Welcome to Crystal Ambitions, a Alternative history SD inspired by a bunch of sources, including Final Fantasy, Mai-Otome and previous SDs. Please read the history, consult the maps and then ask me to place your nation and any extraterrestrial territories or NPCs. Do not feel constrained by history, there is significant latitude.
Inspirations: Final Fantasy, Mai-Otome, SDs
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- 1 Setting
- 1.1 General Overview
- 1.2 Paradigm
- 1.3 Bahamut Academy
- 1.4 Geography
- 1.5 Major NPCs
- 1.6 Races
- 2 Making a Nation
In 1790, a seamount in the Atlantic erupts in the largest volcanic eruption in known history at the time, 1790 becomes a lost summer as winter engulfs the earth. Cities across North America are flooded by a tsunami and just weeks later Ships begin to go missing at sea, ships avoid the new region marked by mysterious lights in the sky.
Augustus Lang, a british explorer launches an expedition to Yucatan just months later. There he discovers a artifact from from an ancient Mayan city and charts a foolhardly captain to sail directly from Yucatan to the region of death. In 1802, he returns, with proof of a new continental region of floating landmasses in the Atlantic ocean.
In a surprise twist, soon after he returns ships from the new region sail into ports across the world, with exotic cargos and claiming to fly under the flag of the Kingdom of Atlantis. Atlanteans are a fair skinned people, with deep violet eyes and light blue hair. Over the coming years, the lands of Mu are discovered to be a diverse land of different factions and cultures and the colonial vultures of earth plot to exploit them all.
The colonialism extends both ways, as Earthean empires colonise parts of Mu, the Kingdom of Atlantis barters with France, culminating in the Louisiana Purchase in 1810 amongst other events.
As the 20th century approaches, the world has been transformed. Cultural exchange, assimiliation, dissmenination has resulted in a world none could of predicted. Prejudice has gradually faded as meta-humans and non-humans have spread across the globe and the continent of Mu had become a integral and vibrant part of the world. This made the resulting world war all the more tragic.
It had been known for some time that many of the artifacts of Mu were related to Crystallium, though nobody had ever seen the 'Progenitor Crystals', merely the offshoots that were incorporated into various devices and fuels traded by Mu and it's most powerful state, Atlantis. Rumours circulated that Atlantis no longer possessed them all and that for thousands of years, some were on Earth itself, buried in the fables of ancient cultures.
In 1885, spies, thieves and archaeologists all inadvertently converged to unlock the warding spells that had hidden over a dozen Progenitor Crystals either in the possession of Mu or on Earth itself. By the year 1905, as the science of Crystallium accelerated far beyond what the Atlanteans had ever achieved, war loomed. Technologies derived from Crystals were rapidly advancing various fields of technological possibility, greed loomed and control of these rare crystals, some held by relatively unknown powers was prized. The Crystal War erupted in 1927 and would last over a decade during which Aspects were invented, empires were smashed, small powers became great powers, great powers without aspects were utterly outclassed.
It was only when a million people died in a single instant, did cooler heads prevail. Budapest was obliterated by a rogue Austro-Hungarian Aspect in 1942, according to intelligence reports he went bezerk before exploding in a burst of exotic energy that immediately killed just under a million people and gave severe unknown poisoning to several million more.
The Third Hague Conference was held in 1940 and the Bahamut Protocols were signed in Gevena as part of the Geneva Conventions, regulating the use of Aspects in warfare and providing for a international set of standards and agreements for their training and selection. The Next fifty years would pass almost without incident, the usual small wars and skirmishes of the world never amounting to anything as far reaching as the Crystal War. The world marches forward towards a brighter tomorrow.
In 2001, the largest volcanic eruption since the Mu Eruption of 1790 occurs in Antarctica, ice rapidly melts causing a rapid rise in sea-level which results in worldwide flooding. Then Antarctica disappears and sea levels return to normal, though where Antarctica once was, is a new region immediately known as Mu2. In the years that follow, as the world recovers from disaster and recession, Mu2 proves to be far less forgiving and far less friendly than Mu.
The year is 2021.
The World Today
The year is 2021, Mu2 had been known for almost two decades, yet the major powers of the world still peck tentatively at it's secrets. The United Nations Mu Accords give members of the Bahamut Protocol Council premier access to the continent, due to their ownership of Crystals. Most nations involved and their allies have established scientific bases on the landmass which have over the past decade expanded into small cities and territories almost colonial in nature.
