Worldbuilding Wednesday – The Jeweled Pomegranate / Digging for Pants

Today’s Poll Picked the setting of my current impulse project, Digging for Pants.

Okay this is going to be FUN!

Today’s #WorldBuildingWednesday is a setting I dreamed up for my incomplete #NanoWrimo 20…18? story The Jeweled Pomegranate , which could loosely be described as
*
Academics Having Adventures
+ Magical Items
+ Forced to Be Together (via said Magical Items)
+ A Ruined Wold.
*
So! The Ruins! In a time Before, the world was hit with a series of what are now called subside-ances – pretty much semi-magical sinkholes big enough to swallow, say, the Smithsonian.

That is… almost all I know.

I know there are universities with research professors (& grad students) who they send to explore in these places, either for “grave robbing” (they’re not inherently graves) or information acquisition, and all that grey area in between.

And I know that magical items *definitely* exist.

Oh, and that money exists.

So! I’m asking you: ask me questions! Help me work on #WorldBuilding this world of… exploring a previous era of the world!

Answers to Questions:

Academic Politics!

At this stage in time, most of the known digs are “controlled” by one or another of the very large universities or, less commonly, by a corporation.
Thus, unless you can afford to explore on your own on the very thin hope that you MAY some day find a subsidence that hasn’t already been picked over (there are still some, but obviously, the more time passes, the harder it is to find new subsidences)  you’ll want the sponsorship of one of those Universities/Corps. Since you can really only have so many people at a dig at once, this leads to a great deal of competition – and thus backbiting.

Of COURSE some researchers get better funding! They publish more interesting or more academically vigorous articles; they know who to butter up at the holiday parties; on occasion, rumors have come out of bribery – usually via scavenged magical items from the subsidences, which are frankly priceless.

There is a story regarding 2 theories about a certain group of pre-subsidance people – the Bashora.

At a party around a sports-match between 2 rival universities, the researcher who had proposed the first theory & spent most of their life researching it – that the Bashora were a social club which had exploded in popularity due to magic use -broke a priceless Bashora artifact over the head of a 2nd researcher, who’d insisted the Bashora were a religio-ethnic group opposed to non-religious magic.
The Subsidences: Were these subsidences the first, or was it merely the most recent occurrence in a cycle?
There’s a great deal of argument re. the genesis of the subsidences.
There are 2 prevailing theories: the “small subsidences” that are recorded as coming (1 mo – ~200 yrs) before The Big Fall were simply early tremors which presaged the Fall.
or
The subsidences come in very long cycles, but there are smaller subsidences between the long ones; it takes a particular set of circumstances to cause A Big One.
One of the most important discoveries of these digs is one of the least known:
While searching for proof that the people of Hager used magic items to simplify everyday life, Dr. Ruav Blequi discovered a manual which, once translated, read “The Guide to Everything.”
Although it is not ACTUALLY a guide to EVERYTHING in the pre-subsidence world, it gave Blequi fodder for several new theories as well as five years of papers & started an industry of replicating pre-subsidance goods.
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