Archive for August, 2008

Whar be the articles?

Posted in Site News on August 31, 2008 by Eathanu

Okay, so here’s the deal: High school senior year AP physics and otherwise full schedule. Needless to say, updates will be a little more sparse. Now couple this with a total lack of ideas what to write. Now threesome it with the fact that I want to start writing Black Skies soon and see if I can’t get it published before even finishing college (thus, y’know, maybe even paying for some of it instead of student loans up the ass). Finally, foursome it with my desire to play through Final Fantasy IX, something that just feels right to do about now. That’s, uh, one of those complicated things.

That said, I think I have a viable plan. Weekends are still free, as far as I know. I mean, there’s shit to do, but I have essentially unlimited time at night, as long as I don’t care about waking up at four. PM. So, I will try to write out about three or four articles per weekend, probably all on Sunday night, defeating the purpose, and then post them during the week, trying to space them out a bit or something.

So how does this affect you, the reader? Well, it doesn’t, and you just read two hundred something words about something that doesn’t really affect you at all. At least, that is my hope. I’ll try to post something Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday like I was during the summer.

I’m thinking this week I’ll start up a new section and try to knock out at least one of those race articles, probably humans.

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The Abyss

Posted in Places on August 23, 2008 by Eathanu

“When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”

~Friedrich Nietzsche

Nearly every serious adventurer from the rise of the Emarion empire to the sky age took their chances within the Abyss at least once. The Abyss was a series of caves, caverns, and otherwise underground locales that stretched all across the planet Azureus, all interconnected in a confusing web that represented the madness contained within. The abyss was first the perfect place to explore for the lionhearted, home to dragons and less dangerous creatures, and second the spawning grounds for the Necros, who used the twisted halls to confuse interlopers and keep their secret ritual chambers safe.

There are numerous entrances to the Abyss all over Azureus, but the largest, best-known, and most travelled is that which lies in the mountains east of Dragonmark. Many known entrances also exist on the continent of Crim, and there is one closely monitored cave inside the city-island of Materia itself.

With locations on every continent, it’s clear that the Abyss runs under the oceans themselves, and one stretch cavern stands out from all others; a section that runs underneathe the ocean, totally exposed to the waters, with a still-breathable pocket of air that presumably replenishes itself. There explorers can see the waters above them, as well as what lives at the very bottom of the sea. The location is clearly magical, and is roughly circular with a high ceiling that’s best described as “membrane-like” with a diameter of about half a kilometre. Credit for this locale is often given to Levia, as water is her specialty.

Dimensional gates are also believed to exist within the Abyss, and many delve into the cave hoping to find a portal to another existence, though this belief was never truly confirmed. Most who went in with the express desire to locate a dimentional warp never returned, either because they found one, or because they found a hungry black dragon or a patrolling necros guard. Those who did return never found anything, or barely escaped with their lives.

There are those who manage to make the Abyss their homes, mostly demented souls, or those who desire complete seclusion from the trappings of civilization. Most who attempt this quickly die, but as a person becomes accustomed to the unforgiving conditions of the Abyss, it grows into the perfect arena in which to hone the instincts and achieve amazing mortal power.

Luckily, for most people, the Abyss is a place for all the bad things in the world to exist in one convenient location, and for adventurers to go get themselves killed. The Necros and occasional angry dragon are the only serious threats in the entire history of Azureus to consistently crawl out of the Abyss.

Emarion Time Scale

Posted in Science on August 21, 2008 by Eathanu

It’s about time I explain the various aspects of the standard Emarion calendar, and perhaps do something absurd like calculate the age of the universe when it dies. For starters, the second is the same length as our second, mostly for simplicity and because there’s no point in it being any longer or shorter. Emarion time also uses a sort of base sixty, so minutes are sixty seconds and hours are sixty minutes.

From there on it distinguishes itself from our time. There are 36 hours in an Emarion day, eighteen of them night and the other eighteen day. The average person sleeps about ten to eleven of those hours. Weeks aren’t really counted, though Bangar culture separates the months into two fortnights with one day in between each, the days being holidays of sorts. Each month is thirty days, no more and no less.

The months are separated into four seasons, which each contain two months, making the months per year eight. Each month is named after a god, and each season is named after an element. Thus, the season of Fire (Summer) contains the months Ifire and Oriin; the season of Wind (Autumn) contains Mhogul and Indra; the season of Water (Winter) contains Leviah and Histan; and the season of Earth (Spring) contains Shadou and Bhrin. The new year is considered to be the first of Ifire.

