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THE MUNDANE WORLD
Bloody Spade takes place on a fictional Earth that is similar to ours in many ways but different in many others. It still orbits the same star and resides in the same solar system, but the history that shapes its civilizations is unique and its landmasses—although similarly arranged—are not identical to the ones we know. Also called the mundane world, it is said to exist on a plane between the magical realms.
Amberlye (am-bur-ly; demonym: Amberlynian): The continent in which the story is set, located entirely in the northern and western hemisphere and ruled by Queen Tamyl. This continent contains the country Amethis and is named after the organic gem, amber.
Ammolitia (a-mo-lih-tee-uh; demonym: Ammolitian): Located primarily in the northern and partially in the eastern hemisphere, this continent shares close relations with Amberlye and also falls largely under the dominion of Queen Tamyl. It contains the countries Thulia, Berul, Canilia, and Malachat and is named after the organic gem, ammolite.
Coralda (kor-al-duh; demonym: Coraldan): a continent located in the eastern hemisphere. This continent contains the countries Jeida and Saphir and is named after the organic gem, coral (equivalent to Asia).
Bontago (bohn-tah-go; demonym: Bontagan): This continent spans all four hemispheres and is named after agatized dinosaur bone, also known as gem bone.
Opalia (oh-pah-lee-uh; demonym: Opalian): A continent located entirely in the western and southern hemispheres. This continent is named after the organic gem, opal.
Jetica (jeh-tih-kuh; demonym: Jetican): Covered entirely in ice and sparsely inhabited, the northernmost continent of this world is named after the organic gem, jet.
Perlay (pur-lay; demonym: Perlaysian): Located in the southern hemisphere, this continent is named after the organic gem pearl.
Amethis (a-meh-thiss; demonym: Amethistian): Residing in the westernmost region of Amberlye, the greater part of Amethis experiences mild, virtually snow-free winters and is popular for its abundant cherry blossoms. This country is named after the gemstone, amethyst.
Jeida (jay-duh; demonym: Jeidish): A country on the eastern coast of Coralda, known for its snow-capped mountains and rainy summers. This country is named after the gemstone, jade.
Saphir (sa-feer; demonym: Saphric): A typically hot and humid tropical country located in the southeastern region of Coralda. This country is named after the gemstone, sapphire.
Thulia (thoo-lee-uh; demonym: Thulian): Located in the far northern region of Ammolitia, Thulia typically experiences mild summers and moderate winters and is popular for its northern lights. This country is named after the gemstone, thulite
Malachat (ma-luh-kaht; demonym: Malchais): Occupying the western region of Ammolitia, Malachat is a prosperous country that serves as home to Ulridge Royal Military Academy. This country is named after the gemstone, malachite.
Peridita (pair-ih-dih-tuh; demonym: Peridi): A transcontinental country that connects Bontago to Coralda. This country is made up mostly of sprawling arid desert and is named after the gemstone, peridot.
Fluores (flor-ez; demonym: Fluorantine): Located off the coast of Ammolitia, this island nation is named after the gemstone, fluorite.
Tourmal (tor-mahl; demonym: Tourmali): This country is named after the gemstone, tourmaline.
Berul (beh-rool; demonym: Berulsian): This country is named after the gemstone, beryl.
Canilia (ka-nih-lee-uh; demonym: Canilian): This country is named after the gemstone, carnelian.
THE CITY OF HILDEGRAND
Residing in the province of Attika on the west coast of Amberlye, Hildegrand holds a rich but mostly forgotten history that is only now being recovered in the wake of the Reemergence. The city, formerly known as the magical well of the world, is believed to be the source of the magic that once flowed freely through the mundane world.
RECENT HISTORY | THE REEMERGENCE
On the morning of May 21st 2020, Hildegrand went into a snap lockdown to contain what health officials presumed to be a viral outbreak. Simultaneously, reports of bizarre accidents and sightings began to roll in—a second strain of the virus, many speculated, that enabled ordinary people to do extraordinary things. What nobody realized at the time was that these were the early signs of a magical influx.
By evening, the combined death toll of the unidentified virus and accidents resultant of this “second strain” had risen into the double digits. The National Guard was called in to help manage the situation, a cordon erected, and residents were ordered to shelter in place until further notice. But these measures could not halt the inevitable.
As night fell, the influx reached its peak. Overrun by the infected and the monsters they spawned, Mayor Thelonious Hargrove issued an evacuation order. Residents were evacuated to shelters and field hospitals on the outskirts of the city; meanwhile, the National Guard, with the help of those who would come to be called Empowered, fought back against the invading darkness.
