Since I haven’t posted in a week, I feel obligated, but I can’t seem to muster the energy to flesh out one of my waiting drafts. Instead, I’ll pin up the maps I’d either done right before my computer issues or that I’ve tinkered with since. Not much, but it’s something, right?
The first two maps are from before my computer issues. I’ve already done a map on magic styles (the visceral school, the collaborative school, the cerebral school, shamanism, etc), but that didn’t take into account one of the dominant magical types: mentalism.
All other types of magic need to be learned, but mentalism is inborn and only found among humans — an artifact of their tribal skinchanger bloodlines. While each type of skinchanger is directly connected to their spirit, some are also connected to each other due to pack or herd structure — psychically networked (or ‘gestalted’) on a basic level. Humans are a step away from that bond, yet still experience a thread of interconnectivity because of their skinchanger ancestors.
Humans have been so interbred, however, that their various psychic threads are tangled together, allowing a mentalist to hear/speak to/invade the minds of any human — not only those that share their spiritual ancestry. Thus mentalism only appears in humans, but also only works on humans. (Wraiths and elementals have no ‘minds’ as humans think of them, and skinchangers’ minds are intolerably ‘loud’ from their connection to their spirits.)
The types of tribal ancestors have a direct effect on the ratio of mentalists in the population and also on their strength. As an outgrowth of the pack/herd gestalt, human mentalism is reliant on bloodlines from pack/herd spirits — the Wolf, the Stag, the Bull, et cetera. Prey-type mentalists are more common than predator-types within their own populations, possibly due to natural ratios requiring more hunted than hunters.
However, several of the spirits are dead. Because of the continued existence of their offspring (human and beastfolk alike), their influence persists and can still trigger mentalism in a small percentage of their kin.
As pictured above, Orange is the most psychically-active group — those humans with living herd-based prey-spirit progenitors. Red comes next, as the humans with living pack-based predator-spirit progenitors. Purple are those with a dead herd-prey spirit; blue with a dead pack-predator spirit.
Green is everyone else. Many of the skinchanger spirits are solitary or at least not sociable, and supply no gestalt between their skinchanger children. The Hawk, the Owl, the Bear, the Eagle, the Snake — none offer any spark of mentalism, so those with their bloodlines dominant have only a mutation’s random chance of developing it. The proverbial one in a million.
The reason green doesn’t dominate this map is because of the vigorous intermixing between tribes. Deerfolk fled everywhere after the shattering of their spirit; the majority of the purple traces are due to them running off and then breeding with whoever they ended up near, which was almost everyone. There are also many mixed predator/prey bloodlines with non-standard mentalist prevalence.
Ultimately, a person’s potential for having the mentalist spark has to take in every component bloodline and the percentage chance it gives them. For strength, though, the numbers are more scattershot. Green-type mentalists tend to be very strong, as if there is no middle ground between no mentalism and excesses of it.
Conversely, the vast majority of orange and purple types are low-level receptives — able to pick up stray thoughts and emotions but not capable of projecting or altering anything — or obstructives, able to keep others out. Depending on their place of origin, these low-power mentalists might not even be trained, just taught a few techniques for managing their perceptions then released back into the general population.
Reds and blues usually range from moderate to strong, and tend to be projectives or manipulatives; these are the ones most commonly trained for the Imperial Inquisition and Jernizan’s secret police.
Any bloodline can be any type of mentalist. In fact, all mentalists have some potential in all four types, though perhaps not much. Certain kingdoms train every mentalist they find — even the weak ones — for projection/reception so that they can at least contribute to the Psycher Weaves.
The Weaves are networks of interconnected arcane information depositories, their connections and information made and maintained by the mentalists assigned to them. Each dot on the map is a place with its own Weave Node; each line is a string of surveillance beacons connected to the relevant Weave.
Accessing a Weave Node is like accessing an unprotected mind; only a mentalist can do it, but they can do so easily. Information transfer between Weave Nodes is almost instantaneous — ‘speed of thought’ — though there can be some lag-time while one node synchronizes with another. There are no physical connections. Nodes have to be constantly powered and are usually the focal points of large energy-generating arrays; their smaller personal/watchtower versions, the Weave-knots, can go dormant without losing information but have to be synchronized upon awakening.
The kingdom of Jernizan does not yet have a Weave because the king is not a mentalist and mistrusts systems he can not directly oversee.
Getting off the topic of mentalism, I made another tectonic-based map randomly as a note to myself about seismic hazards. I might have watched one too many earthquake documentaries recently…
Nothing complicated here. The Rift is the main source of tectonic activity; the northeast plate is being pushed up over the other two, which obviously makes for some friction. The northern plate is pushing south; the western plate is pushing east; the volcano Tchellaryllyn down at the bottom likes to explode a lot.
Last, because I’ve been slowly picking at my map of Bahlaer, I decided to divide it into districts, because that seems sensible.
The Barge Walk doesn’t begin at the northern wall because that area is so soft, unstable and flood-prone that it doesn’t even have roads, just wooden walkways laid out on posts or directly on the mud. So there is technically a path, it’s just not stable enough as the rest of Barge Walk.
Still figuring things out, obviously.
These are fantastic. I love that you have one for earthquakes. Does seismic activity feature a lot in your stories?
There have been some Riftquakes (the specific name people use for ones originating at the Rift, which is that big diagonal line down the middle of the continent), but there will also be some…other events later. I have kind of been fitting all of my loves into the series slowly: fantasy worldbuilding, anime-style fight scenes, creepy monsters, psychological horror, and natural disasters…. Muhahahhaaa.