Big Yellow Board Prompt Responses

Prompt 01 – Time Period
The culture and technology of America is based on that which was found in the United States during the 1920’s. Since it is another planet, there are obviously no real characters from that time. I chose this time period because it is modern without being so modern that it would have the kind of technology that would preclude magic used for nearly every advance. Three time period specific things are vernacular, clothing habits and styles and manners.

Prompt 02 – Geographic Location
America is a territory in the northern part of Ephemera. Ephemera is an island in the Chloreirian Isles on the world of Kaigan. Neighboring territories on Ephemera are Aquaria, to the east, Scanpara, in the west and Areo, in the south. Neighboring islands are Eire, Eidolon, Chloral, Everlund, Shadowland and Northland. Specific historic days include the day that the settlers reached the island from the mainland and when the government was established. The governor is the leader of the territory.

The climate of the land is temperate and seasonal. The winters are snowy and cold. Summers are hot and dry. There are no real extremes in the weather. There is a healthy amount of trade going on between Ephemera and other territories or islands. In the more rural areas, farming is a large source of income. One tradition that results from the climate is that of having time off from school in the summer, due to the heat.

Prompt 03 – Geography
Mountain ranges? Rivers? The ocean lies to the north and surrounds the region on most of its borders. Trade with other islands often occurs, leading to a high level of expertise in ocean travel among sailors. Much of the settled land is on grassland or previously forested area. The bedrock is mostly limestone, resulting in karst topography.

The karst topography, while resulting in a multitude of caves, has also resulted in a dearth of rivers and lakes. Sinkholes, blind valleys, disappearing rivers and springs are also common features.

Prompt 04 – History
Nothing major from the distant past factors in to the story of the present. The furthest back in history I need to go is about ten years. I’ve fleshed out some backstory from the boys but the other characters… not so much. I have no idea what major historical events have taken place.

Prompt 05 – Races
Though there is little to no physical difference between the two, mages and non-mages – called normals – are considered two different races. No one is quite certain when magic developed in America, though the prevailing theory (and source of the racial separation) is that the mages originated on another island that was destroyed either physically or socially by magic or outside forces.

The majority of the people are normals, with mages making up about one third of the population. Mages are seen as useful and important by most of the populace, even the non-mages. They can accomplish things using magic that cannot be even approached with mundane technology. However a small percentage of normals view mages as stunting the technological growth of the nation. In addition, some view magic in any incarnation as inherently untrustworthy.

Prompt 06 – Culture/Religion/Customs
Both normals and mages are, by and large, Christians, agnostics, atheists or theists. For those who are more well traveled, other religions may have been introduced but Christianity and theism are the most common religions. Christians, for the most part, attend church on Sunday. Afterwards there will often be a social gathering of some kind, especially in more rural areas. Both major and minor religious holidays are celebrated, often with special worship services. Generally, only extreme churches are unwelcoming toward mages and both mages and normals will worship together in the same sanctuary.

Theists, who worship a nature god, have special significance for the solstices and equinoxes. These incidentally and fortunately coincide with major Christian and secular holidays.

Just as in the United States, the major religious holidays have non-religious additions that make them accessible to the general populace as well. In addition, political holidays, such as Founder’s Day in small rural communities or special days to honor those in the armed services and public services have come to be. One special non-religious holiday is the New Year. A great deal of importance is seen in greeting the New Year the correct way in order that it should be prosperity. Most often this includes fireworks at nearly midnight, watching the first sunrise of the New Year and special habits and songs that are meant to instill a respect in what has past and hope for what is to come.

Prompt 07 – Politics
America is part of a loose confederation with the other territories on Ephemera. As such the leaders of the four territories meet periodically to discuss issued that effect all islanders. America itself is ruled by elected officials. The governor, who is elected for five year term of office, advises a congressional body as to what laws would behoove the conntry and passes or vetoes laws that they have passed themselves. Unlike in the United States, both the governor and the legislators may write a bill that may eventually become a law. If a bill originates with the governor, he must send it to the legislature for approval by majority vote. If a bill originates with a legislator (usually as part of a group of legislators), it must be passed by the legislature and then approved by the governor.

The legislators are elected for terms of five years. The terms are staggered so that only one-quarter of the legislature is up fro re-election at any one time. In the fifth year the governor may or may not be re-elected. All free men or women over the age of eighteen are eligible to vote.

Conflicts in politics? Wars? Laws not passed as quickly? Cloak-and-dagger tactics?

Hard work is seen as an important value of Amerians; to the point that those who are seen as unproductive are forced into labor by the government. Slavery is legal. Sexual assault is not a punishable offense