After Eathanu became a god, he added two more days to the year, in which a season of his creation universally affects Azureus. The days are slightly foggy and small ice crystals descend, not completely unlike snow, but they are always moving slowly straight down. The two days became a holiday that, during the Sky Age brought a lot of pilots home for the display. These two days technically lengthened the year and required the orbit of Azureus be slowed by that amount, which the gods agreed to, and they stayed there every year proceeding the year D0.

Speaking of which, it may be obvious, but in case it isn’t, year notation is simple. 1000D means one thousand years before the Dragonian War, and D1000 means one thousand years after. The year zero is usually shown as D0 instead of 0D, just as a standardization.

That leads us to the semi-promise I made on the last article. The universe was created by Youle in 1648D. The universe ended in D4024, which means the universe was only 5672 years old when it poofed. This seems like very little time, and it is, but since Emaria pretty much takes evolution out of the picture, with all of the existing races having been created by a god, it’s actually a decent amount of time (and, as I understand it, longer than our universe has been around, according to the Bible. Go ahead and correct me if I’m wrong on that). So (*deep breaths*):
The universe was 5672 years in existence,
24 712 seasons passed (including one for each of Eathanu’s two days),
45 376 full months of age,
1 369 328 days in number (again counting Eathanu’s days after the war),
49 295 808 hours to it,
2 957 748 480 minutes alive,
and 177 464 908 800 seconds old. Holy fuck.
One hundred seventy-seven billion, four hundred sixty-four million, nine hundred eight thousand, eight hundred seconds in all of this universe’s life. I expected several times that.
Oh, and in Hex that’s 2951BB9C00. Cause, you know, I like hexidecimal.

Hopefully this was, in a way, informative. At least I can start typing out whatever relating to months or seasons and not think “are is my reader going to get that?”

Oriin

Posted in Religion on August 19, 2008 by Eathanu

Oriin was the god of shadows, beloved of dark knights and less reputable figures. In fact, many people liked him for his dry, sarcastic humour. The other gods often had him deliver bad news, as it became expected based on his persona. Before Eathanu, he was probably the most communicable with mortals.

He didn’t always like delivering the bad news, and it was his final appearance to mortals that he dreaded the most. One of the few things the gods knew about Youle is that, if he were ever to return to the universe he had created, it would soon end.

The mortal people were given notice in the usual method used by the gods: Oriin was sent to tell every sentient, living or dead, in their dreams or before their waking eyes. Youle himself allowed Oriin to understand that the end would occur in exactly one hundred years. When he was told, it would make the time of destruction on the Emarion calendar New Year’s, D4024. For many races this meant little. Humans at the time had an average lifespan of only ninety years anyway, and Bangar only lived to about seventy. It was Emarions who were hit the hardest by this. Many were doomed to die ahead of time.

Most actually took it well. A hundred years is more than enough time to get their affairs in order, and much of the adult population would be dead anyway. Minor gods and immortals were often torn. On the one hand, many had lived long, long deaths and seen more than they wished to see, while others felt cheated that their ticket to unending life had a nearing expiration date.

Eathanu and Oriin took some steps to make the end less unpleasant than it had to be. Reproduction was halted universally, excepting pregnancies that had already started. Messages of planes of existence that would be spared from the destruction were sent out, though extraplanar travel was, even at the time, difficult and dangerous. Many people actually left the universe before it ended, especially minor gods (though they were mortals on any other plane of existence).

Noticeably the Emarion equivalent to Hell (more like purgatory, neither pleasant or unpleasant, but more or less based on the deceased’s previous life) was left unscathed, and some wizards found themselves technically dead, their body having no form there and their soul eternally bound to that plane.

By the end there were only a couple million living sentients in all of Emarion space. Most simply accepted that it was their time to die with the universe, and some even took pride in being the last of those alive. The greater gods chose to stay, knowing that they were directly Youle’s creations, and having chose to destroy his creation, he evidently wished them gone as well.

At exactly midnight on the Emarion clock, Ifire the first of the year D4024, the great universe Youle had created ended in a wink. Nobody felt anything, and no natives of any other planes were any wiser for it. Thus is the nature of life and death. Oriin would say something snarky here.

