The World of Mor

** Magic System
People of this world use magic crystals. These crystals are able to interact with the minds of people and (in special cases) with other crystals. Properly prepared, they can be used as communication devices, truth verifiers, and several other things.

Note: The crystals are not sentient and don’t give complicated information.

Each crystal is ‘tuned’ to a specific purpose. A truth crystal will glow when it senses a lie. A communication crystal can connect to another crystal and link the two minds connected to the two crystals. Crystals used to determine a person’s role in society will change color. Etc.

Crystal magic is not perfect. Errors and mistakes have been known to happen, both naturally and because crystals have been tampered with.

** City Culture
Yes, a world with a single dominant culture in the Bronze age is completely unrealistic. Deal with it.

Okay, two cultures.

This world is in the bronze age, negotiating the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculturalist. Written language exists, but even in cities, most people are illiterate. Society is divided into the Domine, the freemyn, and the thrales. Most cities are ruled by priest-monarchs. Priests are (in theory) those with the inborn magic to tune crystals for magical use. The priest-monarch is, in theory, the priest with the most power, but usually ends up being the one who can play politics the best.

Each city has it’s own social, priestly, and economic hierarchy.

In theory, everything in the city ‘belongs’ to the priests, who appoint the Domine to manage the city on their behalf. In reality, many Domine have accrued significant power in their home city. However, the fact that no Domine can guarantee any of their children will be Domine has so far prevented the development of family dynasties.

Each city is surrounded by a number of small towns and villages who are strongly influenced by the city, but not directly controlled by it.

*** Social Roles
At their coming of age, all young adults are tested by a crystal to determine their proper role. Because crystals are known to fail people are permitted to contest the finding. No one knows what exactly the crystals are testing for, but the majority of people are satisfied with their assigned role, so whatever it is, it’s considered to work.

**** Domine
After their testing, domine are given a house and ‘inheritance’ by the ruling priest. They are permitted to buy the services of a thrale or contract with a freemyn. How much money or power they accumulate after that depends on how wisely they use what they are given to start with. Children of domine have an advantage both in their parent’s loaning/gifting them further funds and in their familiarity with the city’s existing power structure.

A domine who runs out of money will not lose their home, but may need to contract themselves to another domine for money.

**** Freemyn
Freemyn are given a room in an apartment building as a home and enough money to provide food for a month. They can take service with the city, making beer, fixing roads, training as scribes, etc. Or they can contract with a domine. For the length of the contract the domine will provide their needs, in return they will serve the domine. Domine with many thrales or properties will often contract freemyn as managers. Freemyn who are comfortable with a gamble will often contract for a portion of profit — they will lead a trade caravan or other risky venture and if they succeed may be set for life. If they fail, they may be lucky to survive.

Contracts are between individuals, and usually for a set period of time. They can be broken by either party if the terms are not upheld.

Most priests are drawn from freemyn.

**** Thrales
After role assignment, thrales will be assigned a bed in a barracks and work for the city until and unless their services are bought by a domine. Many cities hold monthly auctions. All thrales ultimately belong to the city, any thrale has the right to petition a priest to free them from service to a particular domine. Most priests take their responsibility to care for “the gods’ property” seriously, and if the healing crystals give evidence that a thrale has been damaged or traumatized by their service, these requests are usually granted.

Domines can sell thrales to each other, but to sell a thrale to a domine from another city requires the permission of the priesthood.

Thrales are allowed to own a small amount of personal property (generally said to be as much as they can carry with them) and to have money. Theft or destruction of these is grounds for the temple to reclaim a thrale.

*** Command Code
There are some formal, universal postures thrales are taught, but not many. The simple fact is that for reasons of health or general physical fitness, many thrales and freemyn wouldn’t be able to take or hold complicated postures.

But over time there has developed a set of commands that are near universal. For instance /abine/ commands a thrale to shackle or bind themself to the wall or /retra/ commands a thrale to prepare for the domine’s meal.

** Nomadic Culture
The hunter gathering culture surrounds the cities and their associated villages. The HGs resent and resist the cities, for laying claim to all the best land for their fields and preventing the HGs from following their accustomed seasonal cycles. Some of them have transitioned to a herding economy — still nomadic, but less wide ranging. Among the HGs, all born to a tribe are mastryrs and all captured in raids and war are thrales. Thrales in the HGs may be ransomed and most cities go to some lengths to ransom their domine and will at least try to ransom freemyn. It is left to the domine to ransom (or not) their thrales. (Though a domine who fails to ransom their thrale may find the priests less than willing to sell them another one.)

The nomadic lives of the HGs means there is little material difference between the life of a mastryr and a thrale, and many thrales will be adopted into the clan after a few years.

** Aliens
If there are aliens in this world, most people don’t know about them. Maybe they control things indirectly through the priesthood. Maybe they are pretending to be gods and demons and devas. Maybe they aren’t here at all. This portion of the map is marked ‘here there be dragons’. If you want to explore here, have fun.

Note: for copyright purposes, if you add aliens to this world, they are part of the setting and open for others to use. One alien/fantasy species AT MOST will be accepted. Feel free to collaborate with other authors.

** Travelers from Earth
This world is as near to Earth as the other side of the mirror. Earthlings absolutely can end up here if they are lucky (or unlucky). What happens then depends on where and with whom they end up.