A FANTASY ROLEPLAY
"Two hundred years ago, the Jade Emperor, the immortal ruler of the land of Shambala and founder of its most magnificent city Shangdi, sealed his twin brother, the Demon Lord, away in the Spirit Realm beyond the Heavenly Gate, and his lands have known no war ever since. With that peace finally secured, the Jade Emperor retreated into his palace, leaving the mortal world to turn without his guidance for a time until the promised hour of his return."
The purpose of Shambala: Abridged is to shorten our lore to basic and necessary material. We remind our prospective members that the Omnibus is a more complete collection of written content. Please reference it if needed or, perhaps, if curious. In the event that there is any uncertainty about the information provided in either of our guides, we encourage you to ask away in our questions board. (Note that this board is guest-friendly! Don't be shy now.)
The Abridged uses entirely bullet point lists as opposed to full paragraphs, and it is intended to cushion members from the scare of too much reading. It serves as an introduction to the game, and pays particular attention to the process of character creation.
It covers the following in chronological order:
• Registration, rules, restrictions, and explicit content.
• Our systems, expectactions, and storyline.
• The nations of Shambala, Nibiru, and the Mag Mell.
• Item magick and general magick.
• Ethnicities, cultures, character groups, and other social elements.
For those of you with a (most welcomed) good head or heart, staff is always interested in improving the beginner's guide. We would be happy to receive your commentary and suggestions about how to make our information more accessible! Thanks, and happy exploring.
01. JOINING THE GAME
Language 3: Objectionable and mature language is permitted.
S. Content 1: Mild innuendo and references permitted. No explicit representations or references to genitalia or acts.
Violence 2: Graphic violence is permitted. Explicit description or in-game narration violence is allowed.
• This is an intermediate to advanced roleplay
, but we are friendly to ESL and other members who might have less familiarity with the English language!
We have no word limit, imposed activity checks, or mass account deletions
. Our staff does private message members who have threads that have receieved no replies in over a month.
This serves as a friendly reminder to please respond or we will archive the thread.
SHAMBALA is a collaborative effort. Everyone is equally important and entitled to their say.
• We do not allow templates for posts, plotters, and etc. because of certain elements of our website's design.
• Please be respectful and helpful towards all members
, old and new.
• Do not pressure other members into responding, plotting, or altering another character.
• The cbox is public.
Be mindful of uncomfortable personal stories, and generally inappropriate or aggressive behavior.
• Do not name drop other forums, communities, or members.
Please respect the Proboards terms of service
, as well as our expectations for explicit and mature content.
• We do not tolerate malicious on/off site gossip, repeated complaints about posting length and frequency, or otherwise passive-aggressive behavior towards other members
• We have a three strike policy regarding severe rule-breaking. Any serious attack on or harrassment of another member will end in a permanent ban
. Depending on the situation, we may do this without prior warning.
• The staff reserves the right to deny any character if we feel that they break our content rules.
• Our play-bys are illustrated. However, our members are not required to use a play-by unless they so choose.
• We do enforce character ratios. This is largely to maintain balance among in-game locations rather than gender or etc. Bans will be based on nationality.
• Miniprofile icons are 150px by 150px. Application icons are 100px by 100px. To change the miniprofile's background image, the dimensions should be 115px in height by 690px in width.
• Canons will be reopened if the member does not make regular appearances in the plot, or is unable to accomodate the interests of other members involved in the storyline.
• Treat real life issues, such as diseases, disabilities, sexuality, and others, respectfully.
• We have no character limit. Magick, deity-status, and other IC elements will be weighed on a character-by-character basis, but our standards are generally non-restrictive. Players that abuse this privilege will be banned.
• You cannot play an Unseelie or a full deity unless you personally speak with staff. Please understand that these are character types with heavy IC-restrictions and plot relevance; we want them to be created with care.
• Members may play two in-demand canons [excluding original characters made plot-heavy by members]. Any canon spot held by a first-time member has a two week grace period. If the member goes inactive or has difficulty with the role, we may ask them to consider retooling that character to be less plot-heavy.
• Your display name should be FIRST NAME LAST NAME. It should be capitalized, please.
• NPC-characters have no activity standards imposed on them.
• Your character's display name can be an alias that they go by, if that is preferred.
• You cannot play a representation of historical figure in all cases. Your characters must be original, and not belong to any other media or owner.
