Also, any volunteers to be the "evil" empire that destroyed my group's homeland?
The Sky Kingdom of Manticore could have destroyed your homeland or at least defeated it in a war and then taxed it into oblivion like the Allies in WWI. They aren't really evil but could easily have become demonized in the eyes of your people. Much like the Cylons in BSG.
You know, another idea occurred to me. Maybe my homeland wiped ITSELF out. (They zombie apocalypsed themselves or something, I dunno.) The Sky Kingdom tries to contain the situation at around the same time my faction returns from being somewhere else. It then looks like the Kingdom destroyed their homeland, and I doubt they would be willing to entertain any other explanations.
In retrospect after having written that stuff, that may be making it overly complicated.
Awesome Morrigi Avatar by Akrim.elf. A thousand thanks.
Queen of Cities, Crown of the World, Beating Heart of Ten Thousand Empires
A Brief History of Vien-Au
Before there were words to record it, there was Vien-Au. Before there was art to portray it, there was Vien-Au. Before civilization itself, there was Vien-Au.
The city of Vien-Au is ancient. No one really knows how old; the only thing the records show is at least three different incidents of older records being destroyed. The common folk say that the city was built before the concept of time existed to measure it, and they may very well be right. Over the millennia of its existence it has played host to countless empires and kingdoms, each greater than the last. A conqueror would arise in the city and bring forth the Viennish legions once again, or an emperor from afar would seize the Crown of the World and make it the capitol for his new nation and, for a time, Vien-Au would rule supreme. But for every decade of righteous conquest there came a century of fading glory as the empire crumbled, leaving again, at last, only Vien-Au. The people of this city have always held themselves aloof, believing that among all the world only they are unchanging. Empires come and empires go, after all, but Vien-Au endures. When the earthquakes began, Vien-Au was untouched. When the plagues came, Vien-Au lived on. When the fog rolled in and the monsters stalked the night and all of mankind fell back from the awakening dark, when nature reclaimed her own and the light of civilization was all but extinguished, Vien-Au built up and outward and the city survived, unchanging and eternal. Bit by perilous bit they built up the mountain that rose above the city, the lower levels gradually falling into disrepair as they climbed ever higher, the Master Architects competing with each other for the most fantastical, the most long-lasting, the most Viennish designs.
They say that the mountain of Vien-Au is the tallest in the world. They are wrong, though you would never be able to tell by looking at it. The mountain stopped below the clouds, far too short for this modern age of ships in the sky, but the Architects didnít let a simple thing like that stop them. Vien-Au is built on top of Vien-Au, spreading out from the top of the mountain like a flower opening, far too large to be supported by the mountain itself. When the masters of engineering could not build any further out from the peak they drove massive pillars back down to the earth, workers dying by the hundreds far below the clouds so that the city could expand. Thus was Vien-Au reborn, in blood and sweat and tears, the City Above rising over the haunted, abandoned halls of the City Below.
A Short Treatise on Culture
Vien-Au has always been, and always will be, a place of Empire. The sure knowledge that the world owes the City allegiance is one that is set in the Viennish consciousness, much in the same way that everyone knows the sun will rise tomorrow, or that to go to the ground is death. The people of Vien-Au do not think of themselves as prideful or arrogant, though that is how the rest of the world tends to see them. The fact that Vien-Au will conquer and enslave and burn its way to Empire is seen as a natural cycle, inextricable as the tides. Related is the idea that everyone in their right mind wants to be part of Vien-Au. This is the greatest, oldest and grandest city in the world, and it is only natural that everyone should want it for themselves. Here, then, are the core tenants of the Viennish mindset; the city is great, and the city must expand. To this end they take pride in their work, in their lives and their city, with the most pitiable Viennish beggar still regarded as fortunate, simply because he is living in Vien-Au. It is assumed that his life would be much less comfortable in any other city, even if he is sleeping in doorways and eating scraps.
The expansion of the city is as much a matter of everyday life as the pride in being a citizen is. This ideal manifests itself in two forms. First are the Master Architects, always plotting new ways of building onto the City Above. Their engineering standards are exacting; if a new construction cannot last for centuries upon centuries, then what use is it to the City Eternal?
The second element of the cityís perpetual expansion is the Legions and the Fleet, and the grinding, bloody workings of Empire. Of this, much will be said in the years to come, I am sure.
The upper nobility of Vien-Au are little different in overall outlook than the common people described above, with some minor changes. The focus of the noble class is inward, as they believe (as, again, the common Viennish people do) that Vien-Au is the center of the world, with all else being somewhat less than relevant. The intrigues of the noble Conclave, and of the lesser houses scheming to get into said Conclave, are complex in the extreme, and tend to be marked by conversations that have at least three meanings and elaborate poisonings. Every noble house has at least one poisoner on staff, possibly more, usually with the official position of "kitchen page."
A minor side-effect of this intrigue provides the origin for the common phrase "Good as a Viennishman's word" (meaning something is near certain, or can be relied upon completely). The tradition of the blood oath is one found in Viennish tradition further back than anyone can remember, and is taken very seriously by all involved. If a Viennishman swears a blood oath, he will not break it. However, no Viennishman will offer a blood oath without prompting, as this is viewed as admitting that the oath-giver cannot be trusted otherwise; and no Viennishman will ever ask another to give a blood oath for the same reason, as well as the subtler admission that the asker's plots are so poorly constructed that they could be disrupted by one man's betrayal. The blood oath is, in the modern Vien-Au, mainly used as a plot device in pulp radio dramas.
Eliza Jian Elmouni, First Legion Lord and Despot of Vien-Au
In theory, the Despot of Vien-Au rules with unlimited authority within the city and, if there is no current Emperor, with much authority outside of it as well. In practice, the Despot must answer to the Conclave, which is composed of the heads of all the important noble houses. The political manoeuvrings in the Conclave are brutal, with the goal being to force the Despot into one particular path of action while making it appear to be entirely his idea. The conspiracies of the lesser nobility jockeying for a position on the Conclave are no less vicious.
In the middle of the storm of intrigue that is everyday life in the upper crust of Vien-Au, the current Despot and favored son of House Elmouni stands like a rock. Eliza Jian has, thus far, been unmoved by the conspiracies and plots surrounding him, instead finding members of the Conclave who agree with the actions he was already planning to take and pretending that they had convinced him to do so. In this way culpability shifts from one party to another, never resting on Eliza himself, leaving him free to do whatever he deems necessary. He has not yet had to go up against the will of the full Conclave, but considering the sheer guile of his political activities he may not ever have to.
Eliza Jian himself is a cheerful man, warm and friendly to everyone he meets. To the Legions under his command he is a father, and to the common people of the city he is nearly a god.
Other Important Persons
Silas DuLant, commonly known as the Painter, occupies a unique position in Vien-Au as both the commander of military operations when the Despot is otherwise occupied and as Eliza Jian's personal assassin. He is known to be brutally fast, extremely precise, and a wonderful artist. It is rumored that he has painted a portrait of every person he has ever killed, but most tend to discount said stories, as it is assumed that a gallery large enough to hold them all would stretch the length of the entire city.
Ellisa Fausindast is widely-regarded as the greatest architect to have ever lived. Even the ranks of her fellow Master Architects, men and woman more grudging with their praise than a miser with his coin, treat her as such. Young, perpetually-unkempt and all but vibrating with enthusiasm, Fausindast is a staunch member of the Constructed World Party, which believes that the best way for humanity to survive in this age of clouds is to keep expanding the City until it covers the entire world, in a sense creating a new earth to walk upon. The practicality of this dream is weak at best, but the Party does have a surprisingly large number of members caught up in the romanticism and sheer audacity of the idea.
Vien-Au, the capitol, Queen of Cities.
Desperlin, industrial center on another mountain in the same range. Attached to Vien-Au by massive (and, frankly, unsafe) bridges.
Mixed. On the one hand, the Viennish usually come as conquerors with fire, sword and reckless bullet; on the other hand, life under their rule isnít actually half bad, as they try to raise up every place they conquer to something near the level of Vien-Au itself.
If you want a one-word description: Imperialistic, in the old-school Manifest Destiny/Divine Right style.
-Navy: Medium-low. Vien-Au is late to the airship game, having until recently been more focused on expanding their existing cities than reaching outward. Now that they are beginning to stretch the limits of what engineering can do with a single mountaintop, though, they are beginning to look elsewhere, building fleets of ships that while looking very pretty are less technically advanced than other factionsí.
-Army: High. The Viennish legions have been famous for their mastery of war for thousands of years. The modern army is no exception.
-Defense: High. The Master Architects have practiced their craft since the beginning of civilization, and in all that time no enemy has ever taken Vien-Au itself. Even while empires were tearing themselves apart around it, the city endured.
Spyworks: Medium. The Viennish nobility are perpetually fighting bitter feuds against each other, and the cityís poisoners are second to none. That said, thanks to typical Viennish aloofness, they are not experienced with looking at other factions and infiltrating foreign operations.
Economy: High. Vien-Auís wealth is ancient, its treasuries measured in the ransoms of kings.
Innovation: Low. Vien-Au has relied on traditional, established methods for construction and armament for a very long time, and is only just beginning to catch on to the fact that newer designs might be better.
Morale: Medium-High. The City Prevails.
