Part IV - The Exotic Technologies of Calydorn
The Vanitan Earth-gods possess the secret of steel and devout worshippers of them are granted this knowledge. That essentially means Dwarves and a few human tribes such as the Skannfyrd. Nordgaard exports some steel armor but they have a royal edict forbidding the sale of steel weapons to other nations (lest they be used against them). Some Nordgaard brigands conduct illegal trade in steel weapons, and some steel weapons are captured from battlefields.
Nevertheless, this is still a drop in an ocean of bronze.
The Secret of Steel is not merely the formula of iron and carbon and the temperatures needed to fire it. The Mortan Empire and the Gnostic Cabal possess this knowledge yes, but True Steel requires an alignment of the metal molecules in certain patterns, and this is accomplished with Earth Magic. When Dwarven blacksmiths forge Steel items, they continuously employ Earth Magic in the process, and the steel they make is far superior to that produced by the Mortans. Dwarven Steel can provide excellent protection and never bends (like bronze) or shatters (like iron). Mortan Steel is much softer, and not much better than Bronze.
Nordgaard Steel is a type of True Steel which employs a combination of wrought iron with iron ore, charcoal and glass which is sealed and heated in a furnace. Nordgard Steel is identifiable by the alternating grain pattern and is highly sought after. Warsmiths are guardians of this secret formula and their advanced techniques of forging include folding and twisting to produce ultra-hard blades.
Orichalcum is an enchanted metal which was found on the previous world of the gods. When this world was destroyed, and fragments of it rained down upon Calydorn, this metal became available to intrepid miners. Nevertheless, it is difficult to work and only some Earth-worshipping cultures and some of the Malentians have learned to manipulate it. Today, Dwarven miners seek out these Godlands and skylands to mine the sacred metal. The Warsmiths are the only individuals on Ghorn who understand the complex processes necessary for working this metal, but in ancient mythical ages, the Aetherions and Heavenly Hosts of the Asrae gods went to war wielding orichalcum blades.
Today the Aetherion culture of Malentis retains the knowledge and uses it extensively due in part to the large numbers of bound demons they employ in their armies, and partly because their island is a vast chunk of the former world of Godangr and rich with seams of the divine metal. Items made from orichalcum are feared by supernatural entities, for the weapons shimmer and vibrate through multiple dimensions. Orichalcum is a rare metal used in small quantities compared to bronze which is readily available, and while Orichalcum is often used for weapons by the Malentians, their primary metal for armor remains bronze.
Upon the continents beyond Ghorn, there is a similar pattern - Earth-Worshippers possess steel, Trolloth use some iron and lead, primitives use wood and stone, while the majority of cultures employ copper, tin and bronze. For example the Nimburians of Volturna and most of the human tribes there use bronze, as do all the remnants of the Threxian Empire. The human tribes of Kassobar are bronze-age nomads, so too the peoples of Pharalan. Southern Zephyr and all of Notara are bronze-age cultures, so too the Mortals of Xandria, Velyr and Zholmin.
Besides races who posses wings (such as the Slyphs harpies, demons etc.), there are other possibilities for flight used by flightless races.
Firstly there are flying mounts, which are common to most cultures on Calydorn. Wealthy Halodynes may ride pegasai, or hippogryphs, while poorer citizens make use of the ungainly blue albatross. Wyldfolk have several mounts including the giant crow, Skannfyrd ride the majestic Arctic Condor, while Mortans make use of giant vultures. These represent but a few examples of civilized and barbarian cultures. Most Kassobari nomads ride the Kish bird, and their entire culture is based around it. The same is true for the nomads of Pharalan who ride flying marsupials.
Apart from these mounts there are also the giant Avidons – herbivorous flying lizards the size of a dragon or larger. Avidons are ubiquitous across Calydorn and used by dozens of cultures for transport. These behemoths possess four wings with a span of up to 65 meters, and 80 meters from snout to tail. Avidons were long-since domesticated and possess a peaceful demeanor. Today they are used for transporting cargo and passengers inside the wicker howdah strapped to their backs. These leviathans can safely carry 20-25 passengers or 2,000 kilos of cargo.
As previously mentioned, the Mortan Empire and Elyssar have re-engineered the technology for constructing sky-ships using crystals which amplify the power of the purified element of Etheryte. The ancient cabal colonies on Pharalan have also retained this knowledge and posses the largest fleets of such vehicles.
