Dabrovit, the key figure of the Commoner Caste

Dabrovit

The story about Dabrovit

The history books are full of royals and nobles, as these castes are the ones ruling over the Kingdom and generally believed to be deciding the course of history. So it is interesting to discuss the most famous historical figures from the commoner caste – Dabrovit.

Born in The Dams to a wealthy family

Dabrovit was born in The Dams to a wealthy family of beaver woodworkers. His father Drvovit was an engineer well versed in woodwork and the science of lumber. He was so good at it in fact, that the bear owner of the lumber mill almost never interfered with him. To young Dabrovit, and others living there, it might seem that the Dam was run by him. And to keep on top of the newest developments in the industry, Drvovit had many books imported from the nearby capital to study and keep informed. As the oldest son, Dabrovit was expected to continue his father’s legacy and was given all the books and papers to read and research.

When he came of schooling age, he was sent to hone his skills in Blackbark where he excelled under the tutelage of the turtle Methus. His works were of such good quality that they soon started getting sent to all the major lumber towns, and Dabrovit also showed interest in other fields – botany, anatomy, history, physics…

In the service of the King

When it was time to return to The Dams, King Michaël actually petitioned to keep him there, as a royal tutor to his son and grandson, and as the overseer of the royal library. Never has such a young animal received such a big honour, much less from the commoner caste, but this was only the beginning of his long life of success.

Sadly, Laurent died young while Michaël was still king, but Michaëls grandson Valent, who received the same tutelage as Laurent, was impressed by Dabrovit’s ideas. Dabrovit was adamant that the scholarly pursuits were slowed down by tradition and wrong beliefs.

The scholar’s manifest

Thus, Valent, when he became king, tasked Dabrovit to write the Scholars Manifesto, a paper that would be the bedrock of what is now known as the scientific method.

In this time, it was often so that the research from animals of the higher castes were always given more weight than those of the commoners. He was also frustrated that many of the debates at the time could be easily solved by finding the right evidence instead of endless debates. Thus, he created the three maxims of scholarly pursuit:

  1. “The proof is not the prover.” – This meant that it didn’t matter if the proof (mathematical, scientific, historical) was found by a vagabond or a king, that good science should separate who wrote a paper from what the paper actually concludes, and how. He famously said: “The laws of nature act the same to tigers and snakes alike.”
  2. “Words are but chisels on the stone wall of proof.” – Unlike many scholars up to that time, Dabrovit believed discussions alone cannot bring us closer to the truth. When a dilemma is shown, words are only tools that shape the evidence we found into an argument.
  3. “To part with doubts, doubt each part.” – Similar to our own concept of “Cartesian doubt”, Dabrovit believed that any information should be questioned, and broken down to smaller parts that are easier to question and ascertain their truthfulness.

During King Valent, the funding of scholarly pursuits achieved never-before-seen levels. The discovery of the southern continent and new plants and animals brought new life to the scholarly pursuits as well. A craze of scholarly pursuits struck everyone from the noble families to commoners lucky enough to have learned to read. Soon, a Royal Academy was formed in Blackbark where animals could come and learn and research together.

How many feet does a horse have on the ground when running?

An interesting anecdote concerns Hyeronimus the horse who wrote a treatise on horse movement. In one part, he wrote, “as can be attested from personal experience of any horse, during the gallop, when all our legs are facing inward there is a short time when all of the legs are above ground”. This infuriated Dabrovit, as it clashed against all three of his maxims, and yet every horse knew it to be true.

To put this matter from the hands of horse experience into the realm of science, Dabrovit petitioned the King to fund the research and discovery of a “photograph”. Thus, after many years and funds, the first simple photographs were created at that time. These were used to answer many questions that have puzzled scholars for years, and, finally, brought proof of horse movement that wasn’t reliant on personal experience of the ‘prover,’ but evidence, not by looking at a horse in motion, but by looking at parts of that motion frozen with a photographic machine.

Created a “peer review” system

While maxims two and three were adhered to, and well respected, there were still problems with the first maxim. When Dabrovit created a system of “peer review”, where scholars were financed by the crown to read and critique every published scholarly paper, it wasn’t what he expected. Whenever a rich noble wrote a treatise, rarely anyone was willing to disprove it even if it was complete nonsense, since nobles mostly funded the other scholars’ efforts.

Dabrovit was increasingly frustrated at the end of his life by this. He was also growing old and took ill soon. He famously wrote his last book, “The Revised Maxim”, on his deathbed. He wanted to change the first maxim to: “Words are untied to worders.” He wished to make all scholars submit papers anonymously, and hoped this would stop the problem of highly reputable scholars being given “free rein.” However, many scholars have by then reached a lot of fame and fortune by doing this, and he was too old to fight them, so the last maxim was left unchanged.

