Setting

You can find a short introduction to the comic itself on the About page.

Genesis

In the beginning, everything was nothing. From this disharmony, two conflicting concepts emerged in the form of pure energy: “The Everything” and “The Nothing”. Immediately, the concepts started “fighting” against each other. When they clashed, the matter of the world was created. Eventually, “The Everything” transcended into the concept of “Life” or “Gaia”, similarly “The Nothing” became “Death” or “Bhaal”.

In the end, Gaia won the fight against Bhaal by taking all matter and forming a sphere around Bhaal. To prevent the escape of the rabid Bhaal, Gaia merged with her creation, thus creating the planet Gaia. After the seed of life was planted on Gaia, it didn’t take long until the first intelligent humanoid and draconic races emerged.

Life, Death and Magic

All living beings on Gaia contain a tiny part of the spirit of Gaia, their “soul”. All spirits are connected to the Source, a mythical place somewhere inside Gaia, through the Spiritstream. If a creature dies, its spirit “returns to Gaia” and melts once again with the Source.

Additional to the Spiritstream, there is also the Bluestream. The Bluestream is fuelled by Gaia’s raw energy and is the main source of magic on Gaia. The Bluestream does not only flow in every creature, it is basically everywhere. Wizards can manipulate the Bluestream in special ways, using the Bluestream in their own bodies as catalyzer for their spells. Since the Bluestream is actually blue, the glow of magic spells is almost always blue as well. Wizards are therefore also called bluemages. Wizards must feel a very strong connection to Gaia to be able to cast powerful spells, so the amount of evil wizards has been quite small throughout the history of Gaia. There is no shortage of well-known spells such as “Llyra’s Universal Protection” and “Fireball”, but it’s much easier for wizards to create a completely original spell, which is needed in the specific situation, than in most other fantasy settings.

But there is also the Redstream. The Redstream is fuelled by Bhaal’s energy. To make use of the Redstream is an extreme taboo over all of Gaia. It’s not even given that a bloodthirsty tyrant would tolerate a redmage around him for long. The Redstream is significantly weaker than the Bluestream, but the very existence of the Redstream shows that Bhaal is still alive inside Gaia’s hull. In addition, the manipulation of the Redstream makes it possible to cast spells that are impossible to cast using the Bluestream, for example necromantic spells and other spells affecting the spirit of a being.

The Darkness (The War of Light and Darkness)

Over the course of a couple of thousand years, Bhaal regained a significant portion of his power and secretly build an enormous army consisting of all types of monsters. Each one built out of Gaia’s flesh, but fuelled by Bhaal’s negative energy. When he gathered enough troops, he unleashed them upon the world and the “War of Light and Darkness”, commonly known as “The Darkness”, started. It all began when “The Void” appeared at the center of the then densely-populated Dalelands. “The Void” is a supernatural channel of Nothingness that points towards the center of Gaia and defies explanation. During the war, several draconic races were completely wiped-out and the humanoid races were not doing all to well, too. However, the human Arathor, the elf Larinor and the dwarf Bilbur managed to lead a joint army to a victory in an important battle and to evacuate the megacity Mithra before its destruction.

But nobody seemed to be able to stop Asmodeus, the most powerful of the six devils. The six devils were avatars of Bhaal, his embodiment on Gaia. To save her creation, Gaia sacrificed herself and transformed her transcendent self into the “Tear of Gaia”, a large crystal that granted Arathor, Larinor and Bilbur incredible powers. As the first and last of Gaia’s creatures, Arathor was able to enter “The Void” and to slay Asmodeus in an epic battle.

The War of the Three Crowns

But just a few weeks after “The Darkness”, tension began to grow between humans, elves and dwarfs, that ultimately cumulated in the “War of the Three Crowns”. The details about its cause and course are sketchy, but the end is well-known. The dwarfs were completely wiped-out and the elves fled over the Karach mountain range to the remote land of Ysdar. After their escape, the elves built the Mythal, a gigantic magical protection shield around all of Ysdar that prevents any creature from entering Ysdar. The “Tear of Gaia” was split up in three parts. The first part is hidden inside the Redcube in the Thunderbolt Stronghold of the dwarves, the second part was taken to Ysdar by the elves, and the third part became the treasury of Midgard. Midgard is the kingdom found by Arathor, located to the south of the former Dalelands. Arathor became the first king of Midgard which remained Gaia’s only country for several decades after his death.

