Aether: The aether constitutes the very fabric, foundation, and structure of the universe, occupying all points in sensible space, permeating all material bodies, and extending into the higher spaces beyond the dimensions we can perceive.
Aethergy: Aethergy is a fluid-like, luminous resonance, carrying a measurable charge, that flows like a current through the fundamental medium of the aether. Aethergy is the energy of all magic, whether magery, sorcery, theurgy, or harnessed by over-science devices.
Aeronef: Aeronefs are small, heavier-than-air crafts, deriving most of their lift from airfoils and powered engines. The majority of military aeronefs are used for recon, but combat aeronefs are becoming more common.
Age of Progress: The modern age, called the Age of Progress, is marked by great advances in science, aeronautics, and engineering, heralding new inventions and never-before-seen devices. Locomotive engines thunder across vast distances, mighty airships plow through smog-veiled skies, and burgeoning manufactories bring jobs to the countless masses flocking to cities in search of new dreams and new opportunities.
Aircruiser: Aircruisers have the appearance of flying ironclad warships with multiple decks, gun turrets, and a tall superstructure, and are propelled by massive ichor engines or aetheric impellers. Unlike dirigibles, which stay aloft using lifting gases, aircruisers are lightened with costly novarite alloys. These fortresses of the air can mass anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 tons, and may carry their own squadrons of aeronefs and ornithopters.
Airdory: Airdories are larger than aeronefs and can be considered ships in their own right. They are significantly smaller than any aircruiser or airfrigate, with a typical complement of between 5 to 30 crew. Novarite alloys are used to lighten their weight, and military models typically have two to four gun turrets.
Airfrigate: Airfrigates are essentially smaller aircruisers, ranging in size from 2,000 to 5,000 tons. They can hold their own against any dirigible man-of-war, but are more often used as escorts for aircruisers and critical convoys.
Airship: Airship is a general term for any ship-of-the-air, be it a dirigible, airdory, or aircruiser—though not aeronefs or ornithopters, as they are not ships.
Alchemy: The art of alchemy is concerned with the creation of substances, the transmutation of elements, and the formulation of potent elixirs. Alchemy has become a cornerstone of the modern world, giving rise to such wondrous substances as gunjuice, ichor fuel, lifting gases, extraordinary alloys, and miraculous medicines.
Ambricar: Once a collection of outlying baronies on Antaria’s Eastern Reach, the Baronies of Ambricar are today all that remains of the great kingdom of Antaria. Following the fall of Strigovia, Ambricar became the next battleground in the bloody War of Wars.
Antaria: The great kingdom of Antaria flourished for over a thousand years, forging the language and culture for most of Tarrona. However, drawn out conflicts with Kaldea eventually resulted in the collapse of Antaria and the destruction of its capital. The remnants of Antaria live on today in the Baronies of Ambricar.
Arbital: Arbital is one of the major cities in the Baronies of Ambricar. It is the capital of the greater Barony of Arbital and is well known for its famed University of Magic and Alchemy.
Archidoxy: The Archidoxy is the largest and most widely followed religion in the world today. Archidox doctrine teaches that only the nine Archons of Light should be worshiped, these being Valoth and the Ogdoad (the eight rulers) who govern the virtues that all adherents must strive to achieve.
Archons: The Archons (also known as the Vanasir) govern the forces, laws, elements, and concepts relevant to the physical universe. The Archons of Light and Darkness were said to have battled across the universe for a million years. Following the end of the Last Cosmic War, the last of the Archons of Light gave their eternal breath to seal the Archons of Darkness in the fiery tombs of Atracus.
Atracus: Often called the “demon-moon,” Atracus is viewed with fear and trepidation as its blood-red shadow dawns upon the setting of the light-giving sun. Atracus is the eternal prison of the Demons (the Archons of Darkness), where it is said they rule the dread empire of Golla. However, few today believe that anything could live upon the moon’s scorched black surface, pitted with craters, fiery eruptions, and flowing rivers of lava.
