Here is a brief list of topics on how the society of the Heplionverse operates.
- 1 Languages
- 2 Transportation
- 3 Time and Measurements
- 4 Religion
- 5 Sports
- 6 Wealth and Money
The main languages of humanity are:
The lingua franca of the Core Worlds. It first developed as a pidgin of Abyri, Semkashan and Kaldurish, peppered by terms from a variety of other local languages. As the nations of Iriond and later the Core Worlds grew ever more integrated during the Golden Age and Age of Expansion, this pidgin became a creole and then a well-established language, used more and more frequently by humans all worlds over, especially the lowborn, later being adopted by several alien races as well. It is currently even more frequently spoken than the three languages below, having become the vernacular of lowborn humans throughout the settled worlds, especially in AFN territory. It uses a highly bastardized and simplified version of the Eugrathic alphabet, influenced by Semkashan and other scripts, called the Common alphabet.
The native language of Abyron (a large Muranian nation), and evolved into the de-facto unified language of the Pan-Muranian Union. Spoken in most of the Union territory, it also has currency in much of Gulorien, Sirastir and northern Murania, and is widely learned by civilized peoples throughout the Core Worlds. Descends from old Eugeric, which makes it an Eugrathic language. It utilizes the Eugrathic alphabet.
The native language of Semkash (major Emishan country), largely spoken in Confederacy territory and not much anywhere else, although it too is often learned by civilized peoples throughout the Core Worlds. Faintly related to old Arkechan, but mostly to more recent linguistic groups. Utilizes its own complex hieroglyphic writing (Semkashan script).
The language of Kaldur, a small NE Muranian nation that rose to prominence in the commercial arena, and ended up becoming the trade language (and later official language) of the Allied Free Nations. Used in territories under the AFN’s purview, and frequently learned by other peoples from the Core Worlds, especially by those who work with commerce or business in general. Distantly related to Eugrathic languages. Uses the Eugrathic alphabet.
Several methods of transportation are used across the known worlds, depending on your means and the distance you want to travel.
The simplest and most obvious way to get around is, of course, through your own natural movement capabilities. However, that might go far beyond merely walking, depending on who's doing the traveling. Several transcendent beings are capable of flight, and many buildings in cities with a significant transcendent population, especially in the Core Worlds, have entrances set far above the ground for the convenience of such beings. Three-dimensional thinking is certainly a staple of modern human architecture. Many of the more powerful transcendents also have access to innate teleportation ability, thus practically negating the need for any of the following means of transportation, at least for getting around the same planet (although alternative methods might be needed to reach unfamiliar locations for the first time).
Aside from walking, the most common way to get from one place to another is on horseback. Other, more advanced means of transportation notwithstanding, horses are highly adaptable to a variety of terrains and situations, and remain the most cost-efficient private way (i.e. not depending on a pre-existing public transport infrastructure) to get around on land. Other, more exotic mounts exist, some of which capable of flight, but those may get prohibitively expensive for the common citizen. Horse-drawn vehicles such as carriages and buggies are also rather common, especially in cities, where they're frequently used in taxi services.
Powered by animate objects psychs and running on metal tracks, trains and subways are a staple of the public transportation network. Subways are the most efficient way to move between distant areas within a city, and cross-country trains are used both for passenger travel to areas not supported by public teleportation, and for transporting cargo and trade goods. However, the necessity of a significant initial investment for laying out train and subway networks means their areas of coverage are often less than ideal.
For travel across the ocean, if teleportation is unavailable (or for transporting cargo, which gets prohibitively expensive to do by teleport), ships are practically the only way to go. Many modern ships are equipped with control weather devices, which ensures a strong constant tailwind that significantly reduces travel times; however, cheaper ships (especially those used for closer distances and coastal navigation) depend on natural winds or rowing. Boats and barges also make use of natural rivers and lakes as a much cheaper (although slower) alternative to trains for moving cargo overland.