Reportedly, as Dabrovit died, and his Revised Maxim was not accepted at all in the scholarly circles, king Valent believed not intervening in this aspect to be the one flaw of his otherwise perfect rule.

Learn more about Trip the Ark Fantastic

There is a lot more to be learned about the world of Ark Fantastic, and much more is coming in the future.

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Science and Technology in the Kingdom

Science and Technology in Animal Kingdom

Science and technology in the Animal Kingdom

As the game begins, the Animal Kingdom is far from its humble animalistic beginnings. It’s a brewing civilisation on the very beginnings of the industrial revolution and (possibly) a social revolution as well.

Science

As for science and the scientific method, it has been steadily advancing since at least King Valent. However, in the Animal Kingdom, there is no difference between science, engineering, history, and other intellectual pursuits – all thinkers are called “Scholars”, whether they are scholars of botany or scholars of machinery or scholars of the Ark myth.

You play the game as Charles, one such scholar of the Kingdom. A botanist by trade and son of the famed scholar Herbert, you have always been in the spotlight which you’d rather avoid. Here’s a peek at Charles’ lab:

Our protagonist Charles is a botanist, and gained fame after he invented an indoor plant irrigation system, more commonly used in the kingdom as – the shower!

As previously considered, the difference between engineers and scholars in the Kingdom is vague so Charles doesn’t only work on the theory of botany but also works on the greenhouse technology that would help preserve plants from the cold conditions on the outside. His wish is to create a stable environment for growing crops even in winter-time, but he is still far off from that goal.

Technology

The industrial revolution made steam engines available in many mines and centers of industry throughout the Kingdom, including Charles’ hometown – the Burrows. The usage of steam engines made coal production skyrocket and made it possible to dig deeper and deeper into mines. Luckily, the rabbit miners didn’t meet any Balrogs down there, but the health hazards of being so deep might be just as deadly!

Complex machinery operating on steam and helping run the elevator down to the Burrows coal mine.

Other cities use steam machinery for other things, such as connecting the various treetop dwelling animals with their ground-based friends in the small squirrel trade town of the Scurries.

Yet another steam-powered elevator!

The Kingdom hasn’t (yet) started building railroads or any other steam-powered vehicles, mostly because of the convenience of travel by paw (due to the small scale of the Kingdom’s mainland), and the larger distances are traveled by using the royal Elephant Transportation Company (which has been known to stifle innovation so it could stay in the transportation game).

There are some technological issues we haven’t decided on yet, such as whether the Kingdom has learned to use powder for guns and weapons.

They certainly use dynamites, but guns seem too modern for a fantasy setting to some in our creative team, even if our fantasy world closely resembles the 19th century which was FULL of guns…

So be sure to drop in on our Discord and let us know whether you think this wolf guard would look better with a rifle or not 😛

Kings of the Animal Kingdom

Kings of the Animal Kingdom

Through the past several weeks we have talked about all the kings who have ruled the Animal Kingdom. Some were noble and kind. The others wanted to explore the world and give it all to science. But some rulers were brutal, tyrannic and only cared about the industry and power.

Let’s meet them all, one more time.

King Michaël the Zealous

 A portrait of King Michaël the Zealous
A portrait of King Michaël

Michaël inherited the kingdom in great unrest from his father Marius. However, Michaël actually spent less time dealing with the unruly nobles and more time obsessed over the ark myth. At the time, a young scholar beaver named Dabrovit has popularised the scholar’s method in the Kingdom. The scholar’s method (similar to the scientific method in our world) is a methodical way of approaching the Kingdom’s mysteries. Inspired by Dabrovit’s method, Michaël funded many scholars and explorers and tasked them to find the mythic Ark Fantastic.

Eventually, after many failed attempts, one scholar returned with good news. He found a wreckage on an island shore southwest of Pride, with evidence suggesting it is the Ark Fantastic. Along with its great historic significance, this had a surprising effect on quieting the kingdoms unrest. Many historians believe this discovery was what ushered in centuries of peace in the Animal Kingdom.

King Valent the Scholar

King Valent the Scholar
King Valent the Scholar

Even as a child, King Valent was tutored by Master Dabrovit, and fell in love with science and exploration from an early age. He funded many great expeditions to all sides of the Kingdom during his long reign and remade the kingdom in the image of science.

He funded academies in every regional capital, and built the largest library in Blackbark, holding copies of every book found in the Kingdom.

