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Sat Dec 11 2010, 07:38AM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286





They may be short in stature, but this subterranean race of magical inventors are intellectual giants. These incredibly intelligent beings use their knowledge and skill with magic and crafting to assert their natural dominance. In the world of the asura, it is not the strong who survive, but the clever. Other races believe they should rule by virtue of their power and strength, but they delude themselves. All will serve the asura - in due time.

Driven to the surface of Tyria by minions of Primordus, the Fire Dragon, the asura have created a complex new society based in vast Maguuma Jungle metropolises like the awe-inspiring Rata Sum. Asura life is based around the study of the Eternal Alchemy, an all-encompassing metaphysical theory that they analyze in their great research institutions - the College of Statics, Dynamics, and Synergetics.

Asura use their magical skill to create servitor golems, asura gates, blasting rods, and other magnificent inventions. Their culture is organized, but highly flexible--these small geniuses often gather in specialized work groups called "krewes" to accomplish greater tasks. Asura establish their reputations with their peers by building a portfolio of successful projects or by becoming the foremost expert on some arcane field of study. They constantly seek to prove their own intellectual superiority, and by extension the superiority of the asura race.

Who are more fit to rule Tyria than the asura? The more primitive, warlike races can be useful when an asura needs something heavy lifted, but they mistakenly believe that brute force or resiliency entitles them to power. How mistaken they are. As any asura will explain, mastery of the Eternal Alchemy equals mastery of Tyria. Who can argue with such logic?


[ Edited Sat Sep 03 2011, 06:32PM ]
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Sun Sep 04 2011, 05:43AM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286

The asura are a race of diminutive artisans who secretly dwelt below-ground for thousands of years until the minions of the Great Destroyer forced them out of their underground homes 250 years ago. Since then, they have adapted to surface life and quickly established themselves as one of the most powerful races in Tyria.


Character creation

Selecting an asura character will start players off near the geometrical city of Rata Sum. The home instance of the asura is a personal lab.

During character creation, asura characters have three race-specific biography questions that they can answer to affect their personal story:

  1. Which asura college they studied at.
  2. What their first successful experiment was.
  3. Who their first advisor was.


Physiology

By human standards, asura are very short. Described as only coming up to the belt of a norn, an asura is usually about four feet tall. They typically have slender builds, with the head, hands, and feet in somewhat exaggerated proportions. The head in particular is a wide, flat ellipsoid whose width is extended further by large ears which usually droop from the sides of the head. Asura eyes are large and come in a variety of colors; their size is the evolutionary result of being a subterranean race. Their mouths are wide and filled with pointed, shark-like teeth. Asura typically have grayish skin and dark hair. Male and female asura are very similar in appearance; they are mostly differentiated by voice and ear structure.

Government

Rather than organized government, the asura prefer to utilize krewes: small, efficient task forces led by the most experienced member, designed to allow any individual asura to reach their maximum potential in any particular task. The asura also have a group known as the Arcane Council who are responsible for the mundane parts of asura city life. The members of this council rotate - membership into this council is granted by performing a task which benefits the asura as a whole. The role is rarely desired as it means an individual asura cannot spend time advancing one's own research.

Names

An asura's name usually consists of a short, sharp first name with one or two syllables. Feminine asura names typically end in -i or -a vowel sounds, and the masculine in a consonant sound. Any asura whose name does not follow these rules may risk ridicule during childhood. Asura do not have a last name, instead opting to use job titles, a krewe name, or honorifics to differentiate themselves. Those who choose to take a last name of a style similar to humans are rare and are considered eccentrics, though this eccentricity is often ignored by other asura.

History

Inventors and builders, the asura care little for history, choosing to use their intellect to look forward rather than to look back. While much is known of asura culture and attitudes, little is known about the race before their surfacing outside of their regular contact with other underground races such as the dwarves and the dredge. When they were driven out as Primordius' minions appeared from deep underground, the majority made a home among the magical ruins found on the Tarnished Coast where they quickly learned how to harness the magical energies to advance their research.

Over the years the asura have increased their network of gates across Tyria, but they zealously guard their advancements and enforce gate use for peaceful activities only.

In matters of childbirth and early development, little is known outside of the knowledge that asura give live birth in the same manner as humans. An asura will typically live 5-10% longer than a human.

Culture

The asura value intelligence and intellectual superiority over all other attributes. Individual asura will dedicate an entire lifespan to building a portfolio of successful projects or becoming the foremost expert of some tiny aspect of the arcane. They constantly seek to prove their own intellectual superiority, and by extension the superiority of the asura race. This typically results in asura being arrogant to the point of rudeness towards others, especially towards non-asura races. The asura have quickly established their intellectual and magical superiority over the other races and view them as useful primarily for heavy lifting, taking risks, and asking stupid questions.

Asura magical technology is second to none. Their experiments with magic are evident through the impressive floating structures found around and within their cities. Many asura study the difficult art of golemancy, and golems are often used for defense and general work. The golems' complete absence of intelligence and huge size compliments the asura perfectly. The asura have also developed and use blasting rods.

The most important contribution of the asura to Tyrian society is the asura gate network which links many of the major cities of Tyria. To maintain this, they have retained a neutral attitude to all races.

Asura traditionally burn their dead.

Religion

Asura believe in the Eternal Alchemy - the idea that all beings and magic in the world are a part or function of a greater purpose or "machine". Asura life is built around the research of the Eternal Alchemy - the asura join one of three massive colleges dedicated to this research. It is believed once complete mastery is gained over the Eternal Alchemy, mastery will be gained over all of Tyria.

The group known as the Inquest believes that the Eternal Alchemy could be controlled and manipulated like any other machine. Members of the Inquest thrive on controlling power and knowledge, and their experiments are less ethical and more dangerous than those performed by other asura.


[ Edited Thu Sep 15 2011, 08:08AM ]
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Sun Sep 04 2011, 06:09AM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286


Arcane Council
The Arcane Council is a group of asura in Rata Sum. The Council is the closest thing the asura have to a government, and its members also act as judges during trials.

Krewe

Krewes are the asuran version of guilds, which usually have been given a certain task to do. Krewes allow freedom, with no structured government, for the asura. Asura simply work in a krewe until the project is done, then find another one.


College of Statics

"Builders and architects make up the College of Statics, and we build to last. Some call us conservative, but we excel at creating new designs, using old materials in innovative ways, and expanding the purview of known magics for practical applications."


College of Dynamics

"The College of Dynamics produces gizmo-makers extraordinaire. Energy, enthusiasm, and boldness are our best qualities. We believe in leveraging the expendable nature of all things. If a prototype explodes, it isn't a failure unless the lesson goes unlearned."


College of Synergetics

"As members of College of Synergetics, we study how energy patterns form and alchemagical fractals propagate. Few beyond our college understand the philosophical and mystical complexities of our interests. We devoutly research the true nature of the Eternal Alchemy. "


[ Edited Sun Sep 04 2011, 06:11AM ]
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Sun Sep 04 2011, 06:20AM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286

Rata-Sum



Rata Sum is the capital city of the asura and is in the form of a giant, floating cube. When the Great Destroyer drove them from their homes in the Depths of Tyria 250 years ago, they arrived at the ruins of some previous civilization, setting up geomystical generators for power within these already fortified confines and establishing the area as their new capital. The aesthetic sensibilities of these ruins are reflected in modern asuran architecture.

Originally a hastily erected outpost protected by ruins, Rata Sum is now a geometrical masterpiece, a testament to the asura's unstoppable ability to progress.

Home instance
The home instance is a portion of the character's home city which is instanced so it can be personalized for the character. The instance is an area around the size of a city block and includes a house or the racial equivalent, a few streets and a merchant area among other city things. The home instance updates constantly as a character progresses through the story, including the addition of special NPCs and merchants who will be different for different characters depending on who was met and befriended during the character's travels. If a party enters a home instance, they will go to the party leader's instance. About 10% of the capital city is part of the personal instance, the other 90% is persistent and the same for all players on the server.When a player enters the home instance of another race alone they see a basic version of the instance.


[ Edited Thu Sep 15 2011, 08:09AM ]
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Mon Sep 12 2011, 11:56AM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286


By: Matt Barrett
Source: click here

They make magic machines, right? They’re tinkerers, yes, but also intuitively powerful masters of the elemental energies surrounding them in the caverns of their native sub-Tyrian world.

The talents of the asura carried their civilization through ages of harmonious existence beneath the lands of Tyria. When the destroyers forced them to the surface, their truly exotic technology and traditions flooded out and changed the world.

The asura represent a force of explosive change, cutting traditions and forcing adaptation. With no investment in the heritage of the world above, they impose their will without restraint. They apply their technology in ways never before dreamed within their rock warrens, let alone in the lands of sun.

Their essence can be summarized thus: Nobody is prepared for the asura except the asura.

The little people themselves were conceived originally as scrawny, creepy, Gollum-like, gnome-y creatures, with pointy red hats, arcane mutterings, and pale skin. They were to be mischievous, dwelling on the fringes of society, scavenging mysterious artifacts of their advanced neighbors.

This was my first crack at the asura , before they’d been given a larger part of the story. Note the idol he wears as a pendant.



Their role in the story changed, however, and demanded that their appearance reflect a deeper complexity. The asura were to be underestimated by the first sun-siders to encounter them. For this new role, the asura needed to be at least a little sympathetic, or even cute, but not too cute. They needed to give the impression that condescension would be imprudent. Thus, they gained their present feline-reptilian-alien aspect.

This next asura design was headed in the right direction, but it’s really pretty creepy. It’s got an alien look, but it’s not even slightly cute, nor does it suggest anything resembling ambition.


Physically, asura are mostly unintimidating, with scrawny shoulders, pencil necks, short legs—all hands and feet and noggin. At first glance, one might see a childlike individual, with wide-set eyes, a round head, and stumpy legs that waddle-run in the most adorable way.

However, look any longer and one will see the disdainful, scheming eyes, the unsympathetic reptilian mouth, generally sophisticated gremlin-like bearing…and the five-meter-tall stone golem standing behind him. You don’t want to call the asura cute unless you also want to see how hard that golem can clamp your throat while a mad-genius gremlin hisses insults into your eyes from between pointed reptilian teeth.

This asura design popped out one morning- the first thing I drew that day, and I knew I’d nailed it. This would be the Ur-Asura.



