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Angels and Warlords: Discussion & Idea for my Original Setting & Story

Terra Novan

Well-known member
So this is something I have been making for a while. I believe I finished up necessary basic elements for the setting and needs to move on to story-writing.

Also, now that I think about it, this thread belongs here.

World Name: OIam (Hebrew word for 'World'/'Eternity')

Current year: 1000 After Awakening

Brief History: First Mankind wiped themselves out in global war, but their mechanical constructs survived. They rebuilt the ruined world and revived Mankind, and under the aegis of electronic angels, the Second Mankind prospered but dependent on the grace of Angels. Now, however, a new, shadowy challenger to the Angels are appearing. Are these Nephilims rogue angels, demons, or something else? They are certainly more humanlike, but also wilder and scheming, and more importantly - what is their plan for Mankind?

World and Civilization:
Tevel - the 'civilized world' is centered on the equatorial band, the land of many small seas and great lakes, protected by deserts and in turn protected from the by enclosing mountains. The northern hemisphere is mostly low-lying and flat steppes, with scattered lake, oasis, and salt marsh allows life and civilization to rise around them. The south is a rugged, mountainous desert except for the great Chorasima basin, containing lakes fed by rivers.

The civilized world contains at least 3 leagues of various cities and provinces, one despotic monarchy, one constitutional monarchy, and many anarchistic communes. The guilds are especially numerous and powerful in this world, pretty much ruling one of the aforementioned federations and having massive influence within two others.

Outside, there are many small enclaves, as well as nomads and tribes, in the wastelands.

There are strange new phenotypes of humans that started to appear recently, possibly created by the Nephilim. Their social positions are different in each polity and region.

The Angels have mostly moved to the orbit and space beyond, although they can still interact with Mankind through their ground side infrastructures (fewer now that Angels have abandoned the land).

Technology: A curious mixture of Neolithic and Industrial Revolution technologies, resulting in something akin to the bronze age or early iron age technology on average... but with a twist in the existence of the 'magic'.
The 'magic' is the high technology of the Angels. They are greater than anything the Second Mankind could dream, even greater than we have now, an arcane wonder borne out of the GRAiN*. Mankind's understanding of 'magic' is a mixture of practical observation and fantastical belief (that may still serve some useful function), and while it allows them to perform useful things, they don't understand how it truly works.

Theme: The battle between superhuman intelligence, using humans and others as their foot soldiers of the plan. /

Inspirations: David Drake's The General series, mainly the last two (The Heretic and The Savior), but also the first five with canine mount and computer/orbital worshipping religion.

*GRAiN: Genetics, Robotics, Artificial intelligence, Nanotechnology.

Note on resources of Olam: Metal is relatively scarce on Olam. The First Mankind and the succeeding Mechanical Angels have found and used up all the easily accessible sources. Even the detritus of First Mankind civilization is mostly consumed by the Angels in building up THEIR civilization.

To make matter worse, all the good oil and coalfields are depleted long ago, forcing the Second Mankind to rely on wood.

Thus, the Second Mankind uses only a minimal amount of metal in their daily life. In addition, the Automated Factories distributed across the globe are capable of almost perfectly recycling near everything and turning them into useful materials and finished goods. The Angels also occasionally give mineral mined from the space as a gift. The Second Mankind is thus reliant on the Angels in those matters, just as they intended.

The Angels still maintain an extensive planetside power grid, a great forest of nanotechnological 'solar trees'. The Second Mankind has learned to tap into this network, allowing some interesting development despite their otherwise primitive tech base.
As for the books that inspired me, here are some descriptions:

Duisberg is one of thousands of planets plunged into darkness and chaos by the collapse of the galactic republic, but where other worlds have begun to rebuild a star-travelling culture, Duisberg remains in an uneasy balance between mud-brick civilization and bloodthirsty barbarism.

The people of Duisberg have a god: Zentrum, a supercomputer from the ancient past. Zentrum has decided avoid another collapse by preventing civilization from rising from where it is. This is known as the Stasis. And because even a supercomputer and the powerful religion which it founded cannot block all progress, Zentrum has another tool: every few centuries the barbarians sweep in from the desert, slaughtering the educated classes and cowing the peasants back into submission. These are the Blood Winds, and the Blood Winds are about to blow again.

This time, however, there's a difference: Abel Dashian, son of a military officer, has received into his mind the spirit of Raj Whitehall, the most successful general in the history of the planet Bellevue—and of Center, the supercomputer which enabled Raj to shatter his planet's barbarians and permit the return of civilization.

One hero can't stop the tide of barbarians unless he has his own culture supporting him. To save Duisberg, Abel must conquer the very land of his origin and attempt to destroy the computer A.I. “god” who has doomed his world to an everlasting Dark Age. Abel is a heretic, but now he must go beyond and become—THE SAVIOR.
  • Shows up in The General Series due to the nature of the setting(s) being planets where the advanced human interstellar empire collapsed in a civil war and a "Plague" that destroyed much of the nanotech-based infrastructure, leaving planets on their own for thousands of years. Some advanced technology and artifacts remained, and planets redeveloped technology on different paths than happened on Earth. Best seen in the newest novel The Heretic, where the computer Zentrum enforces technological and social stasis, resulting in a basically stone-age civilization (with minimal metal use) nonetheless having gunpowder and rifled muskets produced by a religious caste under Zentrum's control.
And here is my story idea:

The protagonist is a professional mercenary warlord, a sort of dark mirror to Raj Whitehall. They (I have not decided on gender yet) must stand against the rising nomadic conqueror. While nomadic inclusion happened throughout history, this time it seems to be truly serious, as the conqueror is rumored to be helped by beings not human. And what is with this strange mount called 'equine' that has appeared out of nowhere among those nomads?

