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Old Jan 8th, 2012, 04:37 PM
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Agarthan Culture

Agarthan Culture

Agartha has developed a culture which varies significantly from other worlds over time, and its people are used to this and treat concepts such as Iridium currency, the Ieshnan calendar, and the like as second nature, because they're taught these things at an early age.

Agartha's huge prosperity has benefited a large percentage of the mortals that live there, but there have been and always will be a permanent under-class, which in current times hovers around fifteen percent of the population. Darklings, slum-dwellers, and the like populate this category, which subsists and produces nothing for society as a whole. Different factions deal with these people differently, but they are generally ignored by those who can afford to do so, and left to their own devices.
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Last edited by Aeternis; Jan 8th, 2012 at 05:45 PM.
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Old Jan 8th, 2012, 04:48 PM
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Calendar and Clock

The standard method for telling time and date in the world-city is the Ieshnan Calendar. This system is many hundreds of generations old, older even than the time it currently counts (0.000 does not represent the first anum of the calendar's use - the first anum, in fact, of the first Ieshnan emperor’s reign in the then-world-power of Agartha: the calendar was reset in honor of that emperor's coronation).

Created by the Ieshnans, an ancient subculture and cultural predecessor of modern day Ieshno Medi, this calendar represents time in a unified medium, from the smallest to the greatest: a series of concentric rings, usually kept in time by being turned with clockwork. The innermost ring is small, and spins once every six seconds (this is called one “tick”). Every “tick” the next circle out turns one marker, and it has a total of fifteen markers (fifteen “ticks” is equal to one “moment”). This in turn turns the next circle one marker, this one having forty markers (forty “moments” is one “hour”, and literally is equal to one earth hour). The next circle has twenty-four markers (creating one day, often called one “cycle” by those underground and by military terminology). There are three-hundred sixty days in an anum (plural anni), which is the next ring, but anni are customarily also broken up into 45 octets of eight days each. There are no “month” analogues in Agarthan society.

The last, largest circle has one thousand markers on it, representing one thousand anni. One full cycle of this ring is referred to as one “supra”, and it represents the largest amount of time that a single Ieshan calendar can record.

The Ieshnan Calendar switches anni on midnight of midsummer’s eve, and there’s almost always a party across the globe. On those occasions that the anni switch is a multiple of 1,000 since the calendar’s zero-mark, the party lasts weeks leading up to the beginning of the new supra.

Time is represented in the Ieshnan calendar from largest value to smallest, so the expression “6.178.81.14.31 IC” would represent 14 hours and 31 minutes into the eighty-first day of anum 6,178 from the baseline.

Similarly to Earth timezones, the hour of the day varies based on longitude. The rules for clock timing are usually set by the ruling government, and only Lectan varies the official time within its borders due to its large territory (though the Directorate, the Institute, and the Consortium all use whatever time prevails in the land surrounding their outposts).

Agarthan Time Conversion Chart
Unit Equivalent to In Earth Time Analogous to
Tick -- 6 Seconds Earth Second
Moment 15 ticks 1 1/2 minutes Earth Minute
Hour 40 moments 1 Hour Earth Hour
Day/Cycle 24 hours 1 Day Earth Day
Octet 8 days 8 days Earth Week
Anum 45 octets 360 days Earth Year
Supra 1000 anni 360,000 days Earth millenium
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Last edited by Aeternis; Jan 11th, 2012 at 12:17 AM.
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Old Jan 8th, 2012, 05:28 PM
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Currency

The base unit of coinage is the Agarthan “chit”, in some regions known as a “piece”, which is a small wafer of ring of gold weighing a little less than half an ounce.

Silver, and platinum chits are also minted, at the same ratio of values to the gold ones (10 copper = 1 silver, 10 silver = 1 gold, 10 gold = 1 platinum). In addition, rare bluish-black metal iridium is minted into chits in many areas, each being worth 10 platinum chits. Bars of all of these metals weighing five pounds contain 250 chits each.

Copper coins are not minted, as copper is worth more to industrial applications than one copper chit would be worth as currency. Some areas do distribute silver half-chits and quarter-chits to be used to purchase small quantities of inexpensive goods or services, and others distribute tin coins that have the value that a copper coin would in another world.

The purchase power of one gold chit is equivalent to the standard “1gp” in the rulebooks. For simplicity and to avoid confusion, prices will usually be listed in “gp” or “pp”, instead of in units like “ic”, which would mean iridium chits. Note that "ic" should not be confused with "IC", which denotes a date value.

Though iridium chits are accepted everywhere, they are usually associated with nobles and the extremely wealthy and should not be spent by those not willing to draw attention to their wealth. Most Agarthans spend gold and silver chits for their daily needs.

Agarthan moneychangers are almost all members of The Consortium, which regulates and polices the trade. Consortium accredited moneychangers are required to always impose the same fee for exchange, a one-twentieth part of the exchanged total value, no matter the exchange being requested. This trade is profitable, enough so that the Consortium waives this fee for the first 100,000 gp equivalent exchange every month on transactions made by its officials and family members of its officials.