Automaton: An automaton is any machine capable of moving or performing work without direct control from an operator. Most automatons are simple clockwork machines or entertaining contrivances, while the most advanced automatons are walking, humanoid machines capable of following complex instructions coded on punch tape reels.
Blood-Baron: Blood-Baron is the self-assumed title adopted by the master vampires of Carsovia. There are no “blood-dukes” or “blood-earls”, and the title is simply meant to convey a clear distinction of true vampire nobility from other master vampires not yet elevated to the nobility, and especially from the lesser vampiric thralls.
Carsovia: The forbidding region of Carsovia is host to the feuding factions of vampiric Blood-Barons and sorcerous warlords. Today, Carsovia is allied to Kendes and Kaldea under the united banner of the Grand Imperium.
Carsovian Mountains: The Carsovian Mountains split Tarrona straight through its heart, dividing north from south and east from west. Also known as the Blood Mountains, the Carsovian Mountains are plagued by all manner of monstrous aberrations, undead monstrosities, and phantasmal horrors.
Charphen Oil: Charphen oil is produced in the fibrous veins of charphen trees and is commonly used as lamp oil, lubricants, fire starters, and so forth. Charphen oil is a critical component in the production of both ichor fuel and gunjuice.
Commonwealth: The Commonwealth Kingdoms are comprised of four independent, but strongly allied nations on the western side of Tarrona along the Cerunn Gulf. Following the Grand Imperium’s invasion of Strigovia and Ambricar, the Commonwealth Kingdoms formed the Free Alliance with Suddaea, the Eldren tribes, and the surviving Ambrican forces.
Demons: The Archons of Darkness, often simply called Demons, are the horrific incarnations of all that is dark and terrible, and the very antithesis of the Archons of Light. According to Archidox doctrine, the Demons were sealed for all eternity in their fiery tombs on the volcanic moon, Atracus, at the end of the Last Cosmic War.
Dirigible: Dirigibles are fully rigid airships (as opposed to blimps and balloons), having a large envelope filled with many separate gas bags containing an alchemical lifting gas. Dirigibles use steam or ichor engines for propulsion, and typically feature several decks for crew and passengers on their ventral side.
Dragon: Dragons are often thought of as giant flying reptiles, but they actually share more in common with birds, and most dragon species have feathers, quills, or other plumage. Dragons exhibit an intelligence comparable to wolves or apes, but the great dragons are as intelligent as any human, Eldren, or Dworgh.
Dragon Stone: Dragon stones form inside the brains of all intelligent dragons. A dragon stone is not really a stone at all, but a calcified deposit of minerals, much like a pearl, that has slowly grown over time. Dragon stones enhance a dragon’s magical powers, helping it to channel vast quantities of aethergy. For this reason, dragon stones are much sought after by mages.
Dworghs: Although shorter and heftier than humans, Dworghs possess great physical strength and are renowned for their cunning and ingenuity. Males typically possess significant facial hair, and as a people, Dworghs prefer occupations in mining, construction, smithing, and merchant trades.
Ebonite: Ebonite is the richest form of coal, burning hotter and longer than ordinary coal. It has a lustrous black color, and can only be used in special furnaces that have been designed to burn ebonite, as the heat would destroy most furnaces designed to burn ordinary coal.
Eldren: The Eldren are a race of long-lived people whose close kinship with nature has never waned. Eldren have roughly the same stature as humans, and their hair, eye, and skin tone vary widely depending on their ethnic group. All Eldren have long tapered ears, high cheekbones, and large eyes.
Element: There are nine elemental resonances: stone, earth, air, water, fire, light, lightning, thunder, and aether. These, combined with the nine force resonance and the nine spirit resonances, form the fundamental building blocks of all aetheric empowerments.
Elementals: Elementals are aetheric spirits that embody one of the nine elemental resonances. They can be called from the aether by mages or sorcerers, or their power channeled directly using elemental empowerments.
Empowerment: Empowerments are bindings of precisely arranged chords of aetheric resonance. Although commonly referred to as “spells,” most mages prefer the term “empowerment.”
