Paragons Roughly one in 200 persons in the World are Paragons, the descendants of humans altered with extensive magical enhancements. These enhancements are called "Permanencies", and true to their name they are of an unlimited duration. After many generations of alteration, most Paragons have inheritable magical traits, which are further emboldened with Permanency magic. Because a Paragon's power comes from their ancestors, they are indebted to their extended families, called Clans. Clans tend to be led by elder matriarchs and patriarchs, while younger Paragons follow their elders' commands. Clans use their power to control vast swathes of land, peasant populations, trade routes, cities, or other resources. The most powerful Clans even dominate other Clans, with intermarriage between Clans being the common means of sealing alliances. Multiple Clans pool their resources together to create Nations. Successful Clans within Nations take on specialized roles, leading them to train most of their new Paragons to fulfill such purposes. Despite their official unity, Nations are rife with inter-Clan infighting and intrigue. Many Clans choose to remain independent of Nations, either by living in remote areas, or by commanding such strength that they can repel encroachments of rival Clans and Nations. However, such independent Clans are becoming increasingly rare. Clans are locked in an arms race with their rivals. Each Clan has access to unique Permanencies, while the means for casting such Permanencies are closely kept secrets. Permanency knowledge is typically held by a Clan's "Loremaster", who is also the official entrusted with casting Permancies in the first place. Were it not for this system, captured Paragons may reveal the means by which their Permanencies were created, thus allowing their rivals access to their unique power sets. History (and tech level) In the First Age (AKA "the Old World") magic was difficult to master, and used primarily to aid the development of technology. The ruins of vast cities prove that humanity was once at a state of greater mastery of their environment. After the invasion of the Jade Tribe and the ensuing collapse which brought about the current Second Age, old written languages were lost, making ancient texts undecipherable. In the Second Age, Nations vie for control over territory, which rapidly changes hands. Constant warfare has made life difficult for peasant populations, and has hindered technological growth. Societies generally wield iron age technology, and the written word is rarely used by peasants. On the other hand, every Clan has turned itself into a laboratory of arcane experimentation, leading to new and constant discoveries in the field of magic. These discoveries are seldom shared with other Clans. Religion (and society) Paragons and peasants live vastly different lives. Paragons have ample access to resources, and rarely want for food or the other means of survival. Peasants are also in ample supply to provide any means of service. Luxuries such as fine silks, precious metals, or perfumes may still be hard to come by, as warfare disrupts trade relations between Nations. Peasants struggle to attain the basic necessities, as Paragons enforce high taxation in the form of food and essential manpower. Despite their struggles, peasants still form societies, with a leadership caste, and folk religious practices. Peasant elders represent them in dealings with their Paragon overlords, offering some limited means of reining in the Paragons' most outrageous demands (typically, an elder's only means of negotiation is the threat of peasant starvation, resulting in a loss of exploitable manpower). Peasant religion tends to venerate magic (of which peasants have some access to), as well as natural phenomena, and creation myths. Paragon religion involves ancestor veneration, with holiness measured by the extent to which a Paragon embraces the values of the Clans ancestors. Some such values could be family loyalty, the protection of nature, magical discoveries, the mastery of virtues, codes of honor, or contributing to their Clan's great legend through deeds.