For passenger travel, the most favored way to cross very large distances, whether over land or sea, is by the teleportation network. Teleport stations in most medium and large cities house a number of teleport platforms (made with teleportation circles), each of which sends anyone stepping on it to a specific spot (generally on a "receiving platform" in another teleportation station) somewhere far away. You buy your ticket to a specific destination with a teleport station, get in line, step on the platform when your turn comes up, come off at your destination - it often takes several "leaps" across a number of teleport stations, organized in a hub-and-spoke network, to get to your final destination - and then go through immigration and customs on your way out, if necessary. People with the necessary psychic abilities (or the money to pay for such services) can of course teleport on their own, to any point they're familiar with (with varying degrees of accuracy, depending on the specific psychs used), but such abilities are rare enough that the demand for public teleportation is always strong. Each passenger can carry only as much luggage as they can hoist, though, which makes transporting commercial cargo over teleport prohibitively expensive.
Taking the form of two large vertical rings (one on each end) with a permanent wormhole effect (note: D&D's Gate) connecting them, portals are by and large the only practical way to move between planets. Although there are psychs that allow interplanetary travel, most of those are either unreliable or slow; only wormhole is truly dependable, and since very few beings can manifest it innately, commercial portals remain an efficient and cost-effective way even for powerful psychics. Each end of a portal is situated inside a portal station, which tends to be an extremely well-guarded facility, with the best of the country's military protecting it from potential invaders. Immigration and customs tend to be quite thorough, especially since all sorts of traffic move over portals, including commercial cargo. The transportation itself is instantaneous - you simply walk into the ring from one planet and come out the corresponding ring on the other planet - but the bureaucracy and lines involved can take a while, sometimes hours. Traffic on each portal goes either way, so the two ends take turns and periodically reverse the direction of traffic flow. Each end of a portal has a "failsafe" switch that temporarily deactivates the portal, with a security officer standing by to do so at any sign of trouble, as well as a well-protected (and hard to use) permanent failsafe that undoes the wormhole effect altogether.
Time and Measurements
Most measurements used in the Core Worlds, at least by the interplanetary human civilizations, were established around the Golden Age, based on the natural characteristics of Iriond, humanity's home planet.
Naturally, the passage of time is based on the concepts of "day" and "year", which depend on the rotation and orbit of each individual planet. Therefore, most planets have their own calendars (with the exception of New Eugeron, which, being tidally locked, effectively stays permanently in the same position relative to its sun, and just adopts the Iriondan calendar). However, for practical purposes and to allow cross-planet coordination, the Iriondan calendar is kept and followed by humans in all planets, simultaneously to the local calendar. Also, humans across all worlds use traditional Iriondan measures for time periods shorter than a day, and tend to measure long-run spans of time in Iriondan years.
1 Iriondan day = approx. 98% of an Earth (real-world) day
1 Iriondan year = 376 days and change (adjusted by leap days)
1 hexad (civil week) = 6 days
1 lunad (lunar week) = 13 days (approximate)
1 domain (astrological "month"/sign) = 29 days (approximate)
1 year = 13 domains or 29 lunads, the last of which is "short" by one day in non-leap years
1 sector ("long month") = 47 days, or 1/8 of the year
1 half-sector ("short month") = 24 or 23 days (alternating), 1/16 of the year
1 sector has just shy of 8 hexads (1 day short), so each sector begins in the previous civil weekday from the previous one
1 half-sector has either 4 full hexads, or 3 full and 1 "short" one
Leap days are added at the end of the year, so leap years end on a 48-day "full" sector (with 8 full weeks), or a 24-day "full" half-sector
1 day = 20 "bells" or hours
1 bell or hour = 100 "turns" or minutes (about 70 minutes in real-world measurements)
1 turn or minute = 100 "beats" or seconds (about 42 seconds in real-world measurements)
1 beat or second (about 0.42 seconds in real-world measurements)
Smaller units are in milibeats, microbeats etc.
Iriondan length measures are based on the concept of "daylight length", which is the distance covered by the noon sun over the planet, measured in the equator and in an equinox (and roughly corresponding to the concept of time-zones).