• We are not death-enabled. Although characters can die, this is entirely at the discretion of the player.
We enforce explicit content guidelines and trigger warnings, marked with spoiler tags. As such, some concepts are reviewed with discretion because of poor past experiences, as well as our stance on the Proboards Terms of Service.
• non-consensual abuse of any kind in a romantic light.
• graphic abuse of children, as well as romantic subplots involving characters who are under the age of thirteen.
• slavery of different kinds. Can be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
• serial murderers and/or graphically violent victim-abusers, etc. If you do choose to play this archetype, please be mindful of different comfort zones.
Note that, with the exceptions of incest or certain depictions of child characters, we do allow these themes and character types
. However, given the site's context, we feel it is important to make sure that the player is using them for character growth rather than shock value. If you are interested in our reasoning, we discuss the nature of our policy at length in the Omnibus.
SHAMBALA's staff will respect our members, even in cases of reporting, rule breaking, or personal harrassment. Whatever is shared with us will be kept entirely private; this is to avoid alienating those who belong to our community. We expect our members to also show this courtesy to us, and we encourage you to give our staff a heads up if any behavior makes your stay here uncomfortable.
02. SETTING AND SYSTEMS
SHAMBALA follows four nations on the cusp of disaster, all heralded by a prophecy of the coming end of the world. A mouth to the otherworld gapes in each, ripped open by a strange, olden magick that strings together fate and souls. At the center, a black goblet and a marble drifting in a stream's bed--small tragedies, as they say.
Thoroughly a fantasy, our game is a mixture of time periods, folk lore, and genres. Technology roughly matches that of the early 1900s and late 1800s, giving some insight into dress and cultural expectations; it does not take place prior to the invention of electricity or type, for example. SHAMBALA's lore assumes that the separate countries were largely cut off until recently, in part because transversing the landscape was a monumental task. Magick across borders is unstable and unpredictable, often treated as the most treacherous of obstacles.
While sharing a variety of ethnic backgrounds and cross-mixing, there exists animosity between all of these nations, and no one country gladly welcomes those belonging to its neighbors. Our game features the cultures that have effectively dominated for centuries--Shambala, Nibiru, and the fallen Mag Mell. Each region has specific character types, as well as magickal half-beings and mythological spirits.
• Items are assigned at birth by an alchemist in Nibiru, a witch in the Mag Mell or the Kells, or an astrologer in Shambala.
• Ascribed a certain date, they must be opened at that time and that time only. If this rule is violated, the owner of the item is cursed.
• Curses are the product of warped magick. A cursed is called an Unblessed. All four nations believe these items are the gifts of gods and goddesses, and shun those whose magick has abandoned or turned against them.
• There is not agreement on why the items exist or how they originated. This magick stems from the other realm, which is considered a place of neither deities nor men.
• Our staff will provide an item upon acceptance; curses are request-based. A member is also free to submit their own item while applying.
• In-game, items will be influenced by the random events system. A staff NPC may occasionally interrupt a marked thread and provide interesting consequences and developments to a character's item.
• They can be stolen and moved between characters. A member must submit a request in the moderation board, and their item form will be updated accordingly.
• Random events are staff orchestrated. Using an NPC account, we will provide you with in-character consequences that reflect how your item has changed. (Members are free to engineer how their items change in addition to this system, of course.)
• These events are not contingent on other character actions. They are character-specific.
• A character who is in posession of an item that did not originally belong to them manifests different and unnatural effects. This will be decided by the random events system.
• Our members are free to opt out of the random events system, as well as to request that staff make alterations that better fit their interests.
• Random event posts will never be more than three paragraphs long. Their purpose is largely to cause conflict, particularly if a member is cursed.
• These events are organized via sign-ups. A member can request a specific thread partner, no thread partner [in which case, post count will be reduced to ten between NPC and member], or ask to have their partner chosen randomly.
• If a member elects to have a thread partner, the staff NPC will only post a total of five times or less.
• They will be hosted once a month. Sign ups begin on the 5th.
• Storyline events are treated as a combination of event threads and personal plotlines. There will be approximately two per month. An event will be indictated by the dates in our board descriptions.
• They are not time sensitive; these can run for as long as the members are interested.
• In a storyline event, posts must be four hundred words or less.
• Canons and plot-heavy characters have designated roles in certain plotlines. However, our storyline events are not driven by any one character, and event threads can be taken in whatever direction best suits our members.