The city remained in lockdown for six months during the conflict and the construction of the boundary fence. Once the fence was complete and the influx contained, residents were allowed to return to their homes.
The event, later dubbed the Reemergence, claimed a total of 918 lives.
An estimated 0.1% of Hildegrand’s population developed magical abilities within the twelve months following the Reemergence, with a total of 493 Empowered on record as of the first anniversary of the event. Increases have since seen a steep decline, fewer and fewer in subsequent years, leading to a total of 519 as of May 2027.
DOCUMENTED EMPOWERED POPULATION BREAKDOWN
- 24 currently enrolled at Cardplay.
- 39 have completed Cardplay’s training/rehabilitation program and proceeded to work on contract (for Cardplay, the government, or both).
- 155 have passed, flunked out, or dropped out of the training/rehabilitation program and waived their rights to magic use, vowing to suppress their powers indefinitely.
- 202 have been incarcerated and are being held at the Hildegrand Correctional Institution for Empowered.
- The remaining 99 voluntarily waived their magical freedoms, opting to lead ordinary lives.
CARDPLAY HEADQUARTERS: A 19th-century mansion bought and restored by Hikaru Ritsuo and Elizabeth Howard to serve as an academy and base of operations for Cardplay. The mansion is located in Hildegrand’s upper district within an enclosed area given further privacy by the cherry tree grove that surrounds it.
CITY HALL: A sprawling limestone structure located in the mid district. This is where the mayor and mayor’s council operate, and is also where many important events such as Cardplay’s annual graduation ceremony are held.
MARKET SQUARE: An expansive shopping and events area in the heart of Hildegrand, enclosed by three multi-story buildings which house an array of apartment complexes and boutiques. The square itself is occupied by local buskers and vendors offering a range of unique and interesting wares.
Many events are held here throughout the year. Notably: the solstice celebrations in December, the Starlight Festival in January to ring in the new year, and more recently, Reemergence Day activities.
ELYSIAN TOWER: At 520 meters, Elysian Tower is the tallest structure in Hildegrand. It is also the oldest, with the marble obelisk at its core predating the Cataclysm. The obelisk itself is mostly obscured from exterior view, however, encased in a more modern shell of wrought iron and concrete that gives the tower’s base a concave pyramidal shape.
Prior to the Reemergence, Elysian Tower doubled as a telecommunications tower and a popular tourist attraction—during which time, only entry to the obelisk itself and the underlying cavern were permitted to the public. Now, access to the entirety of the tower grounds is prohibited to all but the National Guard and Cardplay. The tower has five accessible levels:
- Sky pod: A glass-encased pod at the top of the structure reachable by elevator which offers a stunning view of the city. It is built around the tip of the obelisk, utilizing the obelisk’s flat top as its floor.
- Observation deck: An open platform about a third of the way up that encircles the obelisk’s midsection. Prior to the second influx, this was a popular hangout spot occupied in the summer by a variety of pop-up shops.
- Base: The tower’s base, nestled between its support pillars, houses an information center, an assortment of gift shops and eateries, as well as the elevators.
- The Obelisk: A mysterious and indestructible construct of white marble that, as of the Reemergence, emits an ethereal glow. At one time, the tower’s peak was accessible via a spiral ramp; however, that entryway has long been sealed, and only the twin ramps leading to the cavern beneath it remain open. The obelisk is theorized to be the source of the mundane world’s pure magic.
- The Cavity: Positioned below the tower, this cavern—specifically, the pit in its center—has been determined to be the origin point of the influx of dark magic and is where Void emissions continue to emanate from. While the cavern bears resemblance to a hollowed-out deposit of black onyx and is referred to as such, it is actually suspected to be composed of Void matter.
CAMRAND ISLAND: An island off the coast of Amethis that was formerly part of a string of islands known as the Sinking Isles. As the name would suggest, the other islands were eventually swallowed by the sea.
BLACKJACK COMPLEX: A defunct asylum residing on Camrand Island which has been heavily retrofitted for Blackjack’s purposes.
HILDEGRAND CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION FOR EMPOWERED: A private prison located inside Hildegrand designed to contain magically-imbued convicts. The institution is owned by the Wiseman Corporation and rumor has it the government uses it as a front to run their studies on Empowered persons.
THE BOUNDARY FENCE: A hundred-foot-tall electric fence composed primarily from steel and copper. What makes it stand out from a regular electric fence, aside from its immense scale, is the magic-repellent technology its electrical currents are infused with.