Now that you’ve seen some of the concept art behind the design of the asura, I thought you might like to watch how I draw these little guys. We’ve put together a video that shows the creation of a piece of asura concept art in Photoshop in real time, narrated by yours truly. Take a look!



Here’s our final piece of asura concept art (below). That round head is full of ambitious, feverishly analytical brain. This is an entire race of mad scientists hell-bent on world domination, and designing their material culture is as daunting and subtle as a finger on a missile switch. That’s the subject for my next post…

Asura Sketch


[ Edited Thu Sep 29 2011, 01:20PM ]
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Mon Sep 12 2011, 04:11PM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286



by: Jeff Grubb
source: click here

Fans have seen a lot of concept art. This is a concept story, written three years ago, when we were exploring what the Guild Wars 2 characters were like. Many of those concept stories are no longer applicable, but this one – about an asura artificer and his sylvari assistant – has hung on. There is just one change we made: Originally, the asura’s name was Gixx—he was going to be the iconic asura, before we replaced him with Zojja—but we took that name for the leader of the Durmand Priory. Short of that name change, the story stands as written in 2008.

Why is this tale important? It tells the hidden history of Mr. Sparkles. This character will pop up again later in our tale—but that’s a story for another day…

“Flummox, are you awake?” said Sareb.

“Do I look awake?” said the asura, popping open one eye.

The male sylvari watched the artificer sternly, as if suspecting a trap. At last he nodded. “Yes.”

“Then I must be awake.” Flummox let out a deep, frustrated sigh. “Why aren’t we moving?”

“There’s a problem.”

“The wagon is not moving, it is cold outside, and you’ve awoken me from my nap,” said Flummox, propping himself up on his elbows, one eye still closed in desperate hope. “I can guess there is some form of problem. Now tell me, my young sylvari, what is the problem?”

“Jotun,” said Sareb, his breath steaming in the chill air.

Flummox opened his other eye and looked at his assistant. “Jotun. Well, then, you were right to awake me,” he said, and slid off his makeshift bed of large pillows and blankets. It was cold in the wagon.

It was colder outside the wagon, and Flummox’s breath steamed around him like smoke from a chimney. Their small caravan, six wagons in all, was immobile, the yaks huffing and stomping in the thin mountain air. They were in a steep vale, and large ominous shapes loomed at the head of the valley.

“Never did like the Shiverpeaks,” muttered Flummox. He fished out a tablet and small chunk of charcoal. He wrote down a list of items and handed it to Sareb. “Check the other wagons, and see if you can get the items on this list. We’ll need them to get the apparatus operational.”



“The apparatus?” Sareb smiled knowingly and added, “You mean Mr. Sparkles?”

In a moment of weakness, Flummox had let the sylvari name his latest invention, and was now unsure if the sylvari had chosen the name out of innocence or amusement. “Yeah,” he said through gritted teeth, “I mean…Mr. Sparkles.”

Sareb began checking with the other wagon drivers while Flummox stomped forward in his fur-lined boots. He met the caravan leader about halfway to the front, flanked by the train’s only two guards—suspicious, nervous humans from Kryta.

The caravan leader was human as well. He had warm buttery skin and was sweating the way humans do when they are nervous, regardless of the temperature.

The human began, “We have a problem—”

“We have jotun,” answered Flummox, “I know. Since when is that a problem?”

“They are making demands,” burbled the human, “and we are not in any real position to refuse them.”

Flummox made a mental census of the caravan: his own wagon being driven by Sareb, two wagonloads of shoes from Ascalon with disinterested drivers, a furtive rare-commodities trader with what looked like a stone coffin in the bed of his wagon, a refugee family fleeing the charr about two centuries too late, and the caravan master’s own wagon, complete with his accountant and two guards.

Flummox weighed the relative intelligence of the various members of his involuntary company and sighed. This group would feel threatened by a band of voracious rabbits, so the lesser giants of the Shiverpeaks would definitely be a bad thing. “Is your accountant around?” he asked.

“He’s being bandaged up,” said the human. “The jotun leader tried to eat him.”

“Which is why you’re not talking to the jotun yourself, I suppose,” said Flummox.

The human made soft, bubbly noises and Flummox sighed, then stomped around him and headed for the jotun.

The jotun was a huge, corpulent beast, its heavy belt hanging over a woven belt, holding up a leather kilt of unknown provenance. It was lesser kin to the giants, and it towered over its surroundings, the muscles beneath its ruddy flesh bunching and spasming in the cold. It was generally humanoid, but its face was an abomination, a twisting of facial features dominated by a sharp-toothed, drooling, underslung jaw.

Flummox stomped up to the beast. Behind the jotun, in the swirling snow beyond the end of the steep valley, he could see large shadowy shapes, hunched over. Other jotun, kin or merely minions, trying to be sneaky.

“Who you?” said the jotun, its voice reminding Flummox of slush at the bottom of a mixer.

“The new negotiator,” said Flummox. “I understand you ate the last one.”

The jotun blinked at him and sounded almost hurt, “Only a little. We want toll.”

“I’ll stay out of arm’s reach, if you don’t mind,” said Flummox. “What do you want? Food? Gold? Paper lanterns?”

“Wagons,” slurred the giantkin.

“Everything?” said Flummox, his revulsion only partly theatrical. “You don’t understand how highway robbery works. If you take everything, there isn’t anything for the next band of sentient-eating jotun to demand.”

The jotun stood there, his lower jaw opening and closing in what passed for jotun thought. “Toll. Leave wagons. You can go.”




“And what keeps us from turning around, with our wagons, and sending back a couple divisions of Ebonhawke’s finest to clear the road?”

The jotun nodded enthusiastically, jiggling its entire body. “Think of that. Brother and his band on other end of valley.”

Flummox did not turn around, so honest was the jotun’s statement. Obviously the Norn campaigns against the creatures were weeding out all the stupider ones.

“We’ll give you a wagon,” he said simply. “The refugees will have to ride with the boots.”

“All,” said the jotun.

“Two,” said Flummox, “and we’ll throw in a cargo of boots as well. You can have two wagons.”

“All,” said the jotun, stronger, “or all die.”

Without the wagons we all die anyway thought Flummox. “It will take me a while to convince the others,” he said, trying to looking nervous. “Humans are a persnickety lot. I can’t expect them to cave in without a long night of talking.”

The jotun made a jiggling nod, “You give us wagons tomorrow morning. Or all die.” And with that, the great beast turned and disappeared among the snow-shrouded mounds that concealed other jotun.

Flummox let his breath out slowly and turned back to the caravan. The nervous human in charge touched the tips of his fingers together nervously and said, “Well?”

“It wants us to give up the wagons. All of them,” said the asura.

“We can’t do that,” wailed the human.

“I know,” said Flummox, “but I told him it would take all night for me to convince you to go along with the deal.”

The human got a slack-jawed look that afflicted so many of his race when dealing with asura. “You mean you surrendered?” he finally managed to spit out.

“No,” said Flummox, irritated, “I bought us time from now until daybreak. Sareb! You gather up the material?”

Sareb manifested at Flummox’s side. “Leather from the shoes was easy. Some chemicals from the caravan’s medicine stores, human blood from the wounded accountant’s bandages, an iron pot from the refugees, grave dirt— How did you know the rare-goods dealer had grave dirt?”

“The rare-goods dealer screams ’necromancer.’ He is moving a crypt out of Ascalon, likely purchased from charr tomb raiders. I’d be surprised if he didn’t have a couple asura skeletons and shrunken sylvari heads packed away somewhere on that wagon.”

Sareb visibly shuddered, and Flummox added, “Not that we need them for this.” But the addition did not seem to make the sylvari feel better. “And the last item?” Flummox asked.

“There is a…problem,” said Sareb.

Flummox cocked his head, “Another problem?”

“She is unwilling to give it up,” said Sareb.

“And you said?” Flummox raised an eyebrow.

“I was stern and forceful, as you have suggested in the past,” said Sareb proudly. Then he shrugged, “No luck.”

Flummox let out a sigh that seemed larger than himself. “Oh, for Vekk’s sake,” he said, and padded off toward the refugees.

The refugee in question was young—at least Flummox assumed she was young because of her slender form and smooth skin. Within the Eternal Alchemy, humans had the greatest range of variations on the basic theme. It was as if their gods had not settled on their final form, and kept changing their minds. Shows what happens when you do things by committee. It was hard to believe that the sweating caravan leader and this frail, almost sylvari-looking thing were members of the same species.

She was seated at the back of her wagon, lost in thought. Held against her, tight in her hand, was a bag hanging from a tether around her graceful throat. Flummox moved into her field of vision (had she been looking at anything) and began without preamble.

“I understand you want to kill us all,” he said.

The human blinked in the way humans do when their brains start functioning again. “Pardon?” she said.

“In case you have not noticed,” said Flummox, “we are not moving. We are not moving because we have been set upon by jotun bandits who want to take everything we have, including your wagon, and leave us stranded in the snow. I know of a way by which we can defeat these giants, but I need certain key materials from the others of this caravan. That includes the item you are carrying around in that bag. You don’t want to provide it, so I must assume you want me and everyone else dead. So, tell me: What did we do to earn your eternal ire?”

The human blinked again, and said, “You know about the cameo?”

“Everyone in the caravan knows about it, since you take it out every night by the campfire and sigh over it for five minutes, seven at most, before putting it back in its bag,” said Flummox, holding out a hand. “I need it, give it here.”

“Why?” she asked, the muscles in her hand tightening around the bag.

Flummox used his talking-to-humans voice. “You no give me, jotun smash us. Understand?




The human hesitated for a moment, and Flummox let his features soften. “I understand. It probably holds dear memories of your lost home. But I have to point out that if the jotun kill us all—which is their plan, I believe, even if we give them the wagons—then all our memories will be lost. Yours is a sacrifice, but a smaller one in the bigger picture.”

Flummox managed to smile in what he thought was a warm and engaging manner. It must have worked, for the young human opened the bag and produced a cameo, an ivory carving of a lovely woman wearing older fashions, set against a circular block of black jet.

“My mother…” she began.

Flummox nodded. “I understand, and I appreciate your sacrifice. It will not be for naught, and I shall have my assistant protect it with his life!”