1 sun day = circumference of Iriond at the equator = just shy of 40 000 kilometers
1 sun hour = 1/20 of a sun day = about 2 000 km (ideally, the width of 1 time-zone around the equator)
1 sun minute = 1/100 of a sun hour = about 20 km
1 sun second = 1/100 of a sun minute = about 200 m
Day-to-day measures are based on the sun-second. Real-world equivalents are approximate. The most common unit is the span, as well as the league for cross-country measurements.
1 league = 10 sun seconds = 2 km
1 furlong = 1 sun second = 200 m
1 rope = 1/10 sun second = 20 m
1 fathom = 1/100 sun second = 2 m
1 span = 1/1 000 sun second (1 sun milisecond) = 20 cm
1 finger = 1/10 000 sun second = 2 cm
1 line = 1/100 000 sun second = 2 mm
1 point (or micra) = 1/1 000 000 sun second (1 sun microsecond) = 0.2 mm
Smaller units are expressed in terms of the sun microsecond: nanosecond, femtosecond and so on.
Units of area are just squared versions of length units, the most usual being square spans and square furlongs.
Units of speed arise naturally from Iriondan units of time and length, and the relationship between them. The most obvious unit is the sun speed, or second-second (1 sun-second per second, also known as 1 furlong per second). However, this is way too fast for use in daily life, so lower-order derivates are normally used, the second-minute and league per hour being especially common.
1 second-second = 1 furlong per second (fps) = a bit over 1000 miles per hour
1 second-minute = 1 furlong per minute (fpm) = a bit over 10 miles per hour
1 league per hour (lph) = a bit over 1 mile per hour
1 second-hour = 1 furlong per hour (fph) = a bit over 0.1 mile per hour
Interesting note: 1 second-hour (or fph) roughly corresponds to 1 foot of tactical movement in D&D, so a character with a move speed of 30 theoretically moves at 30 fph.
The most common volume unit is the jar. Real-world equivalents are approximate.
1 tank = 1 cubic fathom = 8 000 L
1 drum = 1/10 tank = 800 L
1 keg = 1/100 tank or 10 vases = 80 L
1 vase = 1 cubic span = 8 L
1 jar = 1/10 vase = 800 mL
1 dram/thimble = 1 cubic finger = 8 mL
Smaller units are in milidrams, microdrams etc.
The most common weight unit is the grave. Real-world equivalents are approximate.
1 tun = 1 cubic fathom of water = 8 000 kg
1 stone = 1 cubic span of water = 8 kg
1 grave = 1/10 stone = 800 g
1 grain = 1 cubic finger of water or 1/1 000 stone = 8 g
Smaller units are in miligrains, micrograins etc.
Humanity and the other races have several religions, some of which having ancient origins. Here are the most widespread ones.
The “Song of Creation” is a very old (Classical-age) religion from old Arkech, which may be considered polytheistic or monotheistic depending on one’s interpretation, since its many and varied deities are said by many to be simply facets of Annam, the Creator. Its name derives from the Edurnum, its main religious text, which describes how Annam wove the world through song – it’s said the Edurnum itself (which is written in poetry) is the song that Annam sung, and the world itself is the continuation of that song. Its followers believe in reincarnation and that the world has a cyclical nature, that everything that is has already happened infinite times and will happen again infinitely. Believes in the existence of several realms of being, inhabited by souls with varied levels of evolution, from demons to gods (with humans in-between). Some believe transhumans to be a more uplifted state of being, closer to gods, which is why the main religious leaders tend to be transhuman. Some believe the current iteration of the world will end when humanity is advanced enough to meld psychically into a single immortal mind, thereby creating Annam, who will then create the world anew. Has no institutionalized clergy, but has “wise teachers” (Nuzuri) who are considered the authority on religious issues. Rituals are traditionally performed by the head of the family or other familial elders; in larger cities and some immigrant communities, where families may not be structured enough to meet that need, there are nuzuri who perform the role of a “surrogate elder” for the more important rituals (birth, death, marriage), assuming a role similar to that of a priest. Such professionals do not have a hierarchy or organization, however. Common in Emish and parts of Asherah, and somewhat extant throughout the Confederacy’s area of influence.