Falkshires: The Falkshire Mountains separate the highland plains of Strigovia from the lowland valleys of Bryland and Braondel. The foothills of the Falkshires are covered in sunlit forests and verdant glades, and are home to many Eldren tribes.
Free Alliance: The Free Alliance is the united coalition of nations, formed between the Commonwealth Kingdoms, Suddaea, and the Eldren of the Falkshires, following the Grand Imperium’s invasion of Strigovia and Ambricar.
Gearmeisters: Gearmeisters are part-inventor, part-tinkerer, part-combat engineer, often with a bit of a roguish or mischievous flare on the side. They are experts with clockwork machines, analytical engines, and automatronic devices, and can repurpose just about any tool or mechanism to serve a surprising range of unintended functions.
Goblins: Goblins are short, lanky creatures with large yellow eyes, sharp teeth, long-pointed noses, and tapering ears. Goblins are considered a nuisance in all regions of the world except northern Tarrona, where they serve as cannon-fodder in the armies of the Grand Imperium.
Grand Imperium: The Grand Imperium is a coalition of nations comprised of Kendes, Kaldea, and Carsovia, as well as Tir Scaith, Leleka, and various conquered territories. The Imperium’s aggressive annexation of contested territories in Strigovia and Ambricar instigated the War of Wars.
Guild (currency): Guild are the standardized currency of trade for the Merchant Consortium under the jurisdiction of the Medrean Banking Guild (hence the term “guild”). Although every nation has a national coinage, guild notes and coins are accepted almost everywhere. Guild coins come in a variety of sizes and denominations, and guild trade notes are used for larger transactions between governments, banks, and companies.
Gungel: The gelled form of gunjuice has additional stabilizing compounds and is less susceptible to accidental detonation. Though markedly safer, gungel is somewhat less potent than concentrated gunjuice. Gungel is primarily used for the charges on cannons and artillery, and some bombs.
Gunjuice: Gunjuice (red oil of charphen ester) is an alchemical compound widely used in firearms, bombs, shells, and other explosives. The usage of gunjuice has almost entirely supplanted gunpowder, but its widespread adoption was only possible with the advent of metallic cartridges and firearms forged to higher pressure tolerances.
Humans: Humans constitute the most populous race in the world, with the majority of kingdoms and nations governed by Humankind. Humans are empire-builders and are at times fanatical in their drive to see their religion and culture rise to domination.
Ichor Fuel: Ichor (green oil of charphen ester) is another alchemical derivative of charphen oil, combined with vitriolic ethynate and aqua phlogista. Although ebonite- and charphen-fired steam engines remain quite common, ichor-fueled engines are quickly taking their place in aeronefs, aircruisers, and other vehicles.
Ironclad: An ironclad is any ship or vehicle covered in heavy armor (iron or steel). Used by itself, the term means “armored naval vessel,” such as an ironclad frigate or ironclad steamer. However, the term is also used for ironclad dirigibles, as well as other war machines, such as ironclad juggernauts or ironclad automatons.
Juggernaut: Juggernauts are heavy armored vehicles, purpose built for war. They range in size from armored steam tractors augmented with field cannons and reinforced wheels, to massive land ironclads fitted with rotating turrets, sponson guns, and flame throwers.
Kaldea: Long embroiled by conflicts between rival warlords, Kaldea’s new military regime has been bolstered by its allegiance to the Grand Imperium. Emboldened by new technologies and advanced weapons from the industrial powerhouse of Kendes, Kaldea has launched an all-out invasion of the Baronies of Ambricar.
Karcist: Karcists are the darkest of sorcerers, dabbling in black arts and forbidden magics to unlock the secret of deathless immortality. They are especially apt at summoning shades and phantoms of the aether, harnessing spectral energies, and raising mortifants to serve their twisted designs.
Kardre: Kardre is the westernmost city of the Baronies of Ambricar, and the major trade hub for central Tarrona. Unfortunately, this made Kardre the primary strategic city for Kaldea’s invading army, and the city fell to Imperium control within the first few months of the War of Wars.