Mu2 continues to cause storms and climatic fluctuations. Some even claim sightings of massive monsters in the oceans and other dark creatures stalking the night.
Crystallium technology has dawned a future of flying cars, robots and prosperity but also starvation, poverty and war for others. The divisions are stark, those with Crystallium profit and those without suffer. Natural disasters occur with ever greater frequently, especially in proximity to Mu2, even the most progressive of Crystallium states struggle to provide relief to those tormented by floods or poverty induced overpopulation. While for others, cheap energy, cheap food and a casual disregard for the plight of others have fueled powerful insular states who greedily gobble up the natural resources of the Earth.
It should be noted that the major powers of the world are the PCs by virtue of their Crystallium, it holds power exceeding that of natural resources, population or technology. A small nation with a Aspect Cadre is akin to a fully armed nuclear nation state and Crystallium technology is lucrative and difficult to steal giving considerable economic power to those who guard it well.
Magical/magitech near future.
Crystals are dense clusters of exotic matter, usually in the region of 10 to fifteen meters tall. They emit a form of localised emission known as a null-space field, in which physical laws can be manipulated using electrical signals. This has lead to a form of 'magic' in which electrical circuits are used to reprogramme local physics and in the case of Aspects, human brains are used to do this on a much larger scale.
Crystals often have a primary Aspect and a secondary Aspect. They can shape the societies that possess them, either through the technologies they lend themselves to, or the subtle influence of the crystal itself.
Black Crystals display the most raw magical power, providing powerful personal magics.
Primary Aspect: Personal Magic, Artillery Knight Discipline
Secondary Aspect: Black emphasises the power of the individual
Red Crystals have shown a bias towards the melding of magic and technology. Red Crystals seem preprogrammed, each facet reflecting a complex digital pattern.
Primary Aspect: Personal Weaponry, Avatar Knight Discipline
Secondary Aspect: Red Crystals are the most economically beneficial, being easiest to use in mass produced crystallium technology.
Blue Crystals are a path into the magical world, through which magical and magitech summons can be 'requested'. Blue Crystals are known for ghostly mirages in their crystal facets.
Primary Aspect: Summoning, Esper Knight Discipline
Secondary Aspect: Blue Crystals most frequently lead to Crystal Personality Disorder, where the blue crystal imparts historical memories onto people.
Green Crystals are the most dangerous of all, the mutagenic effects of Crystals is most potent in Green.
Primary Aspect: Genetic Enhancement, Monster Knight Discipline
Secondary Aspect: Green crystals have a strong inner personality, it can manifest as a psionic projection of a beast such as a Dragon.
Aspect soldiers are capable of directly using magic and this is most prominently manifested in their Avatar. Avatar's are manifestations of will that result as magitech armour and weaponry. The creation requires dedicated meditation and training, most militaries will direct their Aspect Soldiers to manifest specific armour and weaponry, in order to maintain a unified and disciplined cadre of Aspect Soldiers. The Zhinra Corporation Aspects for example maintain futuristic black and gold power armour, with large oversized gauss rifle weaponry.
Aspect Soldiers are the pinnacle of Crystalium technology, most materia are worn as bracelets, or embedded into weaponry or armour, Aspect Soldiers have a core of Crystalium directly implanted into their body, usually the forehead directly connecting to the brain. This allows the Crystallium to use the electrical signals of the brain in order to rewrite physical laws. Not everyone can be a Aspect soldier, certain genetic 'abnormalities' are required in order to create a stable Aspect.
As it is easier to manipulate inorganic matter for most Aspects, the majority of them use varying amounts of cybernetics.
Aspect Soldiers are subject to international treaty and limits. In order to train a candidate for the process, they must first attend the Bahamut Aspect Certification Academy.
All aspect warriors gain aspect to several powers simply by being infused. All are stronger, faster, and more resilient than normal people, all can heal faster, and all have innate ability to conjure and control material. However, devoting time to refining their different abilities gives Aspects access to potent applications of their power.
Artillery Knight: Are those who develop their Aspect with personal magic, focusing on developing battlefield spells to support their allies and ravage their enemies. While not devoted to personal combat, they are capable with swords and other close combat weaponry, as befits their extensive magical abilities.
