Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Dark Kingdom of Incense

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Aya Tari
    started a topic The Dark Kingdom of Incense

    The Dark Kingdom of Incense

    The Dark Kingdom of Incense encompasses the territories of Western Asia, and its territories stretch from the western border of Turkey to the eastern border of Iran, from the Caucasus Mountains in the north to Aden in the south. It is ruled by the ancient and nameless Queen of Sheba from the legendary city of Iram of the Pillars. She is advised by the wisest of Wraiths, among their number is King Solomon, and her armies are led by the greatest generals of the region, among their numbers are King David and King Saladin.

    During the time of Rome, the Dark Kingdom of Iron ruled much of the territory of the Dark Kingdom of Incense. The Wraiths of the Dark Kingdom of Incense retreated into the depths of the Arabian Peninsula and, when the legions of the Dark Kingdom of Iron tried to follow, they were destroyed by the cavalry of the Dark Kingdom of Incense. Since the Fall of Rome, however, the Dark Kingdom of Iron lost much of its territory, though it retains control over the territories controlled by the nation of Israel. In recent times, the Dark Kingdom of Iron attempted to conquer the Dark Kingdom of Incense through invading the territories controlled by the nation of Iraq, but they failed in their invasion and suffered one of their greatest defeats in recent memories as the Dark Kingdom of Incense destroyed a number of its relic warships. The Dark Kingdom of Incense is known for its Arabian Horses, its Meteoric Steel, and its Night Incense.

    When Arabian Horses die, regardless of where they were born or where they died, they appear within the territories of the Dark Kingdom of Incense and manifest intelligence equal to that of human Wraiths. The herds of Arabian Horses long ago swore fealty to the Queen of Sheba in exchange for their freedom from slavery and, in service to their fealty, they will choose Wraiths among the inhabitants of the Dark Kingdom of Incense to be their partners when they are called to defend the Dark Kingdom of Incense from invaders. The Arabian Horses have given the Dark Kingdom of Incense the best cavalry among the Dark Kingdoms, but the Arabian Horses will not leave the border of the Dark Kingdom of Incense.

    When meteors hit the Earth, their deaths will create masses of Meteoric Metal equal to the mass of the meteors before they plummeted to the Earth. When the Meteoric Metal is forged by the fires of the Labyrinth and mixed with the molten silver of the Labyrinth, the result is Meteoric Steel. Weapons forged by Meteoric Steel is no more effective than relic weapons, but they have one important property. They reduce the temporary Pathos of any Psyche Wraith (or the temporary Angst of any Shadow Wraith) damaged by the weapon by one per point of Corpus suffered by their target. Armor forged by Meteoric Steel is no more effective than relic armor, but they have one important property. They give one point of temporary Pathos per two points of damage soaked by their wearer when they wearer if attacker by a Psyche Wraith (or cause their wearer to lose one point of temporary Angst per two points of damage soaked by their wearer when their wearer is attacked by a Shadow Wraith). Meteoric Steel would be highly valued by any Wraith, but Meteoric Steel becomes hot to the point of burning Corpus when it is kept in close proximity to items forged from Wraiths, causing one point of irresistible Corpus damage per hour they are carried along with an item forged from Wraiths, so they are banned outside of the Dark Kingdom of Incense.

    When prayers are offered from the followers of Christianity or Islam (as well as the smaller religions associated with the territories controlled by the Dark Kingdom of Incense), the memories of the prayers collect within the sands of the Dark Kingdom of Incense, where they feed the growth of the ghostly plants that grow within the territories of the Dark Kingdom of Incense. Many of these ghostly plants are consumed by the Arabian Horses, but there are also fruits, grains, and nuts that grow from the ghostly plants that are consumed by the Wraiths of the Dark Kingdom of Incense (while they enrich the existence of the inhabitants of the Dark Kingdom of Incense, they do not provide any mechanical bonuses). Night Incense is created from some of the ghostly plants that are not consumed by Arabian Horse or Wraiths and, when it is burned, it creates an incense cloud that functions as a temporary Fetter for twenty-four hours (with a level equal to the number of sticks burned) where any Wraith can Slumber within (number of sticks burned) yards. In addition to allowing Wraiths to Slumber to recover Corpus, the incense calms the Shadows of the Wraiths and reduces their temporary Angst by one point per point of Corpus they recovered during their Slumber.

  • Ajax
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • adambeyoncelowe
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ajax
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • adambeyoncelowe
    replied
    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 &quot;folded in&quot; 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 &quot;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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ajax
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • adambeyoncelowe
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • glamourweaver
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aya Tari
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • glamourweaver
    replied
    Originally posted by Ajax View Post

    I agree. If there's a Veiled Queen, rumors should abound about who she was in the Skinlands - the Queen of Sheba is one among many postulated identities. Others might include.... oh, I dunno Alexander's Roshana? The Prophet's daughter, Fatimah? One of the powerful Nabatean Queens? And on to more esoteric possibilties like the goddess of al-Lat after the loss of her sacred city (Mecca)? Ereshkigal? Even the Stygian's Lady of Fate, perhaps?
    Including Persia, Scheherazade jumps to mind as a common claim.

