As described above, magic retained its stigma throughout our history. We have always been wary of the capable magician, with his tricks and games. While always respected for their knowledge of many issues, it was not until they discovered the power of the Loba gem that their productive place in our world was truly realized.
In the year 5669, Iskandrese Fulman, a master magi, had finally figured out the special quality of Loba. He spent much time on the island of Vaeloria studying with gnomish scholars. It was they had heard the story of magical bizarreness in the south lands of Habua. He had them follow up this with an expedition to the area. A local explained to them that these gems that had bizarre properties, causing his livestock to mutate, rocks to levitate, and other strangeness. After much study, he concluded that these gems can be imbued with magic properties and spells, with much less effort than it would take for normal magic item creations (1/100th the normal price). When properly channeled into items, these items possessed the same properties of their gems.
With this began a revolution in science and engineering. Weapons have become much more deadly, and high rise buildings have risen higher than ever before with platform lifts. A new era has dawned on our people because of his work. Glory!
Loba in Maran Society.
The introduction of Loba has altered Maran society drastically. Most notably, the availability cheap, easily accessible magic items has provided an increase in the influence of the warrior cast; the largest in Maran society outside of slaves.
This cast is not only populous, but thanks to recent wars, extremely rich.
The average legionary returning home from foreign wars can now augment his base skill with magical spells, speed, protection and understanding; all at a fraction of the cost of typical ‘enchanted items’ known throughout Maran society as ‘True Magic.’ True magic items are still available, and many soldiers possess those passed down from generation to generation as they are typically built into extremely well made items.
Loba however is a different story. While Loba can be crafted into masterwork items, the inexpensive nature of the rock has kept that practice to a minimum. Even the wealthy legionaries cannot afford the thousands of sesterchi added to the cost of a ‘cheap’ magical item provided by a master artisan.
The plebs benefit from the national adoption of Loba. Better roads, cheaper buildings and the availability of faraway wonders (not to mention basics like food and drink) impact the average freedman and citizen simply by lowering the cost of daily life.
On many occasions, a Plebian may save several weeks, months or even years of coin to buy some small magic item, but they are often either used to help around the home, shop or to add a small degree of skill to martial prowess.
However, the Soldier class adoption of Loba has honed their skill to even deadlier refinement, and buying small weapons with small effect will still lose to a skilled warrior who likely possesses both more magical enhancement, and more raw talent.
The nobility of Mara shares the Plebian benefit of Loba in that they are able to take credit for the improvements in the lives of the lower casts. Otherwise, Loba does not impact the daily lives of those who already had enough wealth to purchase true magic items, and indeed still do.
Loba has provided a boost in trade and commerce, and so the upper classes of society reap that rich reward, and it has become a fashionable sign of status to display true magic items in the more lavish parties in town, and in the houses of the senate.
Throughout the Republic:
Loba has become an integral piece of Maran society. Wearing the stone unabashedly and proudly is extremely common. Most legionaries, mercenaries and honorable freedmen own several Loba work items, and doing so in no way slights the owner; be it in daily life or combat.
The Maran culture has long contested with vengeful Gods, and having survived much strife, they see their newfound rock as the pinnacle of Maran achievement on Erda.
There are a few exceptions only to this rule:
Loba is considered legal in all fights and duels made honorably, except in the noble class, or where a member of the noble cast is in any way involved. A duel, made properly and in legal sight of God’s and men of high birth should be made with witnesses and without the use of either Loba OR true magic items, as has long been the case.
To refuse a duel on grounds of no magic items is still permitted, although the refusing party is often outcast from his local society as a coward.
In addition, secretly holding onto magic items when declaring yourself void of them is seen as a high insult, and will result, typically, in exile or death.
Slaves are permitted the use of Loba only when their owner has obtained a state licenses to thusly clad his property. Slaves using Loba or true magic without their owners proper licensing will be held responsible and be sentence by the courts as deemed fit, though typically this results in death.
Some of the old warrior’s newly returned from the battlefield take offense to Loba and the skills it brings, seeing their hard fought talents, sharpened through years of blood and toil, cheapened by young upstarts trying to make a name for themselves. Because of this, and because of the current abundance of skilled veterans, there are some citizens and particularly some regions where wearing Loba combat items is seen as weakness.
Nowhere is it illegal, or will action even be brought against wearers, but just as a fool in his motley need tread lightly in some of the rougher wine-sinks of the world, there are places where men frown upon the ‘cheap trick’ of Loba and will turn away at its coming.
Although a practice hundreds of years old, boxing and dueling for sport has been something of a rarity throughout the civilized world outside of the great arenas, until recent years. The explosion of Loba magic and its effects on combat have taken the spectacles of the grand area and coliseums of the republic into a more intimate setting; the blood bit.
Usually set within wine-sinks, pubs and fight houses, these are simple pits in the ground, with two shallow graves dug in them, and a hard wood placed over the grave. Two men enter, having agreed to do so, and place all Loba and Magic items within their respective graves, and fight as the God’s once intended.
Some pits practice weapon fights, and some elaborate martial arts, but most are a crude form of brute, bare-knuckle boxing. While combat ‘to the death’ is rare, it does happen occasionally as an accident.
Warriors who frequently kill inside non death battles will usually be refused the right to participate, although they are typically still permitted to bet on contestants.
While Mara revels in the glory of its new science and magic, much of the rest of the world looks on with envious eyes. Loba is not exclusive to the republic, but few others have the coin with which to hire those possessing the skill to craft the stuff.
There are a few notable exceptions:
The Sylvan Elves:
The Sylvan Elves, warriors in their own right, see Loba as an insult to martial combat. While many still use it to ‘keep up’ with what they consider a Maran grab for power, they do so sparingly.
While the Sylvan have always tolerated true magic items because of not only the skill taken to produce them, but also their lavish cost, keeping them limited and secure within families or schools, they see Loba as a threat. Having long lives, most elvish warriors come into their prime already having fought more battles than a Human could in an entire lifetime, and so cheap combat magic is seen as a threat to what they consider their individual martial dominance. While Mara has always triumphed on the field, the Sylvan have long been considered the masters of singular combat.
Oryon Swiftfoot, widely regarded as the greatest warrior ever born, refuses to use any magic at all, save a single chain choker of true magic. What it does, none living know.
Still, at the age of 670, Oryon is one of the oldest living creatures on the planet, and none surpasses his knowledge of war.
Many elves will color their Loba and true magic items brightly, showing off not how many, but how few they possess.
Warriors traveling to the elf lands should always use caution, but especially so when wearing large amounts of Loba; these savage creatures value nothing above their personal glory, and will offer a to duel at the drop of a hat. Be warned that the warrior you face, no matter how young and boyish his face may look, has probably been at war since your grandfather’s grandfather was born.
Partially responsible for the creation of Loba, they utilize it with vigor. Rarely using its combat variances, they imbue everyday items with Loba as a way of making life for the little people easier. Buying combat items in Valorish country is not difficult, but they tend to center around trade ports where other races and cultures mingle.
Deep in their homeland, the rock transforms the Vaeloran way of life like nowhere on erda, Mara itself included.
The squat dwarf, reptile and orcish variants of Erda are new to the concept of cheap magic. Many have practiced their own brutal forms of enchantment and casting for thousands of years, and the skill to craft Loba items, while unknown to them, may not be something they care much for.
It remains to be seen what effect this wondrous rock will have on their typically savage social structure.