The Occupation's Stories

Added by Belandan over 6 years ago

<OOC intro>
Occupations are one of the more recent additions to Ryzom, though they've been ingame for many months now and have firmly established their place on Atys.

And still we don't have a snippet of lore about them! No backgrounds on where they came from, no explanations on why they were suddenly opened up to the players one day. Nothing at all! For anyone who's into the story element of Ryzom, this is a gross oversight.

And thus I've taken it upon myself to correct it; writing for each occupation a background that is firmly rooted in the established Ryzom lore, history of the homin races, and current situation on Atys. Backgrounds that explain why the occupations opened when they did and work as they do.

Starting now, I shall release these stories on a weekly basis, covering one occupation per week, until all 8 occupations have been covered.


Replies

RE: The Occupation's Stories - Added by Belandan over 6 years ago

Magnetic Cartographer
A Zoraï occupation

The Zoraï have always had an innate sensitivity to magnetism. Before they ever called it magnetism, the prehistoric Zoraï tribes already flocked to areas of the jungles that 'felt good'. Back then they called it Lao'Qi or "good energy". (Not to be confused with the modern Zoraï word Qi'Lao which means healing magic.)

In most Zoraï, this sensitivity was minor, and resulted only in a slight increase in day-to-day happiness when living in an area of high Lao'Qi. The first magnetic cartographers thus were Zoraï who had a greater sensitivity to Lao'Qi, and who could actually follow the magnetic lines and track down places of high magnetism. Ofcourse in the early days, many who claimed to have this ability were just charlatans.

But as the Zoraï tribes united into a nation, the occupation became more organised. A dynastic guild of magnetic cartographers was founded, which devised official tests that a Zoraï had to pass to become a recognised magnetic cartographer, as well as methods to teach new Zoraï how to properly sense magnetic lines. This was made much easier when the Kami taught the Zoraï magic, which seems to be related to magnetism is ways that aren't quite understood yet, but in any case knowing magic made it much easier to sense magnetic fields.

As Zoraï technology progressed, they eventually also found ways to measure magnetism with tools. This constituted a major breakthrough as it turned magnetic cartography into an objectively measurable science. A simple device the Zoraï invented to measure the direction of the magnetic field was basically a three-dimensional compass. They also discovered that magnetism was related to electricity, leading to the modern term Bzhé-Lor, or "electric force".

Magnetic Cartography easily survived the Great Swarming. The knowledge was widespread, and the surviving Zoraï refugees brought with them to the New Lands both intact cartography instruments, and trained cartographers who could sense magnetism without instruments. In fact the first thing they did on arrival was search out an area of very high magnetism to build the new capital of Zora on. However, once the entire Witherings had been magnetically mapped, it was no longer necessary to have more than a handful of Zoraï work as Magnetic Cartographers.

That changed only recently, when the Zoraï noticed that the magnetic fields in Maiden Grove had begun fluctuating. It started small but over time the fluctuations became ever greater. The Zoraï had no idea what was going on, and for an attempt to figure that out, they would need to know exactly how the magnetic fields fluctuated over time. Thus regular repeated measurements at fixed locations became necessary. This is why the Magnetic Cartographers have now started taking on dozens of apprentices to repeat the same measurements over and over, compiling a huge list of data that will hopefully provide a clue to the mystery.

As the fluctuations appear in Maiden Grove, most apprentices are send to that region. However, since Maiden Grove borders the Cities of Intuition, and fluctuations in the magnetics fields around the Zoraï cities could actually have consequences on Zoraï society, the newest apprentices are send to monitor the magnetic fields in Cities of Intuition, to continuously make sure the fluctuations have not reached that far yet. So far, they haven't.

For some reason, Zoraï magnetic cartographers have never been able to measure any magnetic fields in other ecosystems. Many theories circulate about why the magnetic fields are so much stronger in jungle regions, but none is conclusive.

RE: The Occupation's Stories - Added by Belandan over 6 years ago

Medic
A Zoraï occupation

Each homin race has always had some knowledge of which local plants could serve as medicine, even in prehistoric times. But the Zoraï have always practised Medicine the most extensively, as a side-effect of their everlasting struggle against the Goo. Ever since the first Zoraï attempted to remove Goo by simply plucking it with his bare hands, and developed horrible boils on his hands as a result, the search for remedies against the effects of Goo on homins has gone hand in hand with the Zoraï's search for ways to combat the Goo.

