls were originally drawn. This belief has led them to feel more equal to other nations, and they do not see intermarriage with foreigners as taboo.

    There is also a significant difference in burial customs. Collective Spirit believers advocate cremation because they believe it helps the soul move on more effectively. The ashes are either interred in a necropolis with an urn or scattered. On the other hand, those who believe in the Reincarnation concept favour waterburials, where the deceased’s body, encased in concrete shoes, is submerged in the sea or another body of water to expedite rebirth as a water elf.

    The view on ancestor spirits also varies. While they may not have succeeded in uniting with the Collective Spirit, they are believed to remain in the Otherworld to support and guide future generations.

    In most Asteanic nations, the Concept of Collective Spirit is prohibited, and its practitioners are actively pursued by temples and theologians. However, it is relatively easy to conceal this belief since it is not directly observable, except for the burial traditions.

  • Astral Projection magic school translated and the Azure Warrior archetype added

    Astral Projection magic school translated and the Azure Warrior archetype added

    /Archetype below and on Archetypes page:

    Azure Warrior Archetype

    Azure Warrior Archetype Character Sheet

    Azure Assassins, or Azure Warriors, are warrior-sorcerers in Asteanic culture who have weaponized the use of Astral Projection magic. With the help of powerful substances like Skyblue, these warriors leave their bodies behind and fight as souls – wielding Soulbleed weapons and utilising abilities only available to ghosts, such as flying and becoming invisible.

    As the cost of studying magic and acquiring the specialised equipment needed to become an Azure Warrior is high, most of them belong to wealthy noble castes. However, they are seldom rulers themselves, as using the most potent narcotic substances required for their powerful abilities can make them susceptible to addiction and madness. Many Azure Assassins serve powerful rulers or offer their skills as assassins, albeit on the other side of the law.

    An archetypal sample character can already exit their body and use the Manipulation of Physical Objects spell to strangle enemies. However, they still need to learn how to take powerful Soulbleed weapons with them and acquire other spells. Additionally, it’s worth focusing on developing their combat skills. You have the potential to be one of the most dangerous warriors in Asteanic culture. Understandably, an astral warrior like you has certain advantages. It’s very difficult for conventional weapons to harm you; your DR against them is 20 when astral projecting. However, Soulbleed weapons and silver weapons inflict damage normally. Successful attacks deduct Soul HP from you.

    If you ever acquire a Soulbleed weapon, using it in your astral form allows you to fight with it, and when you hit someone with your weapon, you also deduct Soul HP from them. Regular armour does not protect against those attacks, and most people have fewer Soul HP than regular HP.

    When you use your Soulbleed weapon while in your physical body, regular armour provides protection because it can’t simply phase through armour like it can in spirit form. However, in this case, the spirit weapon deducts both types of HP simultaneously. Steel inflicts regular wounds, and the spirit within it inflicts soul wounds.

  • Asteanic Enclave

    Asteanic Enclave
    Districts of Irongate

    Although the Asteanic Empire never conquered Kaliland, it doesn’t mean that Asteanic merchants didn’t find their way to this distant world. In fact, the entire former Itza Sea Empire was built upon trade with the Asteanic merchants.

    During the Empire’s era, the Itza kings held almost complete control over trade with the Asteani within their realm. They primarily bought iron and tin for bronze casting and, in return, sold them precious goods collected from their tribes: jade, obsidian, valuable gemstones, pearls, precious coral, ebony, as well as hides and ivory from exotic animals. The Itza kings were esteemed and loyal business partners for the Asteanic merchants.

    Trade thrived, and to support it, the kings of Irongate allocated land in the marshy and mangrove areas on the eastern bank of the Murkway River to the Asteanic merchant houses. This allowed them to establish their trade halls and ports there. Following the locals, the Kali, and the southern Orenic people, Irongate is still home to a significant Asteanic population. While the majority are Southern-Asteanic, it’s not uncommon to encounter Northern-Asteanic people as well.

    Asteanic Enclave (when you look closer, you see that I used the feitoria models from the book preview:

    The Asteanic enclave within the city was always complex, consisting of different fortifications, palazzos and feitorias belonging to various great houses. In terms of social structure, it resembled the Kali neighbourhoods, which were also divided into territories of various tribes. The large Asteanic trading houses often competed with each other or even engaged in open war. Centuries ago, during the height of the vast Asteanic Empire, these conflicts were resolved in the city by an Imperial-appointed High-Magistrate of Kaliland. However, with the fall of the Empire, the existence of such a universally recognized figure among all successor states became impossible. In recent centuries, King of Irongate personally resolved disputes among Asteanic trading houses. Consequently, there was no single leader in the Asteanic colony of Irongate. One could even say that, through the judiciary, the colony fell directly under the rule of the King of Irongate.

    The fall of the Itza Sea Empire had a devastating impact on overseas trade in Irongate. While Irongate’s interest in Asteanic goods like iron and tin remained, without tribute to the king, there was almost nothing to offer the Asteanic merchants in return. Of course, one cannot speak in absolutes; Asteanic merchants still operate in the city, and the enclave is by no means deserted. However, many palazzos and trade halls belonging to merchant houses from Thefna and other distant Asteanic regions have been abandoned. The Imperial Bank and other important institutions have departed, and the jungle is gradually reclaiming its territory. Only merchants from the nearby Republic of Five Houses and the Orenic Sumatra Republic remain active in Irongate.

    One of the few impressive new buildings in all of Irongate is the Feitoria la Birra. With the fall of the Empire, Irongate faced a food shortage. A city with 100 000 residents couldn’t sustain itself only with its hinterland and Turtletown fishermen. About a quarter of the required food had to be imported, and this was demanded as tribute during the Empire’s time. After the Empire’s fall, this practice was no longer possible. One of the five houses of the Republic of Five Houses, la Birra, stepped in immediately to address the food shortage. Their extensive farmlands not only sustain Ostia, the capital of the Republic, but are so vast and fertile that they can even supply two major cities of the world. La Birra immediately moved to fill the gap that had emerged in the market and constructed an impressive fortified Feitoria to oversee the entire operation.

    Feitoria la Birra has since become the unofficial center of the enclave, led by Princess Eudora la Birra, the daughter of la Birra’s house leader, who serves as an unofficial leader of the Five Houses Republic merchants in Irongate. She has also managed to maintain relatively neutral relations with the Sumatra Republic merchants.

    Feitoria la Birra has since evolved into the unofficial heart of the enclave, and its director, Princess Eudora la Birra, the daughter of the nillwring (leader) of the la Birra house, serves as the informal leader of the Republic of Five Houses’ merchants operating here. She has also successfully maintained relatively neutral relations with the merchants of the Sumatra Republic.

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