Cultures which has easy access to Etheryte have no need for the amplifying effects of Gnostic crystal-tech, they can simply pack lots of Etheryte into a structure to make it lighter than air. Nevertheless, Etheryte is a rare and expensive material, and such vehicles tend to be small such as the flying chariots of the Halodynes, and they also need y flying mount to provide locomotion, whereas skyships use sails for power.
According to myths the Dawn Gods created a vast network of portals across the continents of the Nine Worlds linking distant places together by folding dimensions in the surrounding Aethernatos Planes. Other myths claim these Worldway portals were built by the Jotuns or the Vanitans or even predate this cyclic phase of cosmic time. Although dozens of these were disrupted during the Demon Wars and the Everkill War, dozens more still remain active. Possession of a portal is invaluable for trade and also offers an avenue for military expansion just as the Mortans proved when they used the portal in Molonek to invade northern Notara.
Although more in the direction of magic than technology, the effects created with Elemental fiorces are in many ways analogous to technology, so worth mentioning here. Each of the 5 elements – Earth, Air, Fire, Ice and Shadow can produce unusual effects in the material plane by manipulating matter which is predominantly composed of the respective element.
For example, the water realms of Niads became expert in constructing things from water. Walls, sculptures were the most common. Defensive walls of water 50 meters thick were built as defenses around Niad lake cities, so that any invader would be forced to walk through it and certainly drown in within the fast, circular currents. Standing water is also a preferred material for building the walls of houses since it requires no sawing and constructing unlike with wood and stone, and it also keeps the inside of the dwelling exceedingly humid. Where solid structures are required, ice could be created, but in most latitudes it would need to be constantly renewed as it melted. Water can also be compacted using opposing currents creating a surface like rubber. Niads are also expert at creating thick fog and steam on a massive scale – a useful device they often employ in battle. To feed the massive network of rivers, lakes and canals which make up their inlands nations, they create permanent clouds which rain non-stop for hundreds of years.
Stone melding is an art possessed by all Stone Dwarves and a few of the regular fleshy Dwarven brothers. Dwarven bonded-stone can be used to create structures of immense height because it has less weight than normal stone while also being 10X stronger. Bonded-stone can also be created with flexibility, and such sections are often built into larger structure to allow for temperate changes and earthquakes etc. Some Notable examples still existing today are the stone cities of the Hadazag Plateau and the bridges linking Ghorn with Volturna. Another property of bonded stone is its durability; there are structures standing today supposedly constructed 15,000 years in the past. Since Dwarven bonded stone was used by many mortal cultures in the past for their great monuments, the ruins of many truly ancient civilizations can still be explored today.
The Air races construct towns and castle in the sky using solid air which is created by smashing one powerful wind against another. The resultant static wave of air is then woven together using wind-magic. The more powerful the opposing gales – the stronger the building material created. Because the strength is created by the opposing forces rather than the density, air-walls possess a buoyancy only slightly heavier than air at ground level, and so with other air-magic, they are easily floated to higher altitudes. Air-matter of vary grades can be used to craft various items, including armor, swords and arrows. Permanent wind currents, both horizontal and vertical) are created to provide fast travel, while tornados have proven to be effective weapons. Lightning too is a form of air magic known to one branch of Air-Mages. Besides its use in war, lightning is more often used by Sylphs for entertainment or art. Air-mages are able to freeze lightning so that it can be used to construct swords, spear-tips and arrow tips.
Less is known of the Fire Races’ technology, since they mostly retreated from contact with Mortals after the collapse of the Theocracy of the Sacred Flame, blaming humans for the calamities of that age. They are known to use magma for construction as well as its byproducts including pumice and volcanic glass. Nevertheless, their true skill comes in the manipulation of flame and light for light is a phenomenon of sun-fire. Light can also be frozen to provide defensive walls and swords, while static light can be used for beacons and stretched to produce rainbows used for artistic monuments. Super-dense light is hot, rather like a laser and can be used to fashion swords and arrows
With the Shadow races, it is important to remember that they were created as shadows of the other elements and so they possess the partial abilities of the four primary elements. Shadow can be solid like stone or liquid like water; it can be cold like ice or scorching hot like fire, and can be near weightless like air. However, Shadow is far more bizarre than a mre copy of the other elements for it can also be 2-dimensional. Shadow Trolls prefer to make their kingdoms within densely forested locales which they cover in a perpetual cloak of ethereal gloom. Such haze-mantles are light enough to permit plant growth, but dim enough to provide a twilight atmosphere beneath the forest canopy. Many of their city buildings consist purely of two-dimensional facades, since the Shadow Trolls reside within the shadow of buildings, not the structure itself. During the catastrophic rupturing of the planes, whole continents of Shadow melded with the Material Plane, draping the lands with a veil of solid shade. Within these so-called Drablands, elemental plants such as strangling Murkweed and twisted Gloomwood trees thrive, and the dismal bleakness of the landscape is leeched of all color, while black lightning skitters across the pale-gray sky and liquid shadows course downstream.
