While Luminous in their current state are only as old as the Godfall, they are a branch of humankind once separated into the mountains from nearly two Ages past. At the time semi-nomadic, martial followers once set upon their path by Nythura, the Goddess of the rising Moon and Sun; they lived in relative solitude save for trade agreements for a considerable period. Philosophical differences were frequent, however, as the Goddess' dual, antithetical portfolio eventually caused fragmentation amidst disagreements as to her nature - as religion is wont to produce. Conflicts ultimately led to fighting, creating an environmental schism to mirror that of the one of faith, and over time they grew into two distinct communities within the mountains -- the original township-turned-city of Ofcol, set around the Golden Citadel within the mountains of Astora, and the underground settlement turned massively sprawling though sparsely-populated village of Pannoval set within them, which had (and has) no such direct religious building to serve as the core of the city.
Though the split was amicable and there was no more violence between the two factions than could be expected in any large enough population, philosophical and social differences became amplified without the presence of frequent dissent, and as a somewhat isolated people, to begin with, these societal changes were perhaps hastened more amidst the Luminous than they would've been elsewhere.
The fundamental tenets principled by those within Ofcol (and particularly within the Golden Citadel, which despite its disagreements still marshaled protection over Pannoval) were those of proselytization and the rooting out and execution of heretics -- at the time, these were frequently worshipers of Gru'Thul, Ragabash, Kishari, and many of the so-called Old Gods. Prone to violence and righteous judgment, execution pyres did much to curb bandit activity in the region, as though the violation of the law and decency were not exactly heretical, many inquisitors were rather more cavalier with the label in practice. Conversely, as Pannoval began to grow and spread beneath the earth, the Luminous there found the natural caverns to be extremely hospitable for underground farming, and their increased isolation lent itself to an existence more of agrarian subsistence and philosophical reflection, eschewing their related faith's tendency toward violence in favour of contemplation, discussion, and communal living in lieu of disciplined hierarchies.
These two similar-yet-split societies would likely have existed in a comfortable sort of symbiotic relationship for quite some time, but as the Godfall began to spread across the lands it never even needed to reach into Astora to affect it -- the Walking Goddess Nythura was slain half a continent away, but for those within the mountains the effects were profound.
In practice, the mechanism or cause for what occurred is not fully (or even really partially) understood, though the prevailing (and exceedingly complex and unprovable) theory held (and closely guarded) by the Luminous themselves - particularly the Astoran - is that upon the moment of her death there was some form of theophanic transference of her pool of divine essence, and it was shunted toward her once-and-current faithful into a pool of shekhinah - divine energy - within the people themselves. Whatever the cause, the change was seen immediately within the first children born post-Godfall, and at that point, for all intents and purposes, the Luminous became a separate, distinct race from the rest of mankind, with the innate ability to manifest energy in line with their dead Goddess' power.
This theory -- while it lacks any and all proof whatsoever -- is guarded and held firmly by those who even still believe in it, as the social and political ramifications of being something even close to a Walking God (or indeed, also showing a degree of compassion or similarity to one) would be exceedingly disastrous. Even most Luminous remain unaware of it, and this is mainly the case for those born outside of families in the region; interestingly, even Luminous generations out from their ancestral home still manifest these powers with as much ease as those of old and pure blood, and their abilities (and thus the rest of the race's traits, though somewhat less so the physical) are visible even in those of half-pureblood human stock.
In terms of behaviour and political standing, the two cities in the Astoran mountains maintain much of their older -- to them, ancient -- ways and viewpoints, though these days much of the religious trappings are missing, save for the Golden Citadel which still stands (although it is no longer dedicated to the once-Goddess, let alone a single aspect of her). Pannoval births numerous philosophers and tends toward peace, and Ofcol is still frequently filled with those who feel fire and violence in their hearts, and it is often at minor odds with other groups in the area, being prone to skirmishes with barbarian tribes, raiders, and bandits. These behavioral traits are as much as a product of semi-isolation as they are of tradition and history, and consequently, exceedingly more metropolitan regions may view Luminous as something akin to backwater and as fragments of a bygone era -- particularly the Astoran.
