Age of Annihilation
Magic, Science, and Technology
Magic has been an ever present phenomenon since the dawn of recorded history. Both the People of Stone and the River People have both well recorded examples of powerful magic uses as well as shamans and other examples of people that could use magic to one degree or another. As the History Section suggests, the role of magic has played a significant role in how the cultures in the Greenlands have come to think of themselves. The development of magic and the eventual study of it has become the central unifying idea marking the progression of a society. Both Divine and Arcane magic follow along this path, becoming more formalized and less rooted in tradition.
Key differences exist between divine and arcane power beyond their function mechanically in the game. These differences include how the power is accessed, limitations, agency and prevalence in certain societies. Divine magic is accessed through contact with a divine entity. This contact need not be willing either as some Oracles and even Shamans can be chosen with little or no say on the part of the mortal. Arcane magic as well can spontaneously manifest within certain individuals causing strange mutations, damage, or even death. Traditions and practices of those that have survived such experiences have been passed on down through the ages in forms of oral traditions with such classes as Witch or sorcerer.
As societies develop, the original traditions that have been developed to harness and safeguard these individuals channeling these energies, start to become examined and evaluated. Similarly contact with more powerful divine entities draw more followers developing into more formal religions. This is the time when mages and clerics start to make their appearance. This is the period where spells and the study of harnessing its power become understood. Also the identification of the source of magical energy is unknown before this time. Before formal schools of magical thought emerge, it was a common belief that all magic was a gift/curse of some divine entity, either as a form of retributive justice, sealing a covenant, or causing mischief. It is now understood that ALL magical energy is a product of contact with a divine realm, drawing on the energy that makes those realms sustainable. In modern scientific terms, it would be similar to a human body having direct contact with electro-magnetic fields and radiation, being able to channel and shape that energy as they wish. As stated before, some individuals are simply born with the ability (often deemed a curse) to channel this energy (be it either via contact with a divine entity or simply hereditary), the effect is the same. What begins to be discovered is that it is possible to learn to channel the power. Either by formal appeals to a divine entity or learning to alter one’s mind to the point where they can safely channel arcane power, this does require a certain level of ability to do. A common saying in the Academy of Ith goes something like this: “Any idiot could have been lucky enough to channel, but to learn magic requires a certain level of aptitude.”
While the effect of magic is fairly common, magic users are in fact uncommon. Magic is strangely enough most common either inside a city or the farthest away from sentient contact as possible. The regions in between see far less of magic.
Science and Technology:
Technology has been slowly but steadily improving over the centuries in the Greenlands. Significant advances brought about by the introduction of key resources such as iron and bronze are markers for significant changes in both economics and political events in history. A comparison to Earth would be the European 16th century. Printed books are becoming more common place, but have yet to trigger a widespread scientific revolution due to political, linguistic, and religious barriers.
The Elves jumped the technology of the Kingdom of Ith by nearly a full century, introducing such technologies as the compass, distillation, and engineering. The Elven advance was short lived as the applications for these new technologies became few with the fall of the Ithican Empire and the loss of most other shipping partners. Colonial movements on the part of the Elves has made them extremely aggressive colonizers and taking most the key positions in the Deep Sea and beyond.
Most other regions suffer from technological and social backwardness, having to play catch up to the Elves. This is most apparent in Ithcala, where their society has yet to even master the Wheel and axel as a unifying concept. The notable exception to this is the Kingdom of Zhu. Science has flourished in this region, having even gone so far as to develop firearms, medicine, and astronomy. There are rumors of mechanical beasts run on some form of burning stove in its belly.
The major schools where research is being done are rare and only two of which go beyond magical applications, The Great Academy of Ith and The University of Seome. One place that continually brings new sciences and advances to everywhere that they choose is the Kingdom of Zhu. The kingdom has continually shown that they have a grasp on highly advanced ideas that are often regarded as sorcery by many of the others that are uninitiated. One such example is the destructive power of their warships to destroy opposing ships from afar.