Touring the Floating Realms, Part 1: The Sundering, Floatstones, and Angmaria

Image found under Antonia Fernandez Carriedo - Sky Pirate

Image found under Antonia Fernandez Carriedo – Sky Pirate

This is the first post in a series that will introduce you to the Floating Realms, continent by continent, aka our Floating Realms Tour. The Floating Realms is the collective name of all the floating continents that once comprised the formerly whole planet of Veerith. When we speak of “The Floating Realms,” (capital “The”) we are usually talking about the 7 continents that were formed after the Controller Gods sundered the world. The Seven Magi had divided up nearly an entire hemisphere of Veerith for their dominion and their quest for godhood. They nearly succeeded, which was the triggering event behind the Sundering.

The Airships Rise through the Sundering

The concept of a world rendering event is common among Fantasy literature, so the Sundering will fit in well with many different regions, continents, and realms that you might decide to create. The defining aspect of The Floating Realms is that they float in the atmosphere of Veerith, held together by Veerith’s magnetic core in a shifting and spinning planetary body. World travel has been unlocked through the use of Airships, opening a level of intrigue, communication, war, and commerce unheard of before the Sundering. Before the events of the Sundering, airship technology was almost entirely a magical process and to some extent, that is still true, because it still requires magical runes, but a magician on every ship is no longer required. With that restriction removed, airship travel is much more economical and feasible. Much of the skill required to navigate and sail on the open seas has been incorporated into Airship design. Airships have encouraged trade in the Floating Realms and with trade, they have also negotiated a realm-wide currency under the Voltanan Dwarves.

Floatstones make the World Go ‘Round

Airships are currently powered by Floatstones, a mineral formation that has only been found since the Sundering. It is a gift from Gaia to her children and an unintended consequence of the Sundering. This remarkable mineral eliminates the propulsion and lift requirements of a typical flying machine. Floatstones can create a buoyancy effect in air, when energized, that matches the natural laws of physics regarding lift and buoyancy. This means that we end up treating an airship much more like a naval vessel than a fixed wing vessel: it can float in place without thrust or lift. This allows the techniques mastered by early shipbuilders to be modified for air travel.

A Floatstone of approximately 4 inches in diameter (or similar mass) can impart create upthrust similar to water in the open air, for a heavy ship up to the size of a historical Caravel; which has an approximate length of 50 to 80 feet (depending on the time period) and has a weight capacity of 60 to 80 tons of cargo. Larger Floatstones or multiple Floatstones are required to impart their air buoyancy properties to ships larger than a Caravel. They are very expensive and extremely rare, coming in at 10,000 Voltans (10,000 gp). The finding of a Floatstone will net the average person enough money to live very well for many years of their life. In Unchained Heroes terms, they would gain the Artisan Degree of Wealth for the rest of their life.

Communication facilitates Commerce

The processes of communication have also gained a level of sophistication beyond the norm for a fantasy world, to facilitate commerce. Magic and Alchemy is used to transmit messages across great distances, but teleportation is still uncommon because of the skill involved with that sort of power.

Sophistication versus Savagery?

As we explore the Floating Realms in these posts, be reminded that the Floating Realms are sophisticated, even by High Fantasy standards, with some areas being more sophisticated than others. They have a universal goods market, standardized monetary unit known as the Voltan (some nickname it the Standard Credit in opposition to the Imperial Credit), a banking system, complex trade agreements, a magical communications network, and much more. All these aspects to a very aware society that knows what is happening throughout The Realms.

Our first stop on the Floating Realms Tour, is Angmaria, a place that does not benefit from any of these advancements, and among the people of the Floating Realms, it remains a mystery. Even those Angmarians that do find a way to the higher Floating Realms do not discuss life on Angmaria, so information about it is very rare. If you ask a person of the uppermost Floating Realms, they would say Angmaria is savage, while that may be true. They don’t have the whole story.

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