Kendes: For most of history, Kendes was a minor power in northwestern Tarrona. When a political revolution overthrew the old aristocracy, a new military regime seized control over the rapidly industrializing nation. With its newfound power, and the aid of its shadowy ruling order, Kendes formed alliances with Carsovia and Kaldea, giving birth to the Grand Imperium.
Kyurgie: Kyurgie is the art of surgery, alchemy, and human instrumentation to augment the human body beyond the limits of natural physiology. Kyurgie includes various forms of reconstructive surgery, surgically altering limbs and organs, implantation of claws or armored plating, and even integrating machines and artificial parts into the body using special sorcerous techniques.
Mage: Although the term mage may be used in a general sense, it is correctly meant to signify an aetheric practitioner who has graduated from an accredited university or academy of thaumaturgy, or who belongs to one of the major orders of magery, or who is officially registered as a mage with the Archidoxy.
Man-of-War: A man-of-war is any ship purpose-built for war. Following the advent of ironclad dirigibles, the term shifted to mean any dirigible warship armed and armored for battle.
Mortifant: A mortifant is a mindless undead creature, usually created by a karcist. A mortifant can only be created from a recently dead or still living body, and the revivified corpse will be infused with necrolic energy to animate its rotting flesh. Mortifants retain no memory or personality, and their mental functions are so diminished as to have no intellectual capacity whatsoever.
Novarite: Much as two magnets repel one another, novarite is repelled by gravity. Refined into a pure metal, or mixed with other alloys, novarite is used to lighten aircruisers, airdories, and aeronefs. Novarite can only be mined from the volcano Novanus on the island of Nuram.
Ogrum: Ogrum (pejoratively called “ogres”) stand 7 to 7 ½ feet tall, with skin tone ranging from light plum to dark gray-blue. Shaggy hair grows from their heads, necks, and arms, and tusks protrude from either side of their lower jaw. Ogrum have always had a strong warrior culture, with deep traditions focused on honor, oaths, and courage.
Ornithopter: Ornithopters, or thopters, have two or four large wings, typically modeled after dragonfly wings, which are driven by one or two ichor engines to provide lift and thrust. Thopters can fly forward, backwards, left and right, up and down, or can hover in place. Their greatest advantage is their ability to take off vertically and to hover.
Over-Science: Over-science is the usage of magic in man-made devices to power or enhance them, or to create devices that produce an aetheric empowerment or effect. Vizstones and orichalium circuits form the core components of all over-science devices, as well as aetheronic induction coils, oscillation amplifiers, spark resonators, and many more.
Quintessence: Quintessence is the measurable degree of aetheric attunement within an individual. Often viewed as a quantitative property, it is the “5th essence” after matter, life, energy, and thought. Everyone has some quintessence, but only those with sufficient quintessence can perform empowerments.
Ruballi Desert: The Ruballi Desert of eastern Tarrona is a vast expanse of hostile desert southwest of Ambricar and north of the Suddaean Desert. The northeastern region is primarily scrublands, while to the north and west the desert dissolves into rolling plains to meet the eastern edge of the Ethenwold.
Ruined Lands: Following the collapse of Antaria, Kaldean forces sacked every town and village north of the Tanawn River, establishing a desolate buffer region known as the Ruined Lands. Today, the Ruined Lands serve as a war-torn battleground between Kaldea and surviving Ambrican forces.
Scaithi: Although Scaithi are technically Eldren, both Eldren and Scaithi take great offence at any such suggestion. Scaithi are approximately the same size as humans and Eldren, with gray to dark gray skin tones. Like Eldren, Scaithi have tapered ears and high cheekbones. Scaithi have long been allied with the Ogrum, and have joined the expansionist regime of the Grand Imperium.
Sorcerer: The terms sorcery and sorcerer typically refer to those who practice aetheric empowerments, but who are not formally schooled as a mage, or who operate independent of any order or organization. Some sorcerers are entirely self-taught, while others have attended a school of magery before dropping out or being expelled.
