The World

The adventures in Snakeblade happen in a world called Dale. Dale is a rather small world, with 6 prominent countries and a great desert in the middle. The story itself starts in the northernmost kingdom of Galstain. Below you can find maps for both Dale and Galstain.

Mages and Magic

The gift for magic is a highly hereditary skill, although it’s known to skip generations, and to surface when least expected. The countries of Dale all react to magic and it’s usage differently, with some shunning it, and some holding it in high regard. Those wishing to improve their magical skills need constant practice, and it takes decades to master them. That’s why for most people of common origins magical abilities are rather useless, as they have no access to education or tutoring to learn to use their skills in a safe or practical way. This holds especially true for the citizens of Galstain and Eskar, where magic is considered a curse. The number of mages there has been in a steady decline after the law prohibiting mages from having children. All the mages in Galstain and Eskar are branded with a red tattoo on their chin and lower lip, when their abilities first manifest. Failure by the parents to bring their mage child to be branded can sometimes be punished as severely as by death sentence.

Most mages discover their abilities with so called natural magic. Those, who consider this type of magic inferior, tend to call it low magic. In natural magic, energy for casting is drawn from the mage himself, or in some cases from the environment. This sets natural boundaries for the powers of the mage, although it’s not unheard of low mages to draw energy from other, unconsenting, living beings. Such practice is outlawed widely throughout the world.  Some mages use foci to draw energy “from beyond the veil”, and this type of magic is called high magic, or sometimes void magic. The phenomenon itself is fairly poorly understood, but it hasn’t stopped gifted mages from tapping into practically unlimited magical energies with the usage of foci. There are those, who would say high mages are meddling with powers no human should have.

Magic itself, regardless of origins, can be divided into two distinct schools, called manipulation and creation. Manipulation-type magic is far more common, and more easily learned. Like the name suggests, it consists of manipulating already existing objects, such as setting things on fire, levitating items, causing storms or freezing water. Creation-type magic on the other hand aims to produce objects “out of thin air”.  Most mages never bother with creation, as it’s hard to learn, but those that do, start with simple things. Materializing water is considered one of the easiest tasks for a beginner, as it lacks a specific form. More advanced mages try their hands on creating materials such as iron, wood or stone. Managing to create something with a specific, intricate form is very hard, and many mages would equate creation to painting a masterpiece.

Although capable creation-users are rare, most countries of Dale have laws and practices to address the fear of mages fabricating money to flood the market. Galstain and Eskar both supervise their mining and minting operations rigorously, with heavy penalties for using magic-created metals. Most sensible merchants only accept official coins as payment, and sneer at raw lumps of gold, especially if offered by someone with the red brand on their chin. And as creating belieavable copies of official coins by the means of magic has proven nigh impossible, there’s no fear of money losing its value anytime soon.

 

Map of Dale

Mao of Galstain