King Vincent the Explorer

King Vincent the Explorer

As the only son of Valent, the king who found the southern continent, he was less interested in ruling than in the vast unexplored reaches of the newfound land.

Nevertheless, denizens of the Animal Kingdom adored him, and his exploits were the talk of tales all over the Kingdom. He oversaw much of the Kingdom’s exploration and mapping. Indeed, most of the maps in his expeditions are in use to this day. Many feel that his early demise in the southern jungles was the end of an era.

He died relatively young, contracting a strange disease while leading an expedition into the heartlands of the colony. His most enduring legacy is his deathwish. On his deathbed, he decreed that his castle be remodeled into the central hub for exploration in the colony. Thus Vincent’s Keep becomes the Explorer’s Guild, a crown funded organisation tasked with exploring and mapping this new continent.

King Leopold the Tyrant

King Leopold the Tyrant

The steam engine changed much of the industrial landscape of the Kingdom… This, along with the vast resources coming from the newly discovered colony, all gave rise to new powers. Not all of these new powers were satisfied with their newfound wealth, and some wished to secure even more power.

Add the proliferation of the press, and you have a Kingdom filled with various ideas. These ideas, when left unchecked, could unravel the Kingdom itself. This is perhaps what Leopold feared most- the undoing of his predecessor’s life’s work.

And so, for fear of being usurped, and to secure his hold on the Kingdom, Leopold tightened his grip. He slowly transformed the royal newspapers into a mouthpiece of the monarchy. In his later years, he also funded a secret spy network that operated throughout the Kingdom.

King Leonard the Wise

King Leonard the Wise

Known in the Kingdom as Leo the Wise, he focused on Making Things Work. In his reign, all parts of the Kingdom were developed and connected. Leo oversaw the implementation of intricate systems of sharing goods and information across the Kingdom.

He funded the bastions of modern civilisation such as the Elephant Transportation Company and the royal newspapers. The printing press was brought to every major city of the Kingdom, and, after the steam engine was built.

Due to his father’s early demise, Leo was very young when he ascended to the throne, and also a king of unusually old age when he died. His great deeds and accomplishments cast a large shadow on his two sons – Leopold and Lav.

King Lav

King Lav

Lav is referred to in modern accounts as The Rebel King. He rolled back many of the authoritarian decisions created by his brother.

He sought to rebuild the kingdom in ideas of enlightenment and freedom. In his 30 years in power, he has already funded massive projects such as public schools and hospitals.

He also funded royal medics sent to take care of the workers in the mines and industries of the kingdom. As beloved as he is for his reforms, Lav is now in a difficult situation.

Many animals think reform is coming too little and too late… For years there have been whispers of reforming the monarchy. As these whispers become louder and louder, Lav is finding himself in a very difficult situation.

Kings of the Animal Kingdom: King Leopold

Kings of the Animal Kingdom: Leopold the Tyrant

Leonard’s son Leopold started off his reign as a direct continuation of his father’s footsteps as King. However, his main preoccupation soon had to shift to stability and centralisation of power in the Kingdom.

The steam engine changed much of the industrial landscape of the Kingdom… This, along with the vast resources coming from the newly discovered colony, all gave rise to new powers. Not all of these new powers were satisfied with their newfound wealth, and some wished to secure even more power.

Add the proliferation of the press, and you have a Kingdom filled with various ideas. These ideas, when left unchecked, could unravel the Kingdom itself. This is perhaps what Leopold feared most- the undoing of his predecessor’s life’s work.

And so, for fear of being usurped, and to secure his hold on the Kingdom, Leopold tightened his grip. He slowly transformed the royal newspapers into a mouthpiece of the monarchy. In his later years, he also funded a secret spy network that operated throughout the Kingdom.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Leopold_FINAL-1065x1080.png
Leopold the Tyrant

But as more animals saw their wealth and health diminish in newly-found harsh industrial conditions, resentment rose. Combined with Leopold’s non-diplomatic approach to many of the Kingdom’s issues, his end seemed nigh. He was finally deposed in a rebellion led by his younger brother, prince Lav. A small consolation, at least.

The reign of Leopold, “The Tyrant King”, was over 30 years ago, but the Kingdom still resonates from the consequences of his reign. Be sure to tune in for our next blogpost and read about the current king – Lav!

Until then – follow us on Discord and other social media!

Kings of the Animal Kingdom: King Valent

Kings of the Animal Kingdom: King Valent the Scholar

Kings of the Animal Kingdom: King Valent the Scholar

As we wrote about Michaël the Zealous in our previous lore article about the Kings of the Animal Kingdom, today we are continuing the saga with King Valent the Scholar who cherished the science and exploration during his ruling.