The fence was erected after the Reemergence in effort to stop the spread of magic (both dark and light) and to contain those afflicted by it. Empowered persons are not permitted to leave the zone under any circumstances, and unempowered travelers must pass through a National Guard checkpoint. ID and a full vehicle search is required whether coming or going.
The boundary fence and the technology therein were developed by the Wiseman Corporation.
WISEMAN ESTATE: A centuries-old Ammolitian-style estate located in the Folklan Cliffs north of Hildegrand. Residence of the once large Wiseman family; currently occupied by the family’s sole surviving member, Charles Wiseman.
THE MAGICAL REALMS
Legend tells of two magical realms that exist in self-contained realms above and below the mundane world, equivalent to the modern world’s Heaven and Hell. Although many are skeptical of their existence, others are more readily accepting as it would provide a source and an explanation for the otherwise inexplicable powers they find themselves faced with.
In addition to the four seals put in place millennia ago, there is also a natural barrier that stands between the three realms to keep the three from converging.
The Domain is the wellspring from which pure magic stems, a heavenly realm believed to exist in an unseen plane in the celestial sphere. It is often depicted as a free-floating landmass of white marble and pale stone, occupied by silver-leaved trees and surrounded by eternal night.
The Aether, also known as the afterlife, is not a place, per se, but a cloud that fills the Domain’s boundless skies. Stardust in its rawest form. Although intangible, it is considered a plane of existence in its own right. The streams of the Aether flow down through the Domain, and it is from these streams that life is born—and to these streams that life returns upon death.
The Void is the underworld to which all wickedness flows, believed to occupy a plane of existence situated beneath the mundane world (or within the Earth). It is depicted in the legends as a vast and bottomless sea of blackness, devoid of light and life. A dismal place for corrupted souls.
ALL THINGS MAGIC
Pure magic is a product of stardust—the matter from which all living things are molded. Generally, the amount of stardust in a human being isn’t high enough to do anything more than sustain that person’s life, but elevated levels can grant them the ability to manipulate certain aspects of the world around them. A person’s ability to wield this magic depends on their capacity for stardust, and how much of their own stardust is viable for an infusion.
Individuals between the ages of 10-50 make for the best candidates, as they typically possess the highest levels of viable stardust. Beyond 50 years of age, the level of stardust in a person’s body begins to diminish.
Empowered is a modern term used to refer to those who have been imbued with pure magic. Due to the high concentration of stardust in their bodies, these people have a natural resistance to the Void’s dark magic.
Magic comes in many different forms influenced by a combination of personality, skills, knowledge, and interests, and can be divided into two parent categories—kinetic and systemic. While this document lists the most prominent types that have been recorded in each category, there are many more to be found, and likely more still to be discovered, and countless subtypes within them.
Kinetic: the most common type of magic encompassing abilities that enable the user to conjure or manipulate energy or matter. Known types include:
- Pyric: the ability to conjure or manipulate fire
- Aquatic: the ability to conjure or manipulate water
- Pneumatic: the ability to conjure or manipulate air
- Telluric: the ability to conjure or manipulate soil/stone
- Botanic: the ability to manipulate plants
- Cryogenic: the ability to lower the temperature
- Thermic: the ability to raise the temperature
- Photic: the ability to conjure or manipulate light
- Umbric: the ability to conjure or manipulate shadow
- Magnetic: the ability to conjure or manipulate metals
- Electric: the ability to conjure or manipulate electricity
- Materic: the ability to manipulate materials
Systemic: an uncommon type of magic encompassing abilities related to the alteration and manipulation of the human body. Known types include:
- Somatic: manipulation of the body
- Psychosomatic: manipulation of the mind and body
- Psychologic: manipulation of the mind
- Haptic: the ability to transmit or receive and interpret information from an individual’s body via touch
- Metamorphic: the most common type of systemic ability, involving either the enhancement of or alteration to the user’s body (increased strength, speed, hearing, ocular enhancements such as thermal vision, etc)
SUITS & KEEPERS
Suits are a powerful form of magic created from an extremely high concentration of stardust. Unlike the power regular Empowered possess, these are containers of magic that exist separately from the wielder, but merge with the wielder’s soul when the bond is formed upon the initial awakening.
- Spade: Highest ranking Suit, presides over the Void. Acoustic; grants its wielder the ability to manipulate sound and temper the Void by way of music.
- Heart: High-ranking Suit, auxiliary to the Domain. Psychosomatic; grants its wielder the ability to purify Void matter.
- Diamond: Mid-ranking Suit, auxiliary to the Domain presiding over the mundane world. Pyric; grants its wielder the ability to manipulate and conjure flames.