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Above: The universe, post-End (actual size)

Shadou

Posted in Religion on August 15, 2008 by Eathanu

Shadou is the god of earth and life, and is considered by some to be a little impulsive when compared to other gods like Histan. His preferred form when in a corporeal state was that of a bipedal turtle, but he also sometimes took the form of a Bangar. After Eathanu became a god, Shadou helped him get used to the nearly unlimited power, taught him his limits, and explained what the other gods would or would not allow him to do.

Once Eathanu was taken care of and returned to the world, Shadou had an idea, and as was his nature, took to working out the details while he executed the rough idea. A few weeks after Eathanu’s arrival to the world, dozens of giant turtles rose out of the waters of the world, with what amounted to islands on their backs. They continued to rise, out of the sea and into the sky, where they floated around as if it were the ocean itself.

With airships becoming more and more common after the war, a lot of people thought to ride up and explore the backs of these turtles. Some people found treasures hidden in caves scattered throughout the shells. Others founded villages on the backs, surviving off of farming that could be done there. The governments on the ground could hardly police the skies as well as the surface, so air pirates became a problem for those simply seeking treasures, and many found that, even if they did strike it rich off the back of a turtle, they were likely to be mugged before reaching the ground.

This unforgiving frontier in the sky lasted for almost two hundred years before Shadou decided he was done with that idea. The turtles, many with peoples’ homes on their backs, floated back down into the seas. With no more floating caves to pilfer valuables from, sky piracy was immediately reduced to the occasional supply ship getting shot down and raided, but with airships flying much closer to the ground than before, piracy was eventually stopped in its entirety.

Turtle Rising, as it was eventually called, also marked the first time that large-scale trading between the continents Viridia and Crim was established. This relative peace managed to hold out for hundreds of years, while Crim thoughtfully kept its power struggles and warring factions on its own side of the planet.

Shadou continued to tinker with the universe, but after Turtle Rising mostly did so on otherwise uninhabited planets, resulting in things like the fungal covering of Talvol, and the spectacular display that is Tarat.

Planet Database

Posted in Emaria on August 12, 2008 by Eathanu

DOWNLOAD

This is an Excel (click to download a viewer if you don’t have one) spreadsheet detailing the various star systems in the Emarion universe. These are of course only some of the systems, specifically those with orbiting bodies, and explored and populated by one or more of the empires or their people.

The other document is a standard Word file that explains how the planetary code is read. Basically, the UPRS code has three numbers (in hexadecimal), followed by a letter, another number, a dash, then a number and a letter. In less awkward terms, it will look like the following:

111E1-1T

The first number is the size of the planet, in arbitrary terms, 1-A. The second number is the atmosphere, with 1 being none, 2-4 being increasing thicknesses, 5 being unbreathable, and 6 being insidious (corrodes most conventional breathing apparatus). The third number is the percentage of water on the planet, by tens (5 is 50% surface water, A is 100%, etc.) The fourth digit is a letter than corresponds to the planet’s government, whether it’s owned by one of the empires or independent. The fifth is the local technology level (some planets have lower technology levels due to independent leadership and others have higher because of advanced research stations on the planet or what have you). The sixth is the location in orbit, and the seventh is the planetary climate.

After the UPRS code is a brief description of each planet, usually in only one or two clauses. A much more in-depth description of each planet and their systems may be forthcoming in the future, but I haven’t started on it yet, I’m not sure what form to give it, and I don’t know how complete I could make it.

Another thing to note is that both of these documents are optimized for printing. The database neatly covers two pages and the UPRS document has a bit of empty space on page 2, but mleh. The point is, if you want them on physical paper, it’s not only possible but looks pretty good.

Volume 4

Posted in Real Life on August 8, 2008 by Eathanu

I spent most of today removing SecuROM from my computer, because apparently Neverwinter Nights 2 has it. This means two things: First, I will no longer be able to play NWN2 without a crack for version 1.13 (which is fairly new and might not even be cracked in the future), and second, Atari is no longer deserving of my trust. Now, I was going to write a long article about the processes involved in removing it (see this page) and why, exactly, it is such a problem for any machine (Wikipedia covers that part, too), but no. SecuROM is not worthy of any more of my time, so I leave you with this statement:

Fuck SecuROM and anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to use it. Fuck the creators extra hard.