And, not waiting for her to respond, Flummox spun on his heels and padded back to his wagon.

***

The pair, both the asura and sylvari, worked through the night. The shoe drivers provided a lantern, and Flummox insisted that no one bother them. Now the other members of the caravan watched in the distance while the asura prepared a noxious mixture that glowed green from the iron pot.

Flummox rendered the shoes in the iron pot, added the bloody bandages and the caravan’s medicine, and reduced the whole mass to a thick, sticky syrup. He pulled the pot from the heat and poured it out on a board, like taffy, while Sareb refilled the pot with oil from Flummox’s own stores. The sylvari knew the asura’s way, and quickly and quietly set about his assigned tasks with a minimum of comment.

Flummox mixed the grave dirt into the syrup and formed small lumpy balls, which he then dropped in the hot oil. The balls sizzled and crackled, but after a few moments, they bobbed to the surface, shrunken now, their sides smooth and crystalline.

Sareb let out a low whistle. “Instant gemstones,” he said.

Flummox let out a grunt. “Don’t be too pleased; these are as brittle as spun sugar. It’s a kludge, a jury-rig, a lash-up—repurposing design elements for features they were not created for. I can milk three, maybe four, minutes of energy out of these before they go. I hope it is enough.” He fished out the rough crystals and strode over to the inert form of the apparatus, of Mr. Sparkles, still sprawled out in the back of his wagon. With a chisel he began gouging the soft iron seals around the main enchantment emitter and slid the crystals into the jagged holes, packing them in place with the remainder of the damp grave dirt.

“There,” said Flummox, “it should work. Maybe. Don’t stand too close to it when you start it up, though.”

Sareb looked at the device, approvingly. “What about the jewelry?”

“The what?” said Flummox.

“The cameo you got from the human girl,” said the sylvari assistant.

“Ah, yes!” said the asura, patting his pockets and producing the ivory carving set against jet. He pressed it into Sareb’s hand, “Here you go. Hold on to it, and guard it with your life!”

“But if you didn’t need it,” said Sareb, “why did we take it?”

“Because,” Flummox looked up at the sylvari, “even if this works, it is going to screw up the ethanators something fierce, and probably fry out the abjuration circuits. That’s in addition to the damage done to the device already, which required this miserable trip in the first place.”

“So, you need the cameo?” questioned the sylvari, frowning slightly, seeing where this was going.

“So we have some ready money when we reach Lion’s Arch,” said Flummox.

“So you lied,” said Sareb, looking at the cameo in the same sad way the human girl looked at it.

“A small deception for the greater good,” said Flummox. “You should try it sometime. In the meantime, keep hold of it! I want to be able to tell the human that I no longer have it and tell the truth.”

Sareb’s slender fingers closed around the cameo.

“I will keep it safe,” he said flatly.

The pair continued their work through the night, and with the morning’s dawn, a haggard Flummox stomped out to meet the jotun leader. The jotun had obviously spent the previous evening discussing the proper way to make an asura aperitif, and the lead jotun was practically salivating.

“So,” said the jotun, “you give us wagons?”

“We have spent the evening in discussions and determined that it would not be in our best interests to acquiesce to your demands at the present time,” said Flummox.

“Whah?” said the giant.

“No,” translated the asura, “we want to keep our wagons.”

The jotun smiled, a terrible thing to see in a creature with such a prodigious lower jaw. “Then you all die,” he said, “starting with negotiator.”

Flummox took a step back and smiled, speaking quickly. “I thought as much, so I have resigned as negotiator. My replacement should be along—” He checked the chronometer hanging from his belt and hoped that Sareb had gotten the damned thing started up correctly. “Right about now.”




The golem heaved itself from among the wagons, rearing itself vertically to its full height, as tall as the jotun itself. Lightning crackled around its joints, and slender bolts played along its riveted hide. The apparatus was headless, but a single cyclopean eye dominated its chest, surrounded by small homemade gems that were already starting to smoke white-hot and steam in the cold air.

The golem towered behind Flummox and raised both hands to the sky. A mighty band of lightning surged between the golem’s articulated paws, and the thunder rolled back down through the valley. Far away, there was another roar, a distant avalanche responding to the challenge.

“Meet the new negotiator,” said Flummox. “We call him Mr. Sparkles.”

***

“I am sorry about your golem,” said the caravan master.

Flummox shrugged, “The apparatus did its job, which is all one can ask of a good tool.” Actually, the golem had exceeded all expectations, laying the jotun leader down with a single lightning-powered blow, then wading into a collection of its compatriots and detonating only when five of them were all trying to bring it down. The remainder of the jotun bandits disappeared into the falling snow, howling in despair.

“We salvaged what we could,” added the caravan master, and held out a small bag, “and took up a collection to help you with repairs.”

Flummox managed a smile, even though the coins within wouldn’t even pop for a secondhand ethanator. He would probably have to sell Mr. Sparkles to some younger golemancer. “It was my pleasure. But if it is all the same to you, I have been up all night saving our lives. I think I will now sleep for the rest of our trip.”

The human was more than happy to agree, and started bellowing for the wagons to move out.

Sareb was putting the last recognizable remains of Mr. Sparkles into the wagon, piling blankets and pillows over it. “We got most of it,” he said, “and while the upper armatures probably blew into the Sea of Sorrows, we did salvage the main housing. It probably can be saved and rebuilt.”

“Good,” said Flummox wearily, hauling himself up to his blankets and pillows among the sharded metal. “I am going to sleep for a couple days. Only wake me if it is something important. Really important. More important than jotun.”

“Of course,” said Sareb. “You did the right thing, you know, using Mr. Sparkles.”

“I always do the right thing. You should know that by now,” said Flummox, suddenly slapping his pockets. “The cameo. Ah! I gave it to you—you can give it back now.”

Sareb looked at Flummox blankly. “Since we didn’t need it after all, I returned it to the young lady. She was very appreciative.”

“You what?” said Flummox. “You assured me you would keep it safe!”

“It is safe with the girl,” said the sylvari. “I could think of no place safer.”

Flummox looked at his assistant for a long, stern moment, then managed a small smile and nodded. “So you lied.”

Sareb returned the smile. “A small deception for the greater good,” he said. “You should try it sometime.”


[ Edited Mon Sep 12 2011, 04:12PM ]
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Thu Sep 15 2011, 09:12AM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286

By: Angel McCoy
Source: click here

Hi! It’s Angel Leigh McCoy, wordsmith on the Guild Wars 2 design team, and I get to tell you about the work we’re doing with the asura. The races of Tyria are each unique, in their own special-snowflake way, and the asura are the flakiest of all—which is why we love them so much!


Asura are diminutive, vibrant geniuses with chips on their shoulders. We first met them in Guild Wars: Eye of the North, but their history might surprise some people. Before 1078 AE (~250 years before GW2 present day), the asura lived underground, building their civilization in dark caverns. They rarely came out, and few other races encountered them.

Then, Primordus, the Elder Fire Dragon, stirred and awoke evil creatures that lived even deeper underground: destroyers. When the destroyers swarmed forth from their pits, they drove the asura up and out, into the light of day. Many of you may remember helping save the asura in Eye of the North.



While grateful to be alive, the asura had a difficult time with the transition from subterranean society to surface dwellers. Fortunately, they’re more stubborn than an ettin gnawing on a dolyak bone. They refused to be victims, and instead, leveraged their strengths to create an even better and bigger home for themselves. They built Rata Sum—a city that takes one’s breath away—and have honed their “alchemagical” knowledge beyond that of any other race.


Most asura use big words (like “alchemagical”). With the asura, we writers have a license to make up words, combine words to create something fantastic, and use existing words in strange new ways. As a result, we’ve developed intimate relationships with our dictionaries and thesauruses.

The asura talk like the little smarty-pants they are. Completely lacking in humility, they show off their genius at every turn and even exaggerate it whenever possible—you might say they have a Napoleon complex. An asura doesn’t speak in layman’s language unless absolutely necessary for communication with “lesser beings.” Why use a short word when you can once again prove your superior intelligence by using a word those around you don’t understand?



Do asura have families?

Well, of course, they do. They have children, parents, and grandparents. They have the crazy uncle that nobody talks about. They have the elder brother who can do no wrong, and the great-grandmother who has gone deaf. A black sheep in the family affects everyone’s reputation, so family tensions among asura run hot.



They affectionately call their children “progeny” or “offspring.” Parents have high expectations for their progeny and will go to extraordinary lengths to see that they rise above their peers. Often, an asura’s offspring will be forced to follow in their parents’ footsteps, even into joining the same krewe.

Speaking of krewes, do asura have jobs? Yes! An asura works on a team, called a krewe, and is loyal to it. The asura are often competitive and jealous, even to the point of sabotaging one another. There are no social taboos against inter-krewe espionage.

As a matter of fact, it’s expected. Imagine how fun it is to write scenes between competing asura! Snark, snark, snark!



Sit back and watch the sass fly! A side effect of asuran intelligence and self-confidence is that they’re masters of the zinger. They don’t suffer fools lightly and don’t believe in sparing feelings. Workers expect to get snide comments from their krewe bosses, and progeny expect it from their parents. Teen asura, of course, give it back as good as they get it—it’s part of growing up.

This verbal abuse may seem mean-spirited, but the asura don’t see it that way. They don’t take it personally. Their competitive natures drive them to greater heights of achievement. Remember, asura have survived against terrible odds, including their tiny statures. They’ve earned their attitudes, and a certain amount of bravado keeps them from being victims. With their jibes, they’re telling it like they see it, and if you can’t take the heat, get out of the laboratory.


Self-absorbed as they can be, the asura understand how dangerous the dragons are. They have decided that they will save Tyria from the beasts, even if they have to do it by working with other, inferior races. They’ve learned that you can’t put out a fire with a single drop of water, and a krewe makes no progress if the genius in charge isn’t supported by an army of lab assistants.

In contrast to asuran heroes, there are those who will resort to any means possible—even evil—in order to fight the dragons. These asura gravitate toward the Inquest, an organization that doesn’t have the same moral compass as most heroic krewes. They will stop at nothing, even going so far as to experiment on other sentient races, to find a weapon that will destroy the Elder Dragons.



Excelsior!