[Rules note: Any number of chits less than 400 need not be tracked in your encumbrance, any over this limit add one pound per 50 chits, rounded up to the nearest half-pound.]

Currency Conversion Chart
 Silver ChitGold ChitPlatinum ChitIridium ChitSilver BarGold BarPlatinum BarIridium Bar
Silver Chit11/101/1001/1,000/2501/2,5001/25,0001/250,000
Gold Chit1011/101/1001/251/2501/2,5001/25,000
Platinum Chit1001011/102/51/251/2501/2,500
Iridium Chit100010010142/51/251/250
Silver Bar250252 1/22/511/101/1001/1,000
Gold Bar2,500250252 1/21011/101/100
Platinum Bar25,0002,500250251001011/10
Iridium Bar25,0002,5002501000100101 
(To determine a conversion factor, find the type you wish to convert from on the left,
and then follow the row across to the column for the type you wish to convert to)
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Last edited by Aeternis; Jan 11th, 2012 at 12:18 AM.
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Old Jan 8th, 2012, 05:37 PM
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Employment and Trades

The common man in Agarthan society earns his wages not through physical labor, but through skilled labor. The most common non-skilled profession available is that of the factory worker, and this, despite the number and size of Agarthan factories, is still not as large a labor force as one would expect - the repetitive tasks are done more cheaply by automatons. Repairing mechanical equipment, operating and maintaining machines in factories, and other such technical and partly-technical tasks are the bread and butter of the Agarthan working class.

Farming is also a large trade, but it has been mechanized to the point where about five percent of the population can work to produce food for everyone. Almost all farming takes place inside Plantation Spaces, pocket planes carved out by wizards from the Institute of Magic. Usually permanently linked to Gate Arches, magical anchor points for planar travel, it is perfectly normal for the farm workers who operate a Plantation Space to work there and go home every evening into Agartha.

Another large source of employment is bureaucracy. Every mainstream organization larger than a few dozen people has a least some amount of mid-level bureaucracy. Though most organizations keep this to a minimum, there are some in which the bureaucracy has grown to become a choking, oppressive weight on the parent organization’s coffers. Bureaucracy jobs are prized, as they require little in the way of skill (save the ability to memorize procedures and the like) and pay well for more or less harmless and safe work. It is in fact a sign of an organization’s legitimacy that it has paper-pushers on staff in many regions, as that means that it has the capacity to manage itself long-term.

The average “working man” in Agartha supports his family by working primarily in one of these three large areas - skilled labor, farm work, or bureaurcacy. Those three areas combined cover about forty percent of the work force. The “permanent underclass” comprises another fifteen percent, or thereabouts - this is those who are professional beggars, ne’er-do-wells, hermits, scavengers, and of course subsistence dwellers (Most of which are Darklings).

The remaining forty-five percent of the adult population is split evenly between service trades (servants for royalty and the wealthy, for example) and the “upper classes” - that is, the royalty and the relatively wealthy common folk. These sorts of people make their livings managing things, be they governments, corporations, universities or simple trade depots, and the life of a minor noble, the life of a mid-level scientific coordinator, and the life of a merely moderately successful merchant are remarkably similar. There is a small but reliable group of “professional warriors” in Agartha as well, perhaps three or four percent of the population, that bounces between public service as soldiers and private gigs as mercenaries, bodyguards, bounty hunters, and general problem solvers.
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Last edited by Aeternis; Jan 9th, 2012 at 12:27 AM.
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Old Jan 11th, 2012, 09:32 PM
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Technomagic

Over the supra, Agarthan machinists have learned the art of seamlessly fusing magic and machine into a whole device capable of amazing things. Technomagic literally drives Agarthan life, animating the airships that navigate the world-city's skies, making the factories of the city possible, and even fusing with mortal flesh in the form of prosthetics and implants. Technomagic is capable of things that technology alone would consider an impossibility, and of feats that would kill even the most well-prepared archmage. It's rarely cheap, but most Agarthans have the ability to purchase entry-level technomagical devices if they save up their wages for an anum or so.

Technomagic is no guarded secret - many across Agartha construct and maintain it, though the Institute of Magic is the group to go to find the cutting-edge research into more advanced devices and methods. Innovators exist outside the Institute, of course, but the Institute's inventors are best funded and nurtured, and tend to most consistently produce useful innovations.
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Old Feb 16th, 2012, 10:19 PM
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Documentation

Most cultures have some form of documentation or official device that marks the bearer as a member of that culture, though what form this takes varies greatly from government to government.

On one end of the bureaucratic extreme lies the Collectivist Union, where there is a different official document for each activity one might be possibly doing, making carrying proper documentation practically impossible. To make things worse, it is simply impossible for a lay person to get certain documents, so there is a large black market in passable forgeries. Of course, with the graft that's so common in the Union, the authorities are just as often mollified with a bag of chits as with papers.