The ancient Zoraï scoured their jungles for all the different kinds of plants they could gather and started mixing them into balsams. After many years of experimentation, they managed to find combinations of plants that helped Goo-afflicted wounds to heal better. As a side-effect, they also found many balsams that helped against regular, non Goo-related injuries.

As the Zoraï came into contact with the other homin civilisations, they also started scouring the other ecosystems for ever more ingredients to experiment with. Some Zoraï travelling to Pyre, the old Fyros capital, even brought back plants that the Fyros had extracted from the Prime Roots. Over many decades the Zoraï perfected their balsam-recipes.

But all that changed when the Kami started teaching the Zoraï magic. At first only a few Zoraï merely dabbled in magic, barely able to create a spark, but over time magic became more widespread and more powerful. And why did the Zoraï need balsams, that took much effort to create and only healed injuries slowly, when any magician could just cast a healing spell and heal the same injuries instantly with hardly any effort?

Over time, healing magic overtook the practice of traditional medicine, Healers replaced Medics in Zoraï society, and the knowledge of bandages and balsams only remained in old documents and the minds of a few traditionalists. No surprise then, that after the Great Swarming that killed most of the Zoraï and destroyed all of their libraries, there was nothing of this knowledge left amongst the surviving Zoraï refugees.

The Medic occupation would've been lost forever, but unexpectedly returned to the scene only recently. In the last decades, scientists studying the Goo have found hints that the use of magic speeds up the expansion of the Goo. This gave rise to a movement to minimalise the use of magic. Homins quickly realised that although elemental and affliction magic were not always necessary and could be used less, they had no alternative for healing magic.

And it was amongst this climate that some Zoraï scientists got their hands on an amber cube from the Old Lands that contained lost knowledge of the Medic occupation. Nobody's quite sure where it came from, though accusations fly that they purchased it from the Marauders. Regardless these Zoraï decided to use this amber cube to reinstate the Medic occupation and so put a stop to hominkind's dependence on healing magic.

They realised it would take many years to rediscover all the recipes, so they decided to start with the simplest of the more powerful balsams on record. Unfortunately this balsam required plants very specifically from the Prime Roots beneath the Old Lands. Similar plants from the Prime Roots in the New Lands didn't have the same effect, so currently the ingredients for the only balsam that's been rediscovered can only be obtained from the Kitins' Lair below Almati Wood.

RE: The Occupation's Stories - Added by Belandan over 6 years ago

Water-Carrier
A Tryker occupation

Water-carrier as an occupation has existed for a long time, but has had very different meanings over the course of history. Today it is a Tryker occupation, but in prehistoric times you wouldn't have found any water-carriers amongst the Tryker. The lakelands of Trykoth had plenty of water everywhere, so nobody would've been able to make a living off selling it. Wytt-selleen, "water-sharing", was even an ancient Tryker term meaning pointless activity.

No, the first water-carriers were Fyros. The prehistoric Fyros tribes were desert nomads, always travelling between oases, and so water was a scarce and thus valuable commodity for them. A Fyros water-carrier's duty was both to carry the people to water (guide the tribe to oases), and to carry water for the people (the water reserves for on the road as the tribe moved on again). All the nomadic Fyros tribes depended on their water-carriers for their survival, and so the position was one of great esteem.

The water-carrier occupation underwent it's first mutation as the Fyros went from being nomadic tribes to building cities around the oases. In the following era, water-carriers were the Fyros who ferried water from the oasis cities through the often perilous desert to the outlying camps and outposts. It was a more dangerous and less prestigious job than what water-carrier had originally meant.

Water-Carrier in it's modern form arose out of the alliance that the Fyros, once they were united into the Fyros Empire, struck up with the Tryker Federation. The Tryker would supply the Fyros with water in return for Fyros protection against the Matis. This worked so well for the Fyros that their population soon outgrew what the oases could support, and the Fyros Empire became completely dependant on Tryker water. The occupation of water-carrier was gradually taken up by less and less Fyros, and by more and more Tryker.