• Storyline events are staff-created unless otherwise specified.
• Storyline events will have an informational graphic posted in the Correspondence board. All these graphics will be treated as in-game narration.
• Subplots are storylines designed and organized by individual members of the site.
• Subplots are explored in much the same manner as plot/shipper threads; a member requests the plot they are interested in, and other members can join in on their fun.
• If a plot attracts interest from many other players, staff may consider adding it to the greater plotline as a nod to our members. By association, such plots will be able to have full storyline events.
• They are largely freeform, and have no set formatting or request sheet.
• Staff does not oversee subplot events. If there is a problem, we will message you privately and clarify what aspects clashed with the site lore or premise.
• A member can practice designing their own storyline events and subplot events in the AU board; this is a good option for players who want more freedom, or are looking to explore plotlines that might not fit SHAMBALA's current setting.
03. THE WORLD OF SHAMBALA
• The country is Asian-folklore inspired, and the game follows happenings in the city of Shangdi.
• Society is governed by a council of Sages, Princes, Astrologers, and Priests in the absence of the city's Sovereign God, the Jade Emperor, and a meticulous magic system based on Chinese astrology, the lunar calendar, and the Chinese Zodiac.
• Shangdi sits on what its people call the Heavenly Gate, which is a giant door to the spirit realm. Supposedly, this gate is what creates Shangdi's magick.
• At birth, everyone is given a box inscribed with a date and time. They must not open it until said date and time. This box is sealed by a red thread that represents destiny.
• Astrology and astrologers are very important figures in Shambalan society. They deliver these boxes and read the future using the stars. However, this is largely a societal ritual rather than factual.
• Currently, people are questioning the existence of the Jade Emperor in the government. As he is bound to the Otherworldly Gate and immortal, he never appears to his people except as a dragon who (unknowingly to the citizens of Shambala) swims though the river that splits the canal or flies a circuit around the nation on seasonal holidays.
• Astrologers are trained in the Astrologer's College, a massive observatory with an incredible telescope on the highest floor of the tower. Astrologers can predict vague aspects of the future, design star charts, summon boxes and items using magick circles, and serve as advisers to the government.
• Shangdi is built in the shape of the Chinese characters for "heaven's doorway."
• War is uncommon to Shambala, and the last occurred two hundred years ago between agents of the Demon Lord and the Jade Emperor and an alliance of guardian beasts. This war ended with both the Demon Lord and the Jade Emperor sealed away from their respective realms. Their absences allowed demons to slip into the world from beyond the Heavenly Gate. Many cursed families came in contact with vengeful demons who cursed them with a strange piece of black glass. This is the only way to curse an entire bloodline.
• It has two guardians: the Jade Emperor, the King of Life and eternal ruler of Shangdi, and his twin, who governs death and the other side of the Gate, the Demon Lord. These transform into serpentine Dragons and both the Jade Emperor and the Demon Lord is sealed under the shrine in the Gulf. Demons in Shambala are not seen as evil or cruel, but rather harbringer's of death.
• Shambala's prosperous neighbor to the East, famous for its art and architecture. There is a trade road between the two countries that is regularly traveled.
• Many natives of Nibiru are Elementalists, alchemists, sorcerers, and scientists. They have one city named Ba'al.
• Ba'al floats in the sky and is tethered to the ground by a complicated slew of magicked chains. Decorative bridges designed to resemble the night sky and done in hand-painted murals connect each district.
• They also believe in the power of the Heavenly Gate and Spirits. This is because the movement of stars is acknowledged there and influences all countries.
• Long ago, the city of Ba'al nearly fell victim to an opened gate to the Spirit Realm. To rescue their city, the ancients of Nibiru lifted it into the air on a tremendous flying carpet and sealed the cavern opened in the desert sands. This wild gate below Ba'al is akin to the Heavenly Gate and is called the Well.
• Like Shambala, and all other nations of the world, they receive an item at birth Their items arrive in beautiful glass lamps delivered by a spirit doctor.
• Half-spirits called djinn exist in the forms of Madrid or Ifrit. These govern water and fire respectively, and have inhuman luck. Other Djinn are recorded, but they have control over only a single heavenly elemental.
• These Djinn are long-lived; up to two hundred years or more. This is attributed to a legend about a goddess stealing the life from the Earth to give her to people, leaving the land barren and harsh.