Prince Laurent was oft ill and short-lived, and so he died before he could succeed to the throne. His son, Valent, took on the Kings mantle at a very young age, and was thus the longest-ruling king in historical memory, being known as The Scholar King.

King Valent the Scholar
King Valent the Scholar

Even as a child, King Valent was tutored by Master Dabrovit, and fell in love with science and exploration from an early age. He funded many great expeditions to all sides of the Kingdom during his long reign and remade the kingdom in the image of science.

He funded academies in every regional capital, and built the largest library in Blackbark, holding copies of every book found in the Kingdom.

His biggest legacy, however, is finding the southern continent, a huge unexplored region whose location across the sea was lost in history.

If you want to stay informed, be sure to visit our Facebook, Twitter or Discord.

Ark Lore Tuesday: The Lynx Rebellion

Ark Lore Tuesday

The Lynx Rebellion

In today’s Ark Lore Tuesday (check out our other Ark Lore articles) we want to talk about the Lynx Rebellion. This is an event that took place hundreds of years before the game takes place and therefore does not feature in the game (bar a few history books and fireside tavern songs). However, the event is one of the bedrocks of the current social order of the Kingdom and has shaped the Kingdom into what it is today.

The relative autonomy

While the Animal Kingdom is a monarchy ruled by lions, the other noble families still have a degree of control over their own territories. This relative autonomy came about hundreds of years ago as the aftermath of the Lynx Rebellion. This rebellion started after a series of imposed regulations and levies in the Kingdom by the lion king Red.

The lynxes pushed back on this, declaring complete autonomy from the crown and thus a long struggle ensued, sometimes called The Third Northern War. In the beginning, King Red believed the rebellion will be squashed soon and gave it no thought, but similar rebellions were soon beginning to spark in other regions of the Kingdom as well. That’s why Red decided to send his son Nathaniel to help the royalist soldiers squash the rebellion.

Healing a broken paw

As the story goes, Nathaniels carriage broke down near the battlefield so he never made it there. He stayed at a northern village nearby for the next few days, healing his broken paw. When he healed, the battle was already over and the lynxes had won yet again.

Instead of regrouping and continuing the fight, Nataniel decided to solve the problem in a different way. He rushed back to Blackbark and, having learned much about the northern problems in his brief stay in the northern village, he told his father about their problems and how the policies and regulations imposed by the crown are hurting them.

A new system was born

Advised by his son and heir, King Red started a series of reforms, which his son finished, which transformed the unitary nature of the Kingdom into a more decentralized structure.

Thus a new system was born – in which the local royal cats have more autonomy over regional issues and established permanent embassies in Blackbark for each noble family where their envoys can discuss grievances over issues pertaining to the entire Kingdom.

These Embassies have since moved to the new capital Pride but serve the same function since they were introduced – to coordinate and adjust the kingdom rules to the specifics of each region.

Nathaniels wise decision to use diplomacy and lenience instead of war is hailed by historians as a very intelligent, compassionate and prudent move by the lions, and the wisdom and wits of lions in this situation is one of the many legends immortalised in folk songs and sung throughout the Kingdom by royalists.

However, those who oppose the crown believe that this peace was a squandered opportunity for ending the lion’s rule.

Bonus content: How Snowy Wasteland came to be

A sketch
Work in progress
Final scene
Animated scene

New Year in the Animal Kingdom

The Animal Kingdom counts years from the day of the Ark Fantastic marooning on land. This is an event that signalled the end of a great flood and of course holds a big significance in their society and mythology.

The years before the flood are lost to everyone and unmentioned even in the oldest tales, but in art and literature it is usually portrayed and referred to as an idyllic heaven-like state where animals lived in harmony as there was no conflict and everyone knew their place. The game begins in 1883AA (After Ark), which is 1883 years after the flood subsided and the animals founded the Animal Kingdom they live in today.

You can read more about the day of the New Year in the Animal Kingdom in our blogpost about the Day of the Bells here!

The Day of Bells

While the counting of years and the year of the Ark myth is firmly established, the exact date when the Ark was found is based on pure speculation, and therefore the date of the new year is calculated purely based on ceremonial reasons.

Usually, it is the birth-date of the current king, but there are a few instances in recent history when this wasn’t so – during King Michaël, the date of the New Year was set to the discovery of Ark Island (corresponding to our mid-June), and the current New Year coincides with Pride’s Day of Bells.

This day marks the beginning of the Lav rebellion, and is a holiday festivity across the Kingdom, in celebration of Lav’s victory over tyranny and oppression. It corresponds to our own late September.