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Thu Sep 15 2011, 09:13AM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286


by: Guild Wars 2 Official website
Source: click here

The diminutive asura are the smartest people in Tyria. Just ask them; they will tell you. Once, they were the undisputed masters of a powerful underground civilization, but were driven to the surface by the Great Destroyer, the herald of the Elder Dragon Primordus.

Since their arrival on the surface, however, this long-eared race has prospered. Initially squatting among the ruins along the Tarnished Coast, their mastery of arcane forces have allowed them to regroup, rebuild, and tame this new, savage world. Now their mystic technology is found across the continent, and other races view the asura with a respect they feel they deserve. Yet even as they succeed, their accomplishments are threatened by internal conflicts, personal pride, and individual greed.

History

The asura were originally a subterranean race, adapted for their cavernous homes deep beneath the surface. They had evolved excellent senses — their long ears and wide, luminous eyes missed nothing — and sharp teeth for an omnivorous diet. They were uniformly brilliant as a people, analyzing, solving, and utilizing the intricate nature of magic itself. Using this power, they spread throughout the Depths of Tyria, linking distant locations with their asura gates and building great underground citadels on locations of incredible arcane power.

To their horrified surprise, one of those locations proved to be the home of an Elder Dragon champion. The Great Destroyer, a legendary figure among the dwarves, stirred. Using the very portals the asura had built over its lair, it spread its minions throughout the underground, destroying the bulk of asuran civilization and forcing the survivors into the dangerous and unknown surface world.

The asura were nothing if not resourceful. Armed with what knowledge they had salvaged, and blessed with a surplus of inventive geniuses, they soon dominated the region of the Tarnished Coast. Their golems pushed back the jungles. Their levitation spells set their towns above the dangerous surroundings. And their reconfigured gates allowed them to cross a new world filled with dangerous and alien races. Ingenuity and organization gave them the advantage necessary to prevail.

Asuran society is organized around krewes — loose-knit research organizations, usually commanded by one particularly brilliant member. Highly motivated and competitive, these krewes codify and advance the magical brilliance of the people as they seek to recover lost knowledge, create new fields of study, and unlock the answers in the universal philosophy they call the Eternal Alchemy.

A race of magical innovators and mystical inventors, the asura have done nothing but prosper in the centuries since they arrived on the surface. Useful races have been turned into allies while less useful ones have been controlled and contained. New horizons have been opened, and old knowledge has been recovered.

Rata-Sum

The greatest physical example of asuran magical mastery is their mighty city, Rata Sum. Starting with no more than a set of scattered ruins belonging to a failed race, the asura erected a testament to their power. Now dominating the surrounding area, Rata Sum is a huge floating cube riddled with interior passages, its upper reaches divided into smaller cubes. The highest locations are the labs and meeting rooms of the Arcane Council, the rulers of the asura race. The depths of this great cube are still being excavated by unsleeping golem servitors.

Asura think of themselves as individuals, each protecting his or her creations jealously, but there are several organizations that bind the race together. The most important of these is the Arcane Council, which is, in theory, a collection of wise asura who enforce the laws of the people. In reality, this group consists of those who are not wise enough to get out of the task, as most asura would rather be pursuing their own creative agendas as opposed to dealing with internal squabbling and bureaucratic rivalries.

Rata Sum is also the home of the colleges of the asura people: the Colleges of Statics, Dynamics, and Synergetics. Each has a major complex where promising students, apprentices, and journeymen without their own labs can work, advance their knowledge, and attract better-established mentors. Each of the colleges has its own approach to the Eternal Alchemy. Those of Statics tend to think of the world in lines of force and support — as a fixed state — and seek to learn from the lost lessons of the past. Those of Dynamics perceive the world in an active, ever-changing state, and feel that any experiment you can walk away from is a success. Lastly, those of Synergetics think in terms of the connections between things, in the space between beats. They are the most mystic and theoretical of their people.

Rata Sum is the central hub, but the asura have spread their laboratories and research facilities throughout the Tarnished Coast. The personalized nature of creation and the drive to prove themselves the best at their craft often send asuran masters and their krewes into the hinterlands, away from prying eyes and potential competitors. Often, this means that labs are built in particularly remote or dangerous areas. Should a lab be destroyed or its workers slain, new discoveries may be completely lost. Asura curse such events, but neighboring races do not think this is a particularly bad thing.

Knowledge is Power

The asura, as a people, thrive on competition. Each asura approaches their research with a surety born of immense intelligence and confidence. They are a race of mad scientists, each seeking to prove their own exceptional nature.

This competitiveness (and assumed superiority) extends to other races as well. Some are viewed as potential resources, like the alchemically advanced hylek or the dredge with their sonic technologies. Others are potential employees, like the humans or sylvari. And some are treated as pests to be eliminated, such as the rodent-like skritt, who the asura know all too well from their time underground.

The greatest danger to the asura is, to no one's surprise, other asura. Putting aside the sometimes dramatic, even explosive, nature of their experiments, a group of asura have banded together to form their own meta-krewe. Known as the Inquest, these asura combine their resources into a larger organization and share their knowledge among their own members — never with those outside the Inquest. They are more involved in the activities of individual members, and they are less hampered by morality than the other asura, going so far as to use and abuse the spirits of sentient beings in their relentless research. As a result, they are both highly effective and extremely dangerous. Their goal is nothing less than the domination of all Tyria, including the Elder Dragons, and they will not let anyone or anything stand in their way.

Perilous Pride

Since surfacing in Tyria, the story of the asura has been one of success and triumph over long odds, continual perils, and the stupidity of the world at large. Out of the ashes left by the Great Destroyer's assaults, the asura have forged a better future for themselves. Yet, within their very success lies the potential seed of their destruction. The asura are a proud — some might say haughty — people, great in knowledge if not always in wisdom. And a great pride often leads to a great fall.


[ Edited Thu Sep 15 2011, 05:25PM ]
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Fri Sep 16 2011, 07:46PM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286


By: Ree Soesbee
Source: click here

Rising up from their cities beneath the earth, the asura prove, time and time again, the old adage ”Difficulty is just another word for opportunity.“ From their humble beginnings among the ruins of the Tarnished Coast, the asura have risen to prominence. Their magical gates connect the major cities of Tyria, and their intelligence makes them an ally to be respected—or an enemy to be feared.

In the depths, surrounded by the very foundations of Tyria, a battle was raging.

Impact rocked the narrow passage, sending showers of earth and pebbles scattering along the uneven floor. Screeching, high-pitched sound filled the corridor, shaking more dust loose with every bone-jarring pulse and waver. Flattening his ears close to his neck, Dlixx dashed through the wreckage with his dicrystalline etherizer close at hand.

“I know you’re coming, Dlixx!” a voice shouted from up ahead, barely rising over the din. “I’m a sonographic engineer! Did you think I wouldn’t hear you? Ha!”

Dlixx saw the wave approaching before it hit him—a wobbly-looking motion in the air that signaled the solid wash of sound. He dove behind a boulder, but the assault struck him even as he leapt for cover. With a waft of terrible, howling, whining cacophony, the sound wave spun him end over end until he slammed against the cavern wall. “Whumph!” he grunted, but the noise of his protest was lost amid the din.

“See that?” the voice shouted again. “Nothing’s getting through my sonopath! Whoever holds it is immune to it, and skritt have delicate ears! You hear me? DELICATE…”

Dlixx rolled out into the hallway, etherizer pointed, focused, and ready. The ball of crystal at its end flared with a strange, pinkish gleam, and then a light shot toward the end of the hallway.

“…EAR…oh…ears…oomph…” The voice faded, and then there was the thud of an unconscious body hitting the stone floor.

Seizing his opportunity, Dlixx shoved the etherizer into his belt and raced forward. Leaping over barriers made of stone, debris, and broken furniture, he landed solidly over an unconscious asura woman, still twitching a bit from the effects of the etherizer ray. Hanging on her back above her was a half-cocked sonic generator, modified from bits and pieces of an original dredge rig.

“If I hadn’t had earplugs, that would have killed me. Not bad, Poizi.” Dlixx reached up and pulled the torque abjurer from the sonic generator, deactivating the device. He paused to breathe on the copper-colored abjurer and polish it against his sleeve as the machine wound down. Once the noise faded, he popped the earplugs out of his ears and smiled. “But not good enough.” He snapped the abjurer in half and peered inside curiously.

“No…” Poizi managed, her voice wavery with the aftereffects of his etherizer. “My sonopath will get me out of here. I don’t want to die…”

“I’m not taking your gadget.” Dlixx pushed the abjurer into Poizi’s pocket. “I came to get something else.” Carefully, Dlixx reached down and removed her left shoe. With cautious hands, he tucked it away into his knapsack. Pausing to stare at her, he bent down a second time and also took the long scarf Poizi wore around her neck. “This too, I think…” Dlixx muttered.

“Why couldn’t you leave me alone?” Poizi moaned, her eyes rolling in half-conscious annoyance. “Just go away!”

Dlixx stood, drawing his coat close around his body. “You’re a member of my krewe, Poizi,” he snarled. “Did you expect me to forget that?” With a dismissive snort, he turned, drew his dicrystalline etherizer into his hand once more, and vanished away into the dark passages of the earth.


Primordus
The coming of the Great Destroyer, the herald of the Elder Dragon Primordus, may have shocked the surface of the world, but it did far more damage below. Although a group of stalwart heroes had defeated the herald and forestalled the Elder Dragon’s awakening, its destroyers remained, and the damage they caused was titanic. The dwarves, responding to an ancient call, performed the Rite of the Great Dwarf and turned themselves to stone in order to fight their age-old enemy. Yet they were not the only ones to fight against the destroyers in the deep caverns beneath the earth.

Prior to the rise of the destroyers, the asura were the predominant race in the Depths of Tyria. They lorded their status over all others, and fought primarily against the skritt—creatures that the asura considered (then and now) to be hideous, dangerous vermin. The destroyers were the first enemy in generations that had not fallen easily to the combined intelligence and magical prowess of the asura. Their Arcane Council assumed it was simply a matter of time before the destroyers were annihilated by asuran skill and acumen. It was hubris that caused the downfall of their underground civilization; thousands of years to build, but only a handful of moments to vanish in the wake of the Elder Dragon’s power.