Monumental feats of construction were the order of the day in the multitudinous elemental kingdoms which crystallized during the Elemental Age, not least of which were the tunnels connecting the continents of Calydorn, cloud castles fashioned of pure etheryte, water-borne cities sculpted from icebergs, and prismatic palaces fashioned of rainbow light.
On Calydorn, Alchemy is the study of chemical substances. Alchemy began upon the island of Theros in the Middlesea, where liberal visionaries of the four elemental races bonded in harmony to form a united civilization during the mythical Elemental Age. The ruling Magi were the forefathers of our venerable craft of Alchemy.
As previously mentioned, all substances upon the Material Plane are thought to be a combination of the five elemental atoms held in various formations by the twelve Keraunoi forces. There is a competing views which claims that the twelve types of Keraunoi atoms held in place by the 5 elemental forces. Another theory holds that even atoms consist of a nucleus of elemental particles orbited by a single Keraunoi particle which can exist in twelve different orbital shells. And there are other views too, but all of these ideas are purely theoretical and a true understanding is not necessary to perform the art of alchemy.
There are so far 89 known elements, which are generally organized in a spiral table. Alchemists perform experiments to find reactions with elements to produce interesting and useful effects or byproducts. Most civilized urban culture possess so degree of alchemical knowledge, but by far the most advanced are the alchemists of the Mortan Empire. Such knowledge and processes have helped in everyday applications such as leather-tanning, sanitation, agricultural fertilizers, oils, detergents, inks, medicines, metal working etc.
The ancient alchemists of the Mystic Hierocracy developed a metaphysical philosophy along with their chemical experimentation which is a secret known only to alchemists today, but it is rumored to be directly opposed to the 5 separate Elemental Paths of Purity. These religious doctrines are followed by the extreme traditionalists of the elemental races, and they stress the shedding of foreign elements to attain an elemental spiritual purity. To the contrary, the science of Alchemy is practiced by Mortals for unlike elemental races, mortals are able to manipulate all four primary elements without excessive harm. Many among the elemental Races tend to view human alchemists as dangerous heretics.
Purified Alchemical Elements
Besides these regular elements, it is possible to distill purified elements, forming unique substances normally only found on the elemental planes: Terryte, Glacinyte, Etheryte and Pyryte.
Purified Air – Etheryte
Purified Fire – Pyryte
Purified Earth – Terryte
Purified Water – Glacinyte
Purified Shadow – Styganyte
These substances have many exotic applications. As previously noted, Etheryte is used for flight. Pyrite burns endlessly and is used for wall-lamps, torches, cookers, light-houses, metal cutting and welding etc., but such uses are limited to the wealthy among urban civilizations since the creation of these substances is very expensive. Among the nations of the elemental races, the purified form of their own element is also in common use. Similarly Terryte can be used for making compasses and magnets and to strengthen other metals and stones. Glacinyte (sometimes called Fryganite) is useful for refrigeration, protection from fire and wealthy explorers and traders use it in deserts and wastelands to provide water, since 10 grams of Glacinyte can be heated to make a kilo of water, so is 100 times lighter.
Ancient alchemists of the Mystic Hierocracy also discovered how to bind the purified elements together thus forming new cosmic fabrics of Ephemeryte, Morphyte and Quintessence.
Two pure elements combined = Ephemeryte
Three pure elements combined = Morphyte
The Four pure primary elements combined = Quintessence
Quintessence plus Styganite = Alchemyte
Developing applications for these substances is still at an early stage since their creation is a lengthy and expensive process.