    What is the Dark Kingdom's regime's relationship to Islam? Do they incorporate it into their claim to rule? Or do they have a more hostile relationship to those promising some blessed afterworld, ala Stygia and the Heretics? If you lean more Persia in the power-base, same question with regard to Zoroastrianism.

    Leave a comment:


  • Ajax
    replied
    Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
    I'd have a more enigmatic figure like the Veiled Queen or Golden Emperor. That way, it's left open. I'd tie it into the Mesopotamian/Babylonian cultures or the Persian Empire and stick with one over the other.
    I agree. If there's a Veiled Queen, rumors should abound about who she was in the Skinlands - the Queen of Sheba is one among many postulated identities. Others might include.... oh, I dunno Alexander's Roshana? The Prophet's daughter, Fatimah? One of the powerful Nabatean Queens? And on to more esoteric possibilties like the goddess of al-Lat after the loss of her sacred city (Mecca)? Ereshkigal? Even the Stygian's Lady of Fate, perhaps?

    Leave a comment:


  • Ajax
    replied
    Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
    Punt is probably not the source of the Sheba mythology, as Punt did not trade directly with the people of Israel during the time of King Solomon. Heck, by the time of King Solomon, the trade networks between Punt and Egypt had collapsed, which probably meant that the civilization of Punt had collapsed. The source of the Sheba mythology would have likely been the Sabaean Kingdom of the Arabian Peninsula (in modern Yemen), as they would have traded directly with the people of Israel during the time of King Solomon.

    The Kingdom of Aksum, which reestablished the ancient trade networks, did not evolve until 100 AD, long after the Sheba mythology was created. Of course, the Ethiopians claim that it was the home of the Queen of Sheba, as well as the resting place of the Ark, but the dates conflict on it being the home of the Queen of Sheba (though it could potentially be the resting place of the Ark because of the Ethiopian Jews). Either way, it really does not matter.
    You're working with outdated information. The Sabaeans of Yemen don't really track culturally with the perception of Sheba, nor do they possess the resources that Sheba is alleged to have brought to bear for the most part. There is a mirror of the Yemeni Sabaeans in modern Ethiopia that are now considered to be a much more likely source. This is REALLY recent stuff (as in the the results have been published in academic journals recently and have been hitting the more publicly oriented and available magazines in the past few months)

    One of the biggest nods would be the fact that there is NO evidence of females in positions of power, preferentially or typically among the Sabaens of Yemen, but there is a lot of evidence of possible "Queens" among the Ethiopean "Sabaeans" on a region by region and on a "nationwide" level continuously across both the landscape and over the entirety of the chronology, particularly since there are actually women given a rough approximation of that title. And this is present at all levels of society, e.g. inscriptions of personal names universally include matronymics above patronymics, for everyone from kings and queens on down. And you don't see ANY matrilineal information in Yemeni Sabaen names, even of females. Moreover there is a lot more evidence of centralization that seen in Yemen. So... They have queens, they have a realm and so on. And the Yemeni Sabaens don't. (There's a lot more information about this about how lifeways and artifact assocaition space utilization as seen in architecture, etc., bear this out, but... it gets fairly boring pretty fast.)

    This is before Aksum. The dates track exactly. The cultural set up tracks exactly. The resources Sheba was bringing to the table track, particularly since the material culture, if not the social aspects of culture were continuous. It's just not really very likely that she came from Yemen at this point.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aya Tari
    replied
    Well, it would have likely evolved because the Persian culture is younger than the Mesopotamian culture. I think it would be interesting to start with one of the Mesopotamian kings like Gilgamesh and evolve over time.

    Leave a comment:


  • adambeyoncelowe
    replied
    I'd have a more enigmatic figure like the Veiled Queen or Golden Emperor. That way, it's left open. I'd tie it into the Mesopotamian/Babylonian cultures or the Persian Empire and stick with one over the other.

    Leave a comment:


  • Aya Tari
    replied
    Punt is probably not the source of the Sheba mythology, as Punt did not trade directly with the people of Israel during the time of King Solomon. Heck, by the time of King Solomon, the trade networks between Punt and Egypt had collapsed, which probably meant that the civilization of Punt had collapsed. The source of the Sheba mythology would have likely been the Sabaean Kingdom of the Arabian Peninsula (in modern Yemen), as they would have traded directly with the people of Israel during the time of King Solomon.

    The Kingdom of Aksum, which reestablished the ancient trade networks, did not evolve until 100 AD, long after the Sheba mythology was created. Of course, the Ethiopians claim that it was the home of the Queen of Sheba, as well as the resting place of the Ark, but the dates conflict on it being the home of the Queen of Sheba (though it could potentially be the resting place of the Ark because of the Ethiopian Jews). Either way, it really does not matter.

    Leave a comment:

Working...
X