- Club: Lowest-ranking Suit, auxiliary to the Void presiding over the mundane world. Botanic; grants its wielder the ability to manipulate plants and utilize their active agents.
The individuals who possess these Suits are called Keepers. The original Keepers were specially selected by the Warden of the Domain, the Suits tailored to each of their talents. Subsequent Keepers are chosen based on the closest available match to the original Keeper’s imprint. These are known as Kindred Spirits and share many of the same skills/interests, principles, and personality traits as their predecessors. They must also have a large capacity for stardust and possess a significant volume of viable stardust themselves.
While primarily referring to the initial stirring of the Suit that forms the bond between Suit and Keeper, the term “awakening” is also used to describe the state a Keeper enters when they engage the Suit’s full power. “Awaken” is the summon used to bring about this transformation, combined with the Suit’s name, and is similar to Joker’s callsign.
Dreamscapes are a mental landscape that serve as a sort of meeting point between Suit and Keeper. Keepers can retreat into their dreamscapes at will; however, any disturbance in the physical world, particularly contact with the body, will pull them immediately out of the dreamscape. This can be avoided by creating a secure bubble/enclosure using one’s magic.
At the center of each dreamscape lies a hub. A circular formation in which three iron gates and the throne of the respective dreamscape sits. The gates lead to other dreamscapes, denoted by the Suit-shaped gems held in their bars (a spade of amethyst, a heart of ruby, a diamond of yellow diamond, and a club of emerald). Keepers must be granted access by the Keeper of the dreamscape they are attempting to enter.
Each dreamscape has its own unique appearance. And although not technically a part of the Domain, they are tethered to it.
- The Spade’s Dreamscape: In its corrupted state, the Spade’s dreamscape appears as an unmoored landmass with additional chunks of land floating weightlessly in the sea of fog around it. Its throne is made from the same gray stone that forms the land, and its foliage, comprised mostly of purple maples and black calla lilies, is dying.
- The Club’s Dreamscape: A lush forest of ferns and deciduous trees with a throne shaped from the trunk of an enormous sycamore. In its corrupted state, its foliage bears the black marks of blight.
- The Diamond’s Dreamscape: Boundless fields of golden wheat with a throne of yellow marble under a champagne-colored sky.
- The Heart’s Dreamscape: [REDACTED]
Void magic, also referred to as “dark” magic, is a product of malice (corrupted stardust) that takes on the form of a viscous, jet black, liquid substance aptly called ink. This substance has been known to give off toxic emissions which are generally not visible to the naked eye, but can become visible if they are dense enough. If a human being comes in contact with these emissions, they can become blighted.
BLIGHT / BLIGHTED
Blight is a disease that feeds on misery, roots itself in grief and hurt and erodes the victim’s soul as it spreads. It presents itself on the body as black veins and bruise-like marks that can be used to track its progression. These marks spread gradually until they cover the entire body, at which point the eyes also turn black. Those afflicted by the disease are referred to as Blighted.
There are two ways to contract the disease. The first is via contact with Void matter (either by too-close proximity to Void emissions, or through Inkblot bite or scratch). The second is by becoming a conduit. Wicked souls can be claimed by the Void and turned in an instant.
No one is immune to the Void’s touch; however, it is more difficult for Empowered to contract the disease and it affects them differently than mundane folks. Whereas mundane folks undergo swift and aggressive behavioral changes prior to succumbing and have a chance to spawn Inkblots, progression in Empowered is slower and simply leads to death.
The only way to be rid of blight is through purification.
Inkblots are the animalistic products of malice. Their bodies are made entirely of ink and typically take on a shape that resembles a cross between a large dog and a lizard, with long limbs and slender frames that make them exceptionally fast and agile. Their behavior is aggressive and erratic.
Although typically spawned by wicked souls moments after they turn, Inkblots can also emerge upon death from Blighted whose souls have been sullied by acts of malice. Additionally, they can escape from the Void via cracks in the Cavity following the second influx.
These are the true form wicked souls are meant to take—a gangly humanoid shape bearing horns and claws that is composed of both liquid and vitrified ink. With the seals in place, the Void does not have sufficient power in the mundane world to produce them. Blackjack, however, is able to create short-lived Inkwraiths by injecting a considerable amount of ink into the body of a person whose soul has been deeply corrupted.
Conventional weaponry is largely ineffective against both Inkblots and Inkwraiths.
Cardplay is the world’s first magic academy and emergency response unit, founded by Hikaru Ritsuo and co-founded by Elizabeth Howard. The organization’s mission was to regain control over a city on the brink of internal collapse by teaching Empowered to control their powers and use them to combat the dark forces that threaten the mundane world.