The job of these Tryker water-carriers was primarily to take water-convoys from the lakelands to the desert, along the famous North-South water route through Matis lands. But this only lasted until the two nations completed an aqueduct along the route through which the water could be pumped directly from the lakes to the desert. The water-carriers were then forced to find a new source of business, and turned to providing luxury water for the wealthier Fyros.

Thus the occupation came to be increasingly about finding the right kinds of specialised water: Spring water, dew water, rain water, well water... The Water Company became one of the most powerful entities in the politics of Old Trykoth. They had a representative in Taliari meetings, and there are even records of them petitioning full entry into the Taliari. But their rise to power was cut short by the Great Swarming.

Though the knowledge of the water-carrier occupation survived the Great Swarming, the water-carriers' operations were heavily dependant on their infrastructure, which was all destroyed by the Kitin and left behind by the survivors. Building it all up again from scratch in the New Lands proved to be very costly and time-consuming. Springs had to be mapped, water-towers had to be build, wells had to be dug, quality samples had to be taken and analysed, and dozens of quality controllers and water operators had to be recruited and trained.

It further delayed the rebuilding that the Fyros didn't have as much need for water anymore as they did in the Old Lands. The Burning Desert they now inhabited had enough oases to supply what was left of the Fyros population with water. So re-establishing the Water Company was not much of a priority for the Tryker in the first few decades after they settled in Aeden Aqueous.

Only after the guard-posts were build in the outlying lakeland regions in 2546, could the Water Company finally set up their operations there. And only when the Burning Desert was hit by a drought in 2551 did sufficient demand for their services arise that they dared to take the final leap and re-open their occupation. They're now massively in debts due to having to lend the dapper to build all their new infrastructure, and hoping to turn a profit again soon.

RE: The Occupation's Stories - Added by Belandan over 6 years ago

Larvester
A Tryker occupation

Larvester is the newest occupation, and the only one that didn't exist in any form before the Great Swarming. Before the Great Swarming, homins had never even heard of kitins, let alone their larvae. One could say that where many occupations died in the Great Swarming, Larvester was born in it.

Though not instantly, ofcourse. In the first few years after the discovery of kitins, all homins were either immediately killed by those kitins, or far too busy with not getting killed to spare any thought about the reproduction methods of the insectoid terrors they were fleeing from. And the homins that survived eventually settled in the New Lands, where there weren't any kitin or their larvae to be found.

It took several years for kitin to follow the homins to the New Lands, and then several years more before they started building nests there. And even then, homins were still so traumatized by their memory of the Great Swarming that nobody would ever dare set a foot inside those nests.

But gradually, the new generation overcame their fear of kitin and learned to fight back. And they realised they needed to learn all they could about this enemy to stand a chance. It's unknown whether the first larvae were discovered by a homin army attempting to clear out a kitin nest, or by a suicidally brave explorer daring to venture into a nest alone, but by 2525 it was becoming well known that some kitin larvae made great crafting materials.

These larvae appeared to be a special kind that could only be found in small quantities near kitin queens - possibly these are the larvae that new queens grow from. Most larvae found inside kitin lairs, and sometimes even outside, were unsuitable for crafting and considered useless. Until some curious Tryker discovered that with the proper treatment they could be made into very tasty snacks.

There is some debate over who discovered the recipes, but as early as 2530 there are records of kitin larvae being served in the bar in Thesos, under the slogan "get revenge on the kitin by eating their young!" For the next two decades however, kitin larvae remained a rare and expensive delicacy, as there were only a few kitin nests in the New Lands, and only a few particularly skilled Tryker explorers who were crazy enough to sneak into these nests just to steal a few snacks.

When the Kitin Lair was discovered beneath Almati Wood, most homins reacted with shock, but the Larvesters smelled opportunity. Properly exploring it, they found it to be full of unprecedented amounts of larvae. But more importantly, since they lacked the numbers to exploit the Kitin Lair by themselves, they also found materials highly useful to other occupations. Armed with this knowledge, and intent on finally turning their niche business into a huge enterprise, they negotiated the joint operation to exploit the Kitin Lair.

RE: The Occupation's Stories - Added by Belandan over 6 years ago

Toolmaker
A Fyros occupation

The other homin races often mock that the Fyros toolmaker occupation originated from every Fyros' burning desire for ever-harder objects to hit things with. And most Fyros would proudly affirm this, and point out that the other races always say this with a twinge of jealousy.