Strigovia: Sitting in the vast highland region of the Midland Plateau, Strigovia is bordered along the east and north by the Carsovian Mountains, and to the south by the Falkshire Mountains. Strigovia has been heavily militarized for much of its history, but the onset of the War of Wars saw a full-scale invasion of the kingdom, spearheaded by Carsovia and Tir Scaith.
Suddaea: Although Suddaea is a desert country, its power and wealth stim from its rich mineral resources, including diamonds, gold, and aurium. The country has also embraced industrialization and technological progress, with a level of development comparable to the Commonwealth. With the onset of the War of Wars, Suddaea found itself threatened by the rapid incursions of Kaldean forces and declared an alliance with the Commonwealth Kingdoms.
Talisman: A talisman is an item, usually a wand or staff, that is bejeweled with empowered vizstones and bound to a mage’s own quintessence, allowing him to generate aethergy and perform empowerments quickly. Talismans are crafted to “remember and recall” the resonance patterns of all the empowerments the mage or sorcerer knows.
Tarrona: The continent of Tarrona is divided by the Carsovian Mountains, creating four distinct political regions: the Dark Kingdoms in the north, the Desert Kingdoms in the south, the Ultic lands in the west, and the Antarish lands in the east.
Tenebrean Order: The shadowy Tenebrean Order is believed to have secretly controlled Kendes for much of the past century, engineering a vast military empire under their puppet dictator, the Tzarahaj. As the War of Wars unfolded, the Tenebrean Order secured its sorcerous hold over the Grand Imperium, with the Imperatrix claiming the coveted Raven Throne while her six Synarchs pressed the war on all fronts.
Tir Scaith: Tir Scaith is the exiled homeland of the Scaithi people, located in the expansive lowland valleys between Carsovia and Kendes. Today, Tir Scaith is allied with Kendes, Carsovia, and Kaldea, and are part of the Grand Imperium. The Scaithi hope that, with this allegiance, they may one day reclaim their ancestral motherland.
Trolls: Trolls are large lumbering creatures covered in coarse hair, have large protruding noses, and large rounded ears. Trolls range in size from 7 to 9 feet in height and are frequently captured and enslaved by Ogrum or Scaithi to be made into armored war-trolls.
Vampires: Unlike mortifants and other lesser undead, vampires remain as intelligent as they were in life, and can exist indefinitely, sustaining their physical form by consuming the blood of living creatures. The master vampires who rule Carsovia prefer to be called Blood-Barons.
Vizstone: A vizstone is a special opal-like crystal capable of holding empowerments. Vizstones are most often used in talismans or over-science devices, as they can be infused with aetheric resonance patterns, and when charged with aethergy, can project those patterns into empowerments.
Vrholv Eradicar: The Vrholv Eradicar serves as the elite shock troops of Kendes, and their banner—a winged serpent coiled around a forked partisan—strikes terror across the continent. Vrholv soldiers are fanatical in their devotion, and the upper ranks of their officer corps are sworn to the Tenebrean Order.
War of Golla and Marada: The War of Golla and Marada is the near-mythic war between the world-spanning empire of Marada and the demonic legions of Golla, some fifteen hundred years ago. Using astral portals from Atracus, the vast armies of the two over-science empires battled for supremacy, resulting in cataclysmic devastation. Following a four-hundred-year dark age, civilization struggled from the ashes, but as the centuries rolled on, the truth of the ancient war receded into legend.
War of Tyranny: Two hundred years before the War of Wars, the world was consumed in another devastating war, this time led by the tyrannical Triclopes empire. A united resistance front comprised of remnant armies of both Tarrona and Celaphania eventually defeated the Triclopes armies, but the old kingdoms were no more. In the grim aftermath, the recovering nations forged the Medrean Concord and Commonwealth Accords, paving the way for the modern Age of Progress.
War of Wars: The War of Wars, as it has come to be called, is the present military conflict between the nations of the Grand Imperium and those of central and southern Tarrona. Beginning with the annexation of Leleka by Kendes and the invasion of Strigovia by Carsovia and Tir Scaith, the war entered full swing when the Kaldean legions stormed into the Baronies of Ambricar, backed by Kendes and Carsovian forces.