Founded by the Gulorieni prophet Delemmir in the Dark Age, this religion worships the triad of Elder (also known as Sage or Judge), Father (aka Warrior, King) and Mother (aka Healer, Queen). The three are frequently seen as the three aspects or manifestations of divinity (embodying the three core virtues of Wisdom, Valor and Compassion), making it a triune deity. Delemmir himself is also venerated as not only a prophet but a mythical figure, said to embody the essence of all three deities, and to have not died but attained mystical immortality, and watching over mankind ever since. It is derived from an older, polytheistic Gulorieni religion. Delemism believes in eternal judgment, with the souls of the worthy ascending closer to the triune divinity (Delemmir being the highest ascended being), and the wicked being doomed to “eternal darkness” (beliefs are divided over whether that means some form of punishment/suffering or simply oblivion). The worthiest religious leaders and other hallowed figures of the past are revered as saints. There is a priestly class, responsible for both religious doctrine and performing rituals. Delemism is highly fractured, with many denominations around, the level of priestly organization/hierarchy depending on the individual denomination (but often tending toward a decentralized model where influential priests lead their own congregations independently, aided by a few junior priests). There is some friction between rival denominations, but there hasn’t been anything serious for several centuries. Some denominations believe that a “Time of Judgment” is at hand, and wish to prepare themselves and the world for the final reckoning. This religion has spread very far, to most places colonized by humanity, but is strongest in Gulorien, Murania and in New Eugeron.
A monotheistic Inyadish religion, with a highly mystical bent. In fact, it’s better described as “pantheistic” than “monotheistic”, as it teaches that all souls are shards of God’s soul, which temporarily separate from it at birth, only to reunite with the One upon death. Attaining a state of oneness with God in life is the highest spiritual goal of Burdwarists. This religion comes from very ancient (Classical-age) origins, but its present form dates from the Golden Age. Meditation is a common practice in Burdwari. Its doctrine focuses a lot on pacifism and purity of the soul, both through meditation and through moral action. There is no priestly class in the traditional sense, but there are monks who devote their lives to study, devotion and meditation. Its rituals may generally be performed by anyone, and more important rituals (birth, death, marriage) are generally performed by family elders or, rarely, by monks. Most influential in Inyad, has also spread to Hellonde and many areas of the civilized worlds, attaining surprising popularity in Chertan V. Note: In Lagashic, the language of Burdwari’s birthplace, Burdwari means “Path of Purity”. Burdwarists would more properly be called Burdghata, or “Adepts of Purity”. “God” in this same language is Pradhi, which is used sometimes in Burdwari rites, although its adherents generally use the common word for “god” in whichever language they’re using.
This “pagan” religion held sway in much of Murania (the area of old Eugeron) before the rise of Delemism, having been largely supplanted by the newer, evangelical religion. In more recent times, however (dating from the Age of Exploration), and influenced by Muranian nationalism, some have sought to reconstruct this old religion. It worships a pantheon of traditional gods, has a non-hierarchical priestly class (somewhat modified from ancient times, when civil leaders were also religious leaders), and has a mystical bent. Most of the dead are said to dwell in “the shadows”, but a few highly worthy individuals may dwell in the realm of the gods – in the recent, nationalistic context, those generally include influential political leaders. Is a minority religion in Murania and New Eugeron.
Reshepans traditionally hold animistic beliefs, believing that most things (not only intelligent beings, but also animals, plants and natural features) have souls, and that the souls of ancestors linger around to help guide their descendants. Therefore, they worship both nature spirits and ancestors. Some particularly ancient and important spirits (especially the ones involved in creation myths and other traditional legends) have a status more akin to gods. Clan elders take the lead in religious rituals and teaching. Harmony with others and with nature is the main goal in this religion. Practically exclusive to the Reshepan race.
Several sports, both team-based and individual, are practiced by the denizens of the known planets. Here are the most popular ones.