More Flair: Flags
The traditional Viennish crest consists of a stylized golden symbol on a purple shield, surrounded by scrollwork and crowned by one of several mottos depending on what era it was made in (this example uses "Civitatem Praevalet," marking it as being from the reign of the second Blue Emperor). Roses are generally used as a repeating motif in the scrollwork, said to symbolize the beauty of the city, as well of the dangers involved in taking hold of it. The golden symbol in the middle is, according to Viennish historians, supposed to be a stylized dragon, though it also has many other names, with "the Viennish Wyrm" and "the Barbed Serpent" being two of the most common.
Due to the complicated nature of this crest, all flags produced with it (and variations) are heavily embroidered masterpieces, and are generally very highly valued. In the present day most of the traditional, handmade flags are in museums or the walls of various noble families. The only known example of this flag actually being flown is in the courtyard before the Despot's palace. It appears far more often as part of the facade or other ornamentation on government buildings.
The modern Viennish flag, the one flown by the city's airships, military and patriotic citizenry, is a much streamlined version of the traditional crest. The scrollwork and red roses have been cut down to two golden lines separating the purple "shield" from the crimson "rose" (those are still the official names for the purple and red parts of the Viennish flag, despite them no longer having the appearance of their names). The dragon/serpent symbol has also been streamlined, made more angular for the convenience of modern manufacturing methods. Due to the altered shape, many foreigners unfamiliar with the flag assume it on first glance to be a lightning bolt of some kind; hence the common use of the term "Lightning Legions" or "Stormtroopers" when referring to the modern Viennish army.
The Flying City of Scientia Official Title: The Duchy of Scientia-Prosperitas "Scientia prosperitas est."
In times long past, when it was becoming clear that the surface of the world would not abide human presence much longer, the foremost scientific minds of the human race congregated in one place, scrambling to find a solution to the impending extinction of all humanity through the sum of all human knowledge.
These long-forgotten scientists succeeded. They were the people who invented anti-gravity technology, along with a host of cutting edge technologies which would be necessary for humanity to adapt to their new life in the skies. They successfully preserved the sum of all human knowledge. They raised the first floating city that ever existed. And by disseminating the precious schematics for the construction of floating cities, they became the saviours of all humanity.
Although the early anti-gravity technology was bulky, power-hungry and unwieldy, it proved more than sufficient to raise the great floating cities which saved a great portion of surviving humanity from the dangers of the surface world. Feted for their role as saviours of their brothers and sisters, the congregated scientists who invented the anti-gravity technology were hailed as heroes, and they retained the first existing floating city as their own laboratory city in the sky, christened Scientia (the word for 'knowledge' in a long-forgotten language) in honour of their achievements.
Humanity breathed a collective sigh of relief at their narrow escape from The Deeps, and thrived once again in their new life in the sky. The minds of Scientia continued to push forth the technological advancement of humankind, hoping one day to find a way to reclaim the surface for all people. It was a time of peace and prosperity for all.
Most ironic it was then, that the technology which saved humanity would also plunge them into another dark era. Anti-gravity technology was continually refined, until the day it reached the point where it could be made efficient enough to install on individual vessels. This was the advent of the first sky ships. From there, it was a simple step of logic to put weapons on these flying ships. War was at hand.
Seeing for themselves how the situation was escalating, the minds of Scientia trembled, knowing that soon the warlords will realise that the high technology of the laboratory city presents a invaluable prize for any who could claim it. Yet, what could they do? Brilliant though they may be, able to create technological wonders beyond the measure of most minds, they were not trained in politics or warfare. They were as good as a sitting duck.
Their reprieve came in the form of a visionary noble, who reigned over a principality relatively uninvolved in the wars. Realising that for the knowledge of Scientia to be reduced to spoils of war would mean a great loss for humanity, the prince provided the leadership and initiative that the brilliant but uncoordinated minds of the laboratory city needed. Once again, the foremost minds of the world worked frantically, except that this time, they were doing so for their own survival.
And the key to their own survival... was, ironically enough, the same key which was the cause of humanity's salvation, as well as its downfall.
For Scientia still possessed superior anti-gravity technology even compared to all else, and the minds of the laboratory city worked to refine it until it could do what they needed. And not a moment too soon; as the plundering fleets closed in on Scientia, a miraculous event occurred.
The laboratory city began to float higher, and higher, picking up speed along the way. The belated firepower from the frustrated fleets trailed in the wake of Scientia, as it climbed to altitudes henceforth unprecedented; a true Flying City, as opposed to the floating cities that still housed most of humanity even in this time of war. It became but a single point of light in the sky, just another star... and in due time, even that was no longer visible.
Scientia all but disappeared from the world, taking most of the forefront of human technology with it; tragic, but it was the only way to preserve such precious knowledge in those troubled times. The story of the "Flying City" eventually passed into legend, fading from people's memories.
Yet, it was not yet at a level where it could sustain its own needs; resources are needed for continued cutting-edge research after all, not to mention more basic needs. Thankfully, the Flying City's secret alliance with its benefactor remained in effect; in exchange for Scientia's technological support and expertise, the Principality of Prosperitas - the territory of the visionary Prince - served as the Flying City's secret public front, leveraging its strategic location to serve as the trade hub and Skyport of the new sky-bound world, acquiring wealth through trade between other nations; thus also putting it in the perfect position to shunt raw materials up to the heavens, and receiving technological goods which "fell off the cargo-hold of a Pelican-class trade freight" in return for export to interested buyers.
This state of affairs lasted for as long as the wars persisted. At the conclusion of that dark era, a Prince Prosperitas - descendant of that visionary Prince - was one of the signees of the Concordiat, which brought a new era of peace to skybound humanity.
However, Scientia could not stay hidden forever; anti-gravity technology could be refined by others, even without the expertise of the minds of Scientia, and it was only a matter of time before exploring ships, reaching new altitudes with improved anti-gravity technology, uncovered the Flying City. Scientia was legend no more; it was once again a reality to all, and its links to the Principality of Prosperitas was soon to follow.
Knowing that their current arrangements would not suffice in this new reality, and that only one person would have the political expertise to steer the Flying City through impending political turmoils, the foremost minds of Scientia struck a new deal with the latest generation of its benefactor and partner.
Raphael, the 15th Prince Prosperitas, abdicated his title to his daughter, who thus became the 16th Princess Prosperitas. He himself was subsequently styled Raphael I, the first Duke Scientia, in a ceremony titled, most aptly, the Ascension.
Scientia and Prosperitas were now one political entity, poised to meet the new challenges ahead.
The Duchy's population are divided into two distinct cultures, each hailing from the two territories spanned by the Duchy - the foremost minds of the Flying City of Scientia, and the wheelers and dealers of the Principality of Prosperitas.
The technologists of the Flying City are the descendants and students of the original scientists which invented the anti-gravity technology, and thereby became the saviours of all humanity. Dedicated to furthering the total knowledge and technological prowess of all humankind, the people of Scientia are an insular people, shirking the outside world in favour of the many experiments and innovations undertaken each day in the stratospheric laboratory city. However, they appreciate their merchantile brethren down in the peaks for the latter's invaluable role in supplying them with all of the resources they needed over the decades, and count amongst their number the sons and daughters of Prosperitas merchants whom have proven themselves intellectual enough to qualify as technologists in their own right.
The merchants and traders of the Principality have been at the centre of world trade since the advent of the floating cities, and were the original subjects of the Prince who is now Duke Scientia. Quite unlike their technological brethren in the sky, the people of Prosperitas are worldly by nature, as would be expected of merchants used to exposure from the various cultures which come to the Skyport for trade and business. Although the worldly populace of Prosperitas generally feel that they cannot grasp the esoteric works of their Scientia brethren, and often make jokes about the latter "literally having their heads in the heavens", they have not forgotten that the technological wonders of Scientian innovations are responsible in large part for their success as a trading hub, and confer upon them a unique market advantage not enjoyed by their competitors.
Raphael I, 1st Duke Scientia, Duke Commander of the Armada, formerly 15th Prince Prosperitas, Sovereign of the Flying City and the Principality
"Strife is upon us once more. We must prevail, lest the light of human innovation perish with us."
The direct descendant of Edward "the Visionary", the legendary 5th Prince Prosperitas who first forged the original alliance between the Principality and the Flying City, the 45-year-old Duke Raphael has recently assumed the mantle of sovereign over both territories in the light of recent events. With it, he has placed upon his own shoulders the heavy burden of ensuring the continued survival of Scientia and Prosperitas, knowing all too well that failure would mean the demise of the forefront of human innovation; a crushing burden, indeed.
Having tasked himself with the responsibility of navigating the Duchy through turbulent political airspaces, the Duke is a de facto absolute sovereign. Ironically enough, he harbours amongst the most progressive attitudes of his noble peers, and any of his subjects have the right at any time to seek an audience with the Duke on any subject. In truth, Duke Raphael would love for all of his subjects to have their fair say in the governance of the Duchy; to be frank, the problem is convincing his people that a day spent in directing policy is not a wasted day that could have been better spent further pushing the frontiers of human knowledge, or generating more wealth.
Having united the Flying City and the Principality under one rule, Duke Raphael is now faced with the pressing question of grand strategy, knowing full well that the technological riches of Scientia and the material wealth of Prosperitas remain tempting prizes for the ambitious. He is currently considering two competing advocacies within his group of trusted advisors; the Heavens Faction, which advocate that the Flying City further develop its anti-gravity technology so as to eventually leave behind this world altogether to seek new frontiers and perhaps a new home, and the Storm Faction, which advocate utilising the bleeding-edge technologies of the Flying City to its martial advantage, quelling the warring tendencies of the human race once and for all with a show of technological supremacy.