(click to enlarge)

Yet the defeat of the Great Destroyer did not prevent the eventual awakening of the Elder Dragon, only delayed it. Approximately fifty years after his herald was defeated, Primordus awakened—this time, for good. Its minions now spread through the Depths, eradicating many subterranean races whose names are now only known through asuran records and tales. The races which survived the constant battles were forced to leave behind their deep-dwelling cities and rebuild closer to the surface. By this time, the asuran refugees had already established themselves on the surface, regrouping and recreating their culture in this new world, building the city of Rata Sum.

The Arcane Council
From time immemorial, asura have been builders and inventors, utilizing magic as other races used simple tools. Although not as old a race as the dwarves, they were a far more active one, spending their time on constant invention, experimentation, and the dissection of magic itself. According to the records of the eldest archivists of their race, there were at least six cities as large and grand as Rata Sum in the asura-dominated lands beneath the surface, though none survived into the modern age. While other races insist that the legends of such massive capitals as Quora Sum are far-fetched and exaggerated, the asura tersely reply that the other races are simply too dim to comprehend the grandeur they lost.

The asura are led by the Arcane Council, a brain trust that is said to be comprised of the best and brightest minds in the nation. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that most asura are far more interested in being inventors than bureaucrats, and the Arcane Council is all too often made up of those who ran the slowest when an opening was announced. The current Arcane Council rules from the city of Rata Sum, and is led by High Councilor Flax. Among his cabinet are prestigious inventors, well-known diplomats, and the deans of each of the three asuran colleges.

All asura begin as apprentices in their parents’ laboratories, assisting with various projects from the moment they can stand on their own (or lean against a crystalline transmogrifier). When they reach an age where they are arguing with their parents more than they are helping (usually fairly young), they are apprenticed to an asura master within one of the three colleges. That master is responsible for the student’s education up until the time they graduate and join a krewe of their own. Through this traditional apprentice system, adolescent asura gain a well-rounded education, and their advisors receive unpaid (if not always perfectly competent) laboratory interns. Even after they complete their indenture, asura hold a fierce loyalty toward their alma maters, often claiming that the magical theories of one are the basis of the other two.

Krewes
The cultural system of the asura is both highly organized and extremely flexible. Their society consists of individuals who come together to accomplish greater tasks. This is their krewe system: a project will form, and the leader will call together (or hire) those most useful or capable until the project is finished. An asura’s krewe is usually temporary; lasting as long as the project requires, and then breaking up when they have completed whatever task they were performing. These krewes often stay in touch, forming and reforming with individuals they know and respect, and avoiding those whom they don’t get along with or find substandard.

Because asura are judged by their reputation and craftiness, they often choose a specialty within their college training. An asura will seek to be well known as the foremost authority on that topic, in the hopes of acquiring a position on cutting-edge krewes, performing greater and more challenging tasks.

Earth rumbled and moved, displacing itself, churning in ever-growing spirals of shattered stone. Behind the gyratic earthcarver, Nimm pushed and grunted, struggling to shove the implement more quickly through the wall. It was larger than he, coiled to a point at the fore and flat at the rear like the stylized claw of some giant beast—or like that massive tooth the idiot norn worshipped up in the frozen mountains. Nimm scowled, shoving with all his might as the cone-shaped digging device rolled and rocked and did its work.

With each shove, the earthcarver dug forward and Nimm crawled after, not caring if the passage behind him was half-sealed with rubble in his wake. That would be a defense against anything sneaking up behind him. A genius idea! Phoo on the rest of them, those idiots in that cogs-cursed krewe. He was getting himself out!

A shudder rippled through the ground, shaking Nimm so badly that it tilted his trajectory three degrees to the south. He cursed and quickly flipped the earthcarver off to investigate. Had he overloaded the joint welders? Flooded the arcanolog? Nothing. Maybe the problem was with the talismantic stabilizer…

Another shudder. That one definitely wasn’t caused by his machine. Nimm pushed his goggles up onto his forehead, listening carefully, his black eyes narrowing against the single clean strip of skin across his face. “Poizi’s stupid sonopath,” he guessed. “Idiot. She’ll just draw attention! Better to sneak along and not be noticed…”

Turning the earthcarver on again, Nimm put his shoulder to the rear harness and shoved with all his might. With a mighty effort, he drove the spinning drill through the next layer of rock. As the stone cracked and fell apart, Nimm cheered—only to turn his cry into a scream as the rock, earthcarver and all—suddenly tipped forward with a burst of unimpeded speed.

“No!” he screamed, grabbing for the handles on the rear of the machine. “A cavern! My calculations must have been off—I should still be in pyromorphic stooooooone!” The sound of chittering rose and swelled beyond the opening as the ground crumbled beneath him, threatening to collapse completely. Forced to release the handles to save his own life, Nimm scrambled backward—but found himself quickly trapped by the rubble he’d left in his wake. Thick cracks splintered the foundation, and Nimm saw his fate spread out before him—a blanket of thousands of skritt, and all of the little monsters were staring up at the fresh new hole in their city wall. Across the big cavern, Nimm could see the twinkle of daylight. A way out!

But he’d never get there—even if he didn’t fall to his doom, there were easily a thousand rodent men in the way.

The stone cracked and groaned, Just as the last shards of rock holding him up collapsed, a rope—no, a scarf!—flumphed down to hang in the air beside him. “Poizi!” Nimm gasped, reaching for it with joy. He clung desperately to the thin thread of hope as the earthcarver toppled down to shatter on the floor of the skritt city-cave.

“Poizi!” Nimm scrambled up the scarf to a ledge farther up the wall. Crawling over the lip, he faced the asura there with glee. “You saved me! I knew that being on the same krewe still meant something to you, Poizi…” With a gasp, Nimm froze. “You!”

Dlixx smiled, leveling the dicrystalline etherizer. “If I shoot you with this, you’ll topple down into our vicious little friends. You know how clever they are when they’re all bunched up like that—and there’s never been as many of them together as there are here in Skrittsburgh, I’ll wager.”

Slowly, Nimm raised his hands in a gesture of submission. “Master Boikk didn’t know what he was doing, coming down here. We don’t have to end up like him!”

“I’m afraid we do. Now, give me your shoe, and I’ll be on my way.”

Gulping, Nimm shook his head. “I won’t help you. Whatever you’re doing, you won’t get away with it, Dlixx. One of us will make it to the surface.”

“One of us already has.” With that, Dlixx pulled the trigger, and the ball of crystal flared. Nimm’s body tensed, arching—but at the last moment, Dlixx grabbed the other asura by the belt and jerked him away from the open height. Below, a thousand bright eyes flashed viciously in the darkness, and a thousand hissing whispers echoed against the stone.

Leaning Nimm’s unconscious body safely against the cavern wall, Dlixx slid off Nimm’s left shoe and shoved it into his belt-bag with the one he’d taken from Poizi. “Only one member of the krewe left,” he muttered, checking a tracking light on his bracer. “No time to waste.”


The College of Statics
Those asura who join the College of Statics are builders, and they build to last, specializing in permanent structures and large-scale projects. These asura tend to be more conservative and cautious in nature; they believe in measuring twice, cutting once, and measuring again. They are thoughtful and analytical, and enjoy research as well as practical application. Prominent graduates of the college include the inventors of the magicomagnetic levitation stones, which the asura use as power sources for their larger structures. They refer to their college as a concrete thing, a living formation of rock and structure that is continually added to and subtracted from, by the works of alumni and students alike. These asura make construction golems, drilling machines, and anything else that solidly moves. They are the hubs within the Eternal Alchemy, the solid foundation of posts, supports and axels upon which the cogs can turn.

Creations of the College of Statics: positional relays, quasi-enchantment aligners, theosophy scopes, metasurvey incantations, cross-incantation braces, levitation buttresses.

The College of Dynamics
The asura of the College of Dynamics are best understood as the gizmo makers. Masters of swift, innovative problem solving, they tend to produce items that last only as long as they are necessary in order to make the next intuitive leap. They are energetic, enthusiastic, and impulsive, tending to start projects before researching the possible results. They love to figure out how other races do things in order to…appropriate…and improve upon that magical theory for their own purposes. An experiment is only a failure, their advisors say, if you don’t learn anything from it. When a member of the college speaks of his alma mater, they typically are speaking of the body of work, experiments, and thought that form a mental picture of the college’s achievements—the overall innovations that they have provided to the world. In the Eternal Alchemy, they are most often referred to as the tooth-gears and mainsprings of the universe.

Creations of the College of Dynamics: canoptic enhancers, lunographic fasteners, torque abjurers, enigmaticons, karmic pressure gauges, kinetic spellchurns, magiphysical armatures.

The College of Synergetics
Within the College of Synergetics, asura are all about shaping energy and building connections. Here you can find the more mystical thinkers, those who study the raw matter of magic itself and disdain the solidity of the functional world. They are often more philosophical in bent, and are very used to dealing with political and social theory. These asura are interested in how patterns form, how errors propagate, and how chaos forms rational systems. Unfortunately, this dedicated study to psychology also leads them to be more secretive—even among themselves—as they believe they know how everyone else’s mind works…and those minds are out to get them! Even the greatest of this college’s alumni can tend to be a little shortsighted, devising ethereal plans and constructing psychological reasoning without actually venturing out of their laboratories for concrete tests. When a member of the college speaks of his alma mater, they typically are speaking of the social structures they’ve created through their tutelage, their connections, and the body of asura who consider themselves a ”college” of like minds.

Creations of the College of Synergetics: quantagrams, di-polar spell matrices, conjuration vertices, prestimystic readouts, mojonic control rods, self-restricting enchant loops.

Tick…tick…tick…

Volla knelt by the spherical hydrocadabric distillery, pushing her long, coiled braids back as she tweaked the dials and reset the aura transversers. She hummed to herself, her body swaying back and forth as she checked and double-checked each one with the remote in her hand to be certain it was just right.

Dlixx’s hand squeezed tightly on the handle of his dicrystalline ethoriter. The bomb was complete, pretriggered, and she’d used more than enough crystalline pyretics to level the entire layer—but he was in luck.

She’d left her boots on the table near the door.

“Ten, ten… No, no. This one goes to eleven! There we are.” She grinned, showing long rows of razor-sharp teeth.