Avatar Knights: This term refers to those Aspects who focus their Avatars into personal armour. They also hone their physical augmentations, strengthening and fortifying themselves to superhuman degrees. Many develop build-in weapons and other systems into their constructs, and greater Knights increase the Avatar’s size to become giant war machines. Many of them are supernaturally strong, capable of bounding across battlefields or dodging bullets.
Esper Knight: These practitioners devote themselves to the magical aspects of their Aspect, training their minds to summon entities. Most project their Avatar outward as a separate entity, forming it into fantastic creatures or vehicles that they conjure to fight for them.
Monster Knight: The darkest of the types, these Knights focus on modifying their body, shapeshifting, genetic mutations and controlling monsterous creatures.
The Bahamut International Aspect Academy is the instructive body and certification authority for Aspects. It is a floating fortress located in the Atlantic Ocean near Iceland. It is supported by a foundation grant from the United Nations that allows it operational independence.
The Bahamut Academy is a large white circular floating fortress, with a glowing levitation ring. It has a concentric structure and in some ways, resembles a futuristic castle. It has multiple docks for other airships, aeroplanes. It also has considerable defences.
(It could basically be designed as the SeeD Academy in FF8, but with more anime tropes)
Bahamut instruction begins at highschool age, 12 and is completed as a series of modules, there is a central curriculum which is then supplemented by national classes restricted to Aspects of a particular nation and possibly it's allies.
Classes consist of both a standard international curriculum in traditional education and the Aspect Curriculum. Education begins at 8am and finishes at 5pm. National mixing is encouraged at all levels of both education and social interaction. Club activity is mandatory. The Academy is obviously, a boarding school and accommodation is provided, with every Aspect provided their own room with secure communications.
There are three broad stages, initial psych evaluation in which students are instructed in developing the mental stamina required, this lasts from 12-14 and ends with a psychological evaluation. Upon successful certification Aspects progress to the next two year long stage, which is primarily national in nature, Aspectee's are instructed in a variety of combat, covert and other military skills, a intensive two year period also includes preliminary instruction of Aspect combat techniques.
The Final stage, at age 16 is the implantation of the Aspect Crystal and final certification. Aspects are then assigned to their respective approved users to undergo a typical 18 month programme of training.
Earth has not changed much, through some regions have been altered by the presence of materia.
The Green Sahara: Materia deposits awakened within the Sahara have lead to the formation of vast plains and lakes.
Located in the Atlantic ocean, Mu is a collection of large floating landmass, above a series of islands and long expansive lagoon and reef systems.
Mu is made up of two primary landmasses, which float approximately 200 meters above the Ocean, West Kefka and East Kefka.
West Kefka is home to the Kingdom of Atlantis, in the north is it mountainous but full of rich valleys and terraced farmlands. Atlantis lies on the north bay on the terraced sides of a volcano. Eons ago is provided the rich fertile soil that makes up the Kingdom's valley farmlands.
In the south beyond the mountain range is it deserts to the southeast and swamplands to the west. Sergia are found in the southwestern reaches, hiding in the swamps created by the mixture of boggy ground, forests and mountain rivers.
There are several major regions to East Kefka. The expansive chocobo plains where humans and Mitare herd vast flocks of chocobo's, the Mushroom Hills where Moogles reside inside Mushroom forests and the Kefka Jungles, where Sergia and Djinnae are from. The other major zone is the Blight, in ancient times a Materia deposit was smashed and it's ruinous powers exposed to the free air. It corrupted the land, the water and the animals. Gargoyles are the product of this area, as are some Ferrans. The Kingdom of Atlantis ocassionally scouts the area for deposits of Materia.
Mu2 is a large continent the size of Antarctica, that occupies the southern pole of the Earth. It is temperate, mysterious and dangerous. The only known locals are the mysterious and often ellusive Mu Lords, strange pale meta-humans who inhabit strange cities on the inner portions of the major landmass. Mu2 causes significant issues with it's climatic situation, causing storms, floods and other chaotic behaviour in the southern hemisphere.
Zone Romeo in geographical terms is a region of flat red desert, much like the surface of mars. There are several rivers which have formed various Canyons that put the Grand Canyon in North America to shame. The nations of the United Nations Mu Accords have set up various research bases, military outposts and some cities here, terraforming techniques have allowed the introduction and growing of native earth flora. There are a few ruins of interest.
United States of America
- The United States of America founded in 1776, is made up of the thirteen historical colonies of the British Empire. Today it is one of the worlds leading powers, the Manhatten Crystal was one of the first uncovered on Earth.