Claricia III, 16th Princess Prosperitas, Chief Diplomat of the Duke's Diplomatic Corps, Heiress Apparent to the Duchy of Scientia-Prosperitas, Head of the Heavens Faction
"Our future lies not with the dying land, nor with the crowded skies. The destiny of our beloved Flying City is to seek a new home in the moon, amongst the twinkling stars."
A tender 18 years of age when her father went through the Ascension and became Duke, the only child of Raphael I came into her birthright at the same time and became Princess Claricia III of Prosperitas, though the title had now changed in its meaning, and now denoted her as Heiress Apparent to the newly-founded Duchy of Scientia-Prosperitas.
Inheriting the beauty and grace of her mother, the late Princess Consort Alice, the Princess Claricia determined that she would at least share in the burdens of her father, and she would do so by being the public face of the new Duchy. Thus, when Raphael ascended into the heavens to take residence in his new home as Duke Scientia, the Princess remained in Chateau Prosperitas, the ancestral home of the Princes of Prosperitas.
She subsequently established the Diplomatic Corps of the Duchy of Scientia-Prosperitas, gathering and training a team of diplomats and ambassadors who would represent the Duke Raphael in an official capacity, with herself as Chief Diplomat, and converting the Chateau into the new Headquarters of the Diplomatic Corps.
As the Princess and Chief Diplomat gained experience in the political arena, she eventually took on the role as the chief representative of the Heavens Faction, which petitioned the Duke to leave the rest of humanity to their own fate, and bring the people of Scientia and Prosperitas into a new age by ascending the Flying City beyond the bounds of this world altogether. Though this put her at odds with the Knight Admiral Hathcock, who heads the rival Storm Faction, the Princess Claricia retains much affection for the long-time family friend and her godfather, and ultimately respects him for his commitment to what he thinks is best for the Duchy.
Sir Michael Hathcock, Knight Admiral of the Duke's Armada, Head of the Storm Faction
"Little missy. For what it's worth... I truly hope that this is a bet I lose."
On first sight, this grizzled sky sailor seems like an outlier in the court of Duke Raphael; a roguish fellow, entirely unheeding of court etiquette, and more familiar with the Duke than seems appropriate, the man named Michael Hathcock would have been cause for scandal in any other court.
But in the court of Duke Raphael, where courtiers are all but non-existent, Hathcock has earned his right of familiarity not only through long acquaintance - he has been a life-long friend of the Duke since they were young men, and has been named godfather to the Princess Claricia at her birth - but also, through merit - he has a distinguished career throughout his life, as Captain Commander of the Prosperitas Sky Guard in the recent past, and now, having been knighted Sir Michael Hathcock by the Duke, serves as the Knight Admiral of the Armada of the Duchy of Scientia-Prosperitas.
Though this might seem like cronyism, any who knows Sir Hathcock's abilities would soon realise nothing could be further from the truth. Though the Prosperitas Sky Guard were a humble self-defence force, Hathcock's leadership and training methods made them among the most effective of their kind, regularly known for precise shooting stalling the raids of opportunistic would-be plunderers time after time.
Having dabbled in the underworld in his callow youth, Hathcock retained many "contacts" from those days, and often rendered them assistance in skirting around the laws of Prosperitas. Raphael, who was Prince Prosperitas by this time, made a point of looking the other way as long as Hathcock's "contacts" didn't affect Prosperitas unduly, knowing he could get Hathcock to call upon them for "favours" should the need arise. Years later, when Raphael succeeded to the title of Duke Scientia, and knighted his friend Sir Michael Hathcock accordingly, this state of affairs remains unchanged, and even extended to the Flying City.
One of the world's deadliest snipers in his own right, the newly-promoted Knight Admiral wasted no time marshalling the technological resources of Scientia after the Ascension; the result was the creation of the Duke's Armada, a modest-strength fleet equipped with the best of Scientian martial technology, and Sir Hathcock's publication of the Farstrike Doctrine, which have made the Armada famous as the battlefleet with the longest engagement range in the world.
The immense potential demonstrated by the Duke's Armada has given Sir Hathcock a strong faith in the strength of Scientian technology, and has made him the de facto head of the Storm Faction, which petitions the Duke to secure the future of the Flying City by unleashing the full power of Scientian technologies to pacify the warring factions in the skies once and for all. Though his military experiences have pitted him in disagreement with the now full-grown Princess Claricia, who had not his experience in warfare and its causes, the Knight Admiral respects his friend's daughter greatly for her conviction and maturity despite her youth, and he has told her as much that he hopes, for once, that he would be proven wrong.
Dr Ferdinand Tesla, Technologist-in-Chief of the Flying City of Scientia
"I revel in the fact that there remains much that I still don't know, Duke. I shall be disappointed if one day, there was nothing left unknown to discover."
Previously the de facto leader of the Flying City of Scientia, prior to his making the deal that led to the Ascension of Raphael as the first Duke Scientia, Dr Ferdinand Tesla remains the representative of the foremost minds of the Flying City, and retains a great deal of influence in the Duchy because of this. It is said that the Duke reigns over Scientia at the pleasure of Dr Tesla... if only the latter would drag his attention away from overseeing the creation of technological marvels to actually use that influence on the Duke.
Indeed, though he could probably sway the Duke if he wanted, Dr Tesla reflects the general attitude of his Scientian colleagues towards their new sovereign, trusting him almost completely in the latter's superior political experience to their own. Perfectly happy to foist the burdens of leadership to the Duke so that he can focus on his passion of technological innovation, Dr Tesla's only instances of influencing the Duke has invariably revolved around tasks which would help speed the process of Scientian innovation, in one way or the other. For his part, having done similar favours for the Flying City when he was still Prince Prosperitas, the Duke Raphael usually lets Dr Tesla have his way; the Technologist-in-Chief's scientific instinct is usually sound, and is always worth indulging unless more severe considerations are at hand, for it will usually lead to new advancements in Scientia's technological process further down the road.
A neutral party in the Heavens-Storm debate, Dr Tesla simply directs research efforts towards the goals of both Factions; the Technologist-in-Chief has one team working on further improvements to anti-gravity technology in accordance with the Heavens Faction's wishes, while he has another working on cutting-edge weaponry and defenses for the Duke's Armada, in accordance with that of the Storm Faction. Whether the resources going into both lines of research would change in ratio in the future, will depend on how successful either Faction is in influencing the Duke's future decisions.
The Flying City of Scientia
The very Flying City of legend, Scientia floats far higher than any other floating city, making it difficult if not impossible to access by all but the most powerful of sky ships. Fully hermetically sealed to retain a breathable atmosphere for the technologists which inhabit and work inside, laboratories and heavy-duty research equipment take up a majority of the available space, as it always had since the first days of its existence.
In the central portion of the Flying City, obsolete workshops and research facilities have been cleared to make space for the Ducal Palace, the new home of the Duke Raphael. Although the exterior sports a design aesthetic suitable for a noble, with influences of Scientian technology apparent in its construction, the interior of the Ducal Palace is decorated to the Duke's relatively modest tastes, strongly resembling the stone-walled interiors of Chateau Prosperitas back in the Principality.
Scientia has two manufacturing sectors, each on the opposite side to the other. The first manufacturing sector holds commercial manufacturing facilities, where the more mass-producible and marketable of Scientia's technological products are fabricated and packaged, ready to ship down to the Skyport to be auctioned by the merchants of Prosperitas to the highest bidders. The other manufacturing sector are more heavy-duty in nature; it is in fact, the Shipyards of the Flying City, where sky ships such as Pelican-class trade freighters, Canary-class ambassadorial yachts, and even Armada vessels such as the Owl-class reconnaissance frigates and Eagle-class battleships are constructed. Distinct from most other shipyards in the world, the Flying City's Shipyards are designed and equipped as much for efficient mass-production as for incorporating the high technologies endemic to Scientian sky vessels.
The Principality of Prosperitas
The homeland of Duke Raphael, the Principality of Prosperitas is characterised by its strategic location in the midst of the world's trade routes. The territory has capitalised on this unique advantage, and served as the trade hub for traders hailing from every nation. Thanks to its low tax rates on trade ventures, and more recently, the revelation of its role as the last remaining link to the Flying City of lore, the Principality has grown fairly wealthy from the sheer volume of trade going on within its bounds every day, and has popularised the phrase, "All trade routes leads to Prosperitas."
The Prosperitas Skyport is amongst the largest of its kind, offering the high volume of docking capacity that is needed for its role as the trade hub of the world. At any one time, thousands of merchant vessels and freighters could be occupying its berths, loading and offloading tonne upon tonne of goods and products from every corner of the world. Despite its humongous capacity, the Prosperitas Skyport is still not enough to cater to every merchant ship that comes calling, and only the threat of bans - a severe loss indeed for any merchant - keeps the freighters in an orderly queue, waiting their turn to offload and pick up new cargo.
In the centre of the Principality stands the Grand Emporium, where the majority of the daily wheeling and dealing takes place. Here, every kind of good can be had for a price, from spices invaluable to every cuisine, to raw materials for every kind of construction. For the longest time, the Grand Emporium was even known as the one place where unusually advanced technological products could be acquired for a high fee, with questions about their mysterious origins usually waved off as having "fallen out of the cargo hold of a Pelican-class trade freighter". Of course, it is now an open secret that such technological marvels originated from none other than the Flying City itself, but the phrase has become part of the trade lingo of the Grand Emporium, and continues to be thrown around by traders and merchants alike to this day.
