There is a land, somewhere - a place with rolling plains and burning canyons, frosty peaks and verdant forests. This land is called Maestoso, and it is from here that the world was forged by the infinite... who have long abandoned this world to make other, newer realms. People came to live here in time, as people always do. People who discovered the essence of this world, and that indeed, all could be controlled here. For centuries, people fought over this land, and it was known as the land of the dead in that time. Other nations arose outside, and agreed that this land was too dangerous to remain within the hands of any one group, and so partitioned each element: the Fire of Time, the Rock of Matter, the Aether of Soul, the Waves of Void - to a different nation, every single one building a palace over the nexus relating to their dominion. Each one of these nations in turn appointed a count who would preside over their representatives in Maestoso and rule in their stead.

          With time, a city grew in this land, a city split into four quarters - one for each patron nation that had eked out this tenuous peace. They are as follows:




     Time with Fire - this quarter of Maestoso presides over the heat in the world which allows time to continue its endless march to infinity. Tempo con Fuoco ensures that time flows freely for all people, and that the heat of the sun warms lives daily. It takes after the Southern European (particularly Italian and French) cultures from our world, and was born from the patron nation of Hellenia. The Fuoco Quarter is class-based and stratified, with little independent social mobility. But it is also the birthplace of mercantilism, and more high Guild members hail from Fuoco than any other quarter. In fact, the Guild and the Watch were created by Fuoco.


     The Grande Countess is Oriana dei Machiavelli; her predecessor was her uncle, Rafael dei Rallentando. Rafael was a warhawk supported by his Council, a legislature of 12 Marquis-for-life appointed by Hellenia. The Council now arrays against Oriana. The young countess is feared by many nobles, within and without her quarter, for her cold demeanor and disregard for aristocratic courtesy. Both her Knights and the City Guilds seem to favor her, however, and the peasants don't really care one way or the other.


     The other quarters do not trust Fuoco. It has traditionally been the most expansionistic and opportunistic of the four quarters, though it is also the most technologically advanced, sporting the highest population of alchemists and engineers.



     The Soul  in Aether - this quarter of Maestoso presides over the unseen realities of the world, things that are there which do not seem to be there. Psychology and Psychemancy. It is based on the Mesoamerican Natives from our world, as well as drawing from the Egyptian kingdoms. Their home nation is Tlatelezuca, a temperate jungle in the distant Western lands, and they have a relatively loose ruling structure.


     The current chief is {UNNAMED FOR NOW}, a role that is always filled at the whim of the previous chief, upon his or her announced retirement. The chief may  not appoint relatives to the role. If such is discovered, both the current and the preceding chiefs are brutally executed for their crime against their home nation.


     Nahualli has proven itself to be an effective arbiter  among nations, and has never once been the subject of an invasion. All Nahualli people are trained in martial defense, and it is the home of many mercenaries, several of them principled.


     The cultural respect for life arises from the brutal nature of the justice system; public executions are accompanied by sermons about the tragedy of crime. The other quarters look down upon Nahualli for its  'backwards' methods; the chief has little  official political power, and their justice system is often called barbaric.




     The Rock that forms the basis for all that exists - this quarter of Maestoso presides over that which is seen. Ever since Duniaduara took hold of the Rock Palace, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have almost - not quite, but almost - become a thing of the past, bringing much relief to their people in the once chaotic nation of Alakumbe, based loosely on subsaharan Africa in the real world and drawing some extra inspiration from Tibet and Northern India.


     The current High Priest is  Imani za Kituo, a role chosen at the birth of a child upon the previous Priest's death, through an elaborate ritual that calls upon the infinite. The High Priest is a moral leader for the people, speaking for the deities from wherever they have retreated in the universe. Whether he does or not is anyone's guess. Is it ironic that the grounded quarter is the quarter that looks to the starry seas above? After the recent death of High Priest Motombe, the Sufi Eileanora has become the Regent Priest while young Imani is still growing and learning.


     The other quarters look down upon Duniaduara for clinging to deities which long ago abandoned the world. Despite that, Duniaduara has long proven itself to be eminently practical; its people are perhaps the happiest and most well-taken care of, and it has a long and successful war record.







