Setting: The World of Wuxing
This campaign is meant to be very flexible in terms of setting. I have an established time period and different guidelines setup, but for the most part things like locations, points of interest, and in some cases the types of technology available are not very well fleshed out. I want to keep this an open dialog and allow my players to invent as much as I do.
When developing characters I’m allowing you to write whatever you think would fit within the story and I will okay or disallow whatever I feel is necessary. So read on and enjoy.
The world is set in a setting that is both incredibly magical and much industry and technology is being created frequently. I’m trying to go for an 1800s era vibe with modifications based on it also coming from a highly magical society.
Almost every human in the world is magical in some nature which gave them the advantages to flourish in this world. Most people are aspected towards one of the five elements of the Chinese Elemental Wheel, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, or Water.
The world is also inhabited by spirits, creatures that exist on another plain of existence that lines up with those on the physical plane. The spirit plane is largely unknown except that those on that plane can cross over into ours through a possession technique.
A Magical World
Spellcasting in Tan Suo uses the elements of Chinese Philosophy’s Wu Xing – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.
Every person in the world is connected to one of these elements with rarer people connected to two or more. Most people in the world are able to manipulate a small amount of their own spiritual energy (colloquially known as Ki) to produce an effect associated with their own element. The most basic of skills is the projection of a barrier to protect themselves from harm.
Magic in this world will always produce a visible or physical effect of some kind. Illusions are produced through more mundane effects while necromancy and enchantments are completely unheard of. The exceptions to this rule are effects that communicate with the spirit plane.
Usually magic creates a temporary effect. If a wall is created it will disappear once the creator stops concentrating on their spell. It takes a powerful caster to create a permanent effect of any kind and as such these talented individuals are often held in high regard and are in great demand.
To use magic, a user manipulates their own ki and extends it outward to produce an effect in the physical world. This technique is called channeling.
In order to channel, the caster simply requires some concentration however it is not uncommon for people to need to perform some other form of ritual to maintain this concentration. Most learn it through studied practice of some form, be it in the form of martial training, performances, or simple scripture reading.
There is no connection between the element of the parents and their children. What element you can use is randomly chosen at birth. While the nature of a person’s birth may not derive information, a person’s eye color will often be a tell as to their elemental affinities.
Wood is associated with Green or Light Blue eyes.
Fire is associated with Red or Orange eyes.
Earth is associated with Yellow or Brown eyes.
Metal is associated with Grey or Purple eyes.
Water is associated with Black or Dark Blue eyes.
Those with multiple elemental affinities will usually have one dominant color while the colours of their other elements will appear as rings or flecks within the iris.
Spirits are creatures that roam the land invisible and intangible to anyone in the physical realm. Not much is known about them except that they seem to be individualistic and free to their own whims.
Spirits are beings that are made of pure magical energy. They can cast spells without the same restrictions of needing concentration, but unlike humans seem to only ever possess one elemental affinity and only one branch of magic at that.
Creatures that exist on the physical plane are incapable of interacting with spirits. The inverse is also mostly true except through a technique spirits are capable of called possession. Spirits can merge themselves with non-magical creatures or objects on the physical plane and take control of their hosts. A creature dominated in this way falls victim to the whims of the spirit as the spirit decides on actions of its host.
Creatures that have become possessed will often take on aspects of the spirit that has bound with them. A flame aspected spirit may ignite its host’s body in flame while a wood aligned one may have their flesh harden with bark. This is not always the case though as more subtle spirits may mask or subdue these features to more easily blend in with other creatures of its kind.
Creatures with the ability to use magic are able to protect themselves from possession. For whatever reason, barriers have always been a strong deterrent to spirit possession and expulsion. Once a barrier is in place a spirit is incapable of possessing anyone under its protection and spirits within one are immediately sent back to their home plane.
The motivations of spirits are largely unknown but the prevalent theory is they simply wish to incite chaos.
