Before the rebrand the series were known under the generic name “Dragonworld”. The setting has been launched in 2010 with a set of 4 chapterscalled “The Dragon Tournament”. As a certain Dragon had an important role in the whole issue, the audience started to refer to the setting as “the Dragonworld”.
Geography of the world
The world’s geography is based on the real life map of the Balkan peninsula, respectively, Eastern Europe. The relief, climate, flora and fauna are the same as in the real world, with, of course, a few exceptions. Same goes for minerals, with the exception that “modern” stuff such as oil or uranium is not existent (or discovered) so far.
Locations, rivers, mountains and settlement can bear either real life names (such as Rila mountain, Dobrostan village, etc.), or old names (such as Serdica – the old name of our capital city Sofia), or fictional names you have come with. Thus, when creating a character background you are free to do either of the above, but please make sure that people from the same group use the same name for the same location and be warned that that name will most probably stay.
Part of the uncovered lands (which have not been under the fog) are home and, in a different manner, domain of the existing factions. We are currently using the administrative units from the real life to measure how many lands each faction has, as this is related to the economy system. Players from countries other than Bulgaria and Serbia are free to determine the domains of their factions as they will.
There are also some free lands that are a potential subject to conquer.
Population, races and classes
The player-members of each faction are not taken as the entire population of a certain territory. There is fictitious population there – someone has to grow the crops, to produce stuff, to trade with it and to pay taxes. Most players’ characters are members of the aristocratic, military, oligarchic or religious establishment, which, in one way or another, rules the respective lands. This establishment can be militarised to a different degree, can accept in its ranks commoners or not. In other words, there is no reason for a character not to be either a noble, or a warrior, or a peasant, or a craftsman.
There can be descendants of mixed interracial marriages. These do not form separate races, i.e. a half-elf is NOT a race.
In addition to its race (one of the above), a character could also be undead (most frequently, a Vampire). Regardless of whether he has been born like that or turned, it is an additional condition to his base race, and not a race – i.e. Vampire is NOT a race. The same goes for lycanthropes (most often werewolves).
The races in this world are not linked with any specific fiction universe from a book, movie series, computer or board game; the players are free to make parallels or imply analogies. An Elf can resemble the Tolkien Elves or not. Any universe can be used as a reference, as long as it stays a reference – you can be a Tolkien Orc or a WoW Orc, but please don’t be specifically Thrall for example, as it usually complicates things.
It is recommended that a player has the costume to achieve an outlook that is typical of the selected race, unless there is a specific story to back she has a different outlook.
Race matters exclusively in terms of roleplay and character background. There are no metagame features, no skills whatsoever dependable on the character’s race. In other words, in terms of rules all races are equal.
However, there is a case, in which all players with characters from the same race have accepted an ingame restriction to apply to them – as long as you play a Devil (outsider), you cannot speak a lie – you always tell literally the truth.
Classes and XP
There are no such things. No classes, no levels and no XP points
Other creatures (non playable)
– Dragons – the first beings who have always been;
– Forest spirits:
– Wood nymphs (Samodivas) – these are known to appear in some woods and to charm people. Some people say that their magic can be countered by depriving the nymph from her cloth – a special coloured piece of fabric they have.
– Dryads – so far only one Dryad’s appearance has been documented with certainty; she gauged clan leaders to sing her songs; it is also speculated that they are always connected to a tree and could be both good or evil.
– “The Evil Forces” – the so called “evil forces” are referred to by many as “demons” but it is wrong and they are not the same as the playable race of demons. They are pure energy incorporeal life forms coming from another world. Several times they have tried to take over our world. Their main tactic involves possessing people and trying to incite conflicts.
– Local (Bulgarian) – all local characters speak it by default; it would be only normal and logical for non-Bulgarian players’ characters to refer to their own language with this term;
– Commercial (English) – it has disseminated as a common language during the time of the first Empire, because many people spoke it as their local language – or spoke languages very resemblant to it, whilst the Imperial was too sophisticated. There are books in Commercial and it is usual to study it in schools and universities. It is common for a character to speak Commercial either if it is local for her, or, if not, if she has at least some basic education.
– Draconic – the ancient language of the Dragons, one of the languages used by mages. There are spells or parts of spell in Draconic. A character can have some knowledge of Draconic if they are a mage, or if there is some special reason for him to have learned it from a mage or from some very highly educated person. The language is basically dead and not used to actually communicate. Nobody actually speaks it to a degree allowing them to have a conversation.
– Imperial (Latin) – another dead language, the official language of the first Empire, engineered by order of Emperor Jarn (the first Emperor, dead long ago). Nowadays it is used in science, administration, as well as in some spells and other magic terminology.
– Western (Serbian) – this is how in Bulgaria Serbian is referred to; other countries would have some other term for it.
– Aeonian (Greek) – this is how the people from the South refer to their language, respectively, their land (Aeonia).
Magia ars mutationis est.
“Magic is the art of Change“ – this is the Academy of Magic’s slogan. The Magic in this world is the energy, which manipulation allows the mages to make Changes in the state of things.
