[ Bytopia ] [ Dothion | Shurrock ]


Bytopia — Layer the First

The Pastoral Paradise, Workers’ Paradise, New Bytopia

Themes of the Layer: Industriousness, competition, an honest day’s work

Dothion, the pretty one of the Bytopian twins, as some might say. Picture rolling fields, far as the eye can see, like the meadows of Abellio, except the flowers aren’t organised by colours in neat rows. Oh, and like some insane giant threw dozens of columnar mountains at the plane, piercing it. And then squished Buxenus upside down on top. Scratch that, it’s nothing at all like Arcadia really, is it? There are rivers and lakes, hills and mountains, swamps and forests, just like most prime worlds. But the mountains are taller and steeper, often more like pillars, or smaller versions of the Spire of the Outlands. Some of them are so tall that they cross the centre point of the plane, the gap of sky between the two layers like the filling in a rather disappointing sandwich. Centrespire is an example of one of these, but there are countless more dotted throughout the plane, helping to keep the layers apart.

If Bytopia is the plane of deserved rewards, then Dothion represents the concepts of civilisation and craftsmanship. It’s a place where the petitioners are master farmers, brewers, herbalists, scholars; artisans of any sort really. In afterlife they’re just as busy as they were in life, having endless time to perfect their crafts. Goods from Dothion are renowned for their high quality, and are coveted across the planes. This in turn brings in jink for the artisans, and this virtuous circle means that a typical Bytopian’s life is a comfortable one. Of course, this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the cross-traders and knights of the post of the planes. We’ll talk about that later, no doubt.

The raw materials of Shurrock are transported to Dothion by mule or gasbag airship or magic, into the workshops of artisans. When we talk about workshops, think cottage industry; the cutters of Dothion work on a smaller scale than the grimy factories of Sigil or Mechanus. Industry has yet to be Revolutionised here. Once produced, goods are sold in local markets or in burgs like Yeoman. It’s here that merchant cartels like the Planar Trade Consortium sniff around for goods to export and profit from. These cutters are begrudgingly tolerated by Bytopians, who generally disapprove of merchants because they’re seen as people who profit from the hard work of others without contributing anything. Of course, this ignores the fact that it’s the merchant who are doing the work distributing the goods and bringing home the bacon, but this brings me on to my next point about the Bytopian psyche…

Beings of Dothion: There’s stubborn, and there’s a Bytopian. If a Bytopian says they’re going to do something then they’ll make sure it’ll get done or they’ll die trying. That’s what is so unique about them: They’re stubborn. “That ain’t unique!” I hear you cry. But it is: They’re stubborn in an especially stubborn way. Unlike the Hardheads who’re just stubborn about how you should think, or the Guvners who’re stubborn about how you and the multiverse should act—Bytopians are just plain obstinate; they even have a word for it: ‘froward’, which is worn like a badge of pride by many. Some cutters reckon they’ve got too much Earth in their blood—Bytopia’s about the only place you’ll find Earth genasi comfortable on the Outer Planes. But don’t get me wrong, they’re not a bad bunch; beneath that exterior beats a heart of gold, it seems more for show than anything.

Another phrase popular in Dothion is ‘the Game’s the Thing’. Don’t be mistaken and think life here is all just a cycle of endless toil and work. Bytopians hold regular sporting competitions famous throughout the Upper Planes (it’s rumoured that even the Olympians are a little jealous of their reputation). To even be considered for entry is a mark of respect. Aasimon come from over the Upper Planes to compete against Dothion’s natives and petitioners, as do planars from Olympus and Ysgard. There are usually no prizes other than the glory of success itself, but pretty much every Bytopian aims at being able to participate in the Yeoman Games at some point in their lives.

All this rivalry can go too far, for Bytopians can be fiercely competitive and think of devious ways to improve themselves. See, this ain’t exactly Mount Celestia, and folks don’t mind bending the odd rule a little here or there. Even close friends can be temporarily driven apart by differing goals, but at the end of the day they’ll get back together. After a day’s work, or sport, is done, the Bytopians get together to celebrate their achievements—whether that be by drinking, telling tales round a hearth, riddle contests or joking around.

All in all the Bytopians of Dothion are a tolerant lot—here it’s not who you are that count, it’s what you do. They’re not arrogant either, but show a patient understanding enough to drive a cutter barmy. They’ll easily forgive minor wrongs done in the day and make sure that when they go to bed that no ill feeling remains. But cutter, they are stubborn!

