Magic, Religion, and Science in Iqador

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Magic

Whether through cataclysm or inherent nature, spells and spell-like effects (arcane or divine) act fundamentally differently than on other planes. For one, all spells and spell-like abilities are automatically empowered; and a wizard casting a typical lightning bolt might feel it burst out of him with surprising force. At the same time, such effects require a corresponding sacrifice of the caster’s soul; and that same lightning bolt might be the last thing the Iqadorian wizard ever feels. (In d20 terms, this means all spells over zeroth level have an unavoidable XP or HP component.)

Those studying the areas of magic know this effect as the “Great Disjunction.”

Mages who learn a spell quickly lose the knowledge to cast it again…or their lives. More than one Faustian tale is told of reckless sorcerers who delved too deep into forbidden lore. Because of this, Iqadorian magic has never progressed beyond mundane parlor tricks and side show attractions–cheap entertainment, nothing more.

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In the same way, religion on Iqador has never developed beyond stunted tribal superstitions and voodoo-like rituals. Gods cannot operate on a plane that so harshly punishes the use of magic, and the races here have found themselves generally bereft of divine intervention.

A cleric might speak of his patron deity “Heironeous,” guardian of the humble, and offer his blessings to any who will accept them. He will not, however, be able to grant more than the barest glimmer of healing magic; and diseases or poisons curable by most doctors would be well beyond him. Most citizens simply roll their eyes and pass quickly on, leaving him to the more impressionable.

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Science and Technology

The greatest advancements in Iqador in fact came with the industrial revolutions of a century and a half ago.  Following a pell mell period of discovery and invention in the giant nation of Veritan, science became the new state religion in its own right.  Emperor Octavian’s “Edict of 87” further cemented this stance by declaring a “minimum standard of scientific incorporation” that the public and private sector were expected to maintain. While certainly advancing commerce and city development, it also ostracized older and already unsteady elements of Iqadorian culture–namely religion and magic.

Veritan technology is characterized primarily by the use of “enhancements.” Instead of replacing a carriage-pulling horse with an engine, for example, a mechanic might instead design an entire powersuit to help the horse pull longer, farther, and faster.

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(Such horse powersuits, in fact, exist in Iqador, and are generally referred to by the term “Steam Mares.”)

Another excellent example of the “Veritan” touch is that of the assisted compound longbow. While their technology could easily be turned to replacing the archer with a repeating crossbow (or even a rifle), engineers instead designed a mechanical longbow that was capable of firing accurately at over half a mile.

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Thanks to the success of Veritan technology, and the iron hand by which it was pressured on the populace, science has built itself a firm and lasting foundation in Iqadorian life. While magic and religion have not yet been technically outlawed in Veritan, what vestiges there are left in “civilized” society have been delegated to the fringes.

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Science is, all are sure, the new way forward.