Okay, since there seems to be some miscommunication in the passage "A curious mixture of Neolithic and Industrial Revolution technologies".

It is Neolithic because of the minimal usage of metal in everyday life. Just like how Aztec had a sophisticated despite being counted as Neolithic civilization. I'll define the world tech base as 'Ancient Egypt at their height (thus, a mature Bronze Age technology), but with Napoleonic technology for some things and people who can afford it. Also, science magics.'

So yes, your average person probably lives not very differently from an Ancient Egyptian peasant under Ramesses II, but they will be armed with a musket in war and will benefit from abundant electricity (not many appliances running on them, though, so the impact is relatively minimal). When they are sick, they'll be healed by nanomechanical medicine. When they need their farm tilted or harvested, they can call upon swarms of mechanical insects to do that. They might also interact with robots or mind uploads once a while.

And since I mentioned Napoleon, here is the state of military technology:

Unlike the equivalent European armies of the Napoleonic Wars, the bow and the crossbow are still widely used by the armies of Olam. Their higher rate of fire is useful in supporting the musketeers, and in fact, despite the decline in number, archers and crossbowmen still outnumber the musketeers 2 to 1. The continuing presence of bow in warfare led to two consequences - the persistence of body armor, and the focus of musket on accuracy over the rate of fire. Although flintlock smoothbore is still the norm, the rifle is not an uncommon sight and the experiment is currently going on with various forms of the breechloading rifle to compensate for their slower rate of fire. The bayonet is known, but many warriors are just likely to use more traditional hand weapons as well. Compared to the Napoleonic infantry, their Olamic counterparts are more inclined to disperse and fight as an individual or small units, as well as taking available covers.

No horses exist on the Olam, in their place are the great dogs, genetically modified to be big and strong by the First Mankind. Surviving the apocalypse that wiped out their creator, the dogs are still Man's Best Friend. However, their ability is limited compared to horses. Dogs are more picky eaters, their spine can't withstand heavy load, and possess certain social habits that are more inconvenient to humans. As such, mounted warfare is limited to the dog-pulled chariots carrying the elite members of warrior-caste or knight. Chariot is a more stable platform for firing muskets, so chariot warriors are armed with a bigger 'rampart gun' musket and sometimes a grenade, and some chariots are even modified to carry light swivel guns, serving as a kind of horse artillery. Chariot is used like a mobile firing platform, a battle taxi for a mounted warrior, and rarely as shock unit. One consequence of the lack of traditional cavalry is the relative scarcity of a handgun-type firearm.

The lack of suitable draft animals also led to the difference in the artillery department. The artillery sharply diverges between heavy siege and naval guns, and lighter, often breechloading, chariot guns. Rocket of all kind, being able to both easily carried around by troopers and launched from a dedicated platform, is very popular.

Thoughts? Ideas?

Terra Novan

Well-known member
A different approach to the origin of the world, based on this comment from another forum:
Simple... what if the Angel AIs were initially set up by a super church, similar to those by Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson, or Jim Bakker, which was initially meant as rewards for tithing.
The planet started out as a cult colony for a Megachurch. The Angel AI was installed as the colonial overseer and Terraforming supervisor. Then the disaster struck, when just over 50% of the Terraforming process was completed and wiped out the colony and its inhabitants. The AI survived, but it was now stuck in a deep problem. With the loss of many infrastructures, Terraforming was deteriorating and the planet was reverting to its original, uninhabitable state. For a thousand years, it tried to follow it's programming, completing the Terraforming and creating a self-sustaining colony. It cannibalized most of the remaining remnants of the colony as a resource to maintain what's remain of essential infrastructures, resurrected humanity to populate the planet, and directed them to labor, receiving resources as a tithe and giving out a reward.

How's this? I am not sure what the Nephilim, Angel's Earthly enemy, would be in this case. Also, Korea, America, and Singapore are known for Megachurches. I think Latin America, Africa, and China also have them growing, albeit underground in the last.

For the main stage of the story:

The main stage for the story is called The Land Between Waters because it is located between two Caspian-sized seas. It is a fertile place. On the center of this land lives the people of Country 1, although calling it a country might be somewhat misnomering, as it is basically an HRE of the setting, divided into many city-states, with an element of Papal State due to the presence of Holy City. Still, they are perhaps the most advanced people on the Land, the greatest farmers and engineers, and the second richest.

Country 2 is technically a part of Country 1, but all but independent in reality. They are like Prussia, a militant yet efficient autocracy, and can be incredibly ruthless. They are located in the north of Country 1. On the southeast is the Country 3, a land of sophisticated yet devious people, sometimes trading partners, but most often an enemy of the Country 1 and 2. Indeed, their threat, and that of barbarians, are the reason why Country 2 remains as a part of Country 1, and why the latter tolerate the former. As for Country 3's organization, they are federal like Country 1, more centralized but just as cutthroat in internal politics.

To the northeast edge, on the coast of the sea, lies the Country 4. They are again a federation, but mercantile one, and its people are the greatest seafarers, its cities the richest of the Land. They bring many treasures from the wider world and produce many treasures themselves as well.

The rest are not technically part of the Land Between Waters, but some of them deserve mention. There is a great empire across the sea to the west, akin to Ancient Egypt at their height. And across the eastern sea, are the strange collectives of anarchists. More would be added as needed.

The barbarians are usually semi-nomadic, pastoral people, living in the marginal lands of mountains and deserts.
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