Ruler: Unlike Mount Celestia with its tome archons, there’s no single ruler of Dothion. Individual burgs have mayors and fortresses have Lords, sure, but the society here ticks along nicely by itself thank you very much. The folks of Dothion are an amicable bunch; they’ll argue till they’re blue in the face (did I mention they were stubborn?) but generally utilitarian. Whatever is best for the greater good, that’ll be what folks agree on in the end. Garl Glittergold is the only greater power of the plane, and while he’s well respected, his dominion doesn’t extend much beyond the numerous gnomes of Bytopia.

Typical Settlements: Most burgs in Dothion are sited near to a river (for drinking water, transport, and water mills), or built on one of the more defensible spires, or the rarer spires which connect the two layers. Communities here tend to be small and tightly knit. Most folks know most others, and cutters from out of town are easily recognised. The one thing Bytopians have in common is their disapproval of freeloaders—if you’re not contributing to society then you’re not welcome. This tends to translate into an initial suspicion of planewalkers, until they can show they have useful skills, good or chant.

Fancy an Honest Day’s Work, Cutter? A useful tip, this: Dothion’s a good place for an impoverished plane-walker to stop off for a bit, as you can often get a good feed and kip for a days hard work. The Bytopians are always willing to put you up, as long as you can put up with them. It ain’t all easy pickings though; Bytopians can be a sly and secretive lot. They’ve got a set of societal rules that if you break you’ll be in trouble. Unfortunately, they deem it fun to let you work to figure out what these rules are yourself. As a general rule, if you don’t shirk or loiter you should be all right. They’re hospitable though and as long as you don’t overstay your welcome, you’ll eat more than you ever thought you could. The Bytopians encourage visitors to work with them and are even setting up work camps where travellers can work for a longer time. “Encourages betterment of self”, they say. Too much like hard work if you ask me.

Petitioners and their Travails: The petitioners here apparently look like they did in life, at the peak of their productivity – whatever that was. You’ll find strapping young farmers, outdoorsy hunters, while the sages and scholars tend to be older and wiser, at the peak of their powers. The goal of the petitioners here is to dedicate their afterlife to trying to better themselves, prove their worth, and when they have perfected their chosen craft, they withdraw from society and then simply disappear. Merged with the plane, I suppose. Still, it keeps the younger folks in jobs, I guess.

Locations of Dothion

  • Baku’s Graveyard (site)
  • Broken Mountains, the (site)
  • Deephome (realm of Calladuran Smoothhands and Rarnssass Rockshaper)
  • Feghoot (independent burg) 
  • Floating Forest of Nerember (site)
  • Golden Hills, the (shared realm of the Gnomish pantheon)
    • Gemstone Burrow, the (realm of Segojan Earthcaller)
    • Glitterhome (realm of Garl Glittergold)
    • Hidden Knoll, the (realm of Baravar Cloakshadow)
    • Mithral Forge, the (realm of Flandal Steelskin, Ama-Tsu-Mara and Kagyar)
    • Stronghaven (realm of Gaerdal Ironhand)
    • Whisperleaf (realm of Baervan Wildwanderer)
    • Workshop, the (realm of Nebelun the Meddler)
  • Oceanus Skyfalls (site)
  • Prosperity (realm of Inari)
  • Pastures New (realm of Ashera) 
  • Rod’s Vineyard (realm of Rod)
  • Torias Fault (site)
  • Tricks of the Trade (independent burg)
  • Turning Tables (independent burg)
  • Twinning Stone (site)
  • Wandering Treant, the (site)
  • Yeoman (independent town)

Powers of Dothion

  • Ama-Tsu-Mara (Japanese power of smithing)
  • Ashera (Canaanite power of fertility)
  • Baervan Wildwanderer (gnomish power of forests)
  • Baravar Cloakshadow (gnomish power of illusion)
  • Calladuran Smoothhands (gnomish power of earth)
  • Flandal Steelskin (gnomish power of smithing)
  • Gaerdal Ironhand (gnomish power of protection)
  • Garl Glittergold (gnomish power of humour and gems)
  • Inari (Japanese power of rice)
  • Kagyar (Mystaran power of dwarvish artisans)
  • Nebelun the Meddler (gnomish power of invention)
  • Segojan Earthcaller (gnomish power of nature)
  • Rarnssass Rockshaper (gnomish power of mines)
  • Rod (Slavic power of light)

More details to follow!

Source: Jon Winter-Holt

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