The Second Age

Today, Midgard and Cania are by far the two most powerful nations. While Midgard was in decline during the reign of several incompetent kings before Savos Mainora, the current king of Midgard, seized power, Cania’s constant rise to power has lasted a century now. Formerly just a small duchy, Cania is now the leading nation in most regards and Midgard is the last remaining opponent on Cania’s road to total dominance over Gaia.

However, the kings of Cania traditionally never enjoyed the absolute power of the kings of Midgard. There is not only the powerful administration which consists of noblemen who own a large portion of Cania’s territory, but also the “Academy of Cania for Arcane Studies and Material Arts”. The Academy is led by some of the most powerful wizards and fighters of Gaia and its students (and former students) are committed to fight with their lives to protect the integrity of the Academy and Arathor’s principles (see below).

Aracona is the capital city of Cania and, with 1.4 million residents, the fastest growing city of Gaia. It is still smaller than Midgard, though, the capital city of the country Midgard. With 1.9 million residents, the city Midgard is now almost as large as Mithra was before “The Darkness”, but it’s lacking Mithra’s beauty and mysticism. Other countries of note are Santhilia, which is known for its dragons, Golnar, which is known for its adventurers, and Harasanth, which is known for its artists. All of them are located to the south of Midgard.

Society of Gaia

Apart from the clothing style and the weapons, Gaia differs from medieval Europe in many ways. There are newspapers, female singers that reached stardom and compulsory education. All in all, the history of Gaia has been pretty peaceful since the two big wars. After Bhaal’s forces of evil were defeated, monsters and evil wizards have always been rare on Gaia. The world of Gaia differs from most fantasy settings in that there are not many non-human characters. Apart from the elves in Ysdar, there are only a few intelligent draconic races such as dragons and imps. Low-level magic like that to produce a magic light bulb is widespread and makes everyday life for all but the poorest citizens a lot easier. But powerful wizards who are able to manipulate the Bluestream to produce more dramatic effects are as rare as in most other fantasy worlds.

All over Gaia it is a goal of most people to follow “Arathor’s principles”. That’s not a list of specific rules like the Ten Commandments, but a collection of moral principles derived from all the things the biggest hero in the history of Gaia did during his lifetime. This means that everybody has his own version of those “principles”. Still, nobody would question that “courage” and “dedication to Gaia” were integral parts of his actions. The “Church of Gaia” is an assembly of particularly devout followers of Gaia. They are bound to a strict code that involves A LOT of praying… so they are generally not the most powerful wizards or fighters since they pray more than they practice. The “Church of Gaia” usually takes care of those in particular need, for example orphans. Since the weather on Gaia is usually pleasant with mild winters and summers, famines occur very rarely. Due to incompetent leadership, the situation in Midgard was somewhat worse during the last decades, though.

Since the beginning of time, the fertility of all living beings on Gaia has been significantly lower than that of the corresponding species on earth. “Spirit” is a limited resource, so overpopulation of a specific species is practically impossible. A human female just can’t get more than five children during her lifetime, even if she wanted to. An implication of this is that species whose total number of individuals goes below a certain number, face extinction even faster than on earth. Since the number of different species has already taken a dive during the “Darkness”, many people on Gaia try to ensure that no more species go extinct since that could lead to serious troubles in the future.

In almost every setting (and in the real world), common people are not particularly concerned about nature: “If I burn down this forest, I gain additional farmland for the next few years? Excellent!”. This is not true on Gaia! Common people are very concerned about the world they live on. Gaia is not just a rock floating in space, Gaia is their one and only goddess who gave her “life” to save her creation during the “Darkness”. All intelligent creatures on Gaia must take care that the planet stays in good shape… or Bhaal might be able to escape his prison and cause the total destruction of the world. The existence of “The Void” in the former Dalelands is a constant reminder for everybody that the end of the world is a real threat. This does not mean, of course, that people are not trying to make the most for themselves. When a couple of hundred soldiers get killed during a battle that certainly won’t damage Gaia itself and will therefore not stop a power-hungry king from declaring war.