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My unnamed setting worldbuilding thread


The soul is the seat of a being's individuality and will.

Now, it's important to distinguish a true soul from the astral body, since the characters will often equate the two in-universe. The true soul is generally restricted to sentient beings, because a soul is formed when a being acquires a concept of itself. It's the being's essence, isolated from the outside world by a bubble that rejects anything that's not part of it.
It's extremely resistant to direct tampering, as it's like a self-contained pocket dimension. If destroyed or separated from the body, it usually causes the death of the owner's physical form in short order; on the other hand, the soul itself can linger long after the death of the physical body, and even continue acting on its own if a strong enough will drives it.
Souls are nexuses of meaning that draw in magical power; as such, they can be valued as resources, but most sentient creatures have taboos about messing with souls. After all, nobody wants THEIR very essence to be mucked with.

The astral body is the magical reflection of the physical body; it's what is referred to when characters speak of a "soul" of an inanimate object. The death of the physical body usually means destruction of the astral body as well, but the astral body can be tampered with, separated or destroyed without necessarily causing lasting harm (the opposite relationship to the true soul).
One's own astral body is the only source of magic that does not require an external ritual to manipulate, as it already comes with its vessel attached, the physical body itself. It's usually a limited source that requires special discipline to tap into, as it follows the pre-existing rules of the physical body.

A genius loci is the astral body of a place. They're the result of a location becoming meaningful enough to develop its own magical properties. The most important genius loci of the setting is the world itself, that is, the astral body of the entire planet, a force powerful enough to shape history through its actions.


A couple more concepts necessary to understand this world.

Crystals have a powerfully orderly nature, so they're able to "trap" the chaotic flow of magic and force it to be more stable. That makes good quality crystalline minerals highly sought after for the crafting of magitek items. They also make great focuses for rituals in general.

Soulstone (wish I had a better name) is a special type of crystal and the most mysterious resource of this world. It's a stone with the power to channel imagination into reality. It can induce dreams, awaken new senses and uplift minds. Soulstone is involved on the origins of several of the setting's sentient races.

Monsters appear where reality has thinned itself and raw magic leaks out into the world of order. That produces a rapid feedback loop where evolution is accelerated in crazy directions. Monsters are different from normal animals in that they continually grow stronger by struggling to survive, acquiring more positive traits via magic (but over time they can breed back into regular animals if the flow of magic shuts off). A monster that's grown strong enough to prevail against all rivals and dominate an entire ecosystem is a Monster King. When this process happens across an entire world without interruption, monsters are said to grow even stronger... but that's for another post.

Dragons are the universe's oldest extant monsters. Extremely powerful and adaptable, they've outgrown whatever their origin world was many eons ago, and spread through the universe like a scourge. They're much more common in the realm of magic, where mana is abundant and they can easily grow more powerful - the reason being that they feed on magic sources, their bodies being little more than shells surrounding a living tempest of power. The biggest among them are known as World-Eaters, beings capable of devouring the core of an entire planet - though theoretically nothing keeps them from growing even bigger...
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And here's the current iteration of the map. Colors unrelated.


Celestials are Monster Kings that have come to rule over an entire planet. They're invariably frighteningly powerful and possess, if not advanced intelligence, at least a level of cunning surpassing any normal intelligent being. A Celestial-dominated planet usually ends up reality-thin and highly warped by their presence alone, being fully visible from both the realms of order and magic. World-Eaters and Celestials are often at odds throughout the cosmos, as the former threaten the
livelihood of the latter with their hunger for magic-rich planetary cores.

Fey are native intelligent denizens of the magical plane. Their form is unstable, and therefore they vary wildly in appearance and character. Creatures that would normally be called fairies, elves, trolls, gnomes, pixies, tommyknockers, kobolds, yokai, ogres, and many others are all subtypes of the same species. All of them have magic as second nature, and behave/think in ways alien to orderly species.

Chaotic beings are an apparent oxymoron. The plane of Chaos should not be able to harbor life, but inside of it, some type of free-willed things appeared, as shifty and unknowable as the swirling mass of possibility around them. They are, by essence (if "essence" even applies to them), utterly incomprehensible, and only truly perceived by the severe reality-warping effects they have when approaching more orderly areas. Usually, when that happens, one or more eldritch abominations are "born" as the chaotic being's form stabilizes.

Giants are the last remnants of immensely powerful Titans that once ruled the world for millions of years. Titans were spawned by the spirit of the world (see genius loci above) to combat a threat to its existence, and after that they just hung around for a while. They, in turn created intelligent races to watch over, which in the beginning worshipped the titans themselves, before they grew proud and began to see nature's wrath as constraining their existence. They started believing in gods who would protect them from nature. Eventually, these gods took the fight to the titans, imprisoned or killed them and cursed their progeny. Giants are severely dimnished versions of their forefathers, but are still hugely powerful beings that harbor a deep-seated bitter rage against the other denizens of the world. In every culture, they're reviled as savage at best, and representations of primordial evil at worst.