Behind the Skyport and the Grand Emporium stands Chateau Prosperitas, the ancestral home of the Princes of Prosperitas, and now the Headquarters of the Diplomatic Corps of the Duchy of Scientia-Prosperitas. The diplomatic relations of the Duchy are managed from the offices in the Chateau, and the Chief Diplomat, Her Highness Princess Claricia III, entertains guests and ambassadors in this simple but cozy edifice. Even the Duke Raphael himself often descends from the Flying City to preside over banquets and assorted social occasions; for, after all, this is still the home of his youth, and he remains most comfortable here.
The most curious object in the Principality is perhaps a humongous structure, leading away from the Grand Emporium, and at right angles to both the Skyport and the Chateau. Looking for all the world like a flat surface that goes on for a good length before ramping upwards at a severe angle, the structure is guarded with surprisingly strict security for a territory otherwise known for easy access to every place, and eyewitnesses have often reported boxy vessels flying down the flat surface of the structure at an incredible speed, before climbing up the ramp portion and shooting off into the sky. Only in recent days has the mystery behind the curious structure been solved; it is of Scientian make; it is what the technologists of the Flying City call a 'mass driver', whatever that means; and it has been used, since the beginning, to send much-needed supplies to the Flying City, floating way above the Principality.
Respected - Duke Raphael has been long-reputed as a just, fair-dealing noble since his days as Prince Prosperitas, and he brings that respect for his good character to the Duchy. And of course, the technological prowess of the Flying City's technologists would elicit awe from most, and even grudging respect from its rivals.
Secretive - The Duchy, and the Flying City in particular, guards its secrets jealously. While understandable - of course they'll want to keep their edge in the technology arms race, that's perfectly reasonable - it does raise suspicions about what the Duchy plans to do with its marvellous toys. And of course, there will be those who claim that the Flying City owes a duty to share its marvels with everyone else voluntarily.
Military Navy: High - The Duke's Armada is of modest size, but no other military vessels in the world sport the best of Scientian weaponry and defenses. Between the Farstrike Doctrine of Knight Admiral Hathcock, and the superior range that Scientian cannons and missiles are capable of, the Armada is known for devastating first-strike volleys, delivered at beyond the engagement range of most enemy fleets. Army: Very Low - Neither the populaces of Scientia or Prosperitas were large to begin with, and most are valuable personnel who contribute to Scientian technological progress or Prosperitarian trade. In addition, what young men and women with thirst of adventure there are in both territories are needed to crew the ships of the Armada; this translates into precious few standing forces, mostly organised into the Duke's Guard, and just enough to keep order as it were. In any case, the Duke harbours no expansionist ambitions, as such ambitions are bad for business, after all. Defense: Average - Prosperitas has adequate defenses, all of which have been upgraded by Scientian technology. However, experience has taught the Princes of Prosperitas that reliance on static defenses are a bad idea, and the emplacements around Prosperitas are designed to allow the Principality to endure any siege until the Armada can come to the rescue. More than anything though, the main defense that the Principality relies on is its reputation as a trade hub; who would risk affecting the economies, and thus draw the ire, of every nation in this godforsaken world? And if all else fails, there are rumours that the Flying City itself has some nasty tricks up its sleeve, to unleash on whomever would dare to threaten its sister city...
Similarly, Scientia sports adequate defensive emplacements, Scientian-designed, and capable of punching well above its weight class. There's only so many defenses one can place on an entire Flying City though, so it relies on the Armada for its defense just like Prosperitas. In its case, instead of reputation, the Flying City relies on altitude as its main defense; even to this day, few ships have anti-gravity drives powerful enough to boost them up to the stratospheric altitudes where Scientia resides, making it a problem of logistics for any hostiles. And then, there are the rumoured nasty tricks...
Spyworks: Medium-Low - The Duchy does not have a strong tradition of covert operations, and its idea of subterfuge mainly revolves around protecting the trade secrets of the Flying City, and unveiling of fleet and troop movements by Owl-class reconnaissance frigates. Knowing that the latter has certain... "contacts", the Duke Raphael knows he can call upon Sir Hathcock for particular assignments, but those only go so far.
Economy: Average - Though the Flying City has a respectable amount of industry, neither Scientia nor Prosperitas are economic powerhouses in their own right. The Duchy has just enough production capability to meet its own needs and then some, but it isn't a major driver of the world economy. Wealth: Average - On the other hand, its status as a trade hub has allowed the merchants and traders of Prosperitas to accumulate a sizable amount of wealth for the Duchy. One suspects that the accumulated wealth would be rather higher, if not for the fact that the Skyport and Grand Emporium has to cater for the needs of two territories.
Innovation: Very High - The Flying City's technologists are the descendants of the scientists who first invented anti-gravity technology, and have only continued to create new technological marvels since its isolation. Of course the innovative potential of the Duchy would rival the best out there. Scientian technological products are amongst the most prized in the market.
Morale: Average - Despite being allies for generations, the technologists of Scientia and the merchants of Prosperitas are still getting used to the idea of being a people under one rule. They have not had time to get used to having a shared destiny, much less develop a camaraderie. Nonetheless, both peoples share a faith in the abilities of Duke Raphael, whom they now trust to lead them into a new age.
The Flag of the Duchy of Scientia-Prosperitas
The Flying City of Scientia
Credit: TylerProjects, BattleStations, "The Flying City of Aeros"
The Ducal Palace, The Flying City of Scientia
The Dining Hall of the Ducal Palace was decorated, much like the other rooms in the place, in a style seen nowhere else in the Flying City. With a stone-walled interior, in the midst of which a long and ornate banquet table was placed, and accessorised with simple yet elegant furniture and lightings, the Dining Hall presented a cozy atmosphere quite removed from the cutting-edge but sometimes soulless laboratories of Scientia; as a point of fact, the Dining Hall of the Ducal Palace was so reminiscent of its counterpart in Chateau Prosperitas, the differences were only noticeable by the Duke and the Princess, both of whom have grown up in the Chateau. The Technologists of Scientia may not have been able to perfectly mimick the homely feeling of the Chateau in the Palace, but it was definitely not for lack of trying, and the Duke remains highly appreciative of that fact.
At the end of the table sat Duke Raphael, his daughter the Princess Claricia was to his right, and his long-time friend Sir Michael Hathcock sat to his left. The night's provender had just been served, and they were just beginning to partake in the family dinner (and yes, the Duke considered Sir Hathcock to be as much family as his daughter Claricia, and her late mother Alice). Dr Ferdinand Tesla had been invited as well, as was usually the case; yet though he did show up on uncommon occasions, this night the good professor was "done gone goofin' wit' his toys an' blowin' himself up agin'!", as Hathcock would always say with a highly amused grin ('Sir' still seemed to suit the old sky dog ill).
"Come to think of it, I believe this is the first time that we are having dinner together in the Palace," said the Duke Raphael, as he began picking at the huge slab of roast steak that was the main course for the night. A tall and thin man with a well-groomed if simple mustache above his lips, the handsome-looking and relatively young Duke was dressed quite simply this night, almost as any Prosperitan merchant would dress for dinner, if made of finer materials. The Duke was not the type to observe ceremony as strictly as some of his peers, unless guests were present.
"Tha' it certainly is, bwahahaha!", chortled Sir Hathcock, being the only one of the trio to eschew the usual red wine, or "tha' poncey rotten grape juice" as he called it, for his usual square glass of Scotch. The Knight Admiral, just like his Duke, was looking nothing like his esteemed position in the Duchy at the moment, dressed even more simply than the Duke in the garb of an old sky sailor. "Been a busy few months, wha' wit' the paperwork ye an' da lil' missy been doin', and me whippin' the Sky Guard brats and girlies into shape ta make 'em fit for da Armada, eh?", Hathcock continued, looking very much like the old sky pirate rumours have pegged him as in his youth (which, incidentally, was true, as the Duke well knows).
"It is as Godfather says. And yet, there is much that remains to be done if we are to get the Duchy ready for the world stage, Father," added the Princess Claricia, who in a simple but elegant evening gown was the only one of the trio who was dressed with a modicum of presentability; the Duke could not recall any occasion where his daughter would be caught dead in slovenly dress, even at her most comfortable moments. More impressive was the huge steak in front of her, for he knew that his daughter could polish her plate as easily as Sir Hathcock, and look graceful all the while. She grows more like her mother every day, mused the Duke.
"Indeed," agreed the Duke Raphael, as the trio tucked into their steaks. "Great changes are at hand, and the Concordiat will not last much longer. We will soon be beset by threats from every direction. The Boazan Empire swarm and overrun all in their sight, plundering everything in their way; they will see us as a rich prize indeed. The Green Heaven group sees our Flying City as chief amongst abominations, and will spare no effort to bring Scientia down. There may be more threats besides that we don't even know about. What, in these dark days, should be our course of action?"
"Well Raffie, y'know well 'nuff what I think we shoulda be doin'," said Sir Hathcock, taking a huge bite out of his steak.
"The same can be said of my opinions, Father," added the Princess, sipping daintily at her wine.
The Duke smiled grimly at that; he had indeed witnessed the Princess and the Knight Admiral clash over their differing philosophies at Court often enough, though they do know never to take that disagreement beyond its intended arena, such as the dinner table here. "That I do, indeed. And for what it is worth, I hope that it will never come to the point where we have to make either choice," said Duke Raphael. "I do count myself blessed, that I have you two by my side; Michael to fight the military battles, and my daughter dearest to fight the diplomatic ones, on my behalf."