Cosmology of Ohr
Two syllables of divinity gave form to the great dark. These words, the sublime commands, began to shape and mold the immense space around them. Nu was volatile and expansive. Ohm was subtle and unifying. From these words, matter was created, developed, condensed, and re-combined for an unknowable, fluid amount of time. In this age of dreams, time did not yet exist, and its constraints and laws had no bearing on the creation of worlds. New syllables of reality emerged in the complexity; new words gave form to sentences and stories. In this newly lit cosmos, a consciousness coalesced. This sentience brought predictability to the universe. Physical laws began to structure and solidify. Events became predictable and somewhat linear, lending time to reality. Using the syllables of divinity, the sentience gave itself the first name. Ain Sof. Ain Sof, the only mind in a vast, lonely, captivating universe began to explore the galaxies and stars, learning the words of divinity. Ain Sof lit stars and molded planets. It spoke new commands and demanded greater complexities. It seeded life throughout the stars. But Ain Sof was not satisfied. As the eons passed, and its nexus grew, it desired only a creation of its own; and others of its kind to share it with. Ain Sof tried in vain to create beings like itself. They still wait in the dark places between galaxies; blind idiot gods, full of potency and loathing. In desperation, Ain Sof strived to create a sublime command; to create a reality of its own to escape the loneliness of the great dark. As Ain Sof uttered this bizarre word of its creation, Ain Sof lost its material form and was cast among the stars in a destructive display. This sundering created an unfathomable number of individual consciousnesses that spread throughout the universe and were bound to biotic forms; separate, but still connected by origin and essence. Many lifeforms look to the stars and dream of what must be waiting there, never knowing it is themselves. This divine spark brought sentience to life on an unknowable number of planets. One such planet was Ohr.
Planets & Moons
Realms & Planes
The Dreaming World
City of the Scale
The Grand City of Kaastark rests within a caldera, its homes and inhabitants obscured by what the locals call the "sleeping mists." Visitors are greeted by 60ft of smooth, stone wall circling the entire perimeter of the city and can enter through four cardinal gates evenly spaced out along the wall. Smoke and steam pour out of every crack in the foundation and wash over the sides of the walls, immediately producing light beads of slick condensation on the goods and clothes of those unfortunate enough to come into the city wearing anything other than light armor. Looking up at the tops of the gates reveals the tanned, stern faces of the Redguard, clad in crimson and white linen robes bound with golden cords, as they survey the intended with a halberd crooked in their elbows.
Looming over the stone defenses, a massive tower of obsidian cradles an iron brazier whose flame whips violently in the spring breeze. Upon passing through the gates, it would become clear that the tower sits atop a large temple sinking beneath the burbling waters at the foot of the caldera. Smoke billows forth from between the columns of the temple, weaving its way through the city districts. Civilians scurry towards the steam pools, dumping large cauldrons of cold water into its depths, and as a byproduct releasing more clouds of steam into the area.
Each district of the city has its own place along the wall and as such carries many exciting wares unique to Kaastark. The Garden District boasts flowers of brilliant reds and blue, each thriving in the unusual conditions it was born into. The Farming District has taken advantage of vertical plots and offers various species of beans, peppers, and grains. The Market District is a vast, open bazaar situated directly next to the Garden District, which houses hundreds of stalls selling the freshest vegetables and most beautiful linens in the region. The Civil, Noble, and Military districts are all separated respectively but sit adjacent to one another, making up the Living Quarters.
The Temple District encompasses almost the entirety of the caldera and contains the Obsidian Tower, the Red King's Temple, and the Hissing Pools. Here, the Red Priestesses tend to the Eternal Flame and can be seen accepting offerings to the Red King from civilians who wish to pay homage to him.
Though the city is immense, and everyone seems to be busy minding their duties, the Market District has its agenda and welcomes weary travelers into their high priced inns with open arms. The Fireside Tavern, however, is a unique establishment whose owner, Akhem, prides himself on offering only the best quality food and rooms to those who cannot afford to rest their weary bones on beautiful silks. The tavern itself is three floors high, much taller and grander than its competitors, but has a well-worn, gently loved look about it. Game tables, a large hearth, and beautiful women are just some of the attractions one can catch a glance of when passing through its doors. The tavern is refreshing, inviting, and is bustling with activity.