     The starry seas upon which the Worldbowl floats, and the lesser oceans within the world's territory - Daeyaang covers the infinite void, nothingness, and that which springs from nothingness. It is raw and it is creation. The patron nation of Daeyaang is Shixian, a wide territory to the East. It draws upon our reality's Eastern Asian, including China, Korea and Japan.


     The leader of the Daeyaang Quarter was the High Imperial Countess, Amaya Nakano. Taking the throne only two years after her father was murdered, she herself has gone mysteriously missing. Two months ago, a necromancer struck the quarter with a sudden army of zombies, and without the guidance of Nakano, the quarter has fallen to an apocalyptic chaos. The other quarters now seal their borders against Daeyaang, and only a few are let in or out. Once a place highly focused on appearances and appropriate action, with a very collectivist consciousness, Daeyaang is now a warzone. And without the key of Nakano... Daeyaang's power over the void ocean is in unsure hands.


     Shixian settled Maestoso before any of the other four nations, and is the oldest; however, upon reaching a certain technological and philosophical plateau, Hellenia and Fuoco seemed to catch up and surpass them with startling speed. Shixian is still the motherland of advanced thought and philosophy above all others, however.







In Media Res


        Much has happened. The quarter of Daeyaang is in utter chaos. Two months ago, a necromancer arose, striking during the Harvest Moon with an army of skeletons, wights and zombies. Within a few days, the Imperial High Countess of Daeyaang, Amaya Nakano, had disappeared. In a rare act of unity, all three quarters and the Guildsmeet promptly agreed to quarantine Daeyaang. Only a few are allowed in or out nowadays - search teams, to find Nakano's Key, the artifact needed to open the Lotus Palace Nexus. Until it is found, the Power of the Void Ocean rests in uncertain hands. The necromancer was taken care of - a rogue dissident from Duniaduara - but her creations remain. The arcane structures she created seem to spawn more from the dead or fallen zombies every few days, and far from all of them have been found.


          To be sure, the Undercity beneath Daeyaang has only been partially disrupted - the crooks and thieves of that area using the chaos as a greater cover for their own misdeeds. But now even they must suffer intrusions from the Knights-Local on a regular basis, to ensure that no undead filter through... And amidst all the chaos, the Chief of Nahualli has announced that he has chosen a successor, whom he will soon name publically. Uncertain times call for certain response.


Sonorous Majesty


          The city of Maestoso is an idyllic, walled city of three million, making it easily the largest single city of the world which the Hellenes call 'Sonority.' Situated in a grassy river valley within the Tiger's Claw mountains, a circular range in the center of the world, Maestoso has been conclusively proven by astronomers to be located at the center of the Sonority worldbowl, and is the world's balancing point. It has also become a major trade center, due to the constant military presence - ensuring safety from bandits and the many monsters which roam outside the city gates - as well as its convenient placement around the Leung River. Farmers dot the landscape within the valley - due to the ferocity of the local area, the Watch and the Knights-Local keep outposts regularly, having shared jurisdiction over the farms upon which the city depends for its immediate food needs.


          The city is governed jointly among the four counts of the quarters and The Plebian, an elected representative from the Guilds. The Plebian is a relatively new addition to the structure, an acquiescence by the four nations that the population has grown largely beyond the military garrisons that once composed the whole of the residency in ages gone by. Both the Plebian and the Guilds spun-off from the Fuoco Quarter more than a hundred years ago, under the grace of Grande Conte Esteban el Fortissimo, and reside in the Guildsmeet - a small, misshapen central area in Maestoso that is comprised of donated areas from all four quarters, especially that of Tempo con Fuoco. The residents of Guildsmeet are all still technically citizens of their home sectors, but cannot be compelled to military or royal service or seizure of property as long as they pay their taxes. Guildsmeet contains the largest market district in the city, as well as various public entertainment fixtures.


           Each of the counts as well as the Plebian has their own law enforcement  and militia group - the  Scarlet Knights of Hellenia, the Wind Guard of Nahualli, the Duarian Defenders (and their elite corps, the Duarian Dervishes), the Shixian Imperial Shield, and the Watch. Each of the Knights-Local are limited in law enforcement authority to their quarter, but are better trained and equipped, due to being higher class. The Watch is allowed to move between quarters as they desire and require. Due to being primarily funded by Tempo con Fuoco, most of the Watchmembers are Hellenes and patrol Fuocan areas with the most care and discretion.