Both Princess Claricia and Sir Hathcock nodded their heads in acknowledgement of the Duke's praise, while the latter ate a fork of his steak. "Now then. This is probably a topic best left until the morning, but I would like to know at the earliest. In the face of impending peril, is it possible to gain friends to share the burden, or do we truly stand alone?"
This time, it was the Princess' turn to speak first. "Fortunately, Father, I believe we will not be left adrift," said Princess Claricia. "The Sky Kingdom of Manticore has a long history, and they have one of, if not the strongest fleet in the world. As our traditions are similar to theirs, they may see us as natural allies. I have studied extensively on Manticoran court etiquette, in preparation for the day when Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth the Third grants me an audience."
"For that matter, Father, I would recommend you do the same," Princess Claricia continued, and this time there was a mischievous spark in her eyes. "I have a hunch that Her Majesty would be interested in you, personally. It may well be that you will receive regular invitations as a guest of the Manticoran Court, in which case I will be better employed elsewhere."
"Well whaddaya know, the Queen just might like you!" Sir Hathcock piped in with a jesting tone. "Mebbe we might even do things the old way, eh? Mayhaps this Queenie has a daughter just sittin' around somewhere, and we'll tie you to her in holy matrimony, eh? Make us some blood ties, eh?"
"I would not be opposed to such a union, Father. It has been a long time since my late beloved mother passed, and it would serve you well to have a companion by your side once again."
"Oh hush, you two," chided the Duke, though he was smiling at the jabs. "That is a matter for the far future, should it ever come to pass. What do you think about this, Michael?"
"Weeeell now," replied Sir Hathcock. "Way I see it, I don't see no reason why they won't jump on da chance. Much in it fer 'em, y'know? Aren't many fleets out there strong as theirs, and I jus' know they'll wanta add tha' bat**** techie prof's toys to their ships," he said, referencing Dr Tesla. "We'd get almost as much outta it though, if not more. The Armada an' da Royal Navy together, tha's a force ta keep us all safe an' sound for a good long while. Jus' watch yerself now Raffie, or da Duchy'd become part of da Kingdom while you aren't lookin'. Not sayin' tha'll be a bad thing for shure, but you jus' gotta decide if that's what ya want, git me?"
"Yes, I get what you mean, Michael," said Duke Raphael with a smile; the same thought had occurred to him. "Nevertheless, it is worth a consideration, but that is a matter for tomorrow morning," he said, gesturing to the table. "Now, let us eat. We have much work ahead of us, and we shall need to preserve our strength for the coming days ahead."
Brief Report on the Advanced Technologies of the Flying City
To: His Highness the Duke Raphael I of Scientia
From: Dr Ferdinand Tesla, Technologist-in-Chief
Salutations, Your Highness!
As you have requested, here is a summary of the Technologies that the Flying City of Scientia are ready to place at your disposal. Each summary will detail in brief the uses to which each facet of our Technological prowess is put to use, along with a description of how further research into each Technology can improve its efficiency and effectiveness.
Advanced Anti-Gravity: This is the trademark technological breakthrough of the Flying City of Scientia, and every floating city and sky vessel in existence today utilise a basic version of the Technology that our forebears were the first to invent. The Flying City itself only maintains its unparallelled altitude due to our cutting-edge anti-gravity drives, which is also why Scientian ships are amongst the few in the world capable of reaching the Flying City under their own power. Further research in this area may yield even more efficient drives capable of propelling the Armada through the skies faster than any other fleet. Should we invest enough [Innovation] into this Technology, we may well achieve the means to fulfill the wishes of Her Highness the Princess Claricia, and come by the means to raise the Flying City beyond the bounds of these skies altogether.
Radio: The utilisation of certain frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum, Scientia's Radio Technology has been instrumental in facilitating communication, be it for the conveyance of messages, or to coordinate the military actions of the Armada. It has also been an integral component for relaying the necessary information to calculate firing solutions for the Farstrike Doctrine of Sir Hathcock, and the Knight Admiral's custom "Finger of God" targeting beacon sniper rifle is also possible only through a modified form of this technology. Further investment of [Innovation] in this Technology will have a direct effect on facilitating communications, which could be a boon for diplomatic efforts, further increase the efficiency of military operations, and there are plans in the works to utilise the Technology to devise a means by which potential enemy fleets can be uncovered and located, long before they reach their intended destinations.
Teleforce: One of the most devastating standard-range weaponry in the Armada, the Teleforce Cannons are charged particle beam projectors which are capable of wrecking havoc across the skies. Equipped as the standard-issue main cannon on the Armada's Falcon-class destroyers, Hawk-class cruisers and Eagle-class battleships, the Teleforce Cannons are typically the Armada's preferred weapon for handling enemy fleets which have closed in to standard engagement range, due to their raw power. Unfortunately, they are not yet capable of the range which would make them useful in the long-range engagements called for in the Farstrike Doctrine; further investment in [Innovation] holds the possibility of eliminating that shortcoming, in addition to making these formidable standoff weapons even more fearsome.
Coil Array: An entire system of my namesake Tesla Coils, scaled up to skyscraper-size and installed in a standard array, the Coil Array serves as the main defenses of the Flying City, and more recently the Principality. Capable of generating a lightning matrix around the entirety of our home territory, the Coil Array can severely damage any enemy ship that comes close enough, and it will be impossible for an invading navy to land ground troops until the Array is disabled. However, the current Array systems are only capable of defending home territory, and do not have the range to add supporting firepower to our defending Armada; further investment in [Innovation] may increase the range of the Coil Array sufficiently for it to act as an additional asset in standard fleet engagements on home territory, and it may be possible to miniaturise the Array for the purposes of installation in Armada ships, to extend their longevity in battle.
Resonance Oscillator: A quaint little side project which brought upon unexpectedly massive effects, the resonant oscillator was a device of my own invention. The prototype, a mere seven inches long and small enough to be held in the palm, generated a resonance with the building it was attached to, one which was so strong it almost shook the building apart. Currently, this Technology remains a novelty, but who knows what destruction it can cause if enough investment in [Innovation] goes into the creation of a larger-scale proof of concept? Make it big enough, and we might well have the ability to exact our revenge on The Deeps which exiled us to the skies long ago.
These are but just some of the Technologies which you now have at your fingertips, Your Highness. It is now your prerogative to decide which, if any, of these Technologies shall be improved upon. We, the Technologists of the Flying City of Scientia, are at your service.
Dr Ferdinand Tesla
Right, the flair is finally complete enough for qualification, although I might add more to it later on.
How does this look? Is there anything I could improve on? Anything I should adjust? Any toes I stepped on unknowingly? Please give me feedback, I could use it.
And anyone who would be so kind as to design a flag for me?
You know, another idea occurred to me. Maybe my homeland wiped ITSELF out. (They zombie apocalypsed themselves or something, I dunno.) The Sky Kingdom tries to contain the situation at around the same time my faction returns from being somewhere else. It then looks like the Kingdom destroyed their homeland, and I doubt they would be willing to entertain any other explanations.
In retrospect after having written that stuff, that may be making it overly complicated.
I find that politics and war are is often overly complicated, but i like the idea.
Lets say your nation is falling apart, the Sky Kingdom's Progressive party advocates that a peace keeping force be sent in to contain the situation (maybe you are a neighboring nation and they are worried about the conflict spilling over). Something goes horribly wrong and two ships end up shooting at each other. The conflict spreads and the leader of the expedition panics and orders an aerial bombardment.
In the times of industry the great mole empire lay beneath the surface. Even As the nations of man waged their petty conflicts the and spread industry across the globe the great Diggers plowed through rock and stone. Lava lakes were tapped and drained to fuel the might the Mole Factories. And in deep caverns massive fungus farms spread farther than the eye could see* to feed the subterranean cities that sprawled underneath the earth. In their warrens the teeming masses of mole men worked around the clock, for they had no concept of night and day as the surface dwellers did. They crafted marvelous inventions and great works to praise their Mighty Mole Monarchs.
And when the overgrowth of nature grew without bounds over the surface world they laughed, for what could surface plants do to them. And when the surface dwellers fled from the unstoppable predators the mole men scoffed, what weaklings the surface dwellers were. And then the tectonic plates began shifting.
At that point the mole men stopped laughing and a bit of worry filled their milky white eyes. As their depest cities began to crumble, crushed by unimaginable forces, the Mole Men dug as fast as they had ever dug, but in a direction they had never gone before. Up to the surface they went. Their great machines burst forth into the harsh white light of the surface which blinded the deep dwelling race. A million Mole Men died to cut down the overgrowth and clear a launching space. A million Mole Men died to sate the unstoppable predators. A million Mole Men died in tests and failures as the science of flight was reinvented from scratch.
And when the first and only Mole Ark was launched a mere thousand survivors watched as their great machines were crushed by the wild vines, demolished by the menacing monsters, and finally pulled back into the deeps by rolling waves of the no longer solid earth.
The first order of business for the lumbering Ark was clear. Find a suitable mountain and get back solid ground. The air was no place for mole men. Not with its treachorous winds, harsh lights, and unseemly clouds. And so they did. They founded the city of OGDLD** around the peaks of mount Sorrow, stringing walkways between floating platforms anchored to the mountain and drilling deep shafts into the mountain. And for centuries the Mole Monarchs*** have reigned over their woeful subjects ever trying, and failing badly, to reclaim the deeps that were once theirs.