• Djinn led the previous empire, now called Old Nibiru. Eventually, they were overthrown in a squirmish between humans and Djinn, and many were exiled to the ruins outside of the country's borders.
• The current Caliph recently died after ruling for several centuries. The Kings of Nibiru are bestowed power by a tower called the Hand of Heaven, and this grants them the ability to supposedly see the future prosperity of their country. Anyone can become King if they can find this legendary tower.
• Envy and warped patriotism continues to exist between the Djinn and the humans of Nibiru. This has led to the creation of many clans throughout the Desertlands, who all strive for control of the land outside Ba'al.
• It has one guardian: the goddess Nebu, who transforms into a white genie clothed entirely in gold and silk, a hairless cat, and a vulture.
MAG MELL AND THE KELLS.
• A cursed land to the North, in which all its natives died long ago. Very little information exists on what brought about the curse that left all in the Mag Mell as ghosts, but they say ill fates sank the whole city underground in an evening.
• The Mag Mell has one city called Carneval. Based loosely off the Victorian Age, Parisian cultue, the Jazz Age, and old Venice, it is below ground. A steampunk nation, machinery, elevators, and sky trams connect three layers. Because expansion was halted, Carneval was designed to be built upwards towards the ceiling of the cairn.
• There is a border-crossing and the gate to the cairn of Carneval is closed for passage inside. This is because eating food in the Mag Mell can curse and thus kill a human being.
• This border is crossed in one of the Kells' bordertowns. The Kells are a series of islands that once existed alongside the Mag Mell and are not cursed. They dislike the Sidhe, and many citizens of the Kells were once abducted along the border during the first century of the Mag Mell's curse.
• It is governed by an oligarchy called the Seelie Court. Members of these royal orders are currently non-playable.
• Most Sidhe, the proper name for the fae, are considered demonic or undesirables because of monstrous creatures called Unseelie. The Unseelie devour other Sidhe and the emotions of humans. Fae or faerie is considered an insult for its natives.
• Sidhe are oftentimes gypsy entertainers who were discriminated against in their home country, and they live in the Cour Des Miracles. They have some control over illusions, and can create pacts that bind others to their will. Pacts can be broken by creating or fulfilling another promise with the same Sidhe.
• They receive an item at birth, akin to the other cultures of the world. This is generally referred to as an "artifact" or "regalia," and is used as an heirloom passed between generations. As Sidhe no longer have children, item magick is understood as strange and somewhat irrelevant, and items are more frequently passed between owners due to their scarcity.
• You cannot kill a Sidhe, but they are weak to light. With the ability to travel as flickers of light called the will o' the wisp, some have been captured and sold as lamps to ward off bad luck.
• The Kells and Mag Mell have two guardians: the goddess Ferganda and the god Taliesin, respectively. The first appears as a horse, a rough woman, or a capricornus and the second a large flying fish or a ghostly owl. The guardian Taliesin fell with his country. They are sister and brother.
Magick in-game is largely at the player's discretion. Beyond respecting any character restrictions currently in play, we do not expect you to conform to a standard in how powerful or versatile it is. (Notably, mind control is discouraged and will be reviewed with more caution.) Most magick is understood as related to the soul and to the cyclic nature of life, death, and rebirth.
• Magick is not well-understood and is often uncontrolled. In general, magick is capable of influencing the soul, the physical and metaphysical environments, and the human senses.
• Magick is channeled through items of various sorts, and bound to the item through incantations drafted by alchemists, elementalists, spiriters, or astrologers. Many of these incantatons are individualistic and ritualized.
• Gate magick collectively refers to any magical break between the physical world and the Spirit Realm; gates exist in all nations present in-game.
• As magick governs the physics and existence of the universe in-game, it cannot be used to alter time, space, and fate willfully. Any such effect is purely coincidental.
• The guardian deities of the nations have more power over magick, but are not gods in the conventional sense. Akin to lore of spirit creatures and Pantheism, they merely represent a greater magickal existence in comparison to humans. This is true of demons and other existences.
• No magick is treated as inherently evil. Even in the case of bizarre outliers such as the Black Cup, the benevolence of magick is dependent on whoever chooses to use and interact with it.
LAMPS, BOXES, AND REGALIA.
• There is not consensus on why the items seem to have an intimate connection with the fate of the owner. All that is easily discovered is the date of its opening.