          The city itself was constructed by a long gone, long dead civilization which predates the four nations - back when Maestoso was known as the Land of the Dead. As a result, there are many sealed off sections of the city to this day, all of which house dank crypts, sunken architecture and areas of unstable magic, a consequence of being so close to so many vital nexi. Maestoso is in fact built over earlier versions of the same city from various cultures - each layer below the present day having its own unique architecture. Maestoso's sewer systems run and interweave through the older levels, and the labyrinthine (and unsafe) nature of the subterranean area leads to its popularity with Maestoso's criminal element.  The most recent architecture would be considered Arabic in appearance to our eyes, with minarets and curved towers of white stone - however, over the many years the four quarters have each adapted to their residents' aesthetics, as parts of the city are demolished and rebuilt.




        Technology is similar to that available around the 1400s to 1600s in the real world, with a few augmentations. Guns have been developed, but though they are very powerful, they are slow to reload and inaccurate at extremely close or moderately long range - the main application of gunpowder is in cannonry. The main methods of travel are ship or wind-powered caravan, the latter an application of modern magic to technology. A rare few have developed one or two-man ornithopters, and clockwork mechanisms are the primary type of modern machinery here. Alchemy is a new science that is often unreliable, but very powerful. The printing press has been developed, as have concepts like indoor plumbing (though toilets are certainly not as good as our own, and they're much rarer) and freezing food for long-term storage (thanks to magic.)


           Expensive magic mirror communication has been developed to allow the most rich to quickly communicate with other holders of such objects. Crystal balls, a type of one-way mirror that can peer into areas without a mirror receiver, are jointly forbidden as invasions of privacy among all the quarters. Generally speaking, magic is not related to what quarter someone may (or may not, if they're an outsider) be from - place of origin only has an impact on 'Noble Magic'. Certain parts of the nobility in each quarter are inducted into the mysteries of their element and bound to it; Noble Magic tends to be more limited in breadth but greater in depth and speed than learned magic. It is also considerably more distinct and flashy than learned magic. Both limitations, however, can be overcome with sufficient practice.


           Elaborating on the Noble Magic, Fuoco is tied to the quanta of energy that allow molecules to move and thus be affected by time. Their duties relate towards smoothing out the motion of the sun over the world of Sonority, which is naturally an Erratic Fireball type of star. In short, Fuoco ensures that the sun goes up every day. Everyday applications of the magic relate to personal time dilation, personal time acceleration, and combustion at-will; fire created by Fuocan Magic is always a white-gold that radiates brilliant white sparks. Nahualli, with its connection to the soul, ensures that the spirits of the dead are carried off properly - reducing the build-up of undead in the world. At a personal level, Nahualli Magic allows initiates to reactively read emotions. Advanced masters can alter emotions or even thoughts - some can even create a soul where there was none.


           Duarians commonly use their magic to suppress earthquakes and volcanic eruptions around the world, able to predict their occurrences and refocus them into uninhabited areas. Daily usage includes minor healing or strength augmentation. Daeyaang mages pilot the world of Sonority through the starry seas, avoiding meteoric impacts and other stellar hazards - at a personal level, they can create temporary conjurations of simple matter - particularly water - from nothing, or temporarily remove an object from existence. True masters can make both permanent effects at much effort. Any being can only be attuned to usage of one type of noble magic at a time; it is simply too intense for a mortal body to withstand being tied to two types of prime leylines at once.


           The ability to use these magics on a grand scale is tied to each quarter's corresponding nexus. These nexi are kept under lock and key within a palace, and only the chief of state for each quarter is permitted to learn how to use each one in full, though trusted ministers and aides are permitted to execute particular daily functions. Mages around the world monitor for usage of these nexi, making it impossible to use one discreetly. The four palaces which contain the nexi are the Palazzo Solarion, the Obsidian Ziggurat, the Grand Stuva, and the Lotus Palace. 