Kingdom of Atlantis
- The Kindgom of Atlantis is Mu's premier nation, for centuries it was a stagnant society who's reliance on crystallium technology led to little innovation. Today, is it among the world's great powers, though a waning one. It struggles to cope with the rapid societal changes inflicted over the last two centuries, in a society that had been entrenched for over a thousand years.
- Moogleholme is the homeland of the Moogle people, a strong society organized on a gerontocracy. They live amongst the mushrooms in relative quiet, though since discovery many have wandered afar and Moogleholme struggles with a aging population whose youngsters travel afar.
RavenGuard is a global private military contractor which specialization in the provision of Mercenary Aspects, the only non-national entity with approved user status. How it sources the Aspect Crystal material is a trade secret, though it is suspected the US Multinational 'JENOVA' is the provider.
Every PC nation must be humanity majority, 51% or more. Mu races have proliferated across the world, but Earth is still dominated culturally and economically by humanity.
You're human. Shut up.
Humans are pretty varied and included meta-humans from Mu, such as Atlanteans.
These beautiful, winged individuals are the primary residents of the floating landmasses in the east of south Mu, where they once built a great empire upon these flying rocks. Their empire is long gone, collapsed due to its insular nature and vicious infighting, but they still maintain several cities on the flying island of Ascend and on other smaller sky islands. Most of these cities are shared with humans; either descendants of former slaves (who often now rule the ancient settlements) or recent immigrants looking to live in the clouds.
Vitare are light-boned humanoids with slender limbs and long, talon-like fingers. They have human faces and features, though their ‘hair’ is actually crests of feathers, which merge with their wings. While capable of flight on their own, they’re only about as fast as a bird. With modern crystal technology, they sheathe them in crystal-lined fins that allow them to hover and fly at considerable speeds.
An offshoot of Vitare, these feathery beings look nearly identical to their airborne cousins, except that they have wings of only a foot long. Therefore, they cannot fly under their own power, and have been traditionally ignored by their airborne cousins. The advent of crystal technology allows them to use wing-sheathes, much like their other cousins, but these are expensive and are mostly used for military and exploration purposes.
Mitare are known for training chocobos, and often can be seen herding the creatures along the plains of their homelands to new grazing pastures. Many Mitare are trained riders, and breed all colours and types of the bird. The most prized are the flight-capable black chocobo, which allow them to circumvent their vestigal wings without resorting to expensive crystal-pinons.
The physical features of a Djinnae are unknown to most, due to their cultural dress. Every member wears some form of full-body cloak or robe, along with gloved hands and a mask or hood of some kind. Their clothes are often decorated with multiple knick-knacks and are sewn together with seemingly-random fabrics. They’re shorter than most people, and their limbs seem longer than normal for humans. Beneath their robes, they resemble human-sized monkeys, covered in brown hair, but with human faces and hands, and no tail.
Djinnae are keen-minded and have a love for technology and exploration. Many are scavengers or merchants, finding deposits of crystals or lost treasures and selling them in cities. They also work as craftsmen, producing various goods for sale to others. They’re quite communal, and many richer ones have the company of the Marione, their own creations. They’re particularly fond of crystals, and many great alchemists or magicians are Djinnae.
Created by the Djinnae as servants, these beings look like fleshy marionettes, complete with segmented joints and near-featureless faces. Their mouths are barely slits in their face, and they seem to have no eyes (though they see fine, as their ocular organs can see through the skin around their face). Designed as labourers and bodyguards, these beings are extremely quick and dexterous, capable of great precision. They also learn quickly, picking up tasks by rote.
Marione are not entirely sentient when first created, most quickly develop sentience. Upon discovering this, Djinnae treat them as servants and employees rather than slaves, paying them for their work. Many are used as crafters and haulers, or to guard their masters; most have remained as such. They are loyal and straightforward, but very quick to learn and adapt. The Djinnae have given the Marione the process used to create them, allowing them to ‘birth’ new members of the species.
These stony-skinned creatures are the natural product of crystal buildup, stone animated by material growth and given life. No two gargoyles are alike, but most are animalistic forms, hybrids of seemingly-random creatures. Most are incredibly strong and resilient, though they’re often a bit lumbering (this is not always the case). They have no uniform size; some are truly gigantic.