“All right, Volla,” Dlixx called out from the hidden aperture in the floor of the subterranean cavern, keeping his tone smooth and overly gentle. “Stand up slowly. Back away, toward me, and keep your hands in the air.” She spun—far more quickly than he thought was safe, and Dlixx winced. That distillery was explosive, by the Alchemy!

“Dlixx!” she squealed delightedly, shoving the remote into her vest. “I thought you were dead like old…uhm…what’s-his-name.”

“Master Boikk,” he supplied grimly. “No, Boikk’s just fine. He used a personal transporter the moment we stumbled onto the skritt city.”

“Personal transporter?” Volla mused, rocking back and forth on the balls of her feet. Her coiled braids swayed gently around well-shaped and smoothly moving ears. “That’s a Snaff device, isn’t it? Hmph. Boikk was such an idea thief.” She raised a hand and stroked her ears lightly, letting the tips of her fingers press gently over her delightfully wide forehead…

“Eyes on the prize, Dlixx!” he snarled to himself, trying not to let her know he’d been staring.

Too late. Volla winked.

“Come on, Dlixx. You know full well it’s every asura for herself down here.” She took a winsome step toward him, and he could smell the intoxicating aroma of fuel oil and particulate ozone. “I could take you with me, if you like. We were on the same krewe, after all.”

Shaking himself out of it, he raised his ethoriter, again with a snap. “We were. But if I let you set off that distillery, we’ll be on the same dead krewe.”

“Come on. Climb on top of it with me. I’ve set up a jail platform.” She took another step toward him, her eyes brilliant and filled with a thousand complex mathematical equations. “A force bubble will surround us, the distillery will go off, and we’ll be shot straight up to the surface without so much as a scuffle on your broad…” another step, “cosmonetic…” another step, and now her lips were inches from his, “…toolbox.”

With a swift movement, Volla snatched the ethoriter out of his hand and stepped back. “Fool!” she said victoriously. “I win!”

“There was only room for one on that jail platform, wasn’t there, Volla?” Dlixx asked sadly as she backed away, still holding the weapon fiercely toward his face. “You never even considered taking anyone else along. When you set off that distillery, it’ll collapse the caverns. If the skritt don’t kill us, your bomb will!”

“Like I care!” she snapped. “I’m the genius here. Me, not you, and not those other simpletons. When I get back to Rata Sum, I’ll tell them how bravely you and all the others died when we discovered this massive infestation, and I’ll be sure to explain to Master Boikk that it’s in his best interest he give me the credit—or I’ll ruin the wither-brain for not realizing the rats were here in the first place!” Still holding his ethoriter, she grinned and leapt to the distillery platform as if she were standing atop the world.

“Now, all I have to do is press the button on my remote…” Volla fumbled in her vest.

“This remote?” Dlixx held it up.

“You!” She leveled the ethoriter and fired—and a lovely mist of lavender-scented vapor shot out, perfuming the room. “Give me that back! I can’t set off the distillery without it!” she wailed.

As pleasantly scented smoke filled the area, Dlixx yelled, “You never could tell the difference between a dicrystalline ethoriter and a dicrystalline etherizer, Volla!” Taking advantage of the mist and the distance between them, Dlixx snatched one of Volla’s boots from the table and dropped down through the aperture, fleeing into the caverns below.


The Inquest
Although not actually a college, the Inquest is the largest krewe in asuran culture, and is a relatively new organization.

Where traditional asura training goes through an apprenticeship at one of the three colleges, the Inquest has begun a system of corporate training that is structured rather like a series of progressive aptitude tests. When an asura can pass a test, she is immediately given the next, and her clearance among the Inquest is upgraded accordingly. This leads to a great deal of cheating, of course—both for and against the aspirants.

An asura never graduates from the Inquest, as they do from the other colleges of the asura. Once you join the megakrewe, you’re a member for life… even if the other Inquest members are forced to make sure that life is a necessarily short one. An aspirant is given a krewe assignment and expected to work on their individual task regardless of whether they understand that task’s purpose in the greater schema. They sacrifice their own desires for the greater good of the Inquest’s body of knowledge, like it or not.

The Inquest combines the strengths of the various college disciplines, but they use only what they need, abandoning deeper understanding of those theories in favor of a quick and profitable return. They are more than willing to burn out their young inventors, souring them on their work, rather than waste time with rest—an unprofitable accounting of time.

Unlike the three asuran colleges, which delight in sharing newly completed discoveries (if only to victoriously rub them in one another’s faces), the Inquest do not share their information beyond the Inquest itself. Indeed, they occasionally even go so far as to sabotage the promising research of college krewes that impinges upon what the Inquest sees as proprietary design.

Where the colleges see power as a useful tool toward understanding the Eternal Alchemy—the Inquest sees power as a goal in and of itself. Inquest founders looked upon the amount of knowledge lost when Quora Sum was wiped out by the destroyers, and judged such a signal drop to be complete anathema to their purposes. Gathering information in its pure, crystalline form is their intention, and they will stop at nothing less than the sum of all knowledge. Indeed, the ultimate goal of Inquest research is to achieve control of the Eternal Alchemy, and with it, all of Tyria.



Dlixx crouched at the base of the golem, slowly inserting each shoe into its canoptic non-abstract analyzation bay. Four shoes in all, one from each member of his krewe followed by his own, slid down the gullet of the mighty—if rough-hewn—stone defender.

“Pro-cess-ing,” the golem chirruped, its voice bubbling up, raw and scratchy, from the gleaming crystal epicenter. “Pro-cess-ing.”

“Un-der-stood. Targets ac-quir-ed.”

Dlixx stood up and patted the golem with a wide smile, wincing only slightly as his affectionate tap caused a shingle of stone to fall off. He quickly reattached it. “Come on, BeMM. Time to show your stuff,” Dlixx said, the golem stepping forward, its massive armaments aglow in the dimness of the underground.

By the time they burst out into the main skritt cavern, it was already a free-for-all. The wargolem’s crystals flashed and shimmered, bolts flying in every direction. It was a rabid explosion of destruction, uncontrolled and completely unhampered by any attempt at silly things like aiming or conservation of energy.

On the ledge above, Poizi and Nimm screamed. Bolts flew through them, striking them solidly, but where skritt toppled over, steaming and squirming, the two asura suffered no damage at all. “What’s going on?” Nimm howled, curling his hands around his goggles . “How’s he doing that?”

Poizi pointed to the entrance where Dlixx and BeMM stood. The wargolem’s arms spun wildly as rays radiated through the mass of skritt. “I don’t care! Just run!” Using her scarf to slide down into the huge cavern, Poizi and Nimm fled past the terrified, twitching rat-folk. Within moments, Dlixx saw them climb up the far wall and through the opening, into the sunlight above.

“So that’s why you needed the shoes,” Volla murmured behind him. Her voice sent shivers up his spine, even more than the howling and shrieking of the rodent men. “They’ve got our sweat in them. You used that matter—part of ourselves—to attune the golem’s rays so it wouldn’t hurt us. Inspired.”

Dlixx shot her a glance, but did not answer, a smarmy grin curling his lips.

“You could have gotten out anytime,” she pressed, stepping closer as pinkish rays flew all around them. “Why? Why help us? Because we were all on Master Boikk’s krewe?”

“You don’t stop being on a krewe till the job’s done. The job was to come down here, measure the resonant spellpower, and then return. We hadn’t returned,” Dlixx said and shrugged. “Krewe is krewe.”

“Was that your only reason?”

“That…” he agreed, “and the fact that now, every single one of you will be forced to praise the asura whose invention saved your lives.” He puffed up, spinning his dicrystalline etherizer around one finger with an expert touch. “Dlixx, inventor of the Better Mousetrap Mass-Trauma Wargolem, graduate of the College of Dynamics, bane of skritt everywhere.”

“Me.”


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Fri Mar 02 2012, 07:00PM
Country: Romania
Posts: 1286


Lore Audio Interview with Jeff Grubb:

Source: click here
Note: This is the English version of "TowerTalk Lore Special: Asura" with Al'Ellisande and Jeff Grubb (ArenaNet's Lore & Continuity Designer).

All credits go to ArenaNet and wartower.de

Elli: Hey. Welcome back! Today you couldn't say no because it's about the Asura, isn't it?

Jeff: Yes! Yes. So last time we talked we talked about the Norn and the Asura are the flipside of the Norn to a great degree. If the Norn have a strong sense of my own personality then there's also a strong sense of my personality in the Asura but the other way. Whereas the Norn are big and happy and boisterous the Asura are short and intelligent and smart and snarky. So the Asura very much have a dark side feel to it. They're the smartest kids in the room and they don't want you to forget it.

Elli: And you love them!?

Jeff:
I actually enjoy them very much. My training is as a civil engineer. I come from an engineering background. So when I approach the nature of magic as an Asura I am thinking in engineering terms. I'm thinking in lines of force and, you know, angle on/angle off and all sorts of old engineering thoughts about how things fit together and how they interact. Regina is looking at me because I do think she knew that.


Elli: We can talk about the colleges later and you can tell me which college you would've chosen if you were an Asura. But let's start with the beginning. The Asura come from or lived under the surface. (Jeff: Yes) We as Humans weren't even aware of them, were we?

Jeff:
Err no. No. We were not aware of them... THEY were not aware of US but they had a word that they used for a monster that they told small children about ...that were big and dumb and loud. That was called a "Bookah". And when they met humans for the first time the word just sort of slit over. It's not as common now as it was back 250 years ago when they first contacted them. I think part of that is because of contact and understanding between the races. But still you will see it pop up on more than a few occasions. But the Asura didn't come from underground. About 250 years ago when the Great Destroyer, the Herald of Primordus, awoke and tore through a lot of underground territories - its minions. And in particular the Asura had constructed a grand central station, a central hub for all of their gates which basically reached to all parts of this underground empire. They had built it on a place of great magic. And this was a place of great magic because it was right above Primordus. And so, when the Great Destroyer got loose and basically started rampaging through the territories, the Asura cities fell and the survivors moved to the surface. And this was a strange new world. They were settling among old ruins. It was an odd place. There was no ceiling. But if anything the Asura are adaptable. They lost a lot of knowledge, they lost a lot of devices and important stuff but they survived and had thrived in their new environment.

Elli: I gathered that they had six large cities underground. Do we know anything about these cities?

Jeff:
I don't think we've revealed anything about them other than that they - we suppose - did fall to the minions of Primordus and the Great Destroyer.

