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message 1: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

setting ▸ this thread goes into detail about leiyun — how it works, its history, its geography and culture. while this may seem like a lot to read, it is important that you read it all, because these details will help you a lot when you create your characters.

message 2: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

history ▸ the landmass that is now leiyun was first split into two kingdoms, a system which lasted for several centuries, before the dragon war, wherein the southern kingdom destroyed the northern kingdom and their dragon allies but was subsequently consumed by power struggles and eventually fell to pieces, leaving a handful of city-states.

directly prior to becoming leiyun, it was a collection of small villages, towns, and a handful of city-states that were all constantly besieged by bandits or at war with one another. then, a noble of one of the southern city-states rose up and fought to unify the cities and villages as one kingdom. he promised peace and prosperity, and to those who had known nothing but fear, poverty and war, that promise was one they wanted to see. and thus the first emperor took the throne. from then on, the kingdom slowly began to recruit knights from the nobility and search for magicians to help protect the country from foreign invaders — a search from which they eventually created the magical barrier that surrounds leiyun.

another search was also carried out at that time: the search for gunslingers. legendary vigilantes with magical revolvers, the greatest assassins and mercenaries in the world. the royal family recruited as many as they could (five) into the city and palace guards, charging them with protecting the throne at all costs.

now, the twenty-fifth ruler sits on the throne, and the kingdom thrives. the magical barrier is strong, and trade with other nations is mostly carried out outside of their borders. but political unrest is only a short step away – the nobility grows disgruntled by the power of the peasantry, and the lack of respect for elders; the outside waits impatiently for them to share their kingdom with the rest of the world; and the royal family is not as stable as it seems.

message 3: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

politics ▸ leiyun is a monarchy — the emperor or empress rules the country, with assistance from advisors, as well as acting as a judge in more complex cases than what the city guard usually deal with. however, leiyun also has a parliament of ministers elected from noble families, who come up with laws and decisions they believe will benefit the people and try to convince the monarch to carry these laws and decisions out. there are fifty ministers total, however only twelve form the inner council who take the parliament's decisions to the monarch. the parliament are re-elected every seven moon cycles* by the lower classes.

* a moon cycle is from one new moon to the next. fourteen moon cycles is one year.

message 4: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

technology ▸ while leiyun is technologically advanced, they have made an effort to retain their traditional way of life — so their advancements are subtle: their international transport, highly advanced healthcare systems (capable of bringing someone back from the brink of death), and all the usual things (fridges, computers, smartphones, electric lights in houses, rice cookers, induction stoves — but wood ovens).

message 5: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

geography ▸ leiyun is around 1800 kilometres long, and around 300 kilometres wide at its widest point. the main mountain range, the great east ranges, runs north-south and is slightly inland from the east coast. from the coast to the mountains proper, the landscape gets gradually more and more hilly. the passes through the mountains are hazardous, since the weather can change at any moment, and should only be undertaken if absolutely necessary — being stranded is essentially a death sentence.

once you cross the great east ranges, you reach a series of plateaus that gradually stretch down to a plain. the plateaus have the most variable climate in the country — in summer and early spring cacti flourish in the semi-arid rocky area, but come the middle of spring they transform into the sort of grasslands you might expect to find in western australia. in winter, the plateaus reach far below freezing even during the warmest days, and in autumn they are the most fertile, softened by the meltwater. the plains below the plateaus are sparsely inhabited, mostly by secluded farmers and nomadic groups — as well as dragons. those who live in the plains have little to no contact with the outside world, since they are surrounded by mountains, and their culture is vastly different to that of the rest of leiyun.

then you have the western mountain range, which is significantly smaller than the eastern ranges, but no less deadly. full of sheer rocky slopes and boulder-filled passes, the western range is impossible to travel by horse and far too time-consuming to travel by foot. there are routes over the mountains, that the nomads use in summer to reach the coast to trade, however they are known only to the nomads and their mountain ponies. most travellers choose the easier path — following the river to the southern end of the mountains and going through the much easier pass there.

the south of leiyun is hilly and fertile, and the main source of agriculture in the kingdom. reaching up to forty degrees celsius in summer but only around five to fifteen in the winter, it is by far the most habitable area of the country. most towns and villages are slightly inland, and focus on agriculture.

the north of leiyun is much flatter, consisting mainly of fishing villages in large natural harbours that freeze over in winter. there are many small islands near to shore where small communities live — though they struggle every winter, when trade with the mainland is virtually impossible because of the ice and constant winds.

the south also suffers from earthquakes, although they are mostly small and fairly harmless. the north rarely gets earthquakes, due to the lack of tectonic activity there.

leiyun has four main cities: na layuin, on the south-east coast, which is the capital city and the location of the sole international trade harbour (a carefully-constructed part of the shield nearby ensures that while foreign ships can get in and out, when they leave they instantly forget anything that might arouse interest, and nobody intending harm can get in); sankiju, at the base of the southern end of the western ranges, which is the temple city, the kingdom's religious centre; myuikan, on the east coast, which is the residence of many of the warrior-nobles; and indseil, the northern city.