Only a few gargoyles are sentient, but those that are tend to be predatory and domineering. In more primitive areas, they often lead hordes of gargoyles to attack nearby villages, and take the crystal sources as their own.
These hulking, hairy figures live in forested and swampy regions, forming tribes and fighting territory wars. Standing seven to nine feet in height, they’re notable by their obscured faces and fur-like coats of hair. Fiercely secretive and territorial, they often keep to themselves and resist attempts to colonize their forests. Still, some become mercenaries and travel (notable exiles).
These Mu natives are most known for their unique diet – in addition to human food, these humans can feed on certain metals. This is not a natural evolution, but rather a byproduct of prolonged exposure to Materia. A Ferran who comes into contact with iron, copper, or gold finds the metal bonding to his skin, slowly absorbed into his flesh like ice melting. This process is involuntary, painful, and extremely intoxicating, making it every difficult to stop when it has begun. It can also be addicting; Ferrans have a semi-deserved reputation amongst colonists as thieves and bandits.
Ferrans resemble dark-skinned humans, much like most of the natives of Mu2. However, the marks of their diet are present in blotches and protrusions of metal in their bodies, skin transformed into a strange, living alloy. The texture and colouration depends on the absorbed metal, and is a mixture of hybrid tissue and actual metal. Ferrans do not age unless utterly deprived of metal from birth; if killed, soft tissue quickly rots and hybrid flesh coalesces into true metal, leaving their skeleton and growths behind. Many Ferrans also have traces of Materia in them (almost always black, but occasionally red or green); rare members develop natural Crystalium cores in the center of their torsos, granting them innate (and untrained) magical power. Many develop strange transformations resembling natural magitech, granting them strange and useful abilities. Ferran’s need for other food and water is much less than most humans, and is eventually eliminated altogether.
Ferrans originate from the central and southern mountains of Mu, but have migrated north into the jungles or into the deserts. They tend to eschew company of other humans, mistrusting them and causing conflicts due to their hunger for metal and tempting appeal to greedy men.
Standing at about thee feet tall (without ears), Moogles are furry, rabbit-like humanoids with long ears and tiny vestigial bat-wings. Their fur ranges from white to dark grey, with rare members having colorations such as red. Despite their stubby limbs, they can be quite nimble.
Moogles are originally 'native' to Mu western grasslands, but have spread through the continent and to others. Curious and perpetually wide-eyed, many travel if they can, take up in other nations. They are nearly universally loved by most civilized races, and many nations sport Moogle populations.
These chicken-like birds wander the Mu plains in great herds, feeding on grass and other plants. Large enough to carry two riders comfortably, these intelligent animals are often used as mounts by sentient races. Most are flightless, though a few varieties are capable of sustained flight. Chocobos are strong and nimble, and can carry heavy loads with surprising stamina. They can be easily trained for domestic or war-time uses. They have proliferated across the world in massive numbers, they have far greater stamina than horses
Two natural breeds of Chocobos exist: Yellow Chocobos are the most common. Black Chocobos live near hilly or mountainous areas, and have functional wings that are strong enough to carry riders – these have been exported to Gestahl by the Vitare, and are also cultivated by the flightless Mitare. In addition to these, exposure to crystalium can lead to different-coloured breeds, with unique and often magical traits. Control and cultivation of such traits is an immensely prized science.
Moon Lords are natives of Mu Two . Rarely seen, their appearance is however plastered across Earth's datanet. Humanoid in appearance, all adult Moon Lords glow brightly with a distinct white light which makes their actual features hard to discern. The light is a side-effect of powerful crystal radiation which makes being near Moon Lords, hazardous to anybody without a Crystal Exposure Suit.
The juvenile form is more widely known as [REDACTED] extensively studied one and after the destruction and liberation of the test subject, the materials leaked online. They are pale white creatures with spines running along their vertebrae.
Making a Nation
Write it up. There's no hard and fast rules this time around. I would suggest if you decide to play a tiny power, you include a another nation as a ally or vassal in your writeup, subject to my approval. It's not a requirement, clones, droid armies can make up for a small population.
This denotes your primary source of Materia, usually it would of been dug up and placed in a specialist reactor to provide a continual supply. Choose one of the colours and if you wish, write up the history of the crystal. Crystallium or Materia is mentioned here, because the primary source is important to nation character. Without the Crystallium, your nation would not be as nearly as powerful. It is your nuclear arsenal.
Produce your military from this list.