Almantha is the last bastion of magic in the dying world of Therinos.
Unusually round for a continent of its size, it is home to four large kingdom-esque nations and the city state of Revien, at its center. To the north there is a mountain range, but concealed within those craggy peaks is a peaceful meadow, home to the entrance to Saalarann. This mountain range extends in a southeasterly direction, ending in a peninsula. The range abruptly stops at the edge of the peninsula, in a large mountain which houses the city of Obsidia. A large forest dominates the southern region of Almantha, and marks the territory of Dekonio. A large lagoon similarly dominates the western reaches, although the territory of Aquacor reaches nearly to the gates of Revien.
City of water. The entire city is made of it, held in place by high-power Control Water spells. The city is also made of ice and glass, as the high saturation of magic allows the city to change water to ice to glass and back. It is renowned for its heavy emphasis on the tourist trade, as well as for its university of magical theory and the many powerful casters that count among its alumni. It boasts a sizable population of humans and aventi, sleek, humanoid creatures with fins, naturally colored black and white.
City of earth. A city in a giant tree. This tree can move its existing branches on its own whims (usually during the night or in districts without anyone around to fall down), with enough control to weave its smaller branches into rope bridges. The gems collect sunlight during the day and transfer it to literal sunflowers, providing light to the city’s inhabitants. 90% of Dekonio's population is elven, but these elves are different from the pointy-eared humans one would find elsewhere on Therinos. Their close affinity for and physical proximity to a nexus of earth magic turned them into a plant race, of physically green skin, barklike clothing, and the ability to grow a hard shell for protection while sleeping. The remaining 10% are humans and any being without the desire or aptitude for the hard theory taught at the University of Aquacor, studying sigils and more practical uses of magic.
City of fire. One of the most normal of the cities in the nation, despite its location (inside a dormant volcano) and the mechanical constructs of various shapes that abound. Central tower is topped with a perfectly spherical ruby that seems to glitter as though being whirled at great speeds. Constructs are built for their functions, and have trouble “thinking” out of them. Most of them have a human face on what passes for a head, so that their organic overlords can have something to address. Human face is immobile, eyes are whited over. Entire face looks carved out of marble. Most are created by the nomon, a population of dwarf/goblin/gnome hybrids given to the city as part of an alliance with Dekonio, intended as Igors and servants for the city, but many of whom grew into brilliant scientists, engineers, and spellcasters in their own right.
City of air. When one goes to Saalarann for the first time, they might be confused by the sight of a small domed pagoda in the middle of a rolling plain. This pagoda is but the door to Saalarann, in much the same way that the plain is merely an antechamber. The actual city is above the cloud layer, three concentric rings of buildings floating several hundred miles above the surface of Therinos. It is the nest of the kiria, a race of raptorans, and second only to Aquacor in the human tourist trade.
City of balance. Home to Fissura, a religion deifying the powers behind each city, and its capital place of worship, the Noreun. also home to the Revien Freelancer Guard, a mercenary army that is contractually obligated never to march on the city where it was founded. Every full moon, there is also a black market hidden somewhere in the city, and it is considered a rite of passage for Freelancer grunts to sneak off and find it after their recruitment. As for the commanding officers, they turn a blind eye, some even going so far as to say "I do not recommend looking for the Moon Market, nor do I recommend looking in THIS area for it." Revien is unique among cities in that it is located in a canyon, with buildings crawling up the sides like bracket fungus. "Ravine" jokes are naturally frowned upon as being very, very lame puns.
The Minds are the power behind the four elemental cities, referred to separately as Aqua, Dekon, Saala, and Obsid. They are the memories and characters of the founders of each city, transformed by an ancient and powerful spell into AI-esque beings.
With power akin to gods and their desire to protect their strongholds from any attack, it is small wonder that the population worships the Minds as gods. When the Minds want something, they ask for it, and it will be given to them - or they will take it themselves.
Almantha is drenched in magic, a continent of rainforest when all around is desert. As such, many races have magic built within their very beings, and all can cast spells without physical components (as SLAs). However, spellcasting is tied to the four elements, in that there must be water (or at least liquid) nearby in order to cast water-aligned spells.
The Minds have access to epic-level amounts of power, and have used it in long-lasting enchantments that keep themselves and their peoples safe. However, the enchantments have been slowly failing, as of late, due to a combination of age, neglect, and the machinations of an ancient enemy of the founders, a pioneer in the field of necromancy who has turned himself into a lich in order to continue to hound his enemies.
Schools of Magic
Of the schools of magic, 3 of them are known to exist under all four elements. These three are: Conjuration, Restoration, and Destruction. The effects of the spells under these schools vary with the element: for example, a conjurer of air can teleport himself or his party, while a conjurer of fire can cast illusions to distract an enemy, while a conjurer of water can confuse or dominate. Restoration spells are fairly constant across all elements (mostly healing, far too useful to restrict to fewer than all the elements), while destruction spells take circumstance bonuses in the presence of that element.
However, there are some spell schools which do not fall under the four elements - Necromancy spells, for example, require both the services of an earth caster (to animate the body) and a fire mage (to call back a soul to act as a control measure, in the way a brain controls a body). The relevant subsets are listed below:
- Necromancy - Earth and Fire
- Golemcrafting - Earth and Water
- Transmutation - Earth and Air
- Scrying - Air and Water
- Planar Shifting - Air and Fire
- Planar Summoning - Fire and Water
A recent development is the creation of sigils. These are runes that have been imbued with a single spell (the type of spell depends on the rune) and the power to cast it once, with different triggers written into the binding circle.