A team sport somewhat similar to handball. The goal is to throw the ball into the loop at the end of the opposing team’s side of the court. The loop is supported by three beams and has a net behind it to catch the ball. Players may hold the ball in a single hand, but not grasp it, and must throw the ball after taking two paces. When a player has the ball, no other player from the same team may be within a pace’s length of the ball; players are allowed a “save” (i.e. a chance to leap away) when a teammate catches the ball, or when one drops the ball (since a dropped ball may not be caught by the last player to hold it). Judging whether a save was valid or “failed” (which is a foul) is the main refereeing issue, and the main source of arguments. Fouls (failed saves, having the ball go out of the court, incorrect ball handling, and most other violations of the rules, including minor violence) are “called” by a player of the opposed team, who gets to toss or carry the ball from the foul spot. Loops are awarded 1 point if tossed from inside the inner zone or directly from the foul spot (i.e. without moving), 2 points if tossed from the outer zone, or 3 points if tossed from outside the outer zone. Matches are timed and have two half-times.
A team game that is somewhat between baseball and tennis. Each team has paddlers (who wield special skeever paddles) and catchers (characterized by their gloves), each staying in their specified area most of the game, the catching area being behind the paddling area. There’s also a scoring area behind the catching area. After a catcher from the team that has a “foot” (i.e. initiative) pitches the ball into the opposing field, paddlers hit the ball back and forth until the ball either falls to the ground or gets caught by a catcher. If a team lets a ball fall anywhere within its field (paddling, catching and scoring areas), or paddles or tosses a ball outside of either field, or if a player violates a basic rule (mostly by stepping outside one’s designated area), it’s a foul, and the opposing team scores. If a catcher catches a ball coming from an opposing batter and into their team’s catching or scoring areas, the catcher’s team scores. One single catcher per throw is allowed to take up to two steps into the scoring area in order to catch the ball; if he touches the ground a third time, or the ball hits the ground without being caught, it’s a foul. When a team scores, it gains a foot if it doesn’t have one, and a point if it already has a foot. Each match has up to five games, and a game ends when a team scores a specified number of points; the team to win three games wins the match.
While “fighting” is a rather vague term, and several types of fighting sports are practiced in the Core Worlds, the most popular by far is Federation-rules fighting, held and regulated by the Unified Combat Sports Federation (UCSF). Grappling and pinning are forbidden, and there are restrictions as to which types of strikes are allowed for each body area (or at all), but both hands and feet/legs are used. Fighters cannot wear any sort of protection (other than tooth guards), including in their hands and feet, which must be bare. If three timed rounds are completed without a knockout (ten seconds down, i.e. supported by anything other than feet), a scoring system determines the winner.
United Wrestling Associations (UWA) rules wrestling is also rather popular, and it bears resemblances to both sumo and American-style wrestling. Strikes other than slaps, as well as chokes, fingers in eyes, orifices or vulnerable spots, arm- or leg-breakers, finger-holds, and certain other maneuvers are forbidden. The goal is to either pin down the opponent (i.e. make them continuously touch anything other than arms or legs to the ground) for three seconds, or make the opponent touch the ground outside the ring.
An ancient tradition from mountainous Murania and Gulorien, this is a game where two opposing teams of three horsemen try to catch a goat and bring it to their “corral” (a ring-shaped low fence). Two riders carry bolas which they use to bind the goat, and the third catches it with a hook-like implement. All riders also have whips which they use to direct the goat. There’s a maneuver where a hook-rider both removes an opponent’s hook from the goat with one end of the hook-staff and catches the goat with the other (hooked) end in a single circling move. The hooked goat is then carried to one’s corral and thrown inside. Several goats are often used, in which case they’re released one by one. In recent times, accusations of animal cruelty nearly ended the sport, until it began to be performed with artificial goats created via animate objects. Illegal Chulzan with live goats is still practiced though, especially in relatively-isolated mountain communities.
Races are also very popular throughout the Core Worlds, the main modalities being horse races (both track and cross-country), chariot races (often in large and complex tracks), and podracing, performed with modified racing flightpods (note: D&D's Carpets of Flying), which have to fly through hoops or other specified areas in order. Podracing is especially challenging and risky, not to mention costly, which makes it a rather popular if elitist sport.
