Durham[edit | edit source]
Durham is a kingdom set a few hundred years after the Age of Enlightenment. Rigorous methodology was applied to the study of magic, shifting it from an art to a science. The laws of magic are a subset of the laws of the universe, consistent though not fully understood. Much knowledge has been gained and technologies developed are wondrous but familiar. The world is a smaller place and the more prosperous cultures compete with each other in all corners of the globe. The power available to individuals and nations has never been greater.
Government[edit | edit source]
Durham is a representative democracy with a constitutional monarchy. It is a federation of once feudal lands that united under one banner once the various empires began to rise. The central government has the necessary trust and authority to perform it's duties, but the feudal history of the land is reflected in people's beliefs in individualism and limited authority.
The governmental structure consists of an elected legislature, appointed judiciary, and the royalty is responsible for the executive functions. The King or Queen can nullify actions of the legislature, and the legislature in turn can override royal decrees. Historically the power and influence of the Monarch and the President of the Senate has been roughly equal.
Citizenship, and thus the right to vote, is granted to adults who've successfully completed at least one term of service (2 years) with the government. Service can be civil or military, and is open to anyone. There's a job for anyone regardless of ability, even if the government has to make one up. Generally individuals will have some choice of assignment, but ultimately it's the needs of the government that takes priority.
Technically, non-citizens have full civil rights except for voting. In real life, they are second-class citizens and openly treated as such. Most of the better jobs are not open to them.
Infrastructure and Technology[edit | edit source]
Magic powers everything. Much of it is utilitarian, meeting society's needs in a million different ways for heat, light, food, clean water, clean streets, transportation, and so on. The mages of old are todays engineers and doctors.
Mana reactors produce the magical energy used by everybody. Industry and the burgeoning population consume way more energy than can be found in nature. Mana is piped through wavetubes to factories, homes, and strategically located public fountains which replenish the local environment. Magic employed within a hundred meters or so of a fountain functions at maximum effect.
The bulk of magical items are manufactured. Generally, items produced by factories can be enchanted up to +2. Anything more is to be special made or handcrafted. This is due simply to the economics of mass production and typical consumer demands. Items are typically enchanted so their active properties are permanent but require a power source to use. A levitating vehicle will do so as long as it has mana "fuel". A firearm's effect is built in, while it's charges are provided by clip.
Information is transmitted instantly almost anywhere by what can be describe as ethereal creatures living in an overlapping dimension. Their neural tendrils extend in all directions for thousands of kilometers. They were specifically designed and conjured for this purpose. Wether they are technically living or not is still a matter of debate. Also in this realm reside ethereal servants, savants, and avatars who assist infomancers and other users in their tasks.
Alchemists are constantly producing new materials and chemicals. They are responsible for improved alloys, plastics, ceramics, and other materials in use today. They also produce the elixirs that help keep people healthy, or unhealthy, depending on their use.
Necromancers are the healers. Few medical procedure require invasion of the body, but for those that do necromantic specialists can perform them with great skill and precision. Necromancy and divination is the basis of forensic science. Dead men do tell tales, often in their own voice.
Why settle for simple body art, when your very form can be altered? Basic physical and cosmetic alterations can be performed at your local body shoppe, this world's equivalent of the tattoo/beauty parlor. More drastic alterations require the services of a doctor. Just about anything can be accomplished if you have enough money.
Few things remain secret from the determined diviner. Scrying devices are common but not yet omnipresent. Devices such as cameras and goggles that detect simple illusions and invisibility are relatively inexpensive.
Architects create structures on land, sea, and air that sometimes seem to defy the laws of nature.
Personal transportation such as hover cars and some wheeled vehicles are common. Great airships and seaships transport goods far and wide. Flying vehicles are available but their use restricted in populated areas (thank goodness). The principles of aerodynamics are known, but is not a big limiting factor in aircraft design. Most aircraft would fall like a brick if their mana sources were disabled.
Dimensional travel is another way for people and medium-sized cargo transports to get from place to place. Few people have their own personal transporters, but a population center of decent size is likely to have at least one dimensional gate connecting it to another population center. Metropolitan cities often have several gates forming a transportation hub connecting it to other cities and countries. Such a gate is large enough to accommodate a pedestrian lane and one or two vehicle lanes. Theoretically a person could walk anywhere worth going to in the civilized world via this web of gates. A side effect of these modes of transportation, roads outside of populated areas are small and vary greatly in upkeep, assuming the exist at all.
Religion flourishes. The crusading cleric, who works "miracles" to advance their faith, is mostly a thing of the past. The faithful still use magic, often of the clerical sort. But a religious person today will likely take a scholarly approach to the practice of magic, just like the non-believer would.
Mechanical items tend to be simple. There are few things a complicated mechanism can do that a magical approach can't. Consequently few people can comprehend mechanically complicated contraptions, and would tend to view such things as inelegant or second-rate solutions to a problem.
The study of magic is available to anyone so inclined. That doesn't mean everybody does so, anymore than they study mathematics or biology. Since magic is a part of science and technology, it is present in the tools and techniques used by lay people to accomplish their tasks. The average person doesn't have to become a necromancer since a few skill points in healing/first aid and a medical kit will meet their needs.