           With the last two centuries, Maestoso experienced rapid population growth as shifting international policy led to a demilitarization among the four quarters, and a huge upswing in immigration by merchants or peasants (mistakenly) seeking a better life. Along with the population growth came huge economic growth, and with huge economic growth, population growth and the resulting chaos... crime became an issue within the formerly military city. Most criminal organizations operate from the legitimate front of a noble or a guild, and many have 'gray level' markets - or some outright illegal ones - hidden within the maze of the Maestoso Undercity. So-called mole markets are spread about purely by word of mouth, and have the most success in Daeyaang as long as they don't sponsor anything too violent.


           As an effort to spark an economic and population burst within Guildsmeet specifically, the latest Plebian has opened the gates to a large part of the inner city beneath that has been sealed for quite some time and asking adventurers and mercenaries alike to seek riches, reclaim lost land, and rebuild portions of Maestoso. This, of course, draws a large portion of fortune hunters in vast quantities who try their hand at clearing the creatures and wild magic to get a piece of Maestoso for themselves. However, this section is considered frontier territory, so the law only applies if you yourself can enforce it.


           "If you wish to rule, you must draw attention away from the reality of it; happiness is the lightest of all yokes," a Shixian philosopher once wrote. His name has been forgotten, but his lesson has not been. Many things are used to keep the population happy, among them the Tournament Grounds, a Nahuallian stadium. The Grounds reside in Guildsmeet, and true to their nation's philosophy, hold non-lethal sporting events weekly that anyone may enter to prove themselves. Combat is a constant favorite, but killing your opponent is forbidden, generally speaking. However, for major holidays the Grounds will host Fuocan jousts, which are no-holds-barred but require either noble standing or backing by a noble in order to participate. The Duarians and Daeyaang people often hold musical concerts within the Grounds as well. The major holidays include:

  1. New Year's Day: Beginning on the Spring Solstice, this is the celebration of the continuing survival of the world and a celebration of memories from the past. Each quarter has its own celebrations, but it holds a special place in Fuoco due to their close association with the sun.
  2. Day of the Dead: In late spring, Nahuallians dress up like skeletons in black cloth with painted white bones, attempting to comically scare one another throughout the day. A mockery of the undead spirits, it is meant to make death less scary and mock those who linger through hatred or unrest, to provoke such spirits into leaving for the afterlife. It marks the end of a particularly bloody civil war in Nahualli's past.
  3. Midsummer's Jubilee: For three days before and three days after the Summer Solstice, Duarians take vacation. The hottest time of the year in their lands, it is used to catch up with friends and family, exchange gifts, and be thankful for all that has been wrought. During this time, Duarians often hold more silly and flamboyant religious services, appearing in odd or foreign clothes and allowing jesters or children to run service.
  4. The Newmoon Eve: Taking place on the 7th new moon of the Year, this Festival begins on that night and lasts 'til the next night. It represents the peace forged between the four nations to rule Maestoso centuries ago. An international holiday, it is tradition for merchants and entertainers to go to different quarters on this day and set up shop.
  5. Harvest Moon: Beginning at the 10th new moon of the year, Shixians exchange gifts with one another and enjoy the last of the freshest and most successful harvests of the year, culminating on the next fullmoon with a day of thanksgiving to their hardworking ancestors and feasting.
  6. Starsebb: On the eve of the Winter Solstice, the Fuocans mourn the coming death of the sun, dressing in black funeral cloth. The next day, they switch to jubilant green-and-gold clothing in anticipation of the sun's coming rebirth, and jesters and ministrels march through the streets, spreading cheer.
  7. Birthdays: The birthdays of the current Duarian High Priest and the current Shixian (not Daeyaang) Emperor are proclaimed holidays with Duniaduara and Daeyaang, respectively.


Horrors & Husbandry


        Humans are the only intelligent and civilization-building race within Sonority. Various and sundry monsters exist within the wild, such as gnolls, lizardmen, gryphons, antlered hippogryphs, chimera and firebirds. As species, none of these beasts are as intelligent as humans, though there may be a rare exception or two. Generally speaking, if it is a fantasy standby creature it can be found (even though many may prove exceptionally rare). The notable exceptions are dragons. There are some great lizards, great snakes, and coatls - but what we would call a dragon does not exist. Sometimes people talk about them, but one's never been found to be real.