- Command Center (basement)
- Training Arena (substructure)
- Foyer (1st floor)
- Infirmary / Secure Ward (1st floor)
- Cafeteria / ballroom (1st floor)
- Gym (1st floor)
- Locker rooms (1st floor)
- Lounge (2nd floor)
- Employee/student dormitories (2nd floor)
- Headmaster’s office (2nd floor)
- Masters’ suite (3rd floor)
ENROLLMENT / EDUCATION
Enrollment is mandatory for all Empowered who do not wish to suppress their magic. Students can enroll as early as 10 years of age, and all students are required to take a year-long Magic Mastery class, at the end of which they can choose either to leave and waive their rights to magic, seek contract work, or proceed onto Joker training if their abilities are deemed suitable for the task.
Joker hopefuls must train for a one-year minimum in order to graduate and must be at least 16 years of age. Students under 18 years of age are required to obtain permission from a parent or guardian.
The full training course consists of four main categories:
- Magic studies (Magic History, Magic Law)
- Physical training
- Magic honing
- Combat (hand-to-hand, armed melee, magical combat; reserved for Joker training)
MAGIC REHABILITATION PROGRAM
Cardplay offers a magic rehabilitation program for troubled Empowered whose magic may be unwieldy and/or abused. The program runs for six months and is designed to nurture the bond between magic and user using a condensed version of the magic mastery course, which provides members the means to control their magic without need for suppression.
Eligibility is determined by a polygraph test. Room and board is provided for all members, and at the end of the program, members in possession of suitable abilities may be offered the opportunity to enter Joker training.
“Joker” is the title Cardplay’s emergency responders go by. Each Joker has their own custom-designed equipment kit, crafted by the materic-Empowered seamstress/weaponsmith Pavati Varma and stored in medallions in a particulate form. Kits are activated by calling upon the magic’s given callsign.
Weapons/tools are used to channel a Joker’s magic. Not all Jokers require a tool and some perform better without one, but all are required to wear a uniform so that they can be easily identified on the field. The magical threads these uniforms are made of do also offer additional protection against magic-based attacks.
- Hikaru Ritsuo [headmaster]
- Elizabeth Howard [battlemaster]
JOKERS, FIRST CLASS
- Alexander Jane
- Ikkei Toi
- Naomi Toi
- Aryel Rizka
- Oskar Trey
- Sabaa Faizan
- Iris Makri
- Yusuf Budak
JOKERS, SECOND CLASS
- Sabine Brozak
- Miriam Makay
- Heather Doherty
JOKERS, THIRD CLASS
- Ellen Amelia Jane
- Tatiana Kosta
- Soren Kabr
- Haden Hein
- Sem Hein
- Simone Fornell [chief physician]
- Jean Cellier [doctor, in-house counselor]
Formed shortly after the Reemergence, Blackjack has made a reputation for themselves as one of the most notorious and elusive criminal organizations in Hildegrand—wanted primarily for abduction, terrorism, and murder. They are also suspected of experimenting with Void matter.
Their alleged mission is equality for the Empowered. As such, the majority of their Empowered members—called Players—are people who have been discriminated against or mistreated due to their powers.
- Kane Kros
- Cardan McConnell
- Sybil Engstrom
- Jasper Van Buren
- Camille Langdon
- Felix “Flick” Taggert
THE WISEMAN CORPORATION
Founded by Charles Wiseman in 1995, the Wiseman Corporation began life as an ordinary tech hardware company and later evolved into the leading innovator in magic management technology after the Reemergence—at which point, Charles Wiseman retired from the public eye and handed the reins over the vice president, Valerie Renard. While the corporation is best known for the Hildegrand boundary fence, their most popular product is their magic suppression and magic-repellent devices.
Magic suppression technology is used in products such as stun guns, stun batons, and an array of suppression accessories that range from fashionable jewelry to collars/handcuffs and even surgically implanted chips.
Magic repellent technology is found in products such as riot shields, wearable gear, protective undersuits, and industrial mesh most commonly used to protect structures against magical attacks or contain magic within them. This mesh can also be integrated into glass and vehicle bodies.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
All of the corporation’s magic management technology utilizes two main components: copper conductors (in the form of mesh, threads, prongs, skin contacts, or chips), and an altered electrical current specifically designed to target and react to magic. In suppression tech, this is a steady current that smothers magic and responds to attempted magic use with stronger electric shocks. In repellent tech, it creates an invisible field that magic cannot penetrate.
The corporation has not revealed their “secret ingredient,” making it impossible for other companies to replicate the technology.