Wealth and Money
For the past few centuries, humanity has enjoyed a unified form of currency that's accepted throughout the three political factions, based on a form of gold standard that was established in the Age of Exploration, and which (due to its economic strength and ubiquity) also tends to be accepted by most non-human civilizations that humans trade with. The basic unit of this currency is the GP (short for General Pecunia), generally called "geep". Each GP is further divided into 100 CP, (Centi-Pecunia), a unit better known as "ceep". (In D&D terms, 1 GP = 1 gp, and 1 CP = 1 cp, for purposes of character wealth, treasure and item prices. All monetary values from D&D material can be directly converted to GP and CP this way unless otherwise noted.)
Money in the GP standard comes in banknotes and coins, which can be issued by several different authorized financial institutions (whose printing is regulated by the Universal Banking Organization). Although most places will use money issued by local institutions, all money from authorized issuers is accepted anywhere equally, and money from the First Bank of Kaldur is especially widespread, due to Kaldur's prominent role in the commercial arena. Coins are generally issued in values up to 1 GP (commonly in 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 CP as well as 1 GP values), with a few rare 2 GP coins in circulation; higher-value coins are generally commemorative and not used in commerce. They are made of a variety of metal alloys (usually involving copper for lower-value coins and nickel for higher-value ones) that improve durability and make counterfeiting tougher. Banknotes are slips of paper with colorful designs printed on them, consisting of their value, issuing entity, and all sorts of artworks and design elements that make them both aesthetically pleasing and harder to counterfeit; UBO-accredited banknotes also have a faint psychic aura, imprinted on them on the moment of their printing, that can be detected by specialized equipment and serves as an additional anti-counterfeiting measure. They usually come in values higher than 1 GP (although some places print 1 GP notes, most consider the cost of doing so to be counterproductive), commonly in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 GP varieties. Notes higher than 100 GP are extremely rare, and generally of a commemorative nature. However, different issuing entities may choose different selections of coin and note values to print.
Aside from legal tender, money can also exist in more abstract forms, tied to the financial sector - most commonly as bank credit. Banks have become a nearly ubiquitous feature of modern civilization, being among the first institutions to appear in a newly-founded city or colony, and everybody who's anybody will have an account in at least one bank. Besides storing one's wealth in a safe location, banks also provide the convenience of allowing their clients to use their money anywhere that has a branch of their bank without having to physically transport it, not to mention having a variety of available investments for those with extra cash. The most common way to use bank money without withdrawing it is through cheques, which must be signed by the account holder and may be cashed at any branch office of the issuing bank. Most modern banks also provide clients with bank tags - specially-made metal plates (a little smaller and thicker than a credit card) with a unique psychic pattern imprinted on them that allows tellers and merchants with specific reading equipment to verify the holder's identity and credit, thus allowing clients to use their bank money without having to withdraw it from a branch office first. Many banks also have automated teller devices (ATDs) in several locations, consisting of an artificial brain (an intelligent psychic item) with a telepathic link to the local branch office, which is authorized to dispense money and perform a few other financial operations for clients holding bank tags. Aside from bank credit, there are other abstract ways to store and circulate money such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and so on, which tend to have less liquidity (i.e. they're not so easily cashed out or transferred to others) but may earn a significant return on investment on the long run.
Non-human peoples, especially those in Bhadrapada VI (Rancent's World) and Maenali IV, will have their own currencies, which may come in a variety of forms, with metal coins or tokens (with varying shapes) being especially popular. Of particular note is Kyrrztli money, which comes in intricately-engraved oblong metal plates, with a hole near one end so they can be carried on strings. Their unit of currency is the zikt (usually worth near 1 cp), and their plates come in values of 1, 3, 9, 27, 81, 243, 729, 2187 and 6561 zikt (owing to their base-9 mathematics). Many of the more primitive races, such as reshepans and halachians, simply use barter for commerce. For bartering (or just dealing with trade goods), D&D's Trade Goods table is a good starting point, although prices will often fluctuate based on a given good's availability and usefulness in a given society.