         Generally speaking, most monsters are somewhat hard to find near human civilization due to hunting - if they were common, things would be a lot more deadly. The major exceptions are those which are useful when tamed - hippogryphs have a good demeanor to be used as couriers or beasts of burden (though gryphons are typically ill-tempered as a lion) - and chimera meat is a rare delicacy once detoxified over the course of several weeks on ice. Regarding demons - they exist, and are known to exist by planar-scrying mages who spy upon distant worldbowls. However, the ability to teleport beyond a dozen meters is currently not possible with magical technology, reducing contact with far worlds to magical exchanges of information. These exchanges over long distances often irreparably damage a subject's soul and sanity in the process, making them forbidden virtually every where.


Dramatis Personae


        Roleplay in this setting should try to keep in mind the intensely political nature of the world., even though not all (or even most) roleplay must touch directly upon it. Consider it a strong undercurrent. Though technology has not advanced very far, the four quarters are situated around palaces that are nexuses to control their related element. Beneath it all, there is a tense atmosphere from paranoia, built around a concept of mutually assured destruction - in the wrong hands, any one of the Four Palaces could completely savage huge swaths of the world. Most maneuvering these days is political rather than brute military, for fear of retaliation. Openly, the four quarters and their four nations encourage friendship with one another to keep their people appeased and friendly. Some even believe this in their heart. But behind closed doors, most of the leadership knows better - and they know that their potential enemies across the aisle know better.




          This group has proven very popular in a very short time, so as loathe as I am to create a formalized atmosphere, here are some rules and suggestions and guidelines and suchlike:

  1. Posting order: When there are four or more of us in a scene, a posting order is helpful because it allows people to begin preparing responses two or three positions ahead of what they are, meaning the action moves faster. The assumption will be alphabetical (room list) order. One-liner reactions to an immediate event (such as indicating pain from being attacked - not to make a counterattack) aren't restricted by posting order, and neither are entrance posts. The people in a room can agree to ignore this guideline for whatever reason; I've posted it here merely for ease of having a common reference point.
  2. Joining the group: All characters are subject to final approval by a Maestoso Group Admin. Generally speaking, noble titles are first-come, first-serve.
  3. Please respect others and yourselves. This is the basis of all of the following rules.
  4. Please feel free to make up events or history with non-player characters that have not been written down, but do not interfere with what is known about the world. If you think this may have a wider impact than your roleplay scene for the day, post about it here! This group is a cooperative effort. :)
  5. Please spell and type well. It is better to wait another 2 minutes for a post if that post is considerably better and more properly written as a result. This becomes more essential the longer your posts are. It is easier to process a few mistakes if you type 1 to 2 clauses than it is for the same ratio of errors in a full chatbox or more.
  6. Please respect a scene in progress. If you are joining a room that is already underway, please do not type up a multi-paragraph entrance message that is 95% how you got to the scene, and 5% what you are doing and interacting with at the scene. It slows down the room, it breaks the pace of reading, and it gives us little to work with in terms of how to integrate you with the story.
  7. Please respect a scene in progress! This means do not enter by starting something irrelevant that is not going to tie in. There is a reason we are in a room, not just having a bunch of people PM to each other or you writing something on a text file and linking everyone. If a scene gets two groups sufficiently divergent, we will spin off a second room.
  8. Please make no assumptions about the effects of your actions on others unless you know in advance that the specific roleplayer(s) involved will be fine with it. Similarly, be careful and avoid assuming inter-character relationships without discussion.
  9. Please keep explicit sexual activity and heavy amounts of Out-of-Character chatter out of the main rooms. A flirt or a quip here and there are both absolutely fine, but let's avoid the room either looking like a brothel or the OoC Lounge if at all possible, please.
  10. Please remember that in-character is not out-of-character, and also that both are not necessarily nice. Do not perform selfish actions for out-of-character reasons, and do not assume that actions taken against your character are for non-roleplay reasons. Occasionally consider bending the line a bit if necessary to more fully involve someone, especially a newbie or if someone has voiced frustration about getting to participate in the past, but only if doing so doesn't shatter suspension of disbelief.
  11. Be chill. Don't freak out over small things. This is the counterweight to the preceding rules. We are here to have fun. Be cool, have fun.


This page has been optimized for Mozilla Firefox 3 and Google Chrome. It may not render properly in other browsers.