message 6: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

social organisation ▸ most of the population live either in a city or a town or village. the social classes are royalty and nobility, the proletariat (town peasants) and village peasants.

villages are arranged simply: each family has a house and a plot of land, and they all contribute to the village's food supplies and funds. those with less fertile plots often work on others' farms, and rent their own out to travellers to house horses or to camp. most southern villages (and some further north) have an orchard in the centre of the village, and everyone participates in caring for the fruit trees and harvesting the fruit.

towns are most easily compared to a collection of villages clumped together with a few administrative buildings and a market square in the middle. each village produces what they can and sells it at the market, buying what they can't make themselves from the villages that can make those things. the people who live near the administrative buildings, out of the villages, work in the orchards in the centre of the town.

cities vary in their structure — na layuin has village-like outskirts, gets progressively more town-like as it gets closer to the palace, then begins to have different things: parks, ponds, temples, large shrines, cafes, townhouses and taverns. the city guard is also noticeably more present the closer you get to the palace. sankiju has a similar structure, but instead of a palace has a large clump of the major pantheon's shrines. myuikan is mostly nobles' residences, with a handful of peasant settlements and a town-like centre. indseil is more like a very large fishing town.

message 7: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

agriculture ▸ most produce is grown in the south, although the west coast is also fairly fertile — though they keep to themselves more.

the main animals involved in leiyun farming are cows and goats (for dairy), pigs (which tend to be taken care of by one specific family in a village) and chickens (a household pet).

the main grains grown are soy, wheat, barley and rice. rice and barley are the most widespread, followed by the other two. the growing seasons for these strongly dictate school holidays (sowing and picking seasons, usually).

the main fruit grown are citrus fruits, stonefruit (excluding warm-climate ones), and apples and pears. while other stonefruit are grown in greenhouses in the capital, they are expensive and usually reserved for nobility and royalty. other fruit and vegetables are usually either grown by individual households or specialists.

fishing is mainly carried out on the west coast and in the north, although southern areas occasionally eat fish for special occasions (usually sourced from one of the tiny fishing communities on the south coast).

message 8: by kaya (last edited Jul 12, 2018 03:32AM) (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

religion ▸ the most common religion (the southern one) is called nal and is polytheistic. it is divided into two pantheons: the major (aive) and the minor (uive). the aive is primarily gods concerned with weather, health and politics, while the uive is mostly travel and household gods.

temples are mostly in cities or large towns, although there are a handful in the southern forests. shrines can be found in various places: most households, most town/village centres, and also forests and along major roads.

priests and priestesses are revered, for the most part. despite serving deities, most are not magicians, and any who are tend to be head priests or priestesses of the sankiju aive temples.

the most central law of leiyun is that no religion may interfere with politics. ministers of parliament must make decisions based solely on facts and what the people they represent believe — voting based on religious beliefs on a parliamentary law is grounds for losing one's seat. priests and priestesses are also not allowed to be involved in politics, and are not allowed to vote for ministers.

there are three main religious festivals in leiyun: the festival of the aive, with parades held in both na layuin and sankiju; the festival of the uive, with smaller local parades, as well as a large parade in sankiju; and kingdom day (also called leiyun day), which celebrates "the gods keeping leiyun safe from harm".

message 9: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

customs and celebrations ▸ due to the nature of this section, it will be divided into sections.

eating ▸ social convention dictates that children eat before the rest of the family (possibly to allow for peaceful conversation, possibly because they go to sleep earlier). children also have much fewer restrictions on how they eat — using utensils such as knives and forks is seen as reasonable and a way to avoid mess, whereas adults that cannot use chopsticks are either assumed to have been raised poorly or to be foreigners. (the use of chopsticks originated from people trying to find utensils that were easy to make — twigs are excellent for that.) at lunch, most students at schools go home to eat with their families, and lunch is usually eaten outside unless the weather is cold.

birthdays ▸ while royal birthdays are obviously a big deal and are celebrated by parades and festival celebrations, family birthdays are usually celebrated at home with family and close friends (in villages, other members of the community come with gifts of food). presents are usually small things, like hair pins or jewelry, or money or new clothes — though nobility can afford more expensive gifts, such as pets or horses. significant birthdays are five (safe from infant diseases), ten (double digits), fifteen (maturing), twenty (legal adult), fifty (end of being middle-aged), seventy-five (unlikely to reach), and one hundred (very unlikely to reach)

weddings ▸ royal weddings take several moon cycles to organise, sometimes even years. peasant weddings, despite not being as extravagant or extensively organised, are still very much the biggest celebration a village or town can put on: they wear their best clothes, prepare a feast (the leftovers of which will usually last a good week or two) and ask the village priest to decorate the shrine. the actual ceremony varies in length depending on the vows, but they generally aren't very long.

deaths ▸ when a death occurs, the family are usually given gifts by their neighbours and acquaintances, as a way of saying 'sorry for your loss'. the burial is short and unceremonial. in the weeks following the burial, however, the family visits the cemetery many times to pray for their dead relatives and leave gifts of flowers and letters to the dead detailing what has happened since they died.