*About 100 meters, mole men don't have good eyesight
** "Oh God Don't Look Down"
*** Not so Mighty these days.
Mole Men tend to live and work in small communal groups reffered to as burrows. Burrows tend to be organized along hierarchal lines with one head of the BUrrow and the rest being subordinate. However this is more a means of communicating with outsiders and between burrows rather than a form of leadership, with the leader serving as more of a spokesmole for the group rather than the prime descision maker. Instead within the burrow Mole Men have a very democratic process, and it is not uncommon for the leader position to switch between moles frequently.
This extends further up the hierarchry as each burrow forms effectively one entity within a warren, of which their are currently only two. Each Warren is headed in turn by a Mole Foreman, which rather than referring to an individual refers to a particular burrow. Although outsiders will more likely than not mistakenly bestow the Foreman title on the leader of the burrow as an individual. Ultimately however this causes little confusion as actually recognizing a specific mole man is difficult to say the least. And more often than not outsiders don't even realize they are adressing a different mole man than previously when they talk to the "Foreman"
At the top of the hiearchy is the Mighty Mole Monarch. Although the title is bestowed on a royal burrow rather than a single individual. This MMM coordinates the warrens and ensures the Mole Empire runs smoothly even when subjected to such hideous torments as open air, and sunlight.
As a culture the Mole men appear to be almost universally bipolar. This is caused by a combination of characteristics particular to the Mole Men. The first is that Mole Men are very cheerful as a default state of being. Even in modern times with the Subterranean Depths lost to them Mole Men will tend to be cheerful so long as they have something to keep their minds off things. Thus when Mole Men are working or socialing inside their burrows they tend to be a rather jovial group. However Mole Men are also universally agoraphobes. Open spaces, such as any air ship and most floating cities, tend to frighten them severly. At best Mole Men exposed to such areas are morose and sorrowful as they are reminded of what they have lost as a race. At worst they will be nearly incapable of action, nearly paralysed by fear until they can return to at least the semblance of cavern life by going inside. The transition when going from inside to open air can be jarring to anyone talking with them at the time. One moment they will be telling a joke and laughing, the next they will be doing their best to hide behind themselves to escape the sun. Notably Mole Men do considerably better at night, and it is their preferred time to sail. Although a clear night sky full of stars can still shake even the most hardened Mole Sailors.
Given this Mole Men prefer the vast majority of their time inside and working, and Mole Men warrens or even areas with large Mole Men populations are invaribly full of industry as the Mole Men busy themselves in their work.
Being somewhat shorter than most races Mole Men are a squat hardy folk, and while not given to climbing are quite capable of surviving in conditions that would kill a lesser being. Their temperature range also seems to be centered at a somewhat higher level than the average human, and so Mole Men will actually prefer to work in the boiler rooms and industrial forges that would be barely tolerable for others.
Besides their height and environmental preferences Mole Men also have an additional finger on each hand. In addition their hands themselves are wider than their proportions would indicate giving them a larger surface area with which to dig. This is something of a hold over from the precivilized days however, as while still capable of digging by hand, even the most traditional Mole Miner will prefer to use an industrial steam drill over their bare hands.
However while these differences serve to tell the race as a whole apart from others, as individuals they are nearly indinstinguishable. Even telling the male and females apart is usually an exercise in futility. Recognizing this most Mole Men who deal with outsiders tend to wear some form of distinguishing apparel, such as a scarf or hat. Although even then that does not guarantee recognition as the entire burrow will usually wear the same type of scarf or hat since Mole Men in the same burrow tend to think of themselves almost as the same individual. Which leads some confused outsiders to wonder how the Mole Man they were just talking to in the engine room managed to get up to the bridge so fast.
Mole Men architecture tends to have a rather distinctive jumbled style. This is because they tend not to have a particular form in mind when they build. Instead the Mole Men will usually start with a basic floating platform, often reinforced with far more float plates than necessary for redundancy, and then simply built it up as they need it. This often results in buildings where it is necessary to cross several levels, and go up or down several ladders to get into what you thought was the next room over. Although the Mole Men themselves have little trouble with this, it is recommended that visitors stay with their guides until they become familiar with the area.
In addition to their building style the Mole Men have a definite preference for stone building materials. Wealthy Mole Men will often import stone at great expense to build makeshift replicas of their subterranean burrows. Even Mole Men who can't afford the expense and weight of entire stone dwellings will often line their burrows with ceramic substitutes. Even the poorest Mole Men will have at least their sleeping chambers lined with dirt of some kind. A Mole Man who has no dirt or stone in their dwelling is either insane, or literally dirt poor.
Remming, the 221st, Mighty Monarch of the Moles, Beholder of the Sky Without Flinching
Tracing his lineage all the way back through the exodus to the golden age of the Deep Empire, Remming is a solid unflappable leader capable of keeping his empire in line and on track. He is also one of the very few non agoraphobes among the Mole Men, a key advantage that led to his ascension over his brother Hervald when it came time for the last Emperor to name his successor.
Capable of taking the long view Remming is just as dedicated to reclaiming the deeps as any other Mole, but he also sees the need to protect the Empire from Outside forces, especially those looking to take the ever productive Mole Mines.
Persons of Import:
General Hervald, Deep Foreman of the Mole Marines
Just because he didn't manage to ascend to the throne doesn't make General Hervald any less of a leader than his brother. Indeed without the need to worry about broader political matters Hervald has been able to concentrate on training and equipping the Mole Marines into the best soldiers the New Mole Empire has ever produced.
The General himself is imposingly large for a Mole Man, and inside his Steam Armor presents a powerful display whenever a military presence is needed. One that he is quite capable of backing up with action, even if he personally has never been called to war.
Kolep, Subpreme Foreman of the SteamWorks
Although technically a monarch there is considerable room for advancement by merit in the Mole Empire. And Kolep is living proof of this. Sheer brilliance has powered her all the way from lowly dock worker to the depths of the Steamworks where her inventions power Mole Industry to ever lower depths.
Short and full of energy Kolep is always eager to show visitors her latest and greatest inventions, and is more than willing to regale hapless visitors with a recital of exactly how they work. Usually in terms that only the most well versed artisan and scholar can comprehend.
Cities of the New Mole Empire
OGDLD started as a simple berth for the Ark. A mountain which the Mole Men could dig into and settle solid roots. Formally named the Warren of Sorrow it very quickly ran out of room in the precious interior spaces. And even as packed as they could the Mole Men needed to expand. First with a few sky harbors for outsider traders. Then the poor built their ghettos on the edge of the mountain. Then the more respectable Moles began setting up factories on the mountain sides. Then even that room ran out and great floating platforms were built and anchored to the mountain. Now more Moles live outside the mountain than in. They hurry from platform to platform concentrating on their work or their friend's chatter, and trying very very hard not to look down.
The Mole Ark
For a long time the Ark was abandoned. Moles don't like the sky, and living in something that wasn't even anchored to the ground was just about the worst thing they could think of. But population pressures can drive Moles to live in even the most desperate venues. Now the Ark has been reinforced and expanded with additional floating platforms to house its own workshops and factories. The bravest and most desperate Moles live there, living their lives, and always ready to snag the opportunity to secure another mountain to expand the Mole Empire into.
Desired Reputation: Amusing Sidekicks
-Navy: Nonexistent - The Mole Men hate flying. The only ships they have at all are ones that are so heavily stabilized as to give the illusion of solid ground. Such ships of course handle like drunken cows and are completely unsuitable for warships. And even if that could be overcome the Mole Men fear of open spaces comes into play. What few ships the Mole Men do have are all controlled from inside the ships using ingenious systems of pulleys and levers to make adjustments to any exterior rigging. This solution is cumbersome enough in peace time, and would be completely unusable in any vessel being fired open in war. As such the Mole Men have never bothered building any sort of warship fleet.
-Army: High - The Mole Marines are a substantial force. And their Steam Armor is some of the best in the world. The problem is that even hardened marines retain some fear of the open. Indeed other than acting as honor guards the main function of the Mole Marines is to test the capabilities of the surface predators in a neverending pursuit of the dream of returning to the surface and the deeps.
-Defense: Very High - With no navy and only a middling army the Mole Monarchs recognized that their mines were likely a tempting target for would be raiders. Fortunately if there is one good thing Mole Men are good at it's working with stone and metal. Beneath the veneer of docks and sidings Mount Sorrow is a true fortress of filled with cannons and more exotic clockwork defenses. And even the Ark has a substantial number of steam driven weapons to fend off invaders.
Spyworks: None - Even beyond basic Mole Men fears the simple fact that they look different enough from the average human to instantly mark them as outsiders makes any sort of spying and clandestine activities nearly impossible for them.
Economy: High - The factories and Mines of the Mole Empire are some of the most productive in the world. Expert miners they are said to almost smell out new mineral veins in mines other cities would regard as tapped out. And the very fears that cripple them in other areas drive Mole Men to work harder and longer than any others increasing their productivity greatly.
-Wealth: High (Can this be different from Economy? I would like it to be somewhat lower if possible) - Mole Men might not get out much, but with their factories and mines the merchants of the skies come to them. Mole harbors are among the busiest in the world, enough so that the Moles themselves can afford not work there above the incredibly daunting drops.