Elli: Okay. You touched the topic magic. They use the Arcane magic. Can you tell me how this magic differs from the magic the Elementalists use, for example?

Jeff:
The nature of magic is large scaled. There are Elementalists among the Asura. There are Mesmers. I can say that aloud now. I can say Mesmer! Mesmers among the Asura. There are Necromancers among Asura. But their attitude toward magic is, much like their attitude toward the universe, a study of forces, of energies, of how things interact with each other. The whole approach to magic is that it's an ambient energy which can then be utilized for concrete ends.

Elli: And they even use it in their ornaments, I read somewhere. It's like the ornamentation is part of their magic.

Jeff:
Oh yes! Oh yes! They are very comfortable with it. Much more so than any other race. Such that the idea of these glowing writings you see on their floating labs. The omnipresent nature of their golems. They are very much into utilizing their discoveries. I mean, that's the part of the nature of Asura. There are Asura who are more pure research, who are tying to dig down to find that particular entity that basically defines magic or life or whatever. But there are just as many who are going that broad spectrum technologists approach where they are seeing what they can do with this. What can they advance. How can they build something.

Elli: When it comes to family and Asuran qualification we have a traditional apprentice system. How does it work exactly? How does an Asura start to be intruced to that work life/magic life?

Jeff:
Well, first of all the Asura tend to have a traditional human-style relationship - parents have children. Often children go into the family business. Sometimes they are apprenticed out to other Asura - masters - who they basically share interest for or abilitiy or aptitude. We were also discussing this morning about the idea of early Asura training academies. The idea of, basically, when you're a very young Asura where do you get your first knowledge of the eternal alchemy!? Is that through a family type of operation? Do we have something like preschool effectively? (Elli: Kindergarden!) That's still under discussion. It's the idea of the learning is a process that goes through the entire life of the Asura.

Elli: But the couple thing between mother and father is more like human style?

Jeff:
Yeah, nay, humans, I think, connect with that much easier than they do understand the whole relationship between your master and apprentice. And in Eye of the North where they first appeared we dealt with the whole parent/child with Vekk and Gadd. And basically you can see they are argumentative and they are going back and forth and you discover that they were parent and child. And that was a bit of a surprise but also the idea of "This is a different race", "This is a different type of people". And type of interaction is not out of the ordinary.

Elli: Was that a typical thing? Because for me that relationship was like they were very aware of being individuals and they respected each other and I thought that they were very self-aware, I mean the child. That was not the typical parent-child relation that we have often here. We humans have it that you feel small but I had the feeling they knew what they wanted to and expressed what they wanted to.

Jeff:
I think they express themselves very directly. Similar to human relationships there is always that parent-child type of interaction. I always say that, when I'm with my folks, I'm twelve. (Elli: Same here.) I work on computer games, I'm a grown-up, I can brush my teeth BUT when you're with your parents you're twelve. (Elli: Indeed) And that's something that's in the Asura make up as well. The Humans I don't think get as much of the idea of this going off and sending off for apprenticeships and basically this promoting the independence but both the parents tend to promote on independence of children. I'm talking in generalities here. And also the children themselves want to go and make something of themselves. They want to basically go and show that they are as good as or better. And that type of behaviour is deeply engrained inside the Asura make up. The idea of this race of mad scientists. Basically their motto is "Fools, I will show you all!"

Elli: What happens to Asura who are not that bright, maybe?

Jeff:
There's always lab assistants. What they discover, and this is something that Asura don't do well, they don't recognise that there is a broad variety of intelligence. This is a downside for them. They tend to think in particular categories. But the idea that you can be a good guard or you can basically be a military genius. If you confront an Asura with it they will say "Yeah, that's right." But in their make up they are very much about "The guy who builds the biggest golem wins." There are places within - and necessary places within - the Asuran society if you are not that AAA, top form, magna **** laude type of Asura.

Elli: Okay. So, even as a warrior?

Jeff:
Even as a warrior! There are Asura warriors. We never say if you're an Asura you can't be a warrior. If you're an Asura you're probably a different type of warrior. You're probably thinking in different terms than a Human warrior or a Charr warrior. Charr are very much about the group. They're very much about tactics. They're very much about organisation. The Asura warrior will definitely be the one who can pull out his arcane projector at the right moment and say "Haha! I have you all!"

Elli: Right. Okay. So, how long does an Asura child have to be in this apprentice system until the Asura can go to college?

Jeff:
I don't think we have stated it one way or another. And apprenticeship probably lasts either from an agreed-upon time but also a point where the master recognises the student is ready to move on.

Elli: Okay. And does the Asura choose the college or does the college choose the Asura?

Jeff:
I think the Asura chooses the college. Often with recommendations from parents or early masters or that sort of thing. You can have a master, by the way, after getting out of college, too!

Elli: We have three different colleges. (Jeff: Yes) Can you tell us what they are or what makes them different?

Jeff:
Statics, Dynamics and Synergetics. Statics is the most conservative of the three groups. They are the builders. They are believing in structure. Those big floaty buildings you see in the Asura territories, that were their strongest. They basically believe that structure is the best way of approaching it. They also tend to be the most nostalgic for the time underground and are often trying to find old caches of inventions and creations that will help in the surface world. The Dynamics group is much more active. They are the group that would say it's the question of what things do. That's important. All colleges use golems. The Dynamics group experiments with them a lot more. More case modding. They change things around a lot more. They are the experimenters, they are test pilots. And any experiment that you learn something from is a successful experiment. Every crash you can walk away from is a good landing. Loud noises are common in the Dynamics' territory. (Elli: I see.) And the last group, the Synergetics group, is much more mystic. They're much more about interrelationships, how things interact, how energies work, how cabalists function. The process becomes very important for this group. The gates are a strong point for them. Though again, every college uses gates. They don't belong to one college or another. I said it in the beginning. I'm an engineer by nature and by training. I was a civil engineer. And the Statics group is very much like civil engineers.

Elli: So, you would've chosen the Statics group?

Jeff:
I would've been a Static. The Dynamics college is very much like mechanical engineers. The joke, by the way, for civil engineers is that "If it moves it's not our department!" The last group, the Synergetics college is akin to nuclear engineers. That they're never witnessing what they're working on directly (Elli: But it works great.) but they're seeing its interaction and its energy. So, if you want to say these are where they come from, this is sort of where they're based. Now they have all grown since we've started out designing them. And we have a good feel for them. But that's sort of a foundation, see a strongly more stable, traditional feeling among the Statics, a more dynamic, experimental feel for the Dynamics. The Dynamics have [technical issues]

Elli: Sorry, I don't hear you at the moment.

Jeff:
A more... problem?

Elli: It's okay. I haven't heard you for a minute, but it's okay.

Jeff:
Okay. I'll try one more time. Among the Statics we have a much more dynami...ah, nye, now I'm screwing up. Among the Statics we have a much more traditional, conservative, stable sort of organisation. Among the Dynamics we have a much more energetic, progressive, active organisation. And among the Synergetics we have the much more, almost mystic, interrelationship and how things fit together.

Elli: Okay, I see. So, the Statics are the ones who are responsible for the architecture as well?

Jeff:
They're influential on the architecture. Like I said, no particular invention you say belongs to any one college. That's one of the successes of the Asura of Rata Sum as they have managed to basically pull together a lot of different types of thinking.

Elli: Because I think the very edgy kind of architecture that the Asura have is something very special. (Jeff: Yeah!) Does it have magical influences as well? This kind of...

Jeff:
Yes, it does! It is a magical component. I mean, that is one reason how they can pull off the buildings that float, the labs that are underwater, the excavated labs. All of these come out of Statics' thinking.

Elli: Okay. And...

Jeff:
Just because they're Statics doesn't mean they aren't magical. That's the big part of it. The magic is an inherent part of who the Asura are.

Elli: So, it's everywhere? They use it everywhere?

Jeff:
Yes! The Humans tend to have much more in the tool using and the magic is there. It's a seperate component to some degree. It's an Elementalist, you know. They go off and do Elementalist things and we think about them in terms of that. But that's not everyday life. Everyday life for the Asura is very much
the interaction with magic.

Elli: And then we have Krewes. So what are Krewes?

Jeff:
Krewes are "Out of a college. Don't have a master". The task of a Krewe is to complete a task. You pull together a whole bunch of a Asura with particular talents. It's sort of like Ocean's 11. You put together the team and you go on and do the task. When the task is completed you may break up. You go on, go your seperate ways, go to your own research. This way a Krewe is a lot like putting together modern motion picture. You're putting the gang together for a particular goal. It's a very goal-oriented operation. Now, members of the Krewe may remain together for many different projects over the years. That's what the nature of the krewe is.

Elli: Okay. So what is the Inquest then? That is the largest Krewe we have?

Jeff:
The Inquest is interesting. The Inquest is something that has never come about in Asura history before and is a real challenge. The Inquest started as a krewe but they have sort of grown. They are running multiple projects at the same time. They have an organisational tree. The whole master-student feel that you get from most Asura relationships or krewe leader and krewe now gets blown up into many different levels. Sometimes one krewe (*group) within the Inquest does not know what the other group is doing. And they're coordinating that research and that growth to their own ends. What the Asura Inquest has done is invent the corporation. They have invented a structure by which they can get more out of its members. As a result though this has a lot of negative effects. There is a lack of control morality all the time. They're doing stuff that other Asura would find horrible. Experimenting on sentient beings. That sort of thing. In an addition for the members of the Inquest it's not always a bed of roses. You're not working on your pet project. You're working on what they tell you to work on. And once you get into the Inquest it is very difficult to leave. Because their version of the NDA is basically "You're with us for the rest of your life."

Elli: Oh. Oopsie, sounds like Scientology.

Jeff:
Oooooh, I wouldn't compare it to any particular religion we've got but it definitely has a corporate vibe to it.

Elli: Do we know who founded the Inquest?

Jeff:
I don't think we've told that story yet.

Elli: Will we get to know?

Jeff:
I don't know ... I don't know yet. (Elli: Okay. Yet!) As you know we've shown people the Charr, the Human and the Norn stories. We have not yet revealed the Asura in play test.

Elli: Oh, so we have to...

Jeff:
...be patient.

Elli: Be patient. Very bad.