All homin civilisations have made tools for as far back as their histories go. Tools were the driving force behind civilisation's progress, and the best measure of it. Though not remarkable toolmakers in prehistoric times, the Fyros became unique in their toolcrafting once they started building cities and mastering fire. They were the only homin race willing to use fire on an industrial scale, something the other races shunned away from because of the risk of wildfires, which the Fyros in their desert didn't need to worry about.

So while the other races forbade such use of fire, the Fyros built huge forges inside their cities. While the Zoraï shaped their tools out of amber, the Tryker tied pieces of shells together with fiber, and the Matis grew their tools as living plants, the Fyros in their great forges fire-toughened their wooden tools to become far stronger than the tools made by the other civilisations.

The opening of the Water Route provided a huge demand for these tools, as the Fyros and the Tryker decided to construct an aqueduct from the lakes to the desert. Only the hardened Fyros tools proved sufficient for the digging through the bark that was required. The increased trade from the water route also led to the Fyros exporting many tools to the Tryker. Tools that the Matis captured in turn when they conquered the Tryker lands.

Thus both Matis and Tryker learned to appreciate the Fyros tools. After the war was over, both nations imported Fyros tools, though while continuing to make their own tools as well. Even the Zorai, isolated behind their great wall, imported some Fyros tools, but never in large quantities. The few tools they imported often became valuable exotic treasures prized by the Zoraï master crafters.

The great disasters of the 25th century could not quell the Fyros enthusiasm for forging. The Fire of Coriolis did increase Fyros concern about the dangers of fire, but this was short-lived as the forged weapons proved vital in repelling the Matis invasion that followed. And the knowledge of toolmaking was widespread enough to survive the Great Swarming. With the few tools that the Fyros refugees managed to take with them to the New Lands, they immediately built a new Forge, as one of the first buildings that would make up Pyr.

But for decades, the great Forge was closed to the public, as the Emperor and Senate decided it was crucial to focus it's output on the rebuilding of the Empire. "The Forge is the heart of our Empire, and we can't have every amateur toolmaker running around in there, disturbing operations and using up vital resources to craft themselves fancier dinnerforks", as one Senator reportedly put it. Tools from the forge were vital for various Fyros construction projects, like Thesos and Dyron, the roads through the desert, the bridges over the outlaw canyon, the canal from Thesos Springs to Thesos, and finally the outposts.

As the new Fyros Empire became more established and secure, the population began calling for the Forge to also be opened for public use. But the official public opening was delayed again and again for years, which in hindsight was blamed on the corruption within the Senate and the Akenak, who were rumoured to be taking bribes from the Zessen family that wanted to keep their monopoly on the Forge.

Finally, the corrupt Akenaks and Senators were ousted in 2547. Now the only thing delaying the public opening of the Forge was the slowness of the Fyros bureaucracy. When a drought threatened the Burning Desert in 2551, the Senate realised the population would need an encouragement to see it through. They rushed the measure into effect and finally gave order to open up the Forge, and the toolmaker occupation, to the entire public.

RE: The Occupation's Stories - Added by Belandan over 6 years ago

Butcher
A Fyros occupation

In ancient times, when homin civilisation consisted only of nomadic tribes, all races obtained most of their food from hunting. In those early days the hunters were also the butchers, and butcher didn't emerge as a separate occupation until the tribes started herding cattle along with them. Hunting became less necessary, but the meat still needed to be prepared.

When the tribes settled down into cities and organised into nations, homins turned to gathering and agriculture to supply most of their food. Though all civilisations also kept meat in their diet, the butcher occupation lost it's monopoly position. It remained most prevalent amongst the desert-dwelling Fyros. Few plants that are edible by homins will grow in the desert, but plenty of animals have adapted to thrive there, and most can be eaten by homins with the proper preparation.

Further helping to preserve the butcher occupation was the warrior culture of the Fyros, which led to a widely held notion that "true Fyros eat meat". Some speculate that the prehistoric Fyros believed, as some Frahar still do, that eating an animal gives you it's power. No actual evidence exists that Fyros ever believed that, but for as far back as written history goes, most Fyros did believe meat gave them strength where other food provided only sustenance.