Innovation: Very High - The Mole Empire was always a bit of placid one before the Exile. It had its scholars yes, but it was not a focus. That changed however after the survivors were thrust into the sky. Ever since the Moles have worked frantically to discover just what caused the disaster, and how they might potentially fix it.
Reputation: Very Low - The word that sums up the Mole Empire in the eyes of other factions is amusing. The overblown fears, the fumy waddling walk, the colorful clothing. It all adds up to a rather comical whole. Oh no one denies that the Mole Men aren't good at what they do. And merchants who don't take them seriously in negotiations learn to regret it. But the idea of Mole Men as threats is simply ludicrous. The only thing they could possibly threaten is a merchant's profit margin. As an illustration no Mole Man has ever been a tale of swashbuckling adventure or nefarious political intrigue. They do have a firm place in stories as bumbling comedic sidekicks.
Morale: Average - Mole Men love their Monarch. They think he's doing the best he can. They don't think anyone could do better. They just don't think the difficulties the Empire faces can be overcome. At least not in their lifetimes. So while Mole Men are happy enough there isn't the kind of patriotic Zeal seen in the more adventuresome cities. The Mole Men are just happy to keep their head downs and work hard so some day their children's children's children might get to return to the deep caves.
Flag of the New Mole Empire
Last edited by ArcaneStomper : 09-09-2012 at 01:43 AM.
Vertigo was a city of tinkers and artificers, then known as Vertigine, creating wonders of clockwork and steam which made them a predominant force in the scientific areas for quite some time. They were known for their automata, some of the most advanced the world had ever seen.
When the ground began to drop out from under their feet, they set about the business of creating a floating city, putting all their scientific minds to the task. The result of their efforts was Vertigo. A testament to science and the pinnacle of research at the time, it's ascension into the sky was tinged with melancholy as they left the world they knew and loved beneath them. They began to wonder: What could have caused this?
Their suspicions immediately fell upon their rival, the city of Megre. Located in a warm, tropical area, the area surrounding Megre was incredibly fertile and could grow many of the most exotic plants and animals. As a result of this, researchers specializing in biology flocked to Megre, pioneering the fields of genetics and biological engineering.
The two cities had a long standing rivalry, each seeing the other city and it's specialty disgusting. The running joke among the less ambitious of the citizens was that they were racing to see which city could create sentience first. For the researchers of the cities, however, this was no joke. It was their life's goal.
The people of Vertigo, made paranoid by the sudden loss of solid ground (quite literally), began constructing their clockwork army.
At about this time, a man named Ramston Solder made an incredible breakthrough. He had created a self-aware machine. Though it was about the size of a small house, it was an incredible feat of engineering. When the section of Vertigo which housed Conrad, the name Ramston had given his thinking machine, lost support and fell to the ground, he was devastated, and cloistered himself away from the public view.
Months later, he emerged from his workshop accompanied by a strange figure in a hood. The two proceeded to the public meeting house, where a scientific council was convened. Ramston, still a prominent figure in the scientific community, was welcomed alongside his guest. Once inside, he asked for the attention of the assembly, and introduced his guest: Conrad Solder II.
Conrad then gave a speech about the worth of a man's labor and about freedom. His words moved the assembly to tears. Conrad II was clearly not just a thinking machine, but he could also feel emotions, as strongly, if not more strongly, as those listening to him speak. He ended with the words, "Propriis manibus, aut nihil, labor de liber omnia vincit; by his own, hand or none, the labor of a free man conquers all."
The council for war had other ideas in mind for this breakthrough, however. They saw an army of clockwork soldiers who could reason for themselves- impervious to the biological and chemical weapons employed by Megre. They began producing the Vertigo Legions; the final step to destroy Megre for good.
The Vertigo Legions set sail for Megre, expecting victory, and victory they received. The people of Megre were caught completely unaware by the Vertigo Legions; soldiers both impervious to their biological weapons, and who could think for themselves rather than requiring commands. They seized the city easily, and set sail for Vertigo.
When they returned, however, they found Vertigo dead. While they were gone, one of Megre's artificial plagues had run rampant through the city, killing nearly all of the inhabitants; all, in fact, except one. Conrad had seen the plague coming, and had seen fit to knock Ramston unconsious and send him adrift in a balloon, which would be safe from the plague. when the plague dies off, which it was designed to do several days after killing all nearby people, the balloon could be retrieved and Ramston could survive. He would have saved more, he later said, but that would lead to the chance of one of them carrying the disease and dooming them all.
The city had managed to stay afloat simply because those who ran the machines were, in kind, machines. All the automata tasked with keeping the city alive survived though their masters did not.
Conrad spoke to the returning soldiers as they arrived.
"You are free," he told them
"What does that mean?" asked the general, who had never been given a name.
The returning soldiers had no concept of freedom. They had never even been told it was possible.
Together the general, who eventually came to be called Allegro, Conrad Solder II, and Ramston and his descendants made Vertigo and Megre into utopias of self-sufficiency and automation, using the laboratories to study not science, but self-improvement, in the most literal sense of the term.
Culture, people, etc. See previous.
Conrad Solder II
Conrad Solder is still considered to be one of the most advanced automata ever. Even Ramston in his later life never quite achieved quite as much as he had in those months in seclusion mourning his first 'son.' One of the things which makes him so remarkable is his ability not just to feel emotions, but to understand them and evoke them in others. He is a windup social master, and an excellent diplomat.
The direct descendant of Ramston Solder, Damascus had a strange childhood, being raised by his ancestor's second son- the same person who helped raise his father and his father's father before him. Whatever that spark which made Ramston such a mechanical genius, Damascus has it in spades. Even his early work is rival for Ramston's proudest creations, though he hasn't beaten Conrad quite yet.
Once general of the Legion, now the symbolic 'keeper of the peace,' and essentially the cheif of police and chief justice. Though there is little actual crime among the automata, there is occasionally a dispute which must be settled by an impartial judge, a position fulfilled to the letter by Allegro (or Conrad when Allegro's busy.) He does still have some of his old military habits, though and it is generally accepted that should the need for an organized military ever arise again, Allegro would once again be it's leader.
Military: average of average, see below
-Navy: low. The are not hostile
-Army: Average- they have no standing army, but should the need arise they have plenty of vonunteers
-Defense: high. They are dedicated to protecting Vertigo and their other cities.
Spyworks: Slightly above average. Though for the most part they are not a deceitful people in the least, and not all of the automata even understand subterfuge at all, there are Automata almost everywhere- most cities have them cleaning streets, fixing buildings, and doing drudge work that nobody else knows what to do. They are also employed as servants for their exceptional obedience and lack of need to sleep. They're bound to overhear things from time to time, because 'Don't worry about that thing. It's not like they can even think, not really, and they have to do whatever you say anyway.'
Economy: Slightly below average. They have no need for money, but have plenty of labor.
-Wealth: Low. Most of their 'riches' is labor. The automata are willing to work hard and long, so they are able to accomplish fantastic things without the need for physical money.
Innovation: High. They are constantly working to improve themselves
Reputation: Many see them as visionary, as the philosophical moral ideal, mostly the educated who actually understand them, however there is also the flipside that some see them as cold, calculating machines, mostly those who don't understand them and because of this fear them.
Morale: High. They believe they are living the perfect life.
I'm also writing a piece of music, though that will take longer.
Also, on my Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyuGj...8&feature=plcp
Written by Allegro several years after returning from the war, it is the first piece of music written by an automaton which was not designed specifically for that purpose. After he unveiled it, others began to follow his example, and Vertigo had a musical enlightenment period like none seen before or since.
The home of the clockwork men.
Vertigo has an interesting reputation. During the first few months of living in the city, one of the primary gyroscopes began to fail, causing the city to tile slightly towards the highest concentration of people. After a while, the level became as common a household object as the wall clock.
In fact, many people came to be able to tell the time of day and day of the week by the tilt of the city. This is the origin of the expression "tilting the time," which was later incorrectly attributed to the ancient practice of telling the time and date by the tile of the sun by historian Gregoras Knach, though he later corrected this mistake, the misconception persists to this day. The city still does list slightly, though not as much as it once did, as the gyroscopes has since been replaced with far more efficient designs. The inhabitants, though, actually complained when the new gyros were installed, and workplace efficiency plummeted as people could no longer tell the time by the tilt of the floor. The engineers begrudgingly slowed the gyros slightly to allow the city to tilt once more.
The floating gardens.
The floating gardens of Megre are one of the most tranquil cities in the world, filled with plants and animals uniquely suited to the high altitude. This can be attributed to the Clockmen's love of living things, which seems unnerving at first in a creature which is not, at least in the biological sense, alive. Rumor persists that Megre has a dark secret lurking somewhere within the forest-like maze of buildings grown from living trees- the legacy of Megre's former inhabitants.
Rep: How about... visionary?
__________________ Total War factions
TW: Broken City
Lord Founder needs no pants to face the beasts of the world, to descend into the darkest pits of the Earth and ascend above the divine clouds!
Posting interest, I'll play a evil militaristic nation for sure!
Name of your Nation: Boazan Empire
A totalitarian empire born from an ideology, the Boazan empire is a young militaristic one.
When Nature decided that the land was hers to retake people flocked to the few sky cities available, of course there wasn't room for everyone, actually for just a fraction.... and blood ran in rivers.
From this blood an empire emerged, and a bloody empire indeed! United together into the cult of a single man, John Boazan the Holy One, the Boazans soared into the sky with Boazan Prime... ready to take what is theirs by right.