Jeff:
The Inquest is a recent thing. The Inquest is something that wasn't there 250 years ago.

Elli: I see. But the Asura who work in the Inquest or as part of this Krewe, do they know who are the leaders?

Jeff:
Oh yeah, it's not necessarily a secret society per se, you know. They aren't wearing masks so they're appearing dark and shadowy. Some do but that's personal preference. They have a recognition what their hierachy is and what their place is. Now who's running the Inquest? Like in any other Asura operation there are regular rivalries, there are kind of top dogs, the guy who has the great project that everbody is paying attention to. It's much more of that than a big shadow council somewhere.

Elli: I see. How about titles. Do the Asura have a lot of titles?

Jeff:
Yes! Do they make any sense? No! [both laughing]
The Asura within their society like the idea of being able to tag a few titles onto their name. You know, Asura names tend to be very short. I refer to them as "sound effect names" because they sound like something that might be in MAD magazine. Vekk, Gadd, Splor, Sojja, all of these short names. And I think that you see a tedency to want to make sure that they are the primary researcher in charge of theoric particles as a title. Lord High Researcher of Golemic Magic. Stuff that would not fit on a tag in the game, of course, unless we had several lines. So we tend to go with the short names.

Elli: Oh, I see. But they have long business cards?!

Jeff:
They have long business cards! Let's not explain what exactly that means because every Krewe does it slightly different, you know.

Elli: We wouldn't understand it anyways, we're Bookahs.

Jeff:
They also love their CV - their curriculum vitae. "Ah yes, I worked on the sky lowering device. That was that wonderful explosion we saw last summer!"

Elli: Is it an important moment in the Asuran life to graduate from a college?

Jeff:
I don't know. I don't think so. We haven't done a whole graduation ceremony sort of thing. So I think there is a recognition. But again it's all about the process. It's all about going to the next level. It's the idea of being there. I think for an Asura it is a major milestone of going out and forming your first krewe and organising your own team and getting your first projects that you believe in, out there. But I don't think there is necessarily a ceremony.

Elli: Oh, I see. Okay.

Jeff:
I could be wrong!

Elli: We touched religion a little earlier. Do the Asura have any religion they believe in?

Jeff:
They have a belief system. And it reflects differently in each of the colleges. This is the eternal alchemy. The general concept is: everything fits together. The universe is a big machine. And everything affects everything else. (Elli: Okay) Now the Statics believe that the structure of the machine is important - the framework. The Dynamics believe that it's what the machine does - the effects. The Synergetics believe that it's how all the pieces and cogs interact - that's what the important part is. The Inquest believe that they should be the biggest gear on that machine, okay? Basically "Having a machine is very nice but you should only have a machine if somebody is at the controls. That would be us."

Elli: Okay, I see. Do the dragons play a role in that belief system?

Jeff:
The dragons do... I mean everything fits into this type of belief system. The dragons are part of the world therefore the dragons are part of the eternal alchemy. They are a destructive part. They're a threatening part. They're the boiler that is going to hot. They're the energy that's going out of control. They're the magic that basically overshadows everything else and leaves devastation in their wake. But it's still part of the world.

Elli: So we don't have, in the traditional sense, any priests or something but we do have professors or philosophers who think about these things and write them down?

Jeff:
Yes, they do tend to be philosophers. They do tend to be in Synergetics as well.

Elli: How about the political life?

Jeff:
Imagine running an entire society of mad scientists and you can see a problm. One of the reasons I believe why the Asura haven't taken over is because they have so many brilliant creatives who go off and build their secret labs and come over with great creations and then die and we forget about them. There is a lot of lost knowledge. There is a lot of friction. The energy that is lost. The Inquest to some degree is trying to contain that, is trying to say like "Nothing is lost. Everything stays in the system." To say that you've also got, as far as a political organisation trying to run this, the Arcane Council. And that's where you're going to find the heads of the various colleges, the Inquest have someone on the council. The more powerful and influential creators can be found on it. It's a place you might find some tenured souls who did something fantastic twenty years ago. Snaff passed on the opportunity, from the Destiny's Edge, just because it involves a lot more of moving around and organising and making sure... Ruling on conflicts and ownership questions and who blew up whose wall when and we have two groups who are trying to experiment in the same area, who is going to handle that? Settling turf issues is a big part of the Arcane Concil.

Elli: Is there something like a judgemental system?

Jeff:
That comes through the Arcane Council. I gotta pass for just a moment here. 'Cause I wanna look this up and get it right. [Jeff looking up stuff] Just a sec. 'Cause I have done this before. One of the challenges of doing this sort of thing that we have had is: we developed so much we wanna make sure we find the right words.

Elli: Your famous wiki, you have.

Jeff:
We have a wiki in house, yes.

Elli: Yes, I know.

Jeff:
Yes. I'll start again. As for a judicial system the Arcane Concil makes final rulings. But they an organisation: the Peacemakers. They're equivalent with the Seraph, they're the equivalent of the Guard. The Peacemakers are Asura and golems. Either an Asura and a golem partner or an Asura running several golems. Because, of course, the Asura can't do anything without making it more complicated. Their responsibility is to literally keep the peace and to keep all the crazy wizards that are running around from being too destructive. This is also, by the way, a reason why you see a lot of these Asura will be in Rata Sum but they will also maintain labs out in the hinterlands. Because they want some privacy - in the first case they tend to be a little secretive but also they have a little more freedom in that point as well.

Elli: Talking about golems: Are the golems self-aware?

Jeff:
[thinking noise] I don't think so. They do speak. They do register but I do not think that they are living things. Some Asura treat their golems as pets, some as just tools, some as confidantes. But I don't in any case we do think of them as being a seperate, sentient entity. They do talk, they do rationalise within their programming.

Elli: There is another group of creatures which is quite bothering the Asura. That are the Skritt.

Jeff:
The Skritt!

Elli: Yes. What is wrong with the Skritt?
[both laughing]

Jeff:
Oh, I have to ask. Did we publish that article on the Skritt yet?

Elli: Yeah, you did.

Jeff:
On our blog?

Elli: Uhuh.

Jeff:
Okay. Errm... I wanna look it up at this point.

Elli: Make sure what you say. You said not very nice things that the Asura wanted to do to the Skritt.

Jeff:
The Asura do not like the Skritt. The Asura...

Elli: That's an understatement!

Jeff:
The Asura already know the Skritt. The Skritt is another race that was driven to the surface by Primordus. So they have a history going back on this. They tend to be opportunists. They tend to be scavengers. As individuals they will take stuff that does not belong to them. And when you're doing research and you got stuff laying around and Skritt get into it that's considered to be a nuisance. [break] Give me a moment here. [break] Just seeing what we had said publicly about these. What the Asura really don't like about the Skritt is not that part of their personality. But when you get them together they get smarter. They don't have a hive mind in the idea that they're all one big thing but they do influence each other. But basically their intelligence goes up over the larger groups you get together. And when they get together they can be as clever as any of the Asura and twice as dangerous because they're not thinking things through as much as ...not that Asura aren't creating...

Elli: Oh, come on! I just wanted to say.

Jeff:
...conflicts. But even so, when you get to a critical mass of Skritt strange things can happen. And that could be a danger to the entire community.

Elli: Where I personally had a problem with the blog post was that the Asura wanted to eradicate the whole race and that is pretty extreme, I think.

Jeff:
That is extreme. That is extreme. I think we may have gone too far at that point. I think the idea that they are a danger to the Asura and the Asura are very concerned about them is definitely there. Eradicate? Maybe too tough.

Elli: Yeah, I thought so. Because I was thinking "Okay, when will see next Asuran Wannsee conference or something like that?" because it sounded like that.

Jeff:
Okay.

Elli: We sometimes see that Asura, if they want an experiment to be successful, they really don't care for their "objects". Maybe that's a Human or a Skritt or a living being. Will there be a pro-life movement within the Asura?

Jeff:
Individual Asura are different like Humans are different or Charr are different. They find - I'm gonna put the Inquest aside - that directly harming sentient beings is generally considered a bad thing. However they have much more an attitude toward putting others at risk be they Skritt or Humans or lab
assistants than risking their own mighty brains. Often a good Asura would be Dr. Bunsen Honeydew from the muppets. And often his lab assistants end up smoking as well.

Elli: Yeah, that's true. What influence do the dragons and the fact that they are living now on the surface have for the Asura?

Jeff:
The Asura have been further away from Zaithan and the major dragon breakout. Primordus is the reason why they're on the surface to begin with. So they were deeply effected by the dragon. But since then they have been very wary about exposing themsevles to draconic influence and danger. Most of our races tend to be a little provincial. Most humans do not think about dragons except the case of large monsters. Most Charr don't. The Sylvari do. They're much more concerned. Because they got Orrian undead. They're washing up on their shores. The Asura not so much.

Elli: Is there any race that gets along better with the Asura or the other way around? Do the Asura have a preferred other race they're getting along with?

Jeff:
The Asura insinuated themselves neatly into the society of the other major races. In part because of the gates. You know, they've got the gates they're running around. Where you're finding gates you're probably going to find an Asura. So they have managed to spread out and have an influence that's much further exposed. Asura in Ascalon are not as eyebrow-raising as Charr showing up in Rata Sum. Because they're a very expansionist type of people. But as far as who they work well with - they like Humans.

Elli: They don't show it.

Jeff:
When they first came on board the Humans were running things, the Humans are - in their opinion - a dying race. And there's things to be learned from them. When they first me the Sylvari they did not know that these were sentient creatures. That was a new thing. And things did not go well. So there's always been a little bit of a rift between Sylvari and Asura but not as much as you can see between the Humans and the Charr. There was no Sylvari-Asura war. Because the Sylvari first-born chose not to pursue a vengeful course. They lived up to the tablet of Ventari. But since then there have been Sylvari and Asura working well together.

Elli: To end the whole interview: What is the thing you love the most about the Asura?

Jeff:
What I like most about the Asura is they always have the right word. They always have the comeback. They are very snarky creatures. They're smart, they're intelligent. But they basically are aware and competent. Especially when they're talking. You hear when I'm talking I'm thinking, I'm stopping and I'm stammering. The Asura has the right phrase right there and it could be devastating, it could be harmful but they say it. They speak their minds and they have big minds.


[ Edited Fri Mar 02 2012, 07:04PM ]
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