Previously, I talked about Karamia and how she interacts with the world around her in Situation 0‘s “The Soldier” preview, but now it’s time we took a look at the world itself…
A New, Yet Familiar World
Sit-0 exists within an alternate timeline from that of our own. However, this alternate timeline’s basis on the real world could be considered extremely loose. Continents and regions are all (mostly) present in their original forms, and even those regional cultures and their languages are fairly intact, but that’s where similarities begin to end. Well-known countries of Earth make appearances as autonomous city-states and other regions, and the world is still largely left open and wild, with fantastical, and sometimes ferocious monsters residing just beyond the borders of civilization.
When starting to form this world, or rather this entire universe in which Sit-0 takes place, I essentially opened up a Word document and started pouring ideas and concepts into it. Those that didn’t work were refined or removed, and in order to keep everything in perspective, I essentially started to build this fantasy world, with its own rules and laws and such, as a large-scale Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Characters important to the plot get fleshed out, those who will travel with Karamia are given extensive detail, and each with their own personality, gear, skills, and spells. There are religions, there are monsters scattered about to “native” regions, and there are locations rife with adventure. Some may or may not even be seen in Sit-0, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get to them in some other way.
Because the world of Sit-0 shares many similarities to ours, it helps the reader ease into the setting, only to be taken for a ride as things start to get more and more fantastical.
Origins and Evolutionary Phenomena
In constructing the world, I took both science and religions into account, forming something of a common ground where everything is right in some way, and formed an original “Genesis” that I could expand the world and its inhabitants from.
Long, long ago, before time itself, there was the Realm of Spirit. It existed as a lone plane where all that was and that could be mingled together. Then a goddess created the Realm of Matter, as she was curious of “what could be.” As a vast universe formed from her, she watched as stars burned, and particles formed into planets. The goddess became lonely, so she picked out a planet perfect for her intent, and created life, all within her paradise. She gave birth to plants, animals, and she created humans. The goddess called her paradise Eden, and all were happy and shared paradise together. With the goddess’ graces, humans knew only of happiness, protected from the evils of the world. The Realm of Matter was given principle when the goddess departed, forming an unruly and wild world out of Eden itself. As she left, the goddess imparted the inevitability of death upon all living things, to give their lives meaning and purpose. Yet, so a fulfilled life does not seem wasted, she also created of herself a place in between the two realms which kept a balance throughout the macrocosm called the Oversoul, allowing souls to live on continuously through reincarnation, or to revert to energy called “élan vital” and be one with the goddess.
Élan vital is an important concept in Sit-0, as it is the fundamental bridge between the physical and metaphysical. Slightly modified from Henri Bergson’s philosophy, élan vital is an energy force that’s more than just a soul, but a soul that learns and grows – life energy that’s responsible for evolution in all things. Élan vital is responsible for a lot of what happens to the world of Sit-0, thanks in part to its growth alongside humanity, and how it retains the information gained in life. In such a way, the Oversoul also doubles as a sort of noosphere, embodying all of humanity’s (and other organisms’) knowledge at any given time. Humans evolved through the millennia alongside other species, but curious creatures also emerged, due to evolutionary changes brought about by the absence of divinity. In Eden, humans and animals existed in a state beyond the needs for their natural instincts, as all was provided for. However, when the goddess left, it not only imparted death to give life meaning, but also imparted the necessity of instinct. Some animals evolved into vicious sub-species of monsters in order to survive the harsh and wild world. For example, things like goblins grew along different paths than humans did, evolving based on their instincts instead of civilization, and even other animals became twisted and ruthless, like dire forms of bears and wolves. The further away one gets from civilization, the more likely they are to come across other, more mythical beasts taking up home in ruins and caves alike.
