Dev Blog – A Re-Introduction

Its time for a an introduction or more correctly, a re-introduction, to what Altear is. To do that thoroughly I’ll need to discuss the inspirations behind the world, and what led to its creation. So without further adieu, its time to jump back in time to when I was just coming back from my trip abroad. I spent a summer in Ireland, where I learned not only about Gaelic, but also extensively about Irish culture and history. Just living there kind of got me more into stories of the Fae than I had in the past. Its one thing to go and watch Hellboy and see Prince Nuada, its another to actually almost drown in a bog (true story).


The Key Inspirations

Outside of getting a bit in touch with my Celtic Heritage, the trip to Ireland also got me thinking a lot more about fantasy, and what forms of fantasy catch my interest the most. The truth is I love all fantasy from the grim dark world of Warhammer; to the ancient feel of Middle Earth; to the simplicity of Earth Sea. One thing however that I have found over the years is that though I do love the Middle Ages what interests me the most is Early and Late Antiquity. Or even earlier. I grew up reading Greek and Norse Mythology, and its sense of wonder and danger is something I love in my fantasy worlds.

  • Hyboria - Robert E. Howard’s work about a world of barbarism and ancient lost humanity is quite fascinating. Magic in Hyboria is fairly restricted and generally only comes in particular kinds. It also is a world with untamed savagery and on the brink of destruction. What drew me to Hyboria was its sense of not only Low Magic, but also the fact that there aren’t really clear heroes in that world. Conan can be a Hero, but he’s also a thief, a pirate, and a conqueror.
  • Changeling the Lost - Changeling got me into melding and playing with mythology under the guise of creatures that we cannot begin to understand. It was also what pushed my interest even further in researching folklore all over the world.
  • Cloud Mages Series - A nicely written fantasy piece based in a world based upon Irish and Welsh mythology.
  • Hellboy - What can I say I like the big red guy. Hellboy’s Mythology is fantastic and so is the comic; plus the movies are just fun to watch.
  • World Mythology - Mythology from all over the world from the creation story of the Greeks, to the heroic actions of Thor Odinson.
  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn - A Fantastic piece done by Tad Williams which has influenced my take on races and how to create various world cultures.
  • The War of Flowers - A final piece which pushed my interest in creating a world based upon the Fae. It features warring Fae Houses and a strangely political goblin.


Pillars of Altear’s World

Altear has several primary pillars of creation that thematically reverberate throughout the work I do on the lore and the world design. Some of these are quite evident such as the focus on bronze over Iron (as Iron is rarer and harder to forge). Another focus was on the way life was before Europe starting coalescing into the modern day nations of today. Thing before the rise of Rome, or even before the Punic Wars. Life was fluid, territory had to be defending and at the end of the day Tribe and Cland had a larger emphasis on reality rather than one’s Kingdom.


Tribes in a Big World.

There are many nations in Altear and all of them have a semblance of unification. At the end of the day they are loose governments bound together out of necessity with only a few true Kingdoms existing. Even then the people of Altear or the “Fae Races” as they can be called are still inherently independent by nature. The Sidhe of the High Kingdom are a fractious who argue over the power of the ruling Clann Lords, while the Aesir of the north raid and attack each other for ancient blood feuds. Even in the mountains where the Commonwealth of the Dverg exists there still exists tribal and clannish disagreements.

Before there were mass communication systems in the US the small town had a huge effect on your world. Before there was organized information transmission even in the form of couriers organizing and creating cohesion in a group was hard. Back when Rome was still coming to power the various peoples even at their best still thought more about the locals around them than those far away.


Ancient Empires of Antiuity

Some races in Altear however have risen above the status of simple tribal petty kingdoms, but they still face division and a lack of unity to a degree. These large Kingdoms are like ancient Egypt or Persia. They have to navigate their subject’s beliefs, they have to deal with errant magic-users, and they have to figure how out to not get devoured by their rivals in their own countries. So for a Kingdom or Empire to command the writ of law beyond a few cities is a massive achievement. This is a world where if you control a sizable chunk of land you are to be fear because your army is the best and because likely you are in favor with the gods.


The Gods Living and Dead

Altear like our world features many different belief systems, but at the end of the day they believe in mythical heroes and gods. Even the more secular people still believe in some form of deity. This is because Altear’s technology is around the same level as ancient greece at best, and late Bronze Age at is worst. Magic can purify wounds, but it can’t take away cancer, or stop the plague. So superstition rules. The faith in ones god or the religion of your homeland has a big impact. Especially since not all the “Gods” of pre-history in Altear are gone, some in fact still bodily roam the land. These “Living Gods” can then in turn impart gifts or curses upon their followers bringing the reality of the divine all too clearly into focus.


Heroism, and Adventure

Much of Altear’s game design centers around bickering tribes, but it also deals with inspirations of heroic action. There are monsters in Altear much like the Kraken or even Dragons (they are rare and they are incredibly dangerous). Monsters are not common place, but they are well known enough that they can and they do kill people. That means that some stalwart people or fighters sometimes have to kill the damn things. There are also tyrants; cursed victims and much worse. So being a hero or an adventurer in Altear is about getting in touch with your inner Thor, Heracles, or Monkey King (Journey to the West).


Magic can be Terrible, and it can be Good

All Fantasies usually have some form of magic, and Altear isn’t any different. The big difference here is that magic although following universal laws and basics is different for each race and magic-user in question. Some races control magic through singing, others control it through martial movement and their internal emotions. These various styles of magic thus give each race and or group of people their own unique taste, while keeping it all in perspective. The other thing to know is that the magic used by the Fae Races is the “Younger” or lesser magics created in the wake of Dark Age. There are still creatures out there and people or “Gods” who wield the Elder Magics and some of it is quite terrifying to behold.


Part Apocalypse and Part Dark Age

Altear like all good fantasies had a Golden Age when the Gods and their children ruled vast glittering cities. This world was fantastic to behold and was then torn down by an apocalyptic event known as the Giants War. Think Ragnarok combined with World War 1 and you have the basic inkling. Mass genocide, loss of knowledge, and years of enslavement under the the giants forced the Fae Races back several centuries in forms of magical technology and the knowledge who they are. What arose afterward is a pale comparison to the glory that existed when the Gods still lived.


A Little Manifesto

So to conclude this re-introduction into the world of Altear I want to give you all all a little manifesto.

“Altear is a work to weave the mythologies of man into an epic tale of the mysterious ‘Otherworld’ of Folklore. A place where myth and legend are made flesh, and where players can indulge in their age old desires to be like Hercules, Helen of Troy, King Arthur, Merlin or even Genghis Khna. A place where history and mythology meld to forge a world of intertwining politics, high adventure, and mysterious dangers.

Our goal with Altear is to weave with our players a story that will bring drama, comedy, and tragedy along with victory and romance. Where people can be dark villains, or raise a righteous army to fight a dying god. Where everyone has the chance to become legend.”

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