Skyborn

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Skyborn
Ashkhas Minara (in Zahram)
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Motto: "Between the Machines of Knowledge and Ages of Wonder."
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Nation State Al-Alus
Ruler Technocratic Council by Examination
Other Present Regalian Empire
Languages Zahram, Common
Religion Unionism
First Recorded 10,000 BC
Demonym(s) Skyborn

The Skyborn are a diverse group of people with ancestry from all the major corners of the world, who once ruled much of the seas and lands between the Elven and Sheng Empires in the far west and east respectively. They built vast flying cities with their technology in clockwork and steamtech, but eventually came into conflict with the Dragons and suffered internal strife. Following the calamity of the Great Storm, their Empire fell and their people were scattered in the winds. Now a fractured people, many of the Skyborn seek to return to the past or look toward a better future. The Skyborn are well known worldwide as the pre-eminent technologically advanced people, with a specialty in machinery and robotics, known as automata to them, while secretly holding out hope for the return of their Skyborn Empire.

Design

Due to their reputation for being the world's foremost technicians and engineers, many Skyborn who come to Regalia open up mechanical shops and services.
This half-Eronidas Reclaimer Skyborn's Sky-weave tattoos glow. Sky-weave does not always have to be beige or golden, it can be any color.
Skyborn often have very rich color patterns and designs, owing to their high-precision mechanical looms and weaving equipment. Blue and gold/beige are common color combinations found in traditional Skyborn clothing.
Sheer masks are common for both men and women among the Skyborn. While commonly a cultural custom in the modern era, in the past it was purely a practical habit as breathing on sensitive machinery was considered unprofessional.
Reclaimer Skyborn are sometimes sneered at by the other Skyborn on account of being more rugged/brawny than them, but also because they are frequently grimy and covered in mechanical oils.
It is by sheer willpower of the Founder Skyborn that the eternal war between Al-Alus and the Dragonkin continues.

The Skyborn are not exactly homogenous in the same way an Ailor, Dwarf, or Lanlath Elf might be. Due to their Skyborn Empire having existed for tens of thousands of years, their population became very diverse from large population migrations in and out of their Empire. Skyborn generally appear like Ailor (standard Humans), with the sole notable exception of all of them having beige eyes and darker pigmented skins being more common due to their proximity to the equator. Secondly, Skyborn are set apart from those with other Heritage due to their Sky-weave. Sky-weave is a pattern of skin pigmentation, coloration, or tattooing, that appears on the bodies of the Skyborn (usually on the hands, though it can originate from anywhere), which grows and spreads throughout their life in mandala-like shapes. These shapes record events in their life that can be read as these shapes much inspire the Skyborn script. Finally, Skyborn are roughly divided into five subgroups which may dictate their appearance. These groups define a Skyborn's ancestry and may also inform some of their culture.

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Founder Skyborn are the most common ancestry of Skyborn that descend from the original inhabitants of Ard-al-Nur, the continent from which the Skyborn created their Empire. Founder Skyborn are visually and culturally inspired by real-world Umayyad Iberia (Al-Andalus), and Middle Eastern people. Founder Skyborn filled the roles of the majority of the engineering classes and citizenry. Following the Empire's fall, the majority of them gravitated to the successor states in the south, continuing to try and reclaim part of their lost Empire's territory from the Dragonkin.
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Scripter Skyborn have ancestry among the Elves who migrated into the Skyborn Empire millennia ago, and slowly mixed into the population. Scripter Skyborn are not Elves, but they do remind others of their ancestry by their Elf-like ears and extended lifespan. Scripter Skyborn often fulfilled bureaucratic and scribe work in the Skyborn Empire. Following the Empire's fall, many of them scattered across the world, founding Skyborn Academies in far flung nations while preserving as much literary work from the Empire as possible, and searching for more long lost treasures.
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Reclaimer Skyborn have ancestry among the Velheim Ailor who migrated into the Skyborn Empire's northern territories millennia ago. Reclaimer Skyborn unlike the other Skyborn who rely on steam-tech and clockwork, use diesel-tech instead, extracting oil from the Hadravyan provinces in north Ard-al-Nur, and using it to fuel their technology. Reclaimer Skyborn were often seen as outsiders in the Skyborn Empire and latecomers compared to the other ancestries, but since the fall of the Empire, their technology has made leaps of progress and rivaled the common clockwork.
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Charger Skyborn come from far away, the Zhong Kingdoms to be exact. When the Sheng Empire expanded westward into the lands that would later become the Zhong Kingdoms, they pushed out the local population whose name has been lost to time. These people migrated to Ard-al-Nur where they slowly integrated into Skyborn society. The Charger Skyborn are visually and culturally inspired by real-world turkic peoples, especially those form Central and South Asia. Charger Skyborn often filled military roles in the Skyborn Empire due to their old homeland's martial customs.

Heritage Traits

In Character Design, Proficiency allows for the buying of Packs, which give Combat Abilities. Heritage Traits add free Packs and Mechanics to a Character, fit around cultural themes. Mechanics are flair and roleplay opportunities Characters have outside of Combat, while Packs are Combat Power. Free Magic Packs can always be defined as any Alignment. Mixed Heritage Characters (characters of two different culture parents) choose one set of Free Packs, and can mix and match Mechanics from both parents up to a maximum of 5 Mechanics. Skyborn Ancestry Mechanic counts as a single Mechanic.

Free Packs

Mechanics

  • Skyborn do not need to choose a Tech Branch for any engineering or technology tinkering they do. They can build/edit/repair any Branch. Even if a unique Technology Branch has specific requirements they do not meet (such as Religion, or Affliction), then they are not able to build or make it, but can repair or edit it. They can install security systems in their Rentals, requiring OOC notification of Break-ins.
  • Skyborn have a unique sequential memory that allows almost perfect recall. With mechanical equipment, they can extract their own memories including all sensory experiences, and copy them onto so-called Memkeys. Memkeys in turn can be used by other Skyborn to "watch" such an experience and feel as If it was them who experienced it, or use a virtual-reality-like device to allow non-Skyborn to experience them.
  • Skyborn have a high analytical ability to perceive and understand the machinery that is witnessed or operated during Events. This may allow them to learn more about the devices that are seen or used, or discover hidden features or functions that other people cannot perceive. Make sure to contact an Event Dm for any potential uses in Private Message during the Event or beforehand to learn more.
  • Skyborn have a sixth sense for manipulating technology, even without directly touching it and just laying their eyes on it. Skyborn can "hack" or hijack any technology made by anyone in viewing distance and cause it to operate or change its functions. Think for example forcing a mechanical tea pot to boil over, or a music-machine to play off-key. This may not apply to Event Machines.

Ancestry Mechanic

Each of the four unique Skyborn Ancestries provides a Mechanic, depending on what Ancestry is chosen. While it is possible to have mixed Ancestry (by for example using Elf-Ears reminiscing of Scripters, and the appearance traits of the Charger Skyborn), for gameplay reasons a Character must always have only a single Ancestry declared, and thus can only receive one of these Ancestry Mechanics.

  • Founder Ancestry Mechanic: Founder Ancestry Skyborn are both equal parts touched, and repulsed by Beyond. If a Founder Skyborn is Ordial Aligned, they gain +1 Attack Stat (break Cap up to 11) against anything that is not Ordial Aligned. If a Founder Skyborn is not Ordial Aligned, they gain +1 Defence Stat (break Cap up to 9) while defending against Attack Emotes from Ordial Aligned enemies only.
  • Scripter Ancestry Mechanic: Scripter Ancestry Skyborn are immune to any type of memory alterations due to their high attunement with their sequential memory. While it is possible to remove memories from their mind, memories cannot be implanted, edited, or replaced. This means that if a memory is removed, a Scripter Skyborn will always know that a memory is missing, and where it disappeared.
  • Reclaimer Ancestry Mechanic: Reclaimer Ancestry Skyborn have extended analytical abilities when it comes to understanding component ingredients, and material identification. They can identify any metal or material that they can touch and are able to smell what ingredients or compounds are present in any alchemical mixture. This extends itself even to smelling poison in their drinks.
  • Charger Ancestry Mechanic: Charger Ancestry Skyborn live and die in the mechanical saddle. Charger Skyborn gain +1 Defense Stat (breaking Cap up to 9) so long as they are Mounted in Combat. This bonus however only applies outside of the city's built-up residential areas such as the Wilderness, Gloomrot, the Badlands, City Parks, and the Noble District where the streets are wide enough for Cavalry.

Religions

  • Unionism: The vast majority of the Skyborn are Unionist. After the Great Storm, the child-God Al-Asir emerged in Ard-al-Nur with his two automata Dar and Al-Hakkim. Guided by the Automata, Al-Asir performed numerous miracles for the suffering Skyborn who were inconsolable after the staggering loss of life and Empire. Al-Asir repaired many of the broken machines, and even as an infant-God stabilized the state of Al-Alus thus ensuring that the Skyborn retained their homeland. As he grew, Al-Asir was incorporated into the Unionist Faith by divine intervention from the Everwatcher, thus ensuring the majority of Skyborn Society also joined and accepted the other Regalian Gods. The Skyborn still consider themselves foreigners in Regalia, however, even though Ailor and Skyborn have a common ancestor millennia back. Their focus is always strongly on Al-Asir, and less so on the Regalian Gods.
  • Draconism: There are extremely few Skyborn Draconists, because the concept of worshiping Dragons after what happened to the Skyborn Empire and the Sky cities is nigh unthinkable. There are small cults referred to as the Faithscorn however, that worship the Dragons and claim that Al-Asir and Masrani the Bronze Dragon are one and the same, an interpretation widely rejected by Skyborn society but accepted by Dragonkin society. These cults are seen as traitors among the Skyborn, and thus live in the Dragonkin Empire instead.
  • Estelley: Estelley as a Religion is nearly nonexistent among the Skyborn. Even for the Elves who migrated millennia ago, they accepted the Belief in the Machine many aeons back, and thus converted to Unionism when Al-Asir arrived.
  • Fornoss: Fornoss as a Religion is acknowledged by some of the northern Reclaimer Skyborn, something they held onto despite the millennia of living in the Skyborn Empire. This is both because of the very stubborn attitude held by those initial Velheim immigrants, but also because of the relative isolation of the Reclaimer Skyborn from common Founder Skyborn dominated societies. (For more on this, see the section on Fuel Sources).
  • Evolism: Evolism as a Religion is effectively nonexistent in Skyborn society, as many of its tenets and magical themes run counter to Skyborn cultural norms. There is no strong tech component to Evolism dogma, and thus Skyborn have very little way to create an initial familiarization.
  • Baskarr: Baskarr is (mostly) an ethno-Religion for the Asha, and Asha effectively do not exist on Ard-al-Nur. As a result, most Skyborn have never heard of Baskarr, let alone considering converting to it, though it is not unthinkable that Skyborn who live close to the Asha might have.
  • Machinist Cult: Machinist Cults still faithful to the Belief in the Machine still exist. Rather than hold onto the old faith belief however, these Cults have outright turned to Death-God worship to directly obey and sacrifice to the Death-God the Machinist itself. These Cults are referred to as Rishiq and live deep in the Ard-al-Nur deserts to hide both from the Skyborn and the Dragonkin. They are considered violent and dangerous scavengers who have learned to adapt to a harsh life, scrapping leftovers from old Skyborn ruins and using Ordial Magic to fuel their machines. (For more on the Rishiq, see the section on them below).

Language and Naming

Due to being a heritage with multiple ancestries, linguistic standards are fairly diverse among the Skyborn. To keep some kind of societal cohesion, the Skyborn have one lingua-franca which they all get taught from birth, that being Zahram which was developed by the Traveler when he unified the original Founder Skyborn tribes. Zahram is based on real-world modern Arabic. Among the various Ancestries however, other languages are also still common, which is why most Skyborn are trilingual, knowing Zahram and Common, and then usually some sort of Ancestry Dialect. There are a number of Ancestry Dialects:

  • Scripter Skyborn: A majority of Scripter Skyborn speaks Nehtalar, which is a devolved dialect of Altalar. Altalar speakers can have a conversation with Nehtalar speakers, but would observe their sentence structure is very simplified, while Nehtalar speakers would observe Altalar speakers sound verbose. Nehtalar has some linguistic similarities to the Isldar dialect of Altalar, but is much more devolved.
  • Reclaimer Skyborn: Only a minority speaks Ostha, based on real-world Farøese. This dialect of old-Velheim is difficult to understand for those who speak for example the more common Skodje, but they can have a conversation with one another. Ostha is closer to proto-Velheim than Skodje is, and there is a also a lot of similarity to Sunnvi Velheim and the southern dialects far away from the North.
  • Charger Skyborn: Charger Skyborn speak a wide range of real-world Central Asian Turkic languages, which we do not declare names for in our Lore. Players can reasonably come up with names for them themselves, as there are so many of them. Even though these languages are distinct in the real world, in our Lore they should be mutually intelligible to prevent fragmentation of the in-crowd.

Naming Customs

Naming Customs are flexible in Skyborn society. Because Zahram is the most commonly spoken language even among the other Ancestries, Zahram is also the most common naming custom. Most Skyborn thus have names based on real-world Arabic naming customs, while taking some effort to avoid names with strong historical figures or religious persons connotations. Even the Elf-Ancestry or Far East-Ancestry Skyborn largely use Zahram names, but naming Customs can sometimes also be based on Ancestry. Perhaps a Skyborn's family is specifically proud of having been part of the first wave of migrants from the east or north, and in such maintained a habit of naming their children based on the customs in these cultures. For this reason, the following ancestries may use the following naming habits:

  • Scripter Skyborn: Scripter Skyborn who wish to invoke their Elven Ancestry, use Altalar naming practices, which are explained here. It is important to note that while they largely use the exact naming conventions described there, Nehtalar which they speak does not have accents like ö, ä, ë, etc, or syllable dividers like "Sa'alia" or "Mi'sëlla" In such a case, when choosing a name, simply remove the accents, for example just Salia or Misella.
  • Reclaimer Skyborn: Reclaimer Skyborn who wish to invoke their Velheim Ancestry, use Velheim naming practices, which are based on real-world Norse/Danish/Norwegian/Icelandic/Swedish customs. Though, these names would apply more common Zahram (Arabic) phonetic patterns. For example, Erik might become Eryaq or Ireek, Olaf might become Olawf or Ulaf, Freya might become Freia or Frya, Hildr might become Hildir or Hild, and Magnus might become Maghnus. If you would like help converting names, please make a Lore Staff ticket.
  • Charger Skyborn: Charger Skyborn who wish to invoke their Eastern Ancestry (Charger Skyborn are Far-Eastern, but not Sihai, this distinction is important), use their linguistic naming practices. For this, any real-world Central Asian Turkic language can be sourced, so long as effort is taken to avoid historical figures or religious persons.

History

Pre-Empire History

Skyborn history starts some time over 10,000 years prior to the modern era, just a few centuries shy of the founding of the Allorn Empire. This historical retelling begins on Ard-al-Nur, the home continent of the Skyborn which was largely a massive desert save for the south and northern regions which had forests and grasslands, and the scant oases and mountain valleys in between. Prior to the forming of the Skyborn Empire, the people who called themselves the Qiyad had formed hundreds of splintered tribes covering the land, these Qiyad being the ancestors of the Founder Skyborn. These tribes battled each other for control over the harsh territories for centuries, until one tribe rapidly subjugated the others under the leadership of a religious leader. This man whose original name has been lost to time, eventually came to be known as the Traveler to the people, or Al-Muqallid to the Founder Skyborn. Elven outposts on the boundaries were burned and their populations were expelled or forcibly annexed into the population, with such speed that the Allorn Empire declared Ard-al-Nur forbidden to enter.

With relative isolation, the Traveler proselythized a new religion called Belief in the Machine and developed the first unified scripture called Zahram. While Belief in the machine as a Religion had tenets much like other Religions, in the modern era it is well understood that the Traveler was acting on the directions of the Death-God known as the Machinist, who pretended to be a benevolent god to the early Skyborn. Zahram had a unique braille-like writing style, meaning the surviving texts are resilient to the passage of time (due to being recorded on metal), and very resilient to editing. Under the guidance of the Machinist in disguise, the Skyborn advanced their technology. They became intolerant and aggressive to outsiders, encouraged by the Machinist's words, and spread out over the seas to cause death in his name, thus unknowingly feeding the Death God with souls. The Traveler eventually came close to biological death, causing him to replace his body parts with machines, thus becoming the Skyborn Empire's first Automata, and ruling for millennia as the Machine King.

The Skyborn Empire

The Skyborn Empire developed with ever-improving technological prowess over the millennia, but its culture suffered under the insidious intentions of the Machinist. While the people lived in relative luxury due to their high levels of automation, their culture was a cruel one that would encourage death-dealing and the worship of death cultism as praiseworthy. Anytime the Skyborn Empire made contact with a new people, they became a prime target to be sacrificed to the Machinist, in a misguided belief that their technological backwardness offended their God. Unbeknownst to the Skyborn population, the Traveler had come to regret his bargain with the proverbial devil. His people had become bloodthirsty and murderous, and he felt that their Empire was soul-less. In secret, the Traveler started working against the Machinist by planting the seeds of doubt and plotting to overthrow his erstwhile master by taking to the skies. It was around 7000 BC that the Skyborn constructed their first Sky-cities, levitating population centers complete with workshops and factories held aloft with technology.

In a final act of defiance against the Machinist, the Traveler orchestrated his own assassination, causing the priesthood to descend on him, and disassemble his 3000 year old machine-body, fracturing his soul. Had he died normally, his soul would have been claimed by the Machinist and his plot would have been discovered. With the priests murdering him and shattering his memories into 10,000 pieces however, they were able to carry his instructions far and wide and prevent the Machinist from learning of their betrayal. These priests laid the foundations of the Traveler's betrayal that would not come to fruition for another 2,000 years. They did so by installing the memory pieces extracted from the Traveler's mechanical body into crucial machinery across the Empire. They installed pieces of his memory into the central control systems of the sky cities, into the irrigation facilities, into the military outposts, and into the city ventilation plants. Over the next 2,000 years, his memories would infect the programming and functions of all these machines, and copies would be made, over and over, until every machine in the Empire had a piece of his memory embedded in it, entirely unknowing to the general population

The Skyborn Betrayal

Then around 5,000 BC, the trap was sprung. The "Kill God" order was given through all machines across the Empire, which proceeded to attack the Temples dedicated to the Machinist. Internal coding hacked and expelled Machinist-loyal circuitry or mechanical elements, and Mortisphages that were bound to the Machinist were put to death Empire-wide. The instantaneous burn-out of nearly all Ordial-infected machinery across the Empire paralyzed the Machinist in the Beyond, as well as its Shades and minions. In an even more daring act of defiance, powerful machines somehow punched a hole through the Veil that separates the dimensions and broke open a way into the Beyond, where Skyborn automata proceeded to loot and pilfer the Machinist's vaults before the Death-God could react. This looting caused a momentary brain death in the Machinist, as this Death-God consciousness was tied to its artifacts and blueprints. Satisfied that they had defeated their former master, the machines shut the gateway to the Beyond and began the slow work of converting the people away from believing in their former Religion.

The Skyborn Empire largely derives its name from the period that followed, where society recovered from the cultural perversion inflicted by the Machinist, and largely normalized into a welfaring technology and advancement-focused culture. During the Golden Age of the Skyborn Empire, many migrants arrived and mixed into the local population, eventually forming the other Ancestries. The Sky Cities grew from small hundreds-inhabitants-sized flying outposts to massive metropolises that could cast massive areas into shadows as they moved through the clouds. Flight through machinery became common, and at a certain point, more than half of the Skyborn population lived permanently or semi-permanently among the clouds, with new children being born who would never set foot on solid ground. The Skyborn however made one critical mistake, in that they continued to use the blueprints and machines that were looted from the Machinist's repository. While their technology advanced, with each age, the Machinist's consciousness gained strength, until it was restored, and it started plotting revenge on its former minions.

The Dragon War

The Machinist's revenge was elegantly simple and could not at all be detected by the Skyborn, until it was too late. The Machinist made no overt and open declaration, but subtly flooded its old machines with Ordial Essence and Magic, effectively undetectable by the Skyborn who had no real presence of Magic in their society (having previously purged Ordial Magic during the Betrayal). With this huge spike of Ordial Magic, the Skyborn drew the attention of the Dragons who were still very much embroiled in the Immortal War against the Void and Exist Arken. Fearing another front opening that they were unfamiliar with, and enigmatic and uncaring as they were, the Dragons started attacking the Skyborn without warning. While previously their Sky cities filled the bright skies above Ard-al-Nur, these now became increasingly unsafe as Dragons attacked city after city, sometimes so aggressively that the levitation machinery failed causing whole cities to plummet from the skies and crash into the earth killing tens of thousands.

The Dragons did the dirty work of the Machinist, being blinded by their dogma and fear of the stagnation of the Immortal War, grounding all but the most well-defended Sky cities and even forcing some to drift to faraway continents where contact was eventually lost. The Skyborn being none the wiser, struck back defensively by building massive armies of machines fueled by looted technology from the Machinist, thus ironically making the problem even worse. How certain weapons worked they did not know, but they terrified the Dragons, and that was seemingly enough to use them. The Skyborn seemed to be able to overcome the Bronze Dragons and push them back all the way to Jarf al-Tanin, where they laid siege to the Bronze Junction, one of the most important Draconism sites in Ard-al-Nur. A massive machine army of huge robots attacked the Dragons, and in the final hour, the Machinist would have its final revenge. Not only was it manipulating the Skyborn, but also the Dragons. In their final hour of desperation, the Machinist managed to play on the anxiety of the Dragons and hijack their Magic and Machines in turn, to trigger the Great Storm. A massive sandstorm the likes of which had never been seen erupted all over the continent, wiping out nearly 80% of the Skyborn population, and crashing the last remaining Sky cities into the ground as their engines choked up. The Dragons also were killed in this act, leaving all but the fringes of the Skyborn Empire a lifeless sand pit.

The Aftermath

In the aftermath of the Great Storm, the Dragons in Ard-al-Nur created a final act of re-seeding life, by creating the Dragonkin who would walk out of the Great Storm to re-inhabit the land. Where the Sky cities had fallen into the ground, they built up their Pearl Cities, and so the Skyborn Empire, was replaced by the Dragonkin Empire. To this day, while the true manipulation of the Machinist is generally understood, the Skyborn people still have not forgiven the dogmatic murder of their people by the Dragons, and continue to wage a war against the Dragonkin to reclaim their lost territory while their Empire has largely been diminished to a few disparate and fragmented successor states. Many Skyborn have migrated to other countries or founded Academies in faraway lands to keep their ancient knowledge alive. The Skyborn are far from a defeated people, but none of the Sky cities have returned to the clouds, even if thousands work towards this goal every day.

Expanded Lore

Expanded Lore exists to apply more content and deep-lore exploration. This section is optional reading that is not needed for a good experience, though if you play a Scholar of a kind, reading this is encouraged.

Thoughts on Magic

Skyborn society is a strong tech-based society. Much of their cultural themes run counter to the existence of Magic, and they also fill a certain niche in the lore universe that expresses the Technology versus Magic dichotomy. That being said, the Skyborn tend to be more forgiving than other anti-Magic societies like Asha or Sihndar societies would be. To the Skyborn, Magic is "not for us, but fine if you have it", when thought towards other cultures and peoples. There was never a strong magic-purging attitude in their history, and Magic has largely been absent from their historical retelling. Even though Ordial Magic was used to influence the downfall of their Empire, it was mostly framed through machinery fueled by it, and so much of their downfall is not emotionally linked to Magic. Mages do get born in Skyborn society, though they are not expelled. Mages are generally treated as a curiosity, but not a reason why a person should not learn basic technical skills. To simplify, while in other societies Mages put all their emphasis and focus on specializing in Magic, Magic is seen as a cheap shortcut and not a sufficient excuse not to cultivate intellectual skills outside of the arcane. Mages in Skyborn society are not outright expelled or killed, but there are very few opportunities for them to learn Magic, with Skyborn Mages often developing a type of Magitech where they don't cast Magic spells, but their Magical energies fuel their machinery instead of the conventional Powercores.

Skyborn Academies

The Skyborn still have decently sized countries on the southern tip of Ard-al-Nur called Al-Alus, and another on the far north called Mekhana, but many Skyborn also live far away from their ancient homeland. When the Great Storm ravaged their homeland, Al-Alus was not capable of sustaining the full remaining population, as it had previously been a backwater province of the Empire with little to no logistics or infrastructure. Many Skyborn spread out across the world and eventually congealed into smaller micro-societies in so-called Skyborn Academies. Skyborn Academies are semi-floating outposts, usually attached to a cliff-side or some tall spire or mountain, that acts as an autonomous enclave of the Skyborn inside other countries. That is to say, the Skyborn acquire permission from the local government of foreign nations to establish Skyborn Academies above their soil (since they never actually touch the ground), and promise to aid the local area with their technology (irrigation, food production, maintenance, etc). In exchange, local governments leave them alone to do their experiments and inventing, and don't bother to try and steal their resources, technology, or tax them. Skyborn Academies are held aloft by large balloons and wind rotors, as the Skyborn have not yet recaptured the full technological prowess required to create genuine Sky cities, but these Skyborn Academies come closest, usually anchored and fixed in one place by some kind of sky tower or sky bridge that connects them to solid ground. Skyborn Academies are considered the highest technological courts of learning, and tend to be pretty exclusionary to outsiders. While non-Skyborn can be accepted into an Academy for learning, the local scholars and inventors must first ensure that such a person has no ill intentions with them, and Skyborn are if anything hard to gain the trust of. Regalia has several Skyborn Academies (they are not present on the map, but any player can claim to be part of them). The most notable of them, is the Hallowed Ground Academy, which was anchored where Al-Asir was proclaimed by the Everwatcher for Unionism, so it also doubles as a major Al-Asir aimed Temple for the Skyborn (this one will be built in Regalia soon).

State of Technology

Declaring the technological state in Aloria is difficult because MassiveCraft exists in a high-fantasy post-medieval but pre-industrialization era. There exists at the same time elevators and fridges and steam locomotives, but no automobiles or televisions or telephones. It should also be understood that the majority of the world still very much lives in an agrarian feudal or even serfdom style of sustenance farming. Wherever technological luxuries like jacuzzis and self-thinking gramophone players exist, is in rare places of extreme wealth of affluence. Very few of the 4 million citizens that live in Regalia could ever afford a Skyborn crafted pocket watch, let alone a self-cleaning clockwork kitchen automata. Generally speaking, when it comes to testing the boundaries of technology in our lore universe, we recommend players observe others and moderate their expectations of what technology they can interface with based on what others deem reasonable. Alternatively, Staff tickets can also help establish a list of things a technician or engineer could reasonably work on.

Eternal Songaskian Conflict

The Skyborn-Dragonkin conflict is immensely complicated and nuanced by both the stubbornness of the Skyborn, and the smugness of the Dragonkin in turn. True blame for the downfall of the Skyborn Empire cannot be ontologically established. Do the Skyborn bear blame for blindly believing in a murder cult Religion for millennia? Does the Traveler bear blame for inviting the evil of the Machinist into society? Do the Dragons bear blame for attacking first and not asking questions? Do the Dragons bear blame for dogmatically refusing to approach any other tactic to the problem? Do the Dragons bear blame for letting the Machinist play on their anxieties and causing the Great Storm? Do the Dragonkin bear blame for claiming Skyborn land when there reasonably were still survivors who could have reclaimed their land? True guilt cannot be established, because all sides are in some way guilty of the outcome, and neither side truly wants to take the blame without playing quid-pro-quo with the others, meaning the conflict never ends. The Skyborn still want their land and heritage back, with many of the ruins of their people still laying buried in the sands now controlled by the Dragonkin who claim the land by manifest destiny and right of conquest and simply because there was nobody else there when they arrived. There has been an unending war between the Skyborn and the Dragonkin on the Al-Alus and Masaya border, but no actual casualties come as a result of this war. Every day, hosts of machines assault lines of necromancer familiars, with nightfall giving time for both unliving corpses and cold unfeeling machines to be repaired and ready for the next battle. The front line never actually moves, and the war itself is almost treated like a comedy on both sides with theatre plays and spectator stands on each side of the battlefield. Yet, the war rages on, and the conflict is seemingly unended. For Players, this presents a great opportunity to take that backstory and unresolved historical trauma, and experience Character development in Regalia, where bereft of the context of this unending war far away from the frontlines, their Characters can experience different cultures and perspectives to their Character's problems to potentially find a better way.

The Rishiq and Sandcursed

Two technical sub groups of Skyborn that are not strongly present as playable character types are the Rishiq Skyborn and Sandcursed Skyborn. This section will give some basic explanation about the two, and also highlight why they aren't recommended for players in general. The Rishiq Skyborn are those Skyborn that after the Great Storm chose to join up with the Machinist and started expressly worshiping a Death-God, or who during the Betrayal refused to follow the prophetic words of the Traveler, and held onto the Belief in the Machine. Rishiq are death cultists simply put, who hold very little value for the life of others and will quickly resort to violence to get their way. Traditionally they are desert nomads who stay away from the dense Dragonkin and Skyborn population centers, because both of them consider the Rishiq pests. The Rishiq scavenge long-forgotten ruins for leftover parts or machines they can repurpose, and famously travel across the desert on hover-boards and skiffs by which they transport scrap to their cave homes or ruin-abodes. Rishiq have few ambitions in life but to replace parts of their body with machinery, that which the Skyborn consider sacrilege, and to acquire dark technology from their Death-God the Machinist.

Sandcursed Skyborn are all Spirits, either Ordial Shades or Primal Revenants whose bodies were destroyed during the Great Storm, but their Soul survived as they were forcibly made Spirits by this traumatic event. Sandcursed are so-called Sand Spirits, because they have a high degree of control over sand, and often seem to be made of the substance. Sandcursed are vengeful Spirits who harbor hatred for either the Dragonkin or the Skyborn for their condition, and they in turn are hunted by the Dragonkin who want to put them out of their misery, or the Skyborn who pity them and want to do much of the same. In both instances, Rishiq Skyborn and Sandcursed Skyborn are considered foreign invaders if they would show up in Regalia, which is where most of the Roleplay takes place. Rishiq have religious beliefs which are actively illegal and may land them in prison or execution if caught by the authorities, and Sandcursed Skyborn would be constantly hunted by Spirit-Hunters who want to either capture them and imprison them, or put them out of their misery by passing on their soul to the afterlife. Rishiq and Sandcursed can be played by Players, but both of them have such antagonistic setups that it will be hard to find other Players with whom to positively interact, and with an over-abundance of Combat Roleplay as most law-abiding Regalian citizens and Knights would constantly attack and attempt to kill such persons on sight.

Skyborn Fuel Sources

A long-running topic of consideration for the Skyborn is how they fuel their machines and automata. No machine is capable of running without some type of power source, and Aloria is not yet in a state where it has an abundance of electricity or functional battery storage. The concept of perpetual mass-energy production has always been a long-term goal for technology-based societies, but it is well known at this point that chasing this goal caused doom to the Meraic Empire which tore a break into the veil and invited a Demon horde to destroy their civilization when they activated their machine. Dragons control so-called singularity generators which produce almost limitless power to fuel their Dragon Sites, but they refuse to give mortals access to any of them. As such, the Skyborn have resorted to a battery-like device called a Powercore. Powercores are hand-held mechanical devices which translate a form of religious fervor or faith into congested energy. These Powercores passively gather religious energy in faith, belief, or prayer, causing many of them to be stored in shrines or edifices for charging. Most Skyborn Temples in fact double as battery-factories where empty Powercores are stored and recharged by the grace of whatever Gods they believe in. Powercores are not attuned to any particular Religion, though historically they were fueled by Ordial Death-God faith, this being the reason why so much went wrong with the Skyborn Empire. In the modern Era, most Powercores are fueled by Unionist faith, making Regalia one of the biggest exporter of Powercores, as even barely religious Skyborn have convinced city authorities to allow them to install Powercore charger stations in the large Unionist Temples.

Another fuel source is more static power production. Not every machine in Skyborn hands runs on religious Powercores, the vast majority of the stationary hardware runs on coal-fueled steam engines. Powercores are generally only suitable for hand-held machines and devices, or mobile automata that are too delicate or small to fit full-sized coal power plants inside of them. For larger machinery, the Skyborn have coal burners that feed heat into steam engines, which in turn cause gears and wheels to spin create mechanical motion to power the rest. A minor exception to this is the Petrolchem-Tech produced by the Reclaimer Skyborn that are fueled on petroleum oil. Even handheld objects and automata can have small combustion engines installed in them, though many still prefer Powercores because combustion engines have a habit of malfunctioning and exploding. Petrolchem-Tech is sometimes sneered at by the more common Skyborn society, because unlike clocktech with its delicate and fine-tuned gears and silent motions, Petrolchem-Tech is loud, dirty, and polluting. It produces constant black fumes, leaks sticky oil everywhere and the machines tend to produce metallic grinding noises. The Reclaimer Skyborn however much prefer it, due to the overabundance of oil in the Hadravyan provinces, and the higher horsepower power production of their oil-burning plants. Oil combustion produces stronger mechanical motions that can power far more machines than the pressure emitted from steam generators ever could.

Trivia

  • Skyborn Ethics are often up for discussion. Despite having a largely welfare and well-meaning society that cares well for the less-abled, and while their society has also developed leaps and bounds to promote mobility and access, their experiments are often considered without ethical boundaries. Skyborn have a narrow understanding of the concept of "living person", and routinely create homunculi to experiment on.
  • Skyborn society is devoid of true autocracy in the way it is experienced in Regalia, which is why it is hard to find a Skyborn noble family anywhere. Skyborn society certainly has famous families or wealthy families as a result of their technological inventions, but this kind of public legacy rarely translates to political or religious power, both of which are rigorously tested through civil examinations. This causes Skyborn to think the concept of nobility is a bit unnecessary in Regalia.
  • Despite being intellectually informed about the ongoings of the world, the Skyborn are woefully bereft of actual policy on many Affinities, Afflictions, and Magical conditions. They vaguely know they exist, like Marken, but show utter indifference to them, and have no common policy in society on how to deal with them or how to interact with them. As such, there is no communally enforced opinion or stance towards the Occult, save for the general sentiment that those reliant on Magic are ignorant because they replace actual complex thoughts and understanding of physics and the world with Magic shortcuts.

Accreditation
Writers MonMarty
Artists MonMarty
Last Editor Birdsfoot violet on 07/17/2024.

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