Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Evolution of a World

Lately I've been talking a bit about endings, but after every end there is a beginning. Even if the Pius Chronicles are drawing to a close, Argos will live on. The world has been a big part of my life for some years now, and I do not feel like we will be parting ways just yet. Great and terrible things have happened to it since I first visited it. Though nearly, but not quite cataclysmic, these events have greatly changed the world. Some of these events have been played out, others must be allowed to run their course. This post is the first in what will likely be a new series, where I pour out some of my thoughts on how the world will look once the dust has settled. If I'm lucky, this will take Argos into the Fourth Age.


I'll start by addressing my current thoughts on the next chronicle set on Argos – whether it be roleplaying or in the form of a novel is beside the point at this time. At present, the history of the world is very focussed on a group of player characters, and though the epic deeds these extraordinary heroes have achieved will become an important part of the mythos, I do not think any story set in their shadow will be very interesting for anyone but those who have played these tales. Exactly how I will solve this is something I do not need to take a stance on right now. Therefore I will table that question for now.

Right now I want to pose a few other questions. This is mostly for my own benefit, as a way to organise some of my thoughts. Should I receive any substantial feedback, I will make sure to include that in my future musings on this topic.

The big question is how will the Aragonian civilizations develop over, say, a generation? The founding idea of Argos was: Imagine a world where magic once existed, but where it had been banned, only to have it reawaken again. In the thousand years that passed between the Covenant (the banning of magic), to the Breaking of the Seal (the awakening of magic), the Erian cultures reached a pre-Enlightenment stage. Think Europe around 1630 CE. In the generation that has passed since the awakening, the following changes have occurred.

  • Magic has become not only present, but a major power in politics and warfare. It has also come to influence certain fields of science.
  • Gods, forbidden after the Covenant, has re-entered the lives of mortals. In Northern Eria these have become important in both providing a sense of protection to the masses, and as a way of defeating the enemies. In the South, they are still banned, and the Humanists live in fear of the capricious demons who play with the souls of men.
  • Mythic beasts and terrible monsters have again become reality, and none can now deny their existence.
  • Great armies are tearing Eria apart.
  • A horde of barbarians have torn through it's centre, with a course for an area already inhabited.
  • One major kingdom, Pendrell, has been reduced to less than half it's size by a mystical forest.
  • Another, the Enlightened Skythian Empire, has been ravaged by an undead plague, by armies and warfare, and by said barbarian horde.
  • One of the two great doctrines of the previous age, the Cabal of Pure Thought, has disappeared. In it's stead a plethora of religions and metaphysical philosophies has sprung up.
  • The other great system of belief, the Temple of Man Supreme, has reverted to violent persecution of new thought, while hiding rampant corruption (pure fucking evil) in it's midst.
  • Forces of darkness has come out in the open, and they control or influence nations and resources.

I'm sure this list isn't complete, but as if this wasn't enough, there are two other factors I believe will greatly influence the future of Argos. These are the Ordo Ultima Thule, and the Commonwealth of Man. These are Outsider-civilizations, coming from the Multiverse outside of Argos. The former is easily recognized as evil, the latter isn't. Both these bring something that must change the world: science. The Ordo Ultima Thule has a heavily occult, 1945-inspired level of technology, while the Commonwealth is more of a classical steampunk civilization. Both have unlocked the secrets of space-travel.

Neither can operate with impunity at this point, and powerful factions have come to realize that their influences must be watched and possibly hindered. Still, how will the world change now that people have seen a well-functioning steam engine? Electricity? Advanced mathematics? Physics? And how will this mesh with everything else that's become part of the paradigm? At present, I have no hard answers to these questions, but these are the things I will attempt to work out. Though I feel a head-ache coming on, I also look forward to bringing the world of Argos into it's Fourth Age.

One idea I've been playing with is to look at our own world at the end of the 18th Century. It was a time where great nations was born, and the old world started to die violently. I also think that integrating the technological and scientific achievements of this age could provide a good starting point for a 1630-esque world that has had the above factors thrust upon it. There would of course be quite a few drastic differences between our own world and this one, what with magic and gods and flying ships and whatnot.

There you have it. Over the next months I expect I will be returning to this more than a few times.

[Picture source unknown]


  1. I think this is an interesting line of thought. It something that all campaigns world with magic should have to deal with but certainly becomes a factor in more "modern" (i.e. not medieval) world where the pace of technological advancement is quicker. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

  2. "I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with."

    You and me both ;)

    The challenge will be to integrate the world as it was with the changes that's occurred, and to emerge with something that's interesting and inviting. Weird is good, crazy isn't.

  3. Wow. I think you have set up Argos for some troubled times. With magic and gods and science to choose from, there may be an arms race and I think it will be won by the nations who manage to find a way of getting all three to work together. Steam engines are nice, but steam engines protected or driven by magic are better. Using magic to bend the laws of physics to achieve better, normally impossible machines.
    I'm not sure I would want to live in that world, but I'm looking forward to read about it.

  4. I'm especially fond of the notion of mythic creatures paired with proto-tech. Perhaps this new age will be one of industrial magics and mythical machines?

  5. @ Jed:

    There will probably be an arms-race of sorts, but I'm not sure exactly how that will play out. I also think the first order of the day will be stabilize the societies ravaged by the war. As for it being a troubled time, you're right.

    @ Håvard:
    I know you are ;) But you should know me well enough by now to know that I'll fight tooth and nail to keep things moving as slowly as I think I can get away with. One thing I hope to avoid is loosing what's made Argos special in the process.