Only the gods have successfully transcended Alchemyte, combining it with substances from beyond the reality shell of the cosmos:
Alchemyte combined with Void = Omeganyte
Alchemyte combined with Chaos = Infernyte
Infernyte is most infamous, for this is the substance of which the weapons known as the Godslayers were forged.
Aetherions primarily manipulate the twelve Keraunoi in their technology, and they are masters in this. The Keraunoi naturally exist as part of the reality of the Material Plane or “Grand Conjunction”. These twelve forces can be isolated, enhanced, purified and mixed by the Aetherions. In addition to the Keraunoi, Aetherions can also manipulate dimensions to some degree. In fact Aetherions naturally exist in four dimensions and are able to shift into the Aethernatos Realms with ease. Centuries of exposure to the intensely concentrated Keraunoi of the Grand Conjunction causes Aetherions to solidify, trapping them on the Material Plane. Because of this, onle a select few of the Malentians and Nimburians are able to shift through dimensions.
The Aetherian empires of antiquity were largely based on the world which was named after them and given to them as their home by the Asrae gods. Scant few records remain from these times, but myths relate that the high empires of Aetheria used the Keraunoi discovered the pattern of Karaunic currents moving across their world (which on Calydorn are called leylines), and were able to use them as a means of sending thoughts. Vast cathedral-like spires were erected at conjunctions to fracture the keraunic power into its twelve component parts, rather like a prism breaks up light into is spectrum of colors. These 12 powers were then used to enhance their natural powers of manipulating reality. Mortals call this sorcery, but to Aetherions it such “spells” are no more exotic than breathing.
Keraunoi of the Mystic Rainbow
Kethyr - (Power of cosmic Space)
Chomkah - (Power of Gases)
Binath - (Power of Liquids)
Ceshron - (Power of Solids)
Gevarhu - (Power of Rays and Waves)
Tipheret - (Power of Time)
Nezham - (Power of Consciousness)
Hrod - (Power of Will)
Mankon - (Power of Perception)
Yesitho - (Power of Emotions)
Avrakh - (Power of Infinity)
Shigah - (Power of Unity)
The twelve Keraunoi were often embedded inside objects, creating magical items for healing, far-seeing, melting, solidifying, construction, transportation and war, but this was a world away and thousands of years ago, and their high technology remains largely buried under the scorched sands of Aetheria. One of the most infamous devices was keraunic cannon – developed during the Demon-Wars. This device could unmake matter, disintegrating it. A lighter version of this technology was used in the Aetherion power-lances which became the standard weapon of their armies.
The Aetherions established a handful of nations on Calydorn, notably Malentis, Nimburia Maluria, and Hamtatra. Upon the continent of Ghorn they also had small nations in Dzyla, Elwesher Shenanmar, Shekesh, Shalillah and Calendrashan, although these largely embraced the Dreamspinner culture and no longer employed Aetherion sorcery much. In addition to these regions, the world-spanning empire of the Malentians established several dozen immense fortress cities from which to project their dominance. For this reason there are caches of ancient Aetherion technology buried all across Calydorn, and some of it remains in use today in Malentis and Maluria.
Their building techniques are thought to strengthen the bonds between elemental atoms and in this way they are able to construct towering spires of incredible grace and intricate patterns. Delicate arched bridges and terraces span the distances between spires, hundreds of meter high, while staircases and slopes form spirals rising hundreds of meters, suspended by ornate, delicate pillars.
The Malentians great technologies include the summoning and bonding of demons, but would be more accurately considered a form of magic. Other Aetherion devices are said to be able to slow or speed up time in a localized area and to enable teleportation and mind control to create obedient slaves.
One of their most terrifying advances was the ability to move and elevate skylands. Skylands are the remains of the former world of Godangar which was shattered during the Everkill War and which now float in the skies above Calydorn. These the Malentians used as mobile fortresses, complete with keraunic cannons, entire armies and years of supplies. With such power it is easy to understand how the conquered most of the world. Speculation suggests that the moving of the skyland fortresses was accomplished through splitting the keraunic power and isolating the force of Kethyr for form spirals of force around each skyland.
Calydorn has unique forms of technology unlike anything found in our world, and these exist concurrently with many primitive, nomadic and barbarian cultures. In many cases these technologies have been largely lost and exist as rare treasures buried within ancient ruins, just waiting to be discovered.