Thus while the other homin races adapted to a diet based mostly on plants, the Fyros continued to prefer a meat diet. In particularly the Fyros warriors, as they were judged to be most in need of the strength that meat provided. Fyros butchers always experimented to find better recipes, believing it would help the Fyros warriors. "Meat prevents blood" was a popular saying that butchers used to promote their trade.

The butcher occupation was common enough to emerge unchanged from the Great Swarming, and carried on in the New Lands as if nothing had happened. But it was nevertheless dramatically changed by the kitin decades later. Recently it was discovered that the cattle held by kitin provided meat that somehow brought the strengthening effect up to miraculous proportions.

This was actually the Larvesters' idea. They figured "larvae from a kitin lair have miraculous effects on homins, so maybe cattle from a kitin lair will too". Stealing cattle from the kitin wasn't easy, but no harder than stealing their larvae, so the Larvesters managed. They brought their captured cattle before the Fyros butchers, and their suspicions were confirmed. Fyros scientists are both baffled and alarmed, and already positing theories that whatever the kitin are doing with their cattle must be the secret of the kitins' power.

Since the discovery, the occupation of butcher is undergoing a rapid transformation. While for all of it's history it has been a very common occupation practised mostly by the lower class, a new butcher occupation is now emerging as an upper-class occupation reserved only for a few elites. There is fierce competition amongst the normal butchers about who will become the lucky few to advance to 'kitin-cattle' butchers.

It's expected this new occupation will soon distance itself from 'normal butchers', but right now the two are still intermingled. The practitioners of the new occupation are mostly former 'normal butchers' whose climb up the career ladder was so sudden and unexpected, they haven't had time to get used to their new status yet. They still call themselves butchers, still dress shabbily, and still practise their occupation in the streets.

RE: The Occupation's Stories - Added by Belandan over 6 years ago

Florist
A Matis occupation

Florist has always been an occupation that epitomised Matis values, combining aesthetics, botany, and romance. Even when the Matis were nothing more than tribes of hunter-gatherers, their customs already involved using flowers to decorate their belongings, their clothes, and their bodies. So it wasn't long before there were Matis who specialised in hunting and gathering all the various flowers throughout the forest.

These Matis came to be known as florists. Later on, they realised they could also grow flowers in locations of their choosing, thus saving the trouble of having to seek them. It is said that not only were Matis growing and cultivating flowers long before they ever started growing food-crops, but that in fact agriculture was invented when Matis realised they could do with food what they'd already been doing with flowers.

As the Matis tribes settled down, they also wished to decorate their houses with flowers. Floristry blossomed and florists started creating ever more complicated floral works. And soon a bright florist realised that rather than decorate objects with flowers, some objects could be made completely out of flowers. This eventually gave rise to the Matis tradition of growing objects and later even buildings directly as plants. But these practices quickly branched off from floristry, leaving floristry as quite a but less.

During the era of the first Matis Kingdom, floristry became one of the few ways for Matis women to earn respect. Matis society had strict gender roles in those days, and floristry was strictly a woman's job. Not that Matis men didn't think aesthetics to be important - they thought it highly important, which is why girls skilled at it were highly prized as brides.

Modern Matis women might've thought it oppressive, but at the time it wasn't perceived as such. The Matis fiercely believe that each homin should strive for their true place in society, and it was obvious women were better than men at both aesthetics and nurturing, the two qualities necessary for a florist. Men in turn were better at warfare, politics, science, just to name a few things. That this happened to include all positions of powers just proved men were meant to rule.

But that most Matis women were fine with their roles didn't make the system less oppressive for those Matis women who were better at 'male roles' like science. For many female Matis scientific minds, floristry was a back-door to still participate in botanic science. Most botanists condescendingly considered floristry to be just a cute hobby, but many florists actually made important contributions to botany. Ofcourse, they never received credit and their names were never remembered.

A number of florists survived the Great Swarming, after which followed the period of Prime-Roots Exile which forced all races to live together and so gave the equality-movement a burst forward. Thus once the Matis survivors started building their new Kingdom, the florists had hope that floristry no longer needed to be a separate lesser occupation, that it could merge with botany. And so it happened, but the merger was only partly successful. Old prejudices died hard and the more progressive florists continued clashing with the more traditional botanists.