Humanity did as it does, though. Countless civilizations rose and fell, kingdoms and nations were formed and their borders defended, both from monsters and other nations. People studied the world around them, learning of things they could grasp, and theorizing about the things they couldn’t. Espers, humans enhanced by magic through a mysterious event in the world’s infancy, made the humans jealous and angry, and they soon began to fight over the rights to magic and to be free from zealous ideals that oppressed them. Enraged by the shallow misuse of the power the humans had inadvertently received, the goddess sent down beings of immense and terrifying strength to punish both esper and human for their behavior. The beings remained, ravaging the world until the humans and espers gave up their war and worked together to survive. Differences that segregated were forgotten, and the power they had once fought over became trivial. The beings retreated to the corners of the earth, never to be seen again, although their restless sleep kept the world in check, for fear of more world-shattering retribution. A golden age began for civilizations as humanity moved toward the end of the “Before Common Era,” and for centuries to pass with humanity’s brightest developing medicines and sciences, while others committed themselves to the magical arts, to prevent them from washing away into ancient history.
The State of Affairs
Sit-0‘s world could best be described as a contemporary fantasy setting, one where science and technology evolved alongside the whispers of phenomena called magic, and sometimes directly because of it. For the viewer, this is a world where “mythology is real,” and it all shaped the world in different ways. The world’s ancient history was intimately tied to magic, and its unfortunate misuses, right up to a point where it was forgotten by most, and relegated to folklore and fairy tales by the beginning of the Common Era. Magic was used in some far corners of the globe by those practitioners who devoted their lives to the study, but it fell into disuse by the world at large, and even created scares in some less-educated times and areas. However, history has a way of repeating itself, and as time marched into something akin to our 1960s, humanity was about to witness a paradigm shift.
Several decades before where the story of Sit-0 begins, modern technology had progressed to the point where lives were made comfortable. Electricity had been energizing the world for centuries, vehicles were commonplace, and airwaves were abuzz with television and radio signals. However, scientists continued to seek deeper mysteries, and in a tiny lab run by the scientist Morgan le Fay, a new form of energy particle was discovered, one that so closely resembled the phenomena of the old ages. Even more interesting was that it was an energy found in all living things, down to the smallest organism. Was this the energy of life itself – the soul? The scientist le Fay confirmed that the energy she found was in fact the ancient concept described as élan vital, and through all her expansive research into the subject she became known as the “mother of metaphysics.” Scientific communities exploded with the ideas of what “Élan Vital Energy” particles could do, their seemingly infinite potential within their grasp. Could they harness magic for the common man? Could they end the energy crisis? Thaumatech – thaumaturgic technology – was soon born from this scientific boon, devices that could be powered by both magical and scientific principles, which were essentially found later on to be one and the same. The Almagest Corporation became a huge proponent in the world stage for their bleeding edge products, and nearly monopolized the thaumatech market with the help of Dr. le Fay’s research, which they funded.
With the energy crisis solved and thaumatechnology spreading fast, one would think the world would have come to a new age of prosperity and unification, but years of shaky international affairs made for some very brittle relations. The empires of Eifferia and Lupalia constantly bickered over ownership of a small island north of one owned by Lupalia; while Eifferiens settled there, the Lupiano believed it to be part of their empire. Through an event still uncertain to most, a fleet of Lupiano ships sank to the seafloor in some sort of attack on the harbor where they were berthed. With losses high, the leaders of Lupalia immediately pointed fingers at the Empire of Eifferia in the west, who had been encroaching on Lupalia’s shipping lanes. Eifferia denied the claims, but that hadn’t stopped Lupalia from firing upon an Eifferien trade vessel in response. Lupalia then invaded the Eifferien-settled island, claiming they were taking back what was rightfully theirs, and unable to come to any sort of treaty, a full-scale conflict quickly ensued. Nations sympathetic to either side readied for war as the Lupiano next set their sights on mainland Eifferia.
Inevitably, as war spread across the Meridian continent, the military applications of EVE Particles and Thaumatechnology were called into question. What was once proposed by Dr. le Fay as a way to help mankind was appropriated for the war effort by those who signed her paychecks. Almagest Corp had already been helping the Allies keep the the Axis forces pushed back with their supplies and aforementioned Almagest Regular Army, but the use of experimental thaumatechnology began to change the face of the war, countering the Axis forces’ own supernatural units. Thaumatech might be seen as what could tip the scales, and finally bring this war to a close.
And that’s all you’ll get to hear about the setting of Sit-0 directly! There’s plenty more to learn about the world if you pay close attention, but up next, our last preview will be talking about one of the major elements in Sit-0 – the miracles and misuses of thaumaturgy!