The Lore of VulcanVerse- The Mountains of Boreas
Exploring the Frozen Land of the North Wind
The world of VulcanVerse — the MMORPG itself and the ecosystem of other games based in the same fantasy Greco-Roman era, is anchored by the lore as written by award winning fantasy authors Jamie Thomson and Dave Morris. As well as the lore underpinning the games, players can delve in further by reading the four VulcanVerse gamebooks, each set in one of VulcanVerse’s quadrants — with a fifth book on the way set in Vulcan’s home, the central Vulcan City.
In our recent podcast, Vulcan Studios art and design team members Kimon and Rene discussed how the lore influences all of VulcanVerse’s design — from concept art to complete 3D assets. Following on from our introduction to the lore, we’re now arriving in the frozen plateau quadrant known as the Mountains of Boreas..
The first thing a visitor to Boreas would notice is that it’s high up. In fact, it’s at the same level as the fortified Vulcan City itself, the only quadrant to be so. The outer edge of Boreas is surrounded by mountains with the inner area a mixture of forests, caves and tundra. A rocky cliff face stands to the eastern extent of the land, where Boreas gives way to the Gardens of Arcadia. To the south, another cliff exists with an even deeper drop down into the depths of the Underworld of Hades.
Today, the human inhabitants are busy building on their land but Boreas wasn’t always this way.
“In the high peaks that stretch to the floor of heaven, amid howling winds and engulfing blizzards, lurk mysteries that have waited since the dawn of time. Labyrinths of a lost civilization, now crumbling and almost deserted but still home to treasures and dangers. The mountain stronghold of the Halizons, as distrustful of strangers as their sister tribe the Amazons. Mechanical marvels built to plumb the depths of the cosmos. The fortress where Boreas, once lord of all this land, has been trapped by the forces of darkness that are working to conquer all.”
The Pillars of the Sky
Before we look at the history of the Mountains of Boreas, we must look at the changes that have happened as Vulcan shaped this new land — where man meets god.
Forging A New Olympus
Many stories are handed down about the Boreas of the past — many of these stories can be explored in ancient tomes if you can find them (hint — the gamebooks!). The template for Vulcan’s new Olympus, VulcanVerse itself existed in the deep past, in times of myth and mystery. In creating the digital, blockchain VulcanVerse, Vulcan in all his godly genius took the best of the VulcanVerse of old, that of the map we know so well and recreated it, opening the gates for today’s mortals to enter. This new VulcanVerse is smaller than the ancient place and above all quadrants, Boreas saw the greatest changes.
To allow humanity the space to build, Vulcan as though clearing away children’s toys picked up and removed many of the mountains, passes, caves and grottos, creating a large, flat, raised plateau. It was as though much of the old terrain was never there to begin with, except where Vulcan did wipe clean, he allowed the strange power of the former sacred places — the temples, the monuments, to remain. With the arrival of humans and the use of their crude tongues, these special places have been named “buff zones”. Many mortals have clambered for ownership of these areas, where they or their Vulcanite would wield increased power. Vulcan diverted the great rivers and removed some of the temples — but the most important places remain, albeit in some cases, in forms a little removed from their ancient shape. These are what the modern mortal residents of VulcanVerse call “landmarks” and these places remain areas of great power and, in many ways places of ethereal mystery.
To understand the Mountains of Boreas, we must look to the past and the information that has been handed down to us..
The Lore of the Mountains of Boreas
As touched on, the Mountains of Boreas was a different place to that which we know today — larger and wilder, much more dangerous. The map we have access to is an accurate representation of the place of old, though lacks detail relating to the smaller places.
The Sacred Way
The route running around the northern and western coast, between the borders of Arcadia and the Underworld of Hades was called the Sacred Way. Winding along the cliffs, it was a solitary place, windswept and desolate. The route was dotted with piles of stones that were either waymarkers or, potentially, graves. Occasionally, in prominent positions along the Sacred Way, shrines could be found. The ancient books tell us that the Sacred Way was ‘once a thoroughfare fit for the chariots of gods and heroes’ but, at the time of writing the Sacred Way had become a paving of cracked rubble interspersed with tufts of brittle grass. In many places, the route skirted the very edge of the land, like a modern coastal path. Below the cliffs, fur clad seal hunters could often be found, crossing the icy shore in search of a kill. The sea here was often as frozen as the land, with pack ice both drifting, large chunks many feet across, crunching and grinding against landfast ice.
To the north of the Sacred Way the books tell us of a northern peninsula that juts out to sea, a place where the locals would bury their dead. The peninsula stretches out to sea and is covered in sharp rocks and cut with vertical ravines. A visitor here would have to negotiate their way through thorny scrub and thick sea mist hanging in the air — not even the constant wind would move it. It is said that ghosts of those passed were often seen here. At the northern tip of the headland, an ancient weather-worn alter could be found in an alcove hewn into the rock.
The Sacred Way to the north and west ran between the cliffs and the mountains, with occasional routes passing up the valleys leading to the interior of the landmass. Travelling theatres could sometimes be found on the Sacred Way, entertaining people from local villages.
Where the moist air blowing from Arcadia met the cold currents sweeping down from the mountains, there was a perpetual veil of mist surrounding this crossroads at the Sacred Way. Lush ferns and multi-coloured fungi would sprout up among the stones lining the road nearest the border between the quadrants. To the south, where the Sacred Way straddled both Boreas and Hades, the route was bordered on one side by high snow-capped peaks and on the other by the dark marchlands of the Underworld. This stretch of the Sacred Way was dark and dreary, sometimes blocked by rockfalls or else submerged in icy fog.
Taking one of the mountain passes inland from the Sacred Way could be perilous. Often, these routes were narrow passageways with sharp inclines at either side, the visitor picking their way over loose scree and small, flinty rocks that tumble down the surrounding precipices that surround the trail.
It was said that the lucky observer may spot a rare phoenix flying among the mountain peaks — or, the less fortunate may be prey to a Harpy, particularly when passing through the valley between Mount Nysa and the western mountains where they were known to nest. Nymphs, known as Oreads, could occasionally be found when travelling through the mountains and the caves and grottos thereabout — though only when they wanted to be.
Of the many mountains here on the interior of the Sacred Way, some were renowned— such as that one on which the Harpies choose to nest, the Hippogriff’s Eyrie to the north-west and the Lair of the Cyclops to the north-east. In the heartland of Boreas was the central plateau, the traveler passing through the mountains here would meet a mostly impassible sheer wall of rock and ice seemingly guarding this central area from outsiders. In these times, four mountains rose up out of Boreas’s central plateau, separate from the mountain ranges at the edges of the realm. They were Mount Othri, Mount Helikon, Mount Atos and Mount Nysa.
Our look at the lore and history of the Mountains of Boreas will conclude in our next article, where we visit the central plateau and look at the ancient people, creatures and flora that could be found in the Boreas of old.
About Vulcan Forged
Vulcan Forged is the company behind Vulcan Studios, a blockchain game studio, NFT marketplace, NFT minting engine and creators of VulcanVerse, Berserk: Vulcanites Unleashed and many other games. Vulcan Forged has also built Elysium, a carbon neutral layer 1 blockchain and MetaScapes, a metaverse as a service engine. The Vulcan Forged family is expanding rapidly, with many Vulcan Studios games now enabled within our blockchain economy.
The native token used within our ecosystem is $PYR, the secondary token $LAVA acts as a play to earn token. This dual token economy structure is ideal for blockchain gaming. Scholars or Cedalions are able to earn $LAVA while playing Vulcan Studios games and special NFTs can be earned while in-game. These can be sold on the Vulcan Marketplace for $PYR.
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