• Box magick is treated with less reverence in the Kells and Mag Mell, in part because there has been greater consequence as a result of its usage.
• Box magick is a derivative of soul magick. The items are tethered to the owner's soul, and thus never deviate from their original purpose even if stolen.
• When stolen or misplaced, the item manifests an ability that resembles its original magick, but is warped or attuned to reflect whoever comes to hold it.
• Powerful and unusual artifacts like the Black Cup are not bound to any one owner, and thus are capable of creating a myriad of different effects, curses, and magicks.
• Deities, spirits, and half-gods are not blessed with an item. They already posess an abundance of magickal ability, and are exempt from this.
05. CULTURE AND GROUPS
There are a variety of different groups that exist, and they are treated as up-to-interpretation. Members are free to incorporate folklore from multiple sources and inspirations, and we will be generally lenient on how they are played, what abilities they have, and their history and lineage.
GUARDIANS AND HALF-SPIRITS.
• Characters can be related to the guardians of the four nations; at the moment, we ask that a player do so by request.
• Spirits are a lower class of guardians, and are often creatures from folklore who have connections to the Spirit Realm. They have some power over the ebb and flow of human life.
• Spirits and half-spirits are long lived. They often exceed a hundred and twenty years old, but do not generally survive past one hundred and forty.
• Spirits and half-spirits do age. They are not immortal and they do not receive items at birth. When they die, they retain the memories of their prior reincarnatons, but the depth and knowledge of these memories varies.
• Many have unusual characteristics, and they are somewhat inhuman in appearance. A hybrid of animal and human qualities is not atypical.
DEMONS, UNSEELIE, AND SIDHE.
• Demons, Sidhe, and Unseelie all arise from the same source: a soul magick specific to the Spirit Realm. Sidhe and Unseelie are its corrupted form given life. This explains the relationship between the Fae and death.
• The above groups are technical immortals, but Unseelie and Sidhe do not exceed around one-hundred and sixty years in age.
• Demons often possess dreams, the senses, and the body. All these groups are shapeshifters and typically have more than one manifestation.
• Few Unseelie and Demons exist. This is because Shambala had the ability to seal Demons in demon jars, and passed this technology to the Kells and Mag Mell after Carneval fell. Thus, the handful of surviving Unseelie often escaped from Demon Jars, where they killed their brethren in order to do so.
• Like their fellows, Demons also prefer to move through shadow and in the midst of twilight and evening. Although sunlight is not damaging per se, it causes discomfort among Sidhe, Demons, and the Unseelie.
• They do not have living bodies, and do not experience physical sensation. (In the case of the Unseelie, this spreads to emotional sensation.) Many feed off the souls and emotional worlds of others, which makes them parasitic-like; at the very least, they have little connection to the physical world.
• Only demons are capable of having children. Sidhe and Unseelie are truly undead, and are not capable of supporting unborn life.
• There is no such thing as a Sidhe or Unseelie halfling. Changelings, however, do exist; if a human is killed in or eats food from the Carneval, they become Sidhe.
UNBLESSED AND GYPSIES.
• The Unblessed are the lowest social class in strictly Shambala. They are regarded as second class citizens, designated by the Cat Zodiac, and are thought of as abandoned by the Jade Emperor.
• Unblessed live in ghettos alongside those of their own class. They often deal in occupations that involve the removal of dead bodies, garbage disposal, servitude, prostituion, or other activities that are implictly treated as "dirty" or socially unacceptable.
• Occasionally, one can be re-classed as a Cat by means of marrying lower or to someone who is foreign-born. Ostracization or being disowned by your clan are alternative methods to enter the Cat class.
• The Zodiac system is flexible, and Astrologers have tooled it to reflect their own interests. By paying a hefty sum and altering birth records clandestinely, it is possible to move up in social class irrespective of your original caste.
• Fae, travelers, and nomads are called "gypsies." This is a derogatory term; it generally refers to any exile who crosses between borders. It often includes those who marry outside of their nation.
• Gypsies and Unblessed implicitly understood to be one in the same. Cursed in Nibiru and the Mag Mell are redesignated as Gypsy, and were generally outcast. Like their Shambalan counterparts, they were social pariahs.
• Given that the often live in harsh conditions and with little support, both groups find permanent residents difficult to obtain. Gypsies specifically identify themselves as nomadic, whereas Unblessed are often subject to forced relocation.