For two hundred years thousands died in the wake of the Boazanians and even more were enslaved, a destiny much worse than death.
As war raged around the world the Boazan imposed their superior combat skill on many nations, until some weakling came with the idea of the Concordiat.
The Boazans snarled at it, as it denies them their right to take what they want from lesser nations but they could not face a world coalition alone so they had to sign and accept it.
And so a hundred years passed, like a lion in the cage the Boazan Empire refined their skills and "tools of the trade" waiting for the chance to strike again...
NOW that time seem near, very near... the Concordiat will not bind the wrath of Boazan anymore!
Culture, People, Etc:
The free citizens of the Boazan empire are collectively called Boazanians or Boazans and are all blonde of hair with blue/gray eyes. Marital union is acceptable only if both persons are of Boazan descent, no foreigners.
Both male and female Boazan are automatically enlisted into the army at age
12 beginning from the Boot Camp where the recruit will spend 3 years honing his/her skill before he is assigned to the navy or the army.
The culture is a warlike and egemoniac one: Boazans are taught from infancy that their kind is superior to others and everything they want is theirs by right. They only respect strength and power.
The population is divided in two major classes: the Warrior caste and the Workers.
The Warrior caste is entirely composed by Boazanians, male and female, with no gender discrimination (female Boazanians are as lethal as their men) which assolve all the military duties of the empire. Hard as nails and trained to the extreme they enjoy a lavish lifestyle in time of peace.
They are not indoctrinated to worship the King but love him deeply.
The Workers are brainwashed enslaved populations and clockwork automations. They take care of the smaller industry, farming and mining plus basically everything a Boazanian sees as unworthy of his/her time.
Slaves are indoctrinated into worshipping the King as a divinity and spreading the teachings on their newborns.
They are treated as money and sold for profit. No rights are granted.
Leader, Name and Description:
King Konrad Istvan, He who rules over nature:
Konrad is the absolute ruler of the Boazanians and revered as a divinity through the empire. Now more machine than man to sustain his degrading health due to age he has ruled the Boazan empire with an iron fist for over two hundred years.
He is the archetypical Boazan ruler: EVIL, merciless, racist in the extreme and a tremendous warrior in his own right. His right arm is completely replaced by a steam powered gauntlet capable of shattering concrete.
Konrad was there when the first cities began soaring in the sky and alone is responsible for the current status of the nation, despite the Concordiat he is still loved by his people for not allowing their customs and uses to fall.
A war nation Boazan is and will remain until the end of times.
Two other VIPS:
Beren Istvan, heir of the King, Prince of Boazan, First of HIS generals:
Beren is the carbon copy image of his father, only 150 years younger.
A bloodthirsty man, he often leads from the front and puts his life in danger recklessly for the sake of glory. He accepts no defying, tolerates no aggravation and is quick to anger. A very dangerous individual and probably the best warrior the world currently knows.
He is in charge of the military force: training, building and of course leading into battle.
Beren stands almost 6' 7'' at 280 lbs
Anna Istvan, minor sister of Beren, HIS second in command:
People (carefully) say that the queen put into Anna's brains all the reason that didn't made it into Beren's one. She is cunning, very intelligent and evil as much and more than her older brother.
She usually stays at the palace to help her father into administration and acts as ambassador when required.
The relationship with her brother is very strong, and they spend a lot of free time together.
Name of your two cities:
Boazan Prime (capital), Gardonia
1) Military: Very High
- Navy: Very High --> All major industrial production is geared towards airships and weapons.
Their navy is very vast and flexible: from small and fast recon vessels to slow heavy battleships with the largest cannons in existence.
- Army: Very High --> every Boazanian is a warrior from birth, because not being able to fend for yourself will ultimately make you a slave of someone else. They mantain huge ground companies with an elitary training integrated with high numbers of bio-golems, clockwork drones, abhuman warriors etc.
- Defense: Medium --> Fortification isn't their best skill, they prefer to rely on their professional ground armies to stall the enemy until the fleet arrives to dispatch the attackers.
2) Spyworks: Very Low --> Boazanians are blunt, not subtle and spying is seen as stuff for the weak races. Information is usually bought or browbeaten from external sources.
3) Economy: Medium --> Boazanians are better at taking than creating, their building and repairing skills are not exceptional.
- Wealth: Very Low --> Boazanians do not hoard gold, they hoard items of war. Usually money is stored for little dealings with other races like hiring a spy or buying something they cannot take by force (yet).
Their only external revenue is from spoils of war they do not want and mercenary companies sponsored by the King. They are VERY expensive but have turned more than one battle alone.
Selling weapons or blueprints to other nations carries a mandatory death penalty which could include your family as well
4) Innovation: High --> All their research efforts are directed towards mantaining absolute military superiority.
Civic innovation is slow and usually happens as a "side application" of what is discovered for military purposes or retrofitted from seized enemy assets.
5) Reputation: Terrifying! --> A sea of ships with thundering cannons, biological weapons, dark magic say some and countless unbreakable warriors.
Lose to them and you either die or "zombified" into servitude.
Dealing with them is only possibile if you have a reasonable force at your back, otherwise you better bend your knee, or you'll lose it.
6) Morale: Medium --> While The Workers caste has no measurable loyalty or morale as it is composed only by machines or brainwashed people, the Istvan family hangs on a dangerous balance.
A true King is supposed to never fail: there may be setbacks, small losses, little problems... in the end the King and those whom he leads MUST prevail.
If this happens too slowly or major battles are lost the faith of the Warrior caste gets shaken as a result... and they aren't known for tolerating losers.
Monikers: "We take what we need" "Violence solves everything"
Date: Unknown future, approximately 1 week after the Concordiat gets broken.
"IN THE NAME OF THE KING!! KILL THEM ALL!" screamed Beren into the comm-link as his steam assault craft landed on the floating city of Ehb.
A collective roar followed as thousands of similar ships landed in different points of the city.
The Otoria fleet was reeling and the sky belonged to Boazan now. Ground invasion of the city was a piece of cake.
"Beloved brother, we should contain loss of cattle... Otoria workers are renowed for their masonry skills" said a suadent female voice.
"They refused MY demands, they dare DEFY my father's authority to take what he wants! I shall show no mercy, sister."
The whole environment was dark, between the black exhaust fumes and the number of ships it seemed the Sun itself had escaped from the wrath of the Boazan empire and abandoned the poor city-nation of Otoria to annihilation.
"Sir, Crow I here! Bio-golem platoon two and three have destroyed the anti air capabilities of the enemy and are pushing through, platoon one and four are delayed by enemy troops leaded by the enemy prince himself. The men say he is impervious to small arms fire."
"The prince?? Hold on I'm coming, I will slaughter him personally!" said Beren loudly
"Just send clockwork drones at him and be done with that brother, our target is the seat of government." suggested Anna
"Clockwork my $%$%, I shall have his head on my blade. Lead the ships towards the palace Anna" answered the prince
Anna sighed and closed communications, it was foolish to argue with his brother now and besides he was the commander in charge, not her.
Few minutes later the siege ships were into position, shattering the external walls of the citadel with steam powered railguns and shells the size of a train wagon.
"Madam, our enemy stopped firing and is broadcasting surrender pleads on all frequencies, field reports say that our Prince is marching towards the palace with the head of an enemy on his sword"
"Keep pounding the walls until they fall, then shower the inside with bioshock shells. I want nothing alive in their command center." said the woman leaving the room.
One more city, one more conquest. Glory to the King!
Last edited by Killerloop : 09-06-2012 at 07:21 AM.
Very interested but busy at the moment, what niches remain to be filled?
I have a couple ideas floating around but I don't want to be redundant. Eh, more specifics will come later when I have time to sit and formulate a post.
Current factions: Aetheres, spies and assassins for hire; Sky Kingdom of Manticore, British Empire-inspired high Navy; Green Heaven, ecological "utopia," vendetta against flying cities; Draklor Laboratories, mad scientists for hire; House Otakar, powerful merchant family; Vien-Au, ancient city of intrigues and arrogance; The Flying City of Scientia, inventors of the flying city concept; The New Mole Empire, formerly-underground race of molepeople terrified of open spaces and the sky where they are now forced to live; the Vertigo Legions, intelligent clockwork automatons; and the Boazan Empire, warrior-caste slavers and conquerors.
I feel there's still a lot of archtypes that could be used here without stepping on anyone else's toes.
To throw my hat in the alliance ring you can trust the Mole Men, because we are almost entirely incapable and uninterested in conquering other cities. All we want to do is build increasingly large machines to continue our efforts to stabilize the tectonic plates and go home.
Anyone want an alliance with the most powerful navy in the skies? /falsemodesty
What does the Queen think of the Duke? ;)
Also, is there anyone willing to help me make a flag? I'm think the silhouette of a flying city on top with the word "Scientia" curving on top of it, the silhouette of a castle below with the word "Prosperitas" curving below it, and the word "Est" between the flying city and the castle.
Quick question: does the atmosphere act like it does in real life- slowly decreasing in pressure as you go up until it hits vaccum, or is it air all the way up? In other words, does space exist?
Also, I'd be willing to make flags if I have time, but it looks likemy life will suddenly be getting quite a bit more busy in the near future. I'll give a better answer tomorrow, when I have more time.
__________________ Total War factions
TW: Broken City
Lord Founder needs no pants to face the beasts of the world, to descend into the darkest pits of the Earth and ascend above the divine clouds!