Colloquially called Spirit Stone, this violet stone with an amber glow has the unique property of repelling spirits from passing through its aura. Warden Industries is currently trying to
The Physical World
Most humans reside in large communities with large strong walls protecting the citizens within. People generally fear the areas outside of the cities where non-magical beasts roam. Those who are possessed by spirits are often feared due to their largely unpredictable nature and ability to use powerful magicks.
Even still, humans have managed to develop strong communities within this world and have greatly advanced in the realms of technology. Currently, the world can be described as being set in a state of industrialism. Civilian work within the cities to help provide for their cities and towards expansion of their borders.
Guilds run most of the modern world, each one having a specialization of some sort. It is not uncommon to find the same guild running in multiple cities where their members have expanded and shared their knowledge with the locals.
Governments have always been made individualistic to their cities proper. Usually a president is elected with a party of advisors every few years. These elected individuals help maintain a city guard, emergency services, and other services for the city but other wise keep a hands off approach to daily activity. Guilds within the cities pay a small tax to maintain the city and allow it to expand.
The Major Cities
There are five major cities on the continent, Minerva, Apollo, Juno, Ceres, and Liber.
Cultural Influences: France
The youngest of the five cities but only in name. In reality, Minerva was created from five smaller large scale cities that joined together to create Minerva. More details on the city can be found on Minerva's unique wiki page, here.
Cultural Influences: Germany
Cultural Influences: England
Cultural Influences: Sweden
Cultural Influences: Italy
Right now the state of technology is around the 1800s.
In terms of travel, trains and railways exist to connect cities and deliver supplies. Cars are starting to be created but they are highly experimental.
Electricity is starting to be experimented with so methods to store and utilize it it are still in development.
Most people are fearful of what could be lying in wait beyond the safety of their homes. Excursions from the cities is uncommon for most but on occasion a person may be forced to venture out, especially if they need to travel to another city.
While it is true that the land outside the cities is dangerous, it does not mean they are entirely inhabitable to humans. The main concern is the wildlife and the spirits that freely take control of them. Humans seeking freedom from the monotony of city life will create small villages and maintain outside of the rules of the cities. Their success in such endeavours however is far more variable.
The world is not populated by more monstrous creatures that exist within fantasy. Oozes, undead, and the abyssal are products of fairy tales. Every creature in this planet have a natural bend to them and are unlikely to have any kind of magical inclination towards them. The beasts of the world often fall within animals that exist on earth, their combinations, and dinosaurs of the past.
Colosshu – Colossal Rat
Caranu – Shelled Ox
Rackshur – Pair horned Cougar
Stinbian – Stinging bat
Dowlung – Feathered Dragon
Drifshei – Winged Snake
Hookma – Horned horse
Plaxong – Scaled Bear
Sakhou – Pouched monkey
Dekying – Carrion Eagle
Cesplang – Feathered Wolf
Holjo – Burrowing Pig
Serpeyu – Long alligator
Burxiang – Digging Elephant
Days, Weeks, and Months
Time flow in Wuxing works similarly to established times on Earth. For ease of understanding, the world operates on a 24 hr clock per day. A week is composed of 7 days.
A month is composed of 6 weeks exactly. So each month has 42 days. Each month is named after the seasonal shift in weather that happens during it and the change in daylight hours it brings.
Meaning, "The sunrise", Solban starts off a new year with the melting of the cold temperatures the prior month had endured. The month begins with a day of celebration for the new year. The season is known for strong winds and a cool temperature.
This month begins with the longest day of the whole year, many places on the continent only receiving 6 hours of darkness. The season is well known for it's bringing of short periods of alternating rain and sunshine and raised water levels.
The moon of this world only makes one rotation around the planet each year and the month of Luban is when it begins to rise from the west. With it comes lower water levels, thunder storms, and colder temperatures. Lunar eclipses become a daily occurence halfway through the month.
This month begins with the shortest day of the year, lasting only 10 hours. The temperature is at its coldest during this month and along with it icy weather.
Years are named using two cycles, an elemental branch and one of the twelve zodiac creatures. Each year, both circles rotate creating the name of the year. These cycles are: