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The Dark Kingdom of Incense

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  • #16
    In the Dark Kingdom as a whole down through its Tempest holdings - yes. But the Shadowland would be in swift transition, since few centuries old wraiths maintain the Fetters necessary to stay active in the Shadowlands, so such a huge population explosion would push the Shadowlands to reflect the Skinlands with only a few decades lag.


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    • #17
      An agnostic culture with ties to pre-Islamic philosophy would work. Wraiths can fill in the blanks. Fundamentalists of any religion who find themselves in Purgatory are likely to see that they've been waylaid or misled. That could potentially lead to greater peace and cooperation between groups that fought in life.

      However, you could also reflect the disparity between the new and old Middle East by having a Shadowlands torn by the Dark Kingdoms of Iron and Ivory, and to a lesser extent by Swar and Duat, with a hidden, older Dark Kingdom of Frankincense (better association with death) adjacent to it in the Tempest. The Shadowlands is every bit as diverse as the real Middle East, but its Tempest city is very much a haven for the older cultures.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
        Well, I imagine that it would predate every Christianity, the Druze, the Greco-Romans, Judaism, Islam, the Yezidi, Mithrasism, Zorastranism, etc. It would be a place of religious tolerance because it would be perceived as Purgatory by its inhabitants. Transcendence would be the end of the sentence to Purgatory and an ascendency to Heaven while becoming a Specter would be a sentence to Damnation. The Labyrinth would be considered to be the highest level of Hell.

        Islam would just be seen as another religion. The Prophet would be honored by the people who grew up Muslim, but they would know that they were lacking something or else they would be in Heaven. They would have proof that giving into anger and hatred would be a ticket straight to Hell, so I imagine that they would work on achieving Transcendence. Since Islam is only 1400 years old, the eldest Wraiths would also predate the Islamic Wraiths.

        It is also important to remember that the large populations of Western Asia are recent phenomena, so the Wraith population will not reflect the recent changes in demographics. Iran's population in 1960 was 22 million, 30% of its current population of 75 million. Saudi Arabia's population in 1960 was 4 million, 13% of the current population of 31 million. Before 1960, the populations of Western Asia had more ethnic and religious diversity, and there were a quarter as people as in 2015, meaning that the Wraith population is likely much more ethnically and religiously diverse than the living population.
        I just don't see this. This is not how Wraith polities work. It's way too kumbaya. A Dark Kingdom of Love and Holding Hands and Everything is Good? Dark Kingdoms are invasive and divisive and corrupt. They may have been founded with good intentions or just due to some cultural hegemony's authoritarianism, but they aren't great places to be. If there were good intentions, they have fallen by the wayside and have been replaced with the hypocrisy of necessity and expedience. Everything is touched with entropy. It's all on a slide to Oblivion. That's the defining trait. This Land of Incense is just too NICE to be in Wraith, which is the Darker Shadow of the World of Darkness.

        Also, ancient ideas don't really get synthesized and syncretized and integrated. They get replaced, rejected, shoved off into the Tempest as the shadows of when they were the Shadowlands. The Dark Kingdoms of Flint, Gold, Obsidian, Sand and Clay are displaced by the dominant aggressive expansionistic imperialistic Kingdoms. They don't get "folded in" and have their intrinsic ideas jigsawed in. That's why Dark Kingdoms are shadows of the expansion of Skinland cultures. The Yellow Springs don't work to carefully include the underworlds of the Mongols, Wa, Tibetans, etc. They TAKE OVER. As the old cultures fade out so too do their version of the Lands of the Dead.

        That's why the default answer to who runs the Near & Middle East (up to "Greater India") is the Dark Kingdom of Iron. Bootstrapping off of Alexander and solidified by Rome, followed up by later imperialism, whatever was there is now NOT there. At best it's just around the existential corner. Or it's just gone.

        If there is a Dark Kingdom of Incense, it needs to be something on par with the other Dark Kingdoms. Dark. Founded in a major ideological/cultural change reflecting a massive change in world culture. Organized and self-protective and willing to efface what came before in favor of it's way. Doomed to fail at idealistic ideas and loose out to something more riddled with rot.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Ajax View Post

          I just don't see this. This is not how Wraith polities work. It's way too kumbaya. A Dark Kingdom of Love and Holding Hands and Everything is Good? Dark Kingdoms are invasive and divisive and corrupt. They may have been founded with good intentions or just due to some cultural hegemony's authoritarianism, but they aren't great places to be. If there were good intentions, they have fallen by the wayside and have been replaced with the hypocrisy of necessity and expedience. Everything is touched with entropy. It's all on a slide to Oblivion. That's the defining trait. This Land of Incense is just too NICE to be in Wraith, which is the Darker Shadow of the World of Darkness.

          Also, ancient ideas don't really get synthesized and syncretized and integrated. They get replaced, rejected, shoved off into the Tempest as the shadows of when they were the Shadowlands. The Dark Kingdoms of Flint, Gold, Obsidian, Sand and Clay are displaced by the dominant aggressive expansionistic imperialistic Kingdoms. They don't get "folded in" and have their intrinsic ideas jigsawed in. That's why Dark Kingdoms are shadows of the expansion of Skinland cultures. The Yellow Springs don't work to carefully include the underworlds of the Mongols, Wa, Tibetans, etc. They TAKE OVER. As the old cultures fade out so too do their version of the Lands of the Dead.

          That's why the default answer to who runs the Near & Middle East (up to "Greater India&quot is the Dark Kingdom of Iron. Bootstrapping off of Alexander and solidified by Rome, followed up by later imperialism, whatever was there is now NOT there. At best it's just around the existential corner. Or it's just gone.

          If there is a Dark Kingdom of Incense, it needs to be something on par with the other Dark Kingdoms. Dark. Founded in a major ideological/cultural change reflecting a massive change in world culture. Organized and self-protective and willing to efface what came before in favor of it's way. Doomed to fail at idealistic ideas and loose out to something more riddled with rot.
          The Persian Achaemenid Empire of Darius I and Xerxes could be that foundation. Or, earlier than that, Babylon or Mesopotamia. There's no reason why an ancient Dark Kingdom of Cedars wouldn't exist somewhere in the Tempest. But it might be seen as a Far Shore by the modern wraiths of the Middle East.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post

            The Persian Achaemenid Empire of Darius I and Xerxes could be that foundation. Or, earlier than that, Babylon or Mesopotamia. There's no reason why an ancient Dark Kingdom of Cedars wouldn't exist somewhere in the Tempest. But it might be seen as a Far Shore by the modern wraiths of the Middle East.
            I totally agree. There would definitely be/have been a Persian Dark Kingdom; the Dark Kingdom of Winds/Silence/Ash (or something relevant). Is it still around or is it now Shadowlands adjacent, like the Dark Kingdom of Sand? I dunno. That's sorta the direction you have to take it. I would probably have it be Shadowlands adjacent, along with Mirey (the Dark Kingdom of Cedar of the Levant, Iralku (the Dark Kingdom of... what? Bricks? of Mesopotamia) and so on. It would have fallen to the Dark Kingdom of Iron or Incense at the turning point where cultural hegemony was forced on it.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Ajax View Post

              I totally agree. There would definitely be/have been a Persian Dark Kingdom; the Dark Kingdom of Winds/Silence/Ash (or something relevant). Is it still around or is it now Shadowlands adjacent, like the Dark Kingdom of Sand? I dunno. That's sorta the direction you have to take it. I would probably have it be Shadowlands adjacent, along with Mirey (the Dark Kingdom of Cedar of the Levant, Iralku (the Dark Kingdom of... what? Bricks? of Mesopotamia) and so on. It would have fallen to the Dark Kingdom of Iron or Incense at the turning point where cultural hegemony was forced on it.
              The Shadowlands-adjacent Persian afterlife could be Chinvar (the Bridge of Judgment which the dead must cross to reach Heaven) or perhaps Anazidantum (wretched existence, I believe) or the Druj-Demana (House of Lies) to reflect a belief that they've lost their way and need to atone.

              I like Mirey and Iralku. So the Shadowlands, which would be primarily Muslim, could be a somewhat occupied/contested place and therefore cut off from the other three atolls in the Tempest.

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              • #22
                I sorta see it like Egypt. Currently, the situation is:

                Skinlands Egypt <> Shadowlands Egypt ruled by the Dark Kingdom of Iron
                /Amenti-Dark Kingdom of Sand (nearby/adjacent in the Tempest)

                If there is an Islamic "Dark Kingdom of Incense" that usurped and displaced the Dark Kingdom of Iron in the places where the Islam overcame Christianity (by way of rulership... not necessarily that the totality or even a majority of the population converted) then maybe something like:

                Skinlands Egypt <> Shadowlands Egypt ruled by the Dark Kingdom of Incense
                /Amenti- Dark Kingdom of Sand (nearby/adjacent in the Tempest)

                Though Egypt could have been/is contested Incense vs. Iron territory... with the Cairo Necropolis a pretty divided up/intrigue ladden mishmash of the two....

                I would see an Islamic -style Kingdom of Incense:

                Skinlands Middle & Near East <> Dark Kingdom of Incense
                /Mirey - Dark Kingdom of Cedar
                which is Shadowlands adjacent only in the Near East
                /Iralku - Dark Kingdom of Brick
                which is Shadowlands adjacent only in Mesopotamia
                /Chinvar - Dark Kingdom of Ash (the importance of ash and immolation to Zoroastrianism) or Winds (due to the preferred burial technique) or Silence (also due to the Towers of Silence)
                which is Shadowlands adjacent largely in Iran, but also some connections wherever the Persian Empire(s) held sway.

                You can't easily get from Mirey to Iralku or to Chinvar (or vice versa). It would take time in the Tempest. Or go to the Shadowlands proper and travel to the appropriate region and try from there. Or just try from the Tempest, period.

                Chinvar/Dark Kingdom of Ash (since I gotta pick something for the sake of brevity), would be the only actual "Dark Kingdom" in the same way as Yellow Springs and Iron are, in that it was less of a regional Underworld and more of "hegemony by conquest". Representing the break between the pre-Islamic and Islamic Persians. But, that would have fallen away when the Dark Kingdom of Incense overcame it. Mirey and Iralku are more like Amenti or the Mirrorlands in that they are a specific underworld associated with a "dead" culture.

                And, yeah, The Dark Kingdom of Incense would have it's own version of Stygia. I'd go back to the original post and use Irem. Instead of an island on the edge of the Tempest, have it be an oasis city across deserts and or mountains wracked with Maelstroms. Something like Petra but decked with greenery like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, surrounding the Palace of the Veiled Queen which bears some resemblance to the Temple of Ishtar of Babylon and some to the Al-Masjid al-Haram of Mecca... I probably wouldn't call the Kingdom "Irem" when not referring to it by it's "Dark Kingdom of" name, Probably Jannah.

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