After decades of arguing over various issues, a subgroup of florists came to the conclusion this was not the way to get their occupation respected. The news that other occupations were opening up to the public was the last nudge they needed to split off their occupation once again. They're now trying to recruit more members from all walks of life, both to validate their movement and to shake off the age-old image that floristry is only for Matis women.

RE: The Occupation's Stories - Added by Belandan over 6 years ago

Scrollmaker
A Matis occupation

The history of scrollmaking is intrinsically connected with the history of writing. And there is no consensus over who invented writing. Some historians say the Zorai first developed writing and spread the practice to the other races. Others say that writing is old enough to pre-date the contact between homin races, which means each race developed writing separately. Yet others say the Karavan taught homins writing.

Whatever the case, each race developed it's own distinct script, reflecting what they considered important. The Fyros script firstly needed to be practical, to convey the harsh truth as directly as possible. The Tryker script came to exemplify freedom and fun, causing there to be huge variations within it, which often made other races consider it chaotic.The Zorai script became a philosophical script pur sang. It's said a Zorai exit sign does not simply say "exit", but contains an implicit essay questioning the nature of what it means to be inside, what it means to be outside, and what it means to exit something.

And the Matis script, ofcourse, needed foremost to be beautiful and elegant. Over time, the aesthetic Matis script became so time-consuming and difficult to write, that the Matis developed a simplified version of their alphabet for use in daily life, while the real script was preserved only for artistic works and important writs. Most day-to-day writing was done on cheap parchment. Real scrolls were expensive and only used for writing that needed to be preserved longer or was otherwise of particular importance.

It should also be noted that in those early days, writing was steeped in superstition. It was believed letters and words held magical powers, and some were used as wards to fend of evil magic. Ofcourse, there really is much unknown magic on Atys, so to this day it's unknown how much of these beliefs were false and how much actually worked.

Each race kept it's own scrollmakers and it's own ways of making scrolls, until the Zorai invented amber cubes. From that time on, for any large amount of information needing to be kept for a long time, amber cubes proved far more efficient than scrolls. Writing only remained for quick messages, which was done on parchment, and as artistic writing which was done on walls, banners, or objects. Scrolls weren't needed for either.

The only homin race that continued making scrolls were the Matis. Partly for the decorum it provided to Royal messages. But mostly because the Matis elite, being a society of crafters, had developed a belief that writing in the elegant Matis script on the most fine scrolls with the most rare ink provided a ward against bad luck and failures.

Since only the finest scrolls and rarest ink would do, this practice was an expensive one reserved only for the master crafters. Thus there were only a few Matis who mastered the art, and they were all lost in the Great Swarming. The occupation remained lost until a mysterious Matis popped up, claiming to be the last scrollmaker, having learned the art from his grandfather. His claim would be heavily questioned, were it not that his skills speaks for itself.

After working with the Larvesters to secure a source of materials that are sufficiently rare and precious, he set up business to train more scrollmakers. He claims his goal is not wealth, but to revive his ancient art. Although he has been officially recognised by the Royal Court as the Master Scrollmaker, he has turned down their offers to take up an official function at the Court, choosing instead to teach his occupation in the marketplace to anyone willing to learn.

RE: The Occupation's Stories - Added by Belandan over 6 years ago

<Intermission>

This concludes all 8 occupations. I hope you have enjoyed the stories. But don't tune out just yet! I'll have 2 more bonus/epilogue articles coming up, which will each have one more paragraph on every occupation.

Meanwhile, a question has been raised that perhaps I should've addressed right in my opening statement: What if people disagree with these?

I've taken great care to make sure my stories fit inside the official lore and do not contradict it anywhere. But it is ofcourse always possible that I've made a mistake somewhere, so I appreciate such mistakes pointed out.

And while being made to fit inside the official lore, these stories are still just fan-speculation. So it's quite possible that other players already had different ideas about what the occupations' background stories should be. If any players have their own occupations-speculations that disagree with mine, I would encourage them to post their versions in this thread as well!

I am not here to dictate to you readers how it should be, I'm here to offer one possibility for your amusement and contemplation. I would love to see alternative possibilities about how the occupations came to be! Now that my series is complete, by all means let the alternative theories commence.

Meanwhile, as said, I'll have 2 more bonus articles coming up before I sign off myself. I hope they'll still be enjoyed as well.

</Intermission>