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 On the Shores of an Infinite Ocean

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PostSubject: On the Shores of an Infinite Ocean   Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:26 am

On the Shores of an Infinite Ocean
Almost all cultures have a story of the Apocalypse, which will eventually claim the known world, whether they call it Ragnarok, the End Times, Kaliyuga, or the Big Wang. They claim that a new world will be born from the ashes of the old, or that all creation will be divided between heaven and hell, or that a new cyclical age will begin and replicate the previous one, etc. Unfortunately, as far as your world is concerned, they were all dead wrong. In fact, most of them are just dead.

You, on the other hand, are very much alive. As is whatever part of the world which survived the Apocalypse, a narrow band of mundane reality on average a hundred miles wide and stretching several hundred miles from north to south. Commonly called the Middling Lands, it is situated between the Aster Sea (a vast, mostly metaphysical, ocean) to the east and the Interior (just as metaphysical, but more solid and less wet Ė as a rule) to the west. Located on the shore of the Aster midway along the Middling Lands is the Port, and this is where your story begins.

The Apocalypse
In common parlance, the apocalypse that ended your world is referred to as the Calamity, which separated the World Before from the World After. It happened about five hundred years ago, since nobody remembers a time before that, even the longest-lived inhabitants of the Middling Lands finding their memories growing foggy around that point. Hence, nobody is quite sure what created the Calamity. Some say it was the result of an apocalyptic final battle between the Dragonborn and Tiefling empires. Others say it was the result of the two empiresí apocalyptic cooperation in an attempt to halt Time and thus prevent the coming Age of Men. Some say that the Calamity was caused by the separation of Heaven and Hell and the remains of the mortal world now occupy the same metaphysical space as Purgatory/Limbo. Others say the Calamity was some strange cosmic joke and this world is the punch-line. In short, nobody knows.

Geography
The cold, mountainous northern region is referred to as The Unassailable North. The wet, tropical southern region is called the Snake States, after its three major nations. The Border Kingdoms stretch along and through the Great Girding Forest along the edge of the Interior. The fertile area directly around the port is called the Clutch.

The Interior is a primal land that philosophers say corresponds to the psyche, a panoramic landscape where myths are born. At first the Interior seems terrifyingly empty, and later it seems terrifying full. Travelers are frequently attacked by the things they fear the most; their personal demons. It is said that if you travel far enough into the Interior, youíll reach the Ultimate Self. First yours, and then Godís.

The Aster Sea is populated with innumerable islands, which may lead to other planes of existence. To sail east on the Aster is to sail away from human understanding. Sail far enough and youíll reach the end of existence. Or at least get to the Other Side, the land of the dead. Itís the job of the Black Ships, which arrive in the Port each morning and depart each evening to carry them there.
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