There are no Santas or Christmas decorations in the Animal Kingdom, however, there is one tradition held for over three decades now – the Day of Bells is celebrated at noon by ringing all the bells in the entire Kingdom, which you will be able to experience yourself in the game (be careful about the volume on your earphones though!)

The Day of the Bells refers to the start of the rebellion when Leopold’s emissary arrived at Pride. Usually, when royalty is at the door, the gate bells ring three times (and twice if it’s nobility, and once if it’s a non-noble delegation). When the bells end their ringing, the gates open. But the beller at Pride knew that something was wrong, that Leopold must have heard of Lav’s quiet plot to overthrow him, and that opening the gate would probably lead to his imprisonment. So he rang once, twice, thrice… And just kept ringing, so the doors never open.

The royal delegation had not expected such a defiance, and, faced with a closed gate, turned back for Blackbark, while Pride armoured up for war. This day is thus considered the start of Lav’s Rebellion, and the beginning of the end of Leopold’s tyranny.

The Lav Rebellion

A score ago, the rebellion ended. Leopold the Lion, also called The Tyrant King, was overthrown by his brother Lav. Like his father Leonard, Lav is a gentle and enlightened monarch, versed in the sciences as well as the nuances of politics. 

The rebellion was led by Lav, a lion, but it was a rebellion that included all castes of society. After years of war, a vast alliance of animals finally reached Blackbark, Leopold’s capital. The capital was well stocked and could endure many years of siege, giving it enough time to regroup and defeat the rebellion. When they were besieged, Leopold had sent all the citizens not in the armed forces out of the city to flee, knowing that Lav would have to take care of them and lose food and other precious resources. Lav decided to send them all to Pride, the hometown of the lions, and enter the city by force, thus ending the war then and there. 

What isn’t common knowledge is that a famous scholar of the time, Herbert the Hedgehog (father of our protagonist Charles) was instrumental in ending the rebellion. It was he who devised a way to enter the city through a back entrance – researching old scripts on Blackbark’s architecture, he found a way to enter the city through the sewage system, and thus enter the cities defenses.

In the ensuing battle Blackbark burned to the ground, and Lav decided that all the animals who left for Pride could just stay there. He opened up these ancestral homelands of the lions to all the animals and declared Pride the new capital of the Animal Kingdom. 

As King, Lav ushered in an age of freedom and reason. This had the adverse effect of making the divides of the kingdom more pronounced. The noble cats gained a political and economic foothold that they are now using to spread word of reform, and the lower castes are even speaking of anarchy. Will the rebel king’s rule end in rebellion as well, or will he find a way to placate unrest? This, and more, will be at stake in the game.

The Myth of the Ark

It’s the first #ArkLoreTuesday! We decided to share a bit of game lore with everyone every week, starting today!

The centrepiece of the Animal Kingdom is the myth of the Ark Fantastic. Thousands of years ago, the lions built a sturdy ark that housed all the animals and saved them from a giant flood. 

As the myth goes, the lions built it, the noble cats administered it, the strong animals protected it, the weak ones worked hard on keeping it afloat, and only the untrustworthy vermin had no role but destruction and chaos. 

This myth has provided the mythological basis of the caste system in place in the Animal Kingdom for millennia – the lions on top as kings, the noble cats governing over provinces, the larger animals as guardians of the land, the commoners as hardworking freefolk, and the vermin as slaves and serfs.

This myth has legitimised the role of Lions as Kings for centuries, but as the Animal Kingdom has modernised, fewer and fewer animals believe in it, opting instead for reforming or even breaking the caste system.

The story of “Trip the Ark Fantastic” starts with Lav, the Rebel King, sending Charles, an esteemed scholar, on a journey to find the remnants of this mythic vessel, in a hope to maintain his seat of power.

Here is part of the myth in its modern form:

As the entire land was covered in water, there was only the Ark housing all animals.

The Ark was kept safe by the lions who ruled over all with compassion and much wisdom.

Below them were the great noble cats, they too were wise and benevolent rulers, carrying out the will of the lions for the benefit of all.

Under the noble cats lived the guardians, responsible and loyal animals. For their duties in protecting the Ark they were later given the responsibility of keeping the dry lands safe. 

All the other animals worked hard on keeping the Ark afloat under the diligent instructions of the guardians and for that they enjoyed the privileges of carefree life.

In the crooks and bowels of the Ark lived the vermin, lazy and mistrustful beings. For the good of the Ark, these animals were not allowed to roam free.

It was only due to the leadership and wisdom of the lions that the Ark did not collapse nor fall to anarchy and finally, when the waters receded, the Ark stranded and the animals spilled forth and came across the northern place we now know as the Animal Kingdom.