prayer ▸ while there is no church or suchlike, some temples have regular ceremonial prayers. despite the showiness of these events, normal prayer is carried out either kneeling in front of a house's shrine, or in one's head wherever and whenever they happen to be praying.

message 10: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

resources ▸ leiyun is rich in natural resources, however they do not mine many metals — only what is necessary, as they wish to preserve the appearance of the landscape. magic is often used to draw ores out of the ground without harming the forests. the main resources mined in leiyun are gold, silver, copper, tin, iron, coal, slate, basalt, granite, sandstone and limestone.

the coal that they mine is mostly used in making steel, however, as they rely almost solely on wind farms and hydroelectricity, with some solar power in the far south. they also do not mine natural gas or oil, and have never bothered to develop technology that can do so.

message 11: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

flora and fauna ▸ leiyun has a wide range of flora due to its differing climates. in the south, there are many forests and rainforests, as well as some wildflowers. in the centre, on the plateaus and the plains, there are cacti and grasses (over fifty different varieties of grass can be found across leiyun), as well as a carpet of colourful wildflowers in spring. there are various types of forests around the coasts and in the southern hills — thickly wooded areas; light, open ones; damp rainforests with waterfalls and gullies; cloud forests.

there are many different types of animals found in leiyun — both magical and mundane. of the mundane, there are deer, canines (dogs, wolves, foxes) and cats, farm animals, squirrels, possums (like ringtails and brushtails), and bears, amongst other things. of the magical, there are dragons, which mainly reside on the plains and are rarely seen by anyone other than nomads; griffins; firebirds of various kinds; spirits that shapeshift into animals; house daemons (a tamed version of a forest daemon. likes playing with kids.); forest daemons, who guide travellers both in wrong and right directions; river daemons that either try to drown you or to rescue you, as well as a handful that help you cross in exchange for help catching fish; dryads (and hamadryads); nymphs; brownies; and uleig, which are like bunyips — large, furry humanoids that sit beside lakes and ponds and are easily befriended.

message 12: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

education ▸ the noble children are tutored in their homes, but the peasantry are also given an education: schools run from ages five to twenty, although many leave at age fifteen to help their family farm. there is usually only one or two schools per district or village, and school holidays are dictated by the crops grown in the area. teachers are hired by the state, and teach mathematics, language, literature, history and science.

message 13: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

fashion ▸ leiyun traditional clothes are similar in style to hanbok and kimono, and only worn on special occasions such as festivals, weddings and birthdays. village clothes are fairly simple — tunics and loose pants, which are comfortable enough to work in all day long and don't matter if they get dirty, as well as being easy to make. town clothes are similar, although brighter coloured, and city clothes are a hybrid between practical newer styles and traditional clothes.

( for an idea of the clothes this talks about, see this )

message 14: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

weaponry ▸ most citizens of leiyun, if they carry a weapon, use either a dagger or a sword. there is only one magical sword known to exist, which is the imperial sword, wielded by the monarch. it can cut anything except its sheath, including magical barriers, and is nearly impossible to destroy without the aid of dragonfire.

swords are not the only weapons used in leiyun. bayonets and pistols are commonly owned by the richer peasantry, although they are rarely used.

and then there are the magical revolvers. only a handful exist — enchanted by the original gunslingers, and passed down through the generations. they never miss their target, and as such gunslingers (the only people capable of wielding them) are quickly recruited into the city guard when they are found.

message 15: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

magic ▸ the royals and nobility of leiyun have done their utmost to restrict magic mainly to the nobility, by adopting peasant magicians into their families. now, most magicians found outside of noble families are taken to the palace to become royal wards, and trained to keep the barrier around the kingdom stable. noble children are trained in magic at a young age, and most knights possess some degree of magical ability (usually basic healing magic and nothing more). most magic is in the form of spells (either wordless or spoken), potions, or cursed/blessed jewelry.

message 16: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

gunslingers ▸ gunslingers, as has been mentioned, carry magical revolvers that never miss their targets. they are always strong magicians, and when they become a gunslinger their lifespan is extended slightly (by around twenty years or so). all gunslingers have a familiar — most have cat/shapeshifter hybrids that can shift for short periods of time into different creatures (some can also shift into humans), but some have baby dragons (by the time the dragon has grown large enough to be a problem, one or both of them will be dead, usually, although there are some dragon/gunslinger pairs that have lasted until the gunslinger's death by old age.)

message 17: by kaya (new)

kaya (ananats) | 113 comments Mod

attitudes ▸ most people in leiyun are highly suspicious of foreigners, irrespective of skin tone. and due to a lot of immigration during the south/north kingdoms era, the country is fairly diverse. besides, any human skin tone is more acceptable than daemons which usually have bright green or orange mottled skin.

marriage is either for love or for children, and so most stigma around sexual or romantic orientation comes from the nobility who want their line to continue. gender identity isn't a big deal, although there is stereotyping that occurs because of perceived gender.

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