This energy is available at any place and at any time to those who can use it. A Mage performing a magic action is in fact handling а certain limited amount of energy and directing his mind and his will to impact either the psychic of a conscious object or the physical characteristics of matter. This is done by focusing the energy through magic words (spells).
Theoretically there is no limit to the extent of changes that can be caused by magic; however, in practice there are quite objective restrictions on the ability of each Mage to handle more than a certain, relatively small amount of magical energy. It is known, however, that more powerful entities/life forms existed or exist, who are able to transform significantly larger amounts of magical energy – such as the Dragon (i.e. to make more powerful spells, mass spells, etc.)
The potential to transform magical energy into magical action is embedded in all living beings in this world. Not all, however, can develop it to a sufficient degree to be able to make spells. In some cases, innate talent is very strong and reveals itself early in childhood; such a person can become a good and powerful Mage relatively easily, although after years of training. In others the gift is weak and even with training they remain mediocre Mages. In most cases though this potential is so weak that they cannot do spells at all.
This means in fact that a character could be already a Mage – having learned the stuff from someone else; or become a mage ingame, after a certain time of training, by visiting the Academy of Magic.
Magical energy is divided into 6 types, which result in 6 Magic Orders: of Life, Death and the four elements – Fire, Water, Air and Earth. These energies are different in nature. So when a Mage uses for some time one of the energy types, he loses the ability to handle the others. In practical terms this means that one character can make spells from one the Orders only. He can still study others, but not perform them.
Mages normally belong to the organization of one of the Orders and the Academy of Magic. There can be, however, rogue mages, who still can do spells only from one of the Orders. Belonging to an Order of Magic is parallel to belonging to other factions, so a Mage can simultaneously be, and usually it is like that, a member of some Clan and of one of the Orders.
After the expulsion of the Evil Forces in 2011 Mages found out that their spells did not work anymore, unless read from somewhere. Repeating memorized formulas did not work anymore, but reading them did. It also became impossible for any Mage to cast any spell if having on himself more than 40-50 grams of metal (medallions, belt buckles and other small items do not count). Generally the ability of Mages to cast spells became more limited and the Magisters of the Orders have been making significant efforts to understand why did this happen – so far unsuccessfully.
In terms of rules, this means that Mages must read the spells – from a scroll, magic book, or something else – i.e. all Mages should have a book or scroll with spells and that book or scroll is an ingame item that can be lost or stolen. Also a Mage can not cast, if wearing chain mail or plate armor and/or holding a sword or other weapon. It is not prohibited for a Mage to wear metal armor, but while wearing it, she could not cat spells. Also Mages need to put down their weapon while reading the spell, unless it is a wooden staff.
From metagame point of view of these changes have been made to limit the use of magic during battles and thus:
– Encourage the development of real skills by all players in terms of movement and fencing;
– Balance the ease of killing with magic with the skill necessary to kill with weapons;
– Reduce the frustration of players who have invested efforts in training and obtaining or making their armor, caused by the capability of a Mage dressed with a robe to kill them with by touching them. Now the use of magic in battle requires skill and strategic thinking, movement and positioning, which are comparable to those required from non-magic users.
Laws of Physics and Metaphysics
The laws of physics valid in the real world apply. To some extent they can be manipulated by magic (see above).
Apart from magic, there are antimagic fields, not yet studied ingame, that have the feature to absorb magic. They are in the basis of functioning of the antimagic devices used by the Order of the Seventh Path adepts against mages.
The are other worlds/dimensions. Moving from one dimension to another is possible through portals. Playable characters normally cannot make portals, except under very specific circumstances set by the GMs for a specific game.
There are Gods.
For more details, please refer to the ingame story.
??? – 4 000 b. Emp. – The Dragon Era
Year 0 – Establishment of the Empire
0 – 1000 a. Emp. – Imperial Era
1000 – 1300 a. Emp. – Magic Wars Era
1300 – 1700 a. Emp. – The Dark Ages
1700 – 2000+ a. Emp. (to date) – Contemporary era
Today is 2015.
Social order, power and hierarchy
The social order in a broad sense can be defined as feudal. Specific aspects – land ownership situation of the peasantry, etc. may vary in the the lands of the different factions/clans.
In each faction there is an elite; usually the characters are part of that elite in one way or another – either a classic aristocratic elite of nobles and a monarch; or military; or meritocratic; or charisma-based, etc. The protocol in each faction may vary, but in general terms, if a character is not part of the leadership of one of the clans or a single character with high social status, she would be expected to show at least some respect to characters with a higher status, even when part of a hostile group. However, there are no firmly established standard rules and rituals of communication.
Characters’ personal names
At present there are all kinds of character names: Anglo-Saxon – taken either from the real world or from fiction (books, games, etc.); Bulgarian and Slavic (mostly old forms, there are almost no everyday contemporary names); or completely fictitious player invented names. If in doubt with regard to choosing a name, basically everything is allowed, with the exception of ridiculous nicknames that can be perceived as a mockery and ridiculed, as well as internet nicknames that in any way cannot pass as character names in a fictional world.
Genders in the setting are equal and gender stereotypes are rare to non-existent among the PCs. There are both male and female warriors, politicians, diplomats, academics, mages.