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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pellatarrum: Insanity, part 3

Mania is a curious condition because, unlike all the others listed, it is not looked down upon by society. In fact, in places where the Church of the Light holds sway, it is considered to be a mark of blessing to be one of the "The Inspired," for they emulate the Church's ideals: enthusiasm, energy, the will and desire to create. It is very, very easy to become manic in Pellatarrum, because all it requires is to be exposed to too much Positive Energy, and the Church of the Light encourages such exposure. Sunbathers, farmers, and anyone who works outdoors in the daylight radiance are all possible candidates for Inspiration (especially if they work in/near an area which has been consecrated or hallowed [as per the spells], or is otherwise a Node for Positive Energy), but the most commonly afflicted are those who are exposed to healing energies: Clerics, Paladins, and those who regularly receive healing (usually adventurers). Therefore, while it is not uncommon to have an Inspired artist or laborer, it is practically a requirement for high-ranking Church members, where their passion (unfortunately) runs to extremes in the form of crusades and inquisitions.

Inspiration is never publicly considered to be a bad thing; however, family members who are forced to endure the constant manic whirlwind often quietly wish for some peace and quiet, if only for a little while, and that is when the Cultists of the Dark frequently show up and offer some "relief" to the family, usually with the same results as when the Bleak are treated by Clerics of the Light. They often gain repeat customers in this manner, and the Dark's hold over them slowly strengthens* with each application.

*Usually in the form of blackmail, but actual corruption is not uncommon.

Side note: Regardless of how it happens, what we would call manic-depression or bipolar disorder is all too common in Pellatarrum. Sandwiched between the Life-Sun and Death-Sun, the world of the Prime Material is itself rather bipolar. Indeed, it could be argued that it is perfectly natural to become depressed at night, when death and ruin reign supreme, and to become energized when daylight comes. Looking at it in terms of environmental adaptation, this kind of crazy might just make perfect sense.

Withdrawal is the Earth Disorder, and it exemplifies the worst stereotypes (however true they may be) of Dwarves: sullenness, apathy, lack of passion or compassion, and a preference for isolation that ranges from antisocial isolationism to full-blown autism. Contrary to the other disorders, even among Dwarven society "The Petrified" are considered abnormal at all but the lowest levels; Dwarves are communal and industrious, and anyone who wants to be alone and apart from his clan -- or worst of all, without any desire to work -- is considered fundamentally broken and in need of immediate help. Petrification can be subtle, especially among the Dwarves, who are known to brood over their latest craft before performing the next step. Many have been found at their forges or tables, lost in contemplation of a gem or a sword, by their fellows the next morning.* Petrification is treated by application of Elemental Air to the nose and mouth, which insistently "breathes new life" into the static nature of the withdrawn, but in a pinch any burst of moving air (such as from a bellows) will do. 

*This is precisely why Dwarves are so communal -- it's a necessity for survival. Any Dwarf who works alone runs the risk of becoming severely Withdrawn and then dying of dehydration.


  1. Question: The dwarves living in the spire are regularly exposed to massive amounts of the elements - what effect does this have on them? Does it keep them balanced? Do they show symptoms of all the imbalances?

  2. Dwarves are a bit of a special case, considering they live inside an artifact-level magical battery/sluice pipe. The answer is a bit too complex to address in a comment, but rest assured it *will* get addressed.


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