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A Bit of History
Long before the start of the Great War, alchemical processes had wormed their way into every facet of human life, extraterrestrial life had become a Known Thing–even if not yet altogether common outside specific areas of the world–and the development of Terran culture reflected this. Styles and mundane trends developed slowly as the major focus of interest was on the next alchemical breakthrough. What seemingly supernatural wonder would grace the world next?
The plot of STARFALL: Age of Mercenaries begins in the 1930s. The Armistice has stood for over a decade, the Initiative signed by all major world powers continues its push to send alchemically-empowered representatives out amongst the stars, and the people of the world–now decidedly not just humanity–await for news of each mission, each conflict or negotiation.
Throughout this, some traditional mindsets have resurfaced as of late, reviving fashion trends that still lingered from the Victorian and Edwardian periods–a return to normalcy, if you will, in a post-war society. Previously, all the great designers of the world focused on how best to incorporate alchemical mechanics into the lives of soldiers and civilians alike, causing most clothing and decoration to err on the side of practicality.
Now, a desire for flare and expression has returned, meshing fashion and function into daily life–and into the design of Alchemical Combat Suits. These days, a hodgepodge of antiquated and alien styles make up the streets–fun fact, there’s nothing more surprising than an Aidlean soldier lumbering out of his/her home in a bustle skirt and a flak jacket.
Alchemical technology in the modern era is separated into two general types: Mechanical and Biological. There is some overlap, of course; but, the separation of the two has become academically necessary for training new alchemists without too much overload–and even so, most stick to mastering a singular metal for their entire careers.
Mechanical Alchemy uses Azothite-based alloys in conjunction with traditional machinery to accomplish superhuman feats, improve energy flow, and forms the interface/skeleton for an ACS, most weaponry, and other such combat equipment. Typically, Mechanical Alchemy adheres to the “Lead-to-Gold” cycle of alchemical alloys.
Mercury – Lead – Tin – Copper – Silver – Iron – Gold.
These “hard” metals provide the structure for physical devices, imparting their own brands of pseudo-magical weirdness as well. It is widely accepted that Mechanical Alchemy is, by far, the more complicated of the two fields of study. Finding the right mix of Gold circuitry and Mercury lens to make a simple light source can mean the difference between a convenient lantern and a solar flare-esque flash of light–or accidentally smacking anyone looking with visions of improbable futures in which they’ve been named King of the World for winning tomorrow’s chess match.
Biological Alchemy relies primarily on the traditional “soft” metals mixed with varying amounts of Azothite to create salves, infusions, potions, and surgical enhancements, to name a few.
Antimony – Arsenic – Bismuth – Magnesium – Phosphorus – Platinum – Potassium – Sulfur – Zinc
The advancements of modern medicine and human modification rely more and more on these alloys for non-intrusive enhancements, as opposed to the “change out his bones for iron pistons” mindset from the late 19th century; though, that does still happen on occasion–some Aidleans find grafted metal plates quite appealing to the eye, for example.
Additionally, the soft alchemical alloys have inspired new cultures, beliefs, ideals. As each metal has a particular effect on the self, willingly pumping it through your veins tends to accompany a desire for self-perfection–or at least self-imposed change.
In last week’s post, we discussed the associations with Magnesium: flames, passion, measured isolation of the self.
For the everyday user, this means access to magnesium pills to increase focus and energy, equipment powered by magnesium-pumps for the occasional burst of directed-power, emergency response crews laced with magnesium blood to push them through the toughest situations–and douse the occasional fire with their minds.
Biological Achemy has its drawbacks, however. Overdosing on magnesium, besides being possibly explosive, can lead to mental tunnel-visioning, self-centered decision-making, and an overwhelming desire to pursue obsessions no matter the cost or consequences.
We’ll discuss the other metals going forward as their associated Companies are introduced.
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Next week, prepare to take a walk with the Leader of the Cinderfane Paths through the outermost fringes of the Qhurothi Hegemony and its interests in Terra.