On the lax end is the Directorate, which has solved the identification problem with technomagic. Building off of the concept of the Blood Biography spell, the Directorate possesses a large number of technomagical devices that determine the identity of a person based on a tiny drop of blood drawn from the fingertip. Directorate personnel carry in their bloodstreams the information that the handheld identifier devices need to look up their entire career histories with the Directorate, which are supposedly stored in a secure magical archive somewhere in the world-city.

Most places, thankfully, gravitate toward the lax end of the spectrum rather than the alternative. Some smaller governments even legislate tattoo identification among their citizens, so that identification cannot be removed by any reasonable means.

Breakdown by Major Government
  • The Collectivist Union has literally thousands, maybe as many as ten thousand, permit paper types for various activities large and small, many of which are practically unobtainable by most of its population. Bribing the constabulary is usually accepted as a perfectly reasonable alternative to documentation.
  • The Consortium has a different permit document for each role one might play within it, the most difficult to forge being those of bankers and moneychangers. One person usually doesn't carry more than three or four magically-treated sheets of official vellum letterhead to get past Consortium checkpoints.
  • The Darkling Alliance has no known documentation system. People are known by face alone, or by specific signs or codewords.
  • Honora Protectorate has no unified documentation system, its member states, however, have their own various systems.
  • Independent Corgona issues magically durable, cursed ID cards to its citizens. The cards are literally impossible to lose, and impossible to forget at home. Their curses somehow, some way always put themselves into the rightful owner's possession. If a card has its curse removed, it notifies Corgonan constabulary immediately before self-destructing, transmuting into specially designed scrying dust which allows Corgonan police scryers to locate the offender.
  • The Institute of Magic determines who's who via divination magic designed specifically to be difficult to fool. Often one will be waved through a checkpoint or security stop because the caster or mechanism which does the actual divination finished the analysis as the individual approached.
  • The Republic of Lectan does not have documentation requirements, unless one is an official of the Lectani government. The lay citizen or visitor need not carry such things.
  • The Phernos Remnant no longer has any identification system in place.
  • Stonegarden officials just seem to know their own. How they do this they don't really share, not even with Stonegarden citizens.
  • The Unified Agarthan Directorate has a large number of identification devices which prick the subject's finger and magically look them up in the Directorate's archives. The devices are rather difficult to fool - they can, for example, tell whether a severed hand is used or if the blood is not directly from the subject's veins.
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Old May 8th, 2014, 02:44 PM
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Agarthan Architecture

Agarthan architecture is not a simple matter of stone, wood, and metal. Most buildings are shaped using magic, if not reinforced by it on an ongoing basis. While most such magic can't really create building materials, at least not in large quantities, it can make it easy to re-use materials - a replacement for a demolished structure almost always incorporates the re-shaped rubble from the original.

Most new structures are built either on the order of the governments themselves or of the wealthiest elite, but it is smaller organizations and common people who actually do the work, and who lease space inside them. Generally, this means that the top quarter of most large complexes is reserved for either government usage (office space, archives, etc) or penthouses for wealthy nobles and businessmen.

All things being equal, Agarthan architects prefer tower structures, but there are some areas where towers are discouraged. For example, the Collectivist Union has many "efficiency" regulations that make it difficult to build any building that is not spare, relatively boxy, and aesthetically unappealing, unless specific exceptions to the regulations are granted.

Some of the more common architectural terms include:
  • Skybridge - A freestanding bridge, usually intended for foot traffic or light vehicles, which connects adjacent structures high above ground level. Most are designed with magical reinforcement and magical safety nets are often preferred over railings. Skybridges are usually designed to be aesthetically pleasing to traverse, often designed to call attention to a picturesque view or to allow people on the bridge to watch airships taking off from and berthing at nearby skydocks.
  • Riser Column - A thick, often hollow structure used to elevate roadways. Riser Columns often have stairways inside their hollow centers, though some are simply open to allow magical lift but to prevent those incapable of levitation from climbing to the street level above. Riser Columns are generally built with their bases in rough neighborhoods, to elevate roads used by less unfortunate citizens out of dangerous areas. It's cheaper and preferred to use existing structures as support structures, of course - Risers are used where local existing architecture of the required height is absent, decaying, or deemed untrustworthy.
  • Airpad - An airpad is essentially an overgrown balcony set in the side of a tall structure, which is wide enough that light airships and tame dragons can land on it. Most high-end penthouse residences have airpads, allowing the resident to come and go freely without descending to street level.
  • Skydock - Large, heavy airships are often not designed to land, except in specialized berths. Most such craft exchange passengers and cargo with structures at skydocks instead. Skydocks are always built on the roofs of structures, even if this roof is not the highest-level roof. They consist of a wide staging platform (often roofed or magically screened against weather) and an open-air, extensible bridge, which adheres to the side of a docked airship after that vessel has been safely moored. Most of the world-city's largest towers have at least one skydock, but there are also dedicated port towers - buildings whose entire purpose in existence is to house as many skydock berths as possible.
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