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Molten Platform

An ancient dwarven technology and magic that allows transportation using massive magical bubbles that utilize magma channels in the upper mantle to move relatively quickly between locations in Tempest. Perfected and only used by the Kingdom of Ruvrock this technology takes hundreds of years to build a single platform. It is extremely dangerous and arduous to complete a new platform but it allows mass transit between the magma platforms which is necessary to move goods from the mountains to the coast and vice-versa.  
Known Magma Platforms

Platform Construction

The process consists of drilling through the crust of Tempest, using a mixture of magic and machines to do the work. They tunnel down at an angle of about 75 degrees and as mages excavate earth, stone, and minerals they set wards along the large tunnel down. These wards act as dampeners for falling elevator platforms and accelerators for rising elevator platforms as well as pushing against one another to stabilize the tunnel. As the tunnel is burrowed deeper, additional wards are placed to create suitable atmosphere as dwarves can feel the air becoming heavy and warm the further down they get. Further still yet down, they start to add a third tier of wards that helps solidify and cool the rock around them to get deep enough into the mantle to be able to successfully launch the spheres into the molten lava.   Once at a suitable depth, the dwarves build a fortress to house the spheres, act as a warehouse for goods in transit, and as living space for the maintainers of the platform. Travel from the surface to the platform typically takes a little over three hours once built, about 20 miles distance. The size of the tunnel is expanded as the platform is used and in the case of the Hammerspur and Ironhold platforms, additional tunnels down to the platform are burrowed. Hammerspur has four such tunnels and Ironhold has three.

Bubble Dynamics

The bubbles or spheres are fast among the different forms of transportation in Tempest, but it comes at a great cost. The larger tier bubbles go a bit slower than the smaller ones but carry more. The larger bubbles typically go up to about 12 miles per hour, while the smaller ones can get up to 18 miles per hour when they hit the right channels. The average is around 14-15 miles an hour. A nice comparison point is to the typical airship of the time that can typically average 9 miles per hour or the common sailing ship that can average 5 miles per hour.   Sample Travel Times are listed below:
Route Bubble Time Overland Time
Hammerspur to Ironhold 6 days 87 days
Hammerspur to Anvil 2 days 29 days
Hammerspur to Riverbend 6 days 83 days
Hammerspur to Falls Reach 6 days 89 days
Ironhold to Falls Reach 6 days 71 days
Ironhold to Riverbend 7 days 170 days
Anvil to Riverbend 6 days 112 days
They achieve this speed by the manipulation of the magma around them and the unique design of the bubbles. They are made of four rings joined along a single axis that each can spin independently from another, each with a set of wards on them. The center ring maintains stability, a bearable gravity, and a pleasant atmosphere for the passengers through the use of wards. The thicker second ring maintains the structure of the bubble, holds a secondary set of force projecting runes, and helps with the overall propulsion of the bubble through the magma by inducing the spin in the outer rings. The third ring has the cooling wards built into place, to keep the outer ring cool as some of the heat from the magma transitions through the outer force field that is created. Finally, the fourth ring holds wards for heating, cooling, and the primary force field runes.  
  The mechanics around the movement of the sphere center around liquid dynamics. Heating and cooling different portions of the surrounding magma allows the bubble to push forward through the magma. This is on top of the magma channels that have hotter more fluid magma running through them in the mantle, which can be used like wind on sails to propel the bubble further and faster.   Several of the occupations that are required to be filled while under transit:
  • Magma Convoy - Maintainer of a single bubble, the captain if you will
  • Magma Pathfinder - Finds the quickest routes through the magma via magical incantations and divine magic
  • Magma Stoker - A mage who is responsible for helping the bubble move through the magma channels
  • Bubble Bosun - A skilled engineer that is in charge of maintaining the overall condition of the bubble
  • Magma Allayor - A magician that works to keep the cooling wards in place
  • Bubble Bulwark - A magician that works to keep the force wards in place
  • Bubble Aura - A magician that works to keep the climate wards in place
  • Bubble Chef - The chef for the crew while within the bubble
  • Bubble Armourer - The chief security officer while the bubble is underway
Several other types of crew may be needed depending on the voyage:
  • Bubble Stewards - Individuals that help take care of the passengers while in the bubble
  • Bubble Tamers - Individuals that take care of the animals that are being shipped on the voyage

Castes of Bubbles

Tier 1 - Wurm Bubbles
At this tier, mass amounts of good are able to be translated in gigantic spheres that they call Wurm Spheres, after the Giant Purple Wurms that can be encountered in the northern parts of the Hectian Mountain Range. These spheres are the largest and can handle around 1,000 tons of cargo and a hundred passengers. They typically about 150ft in diameter but they need a crew of around 40 dwarves to maintain the bubble in transit. They average speeds around 12 miles per hour, 288 miles per day.
Tier 2 - Xorn Bubbles
A smaller tier bubble, but still rather large, that is able to move large amounts of cargo and passengers. It is named after the Earth Plane's Xorn that can move through rock seamlessly. They can typically handle around 400 tons of cargo and around 45 passengers. These smaller bubbles are typically around 85 feet in diameter and require a crew of around 25 dwarves to maintain the bubble in transit. Average speeds typically are 13 miles per hour, 312 miles per day.
Tier 3 - Umber Hulk Bubbles
The next smallest tier bubbles are named after the strong burrowing umber hulks. Still very capable in moving decent amounts of supplies and passengers, 100 tons and 18 respectfully. A bit smaller crew is required for these at just 16 dwarves to maintain the bubble in transit. These spheres are only 55ft in diameter and are quicker yet still averaging around 14 miles per hour, 336 miles per day.
Tier 4 - Bulette Bubbles
The smallest of the bubbles, but also the quickest are named after the quicker burrowing bulettes. Able to move cargo and passengers quickly, boasting a cargo capacity of 30 tons and 8 passengers. It's crew typically consists of 11 dwarves and the sphere is typically 40ft in diameter. This tier can average 15 miles per hour, 360 miles per day.


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9 Dec, 2021 09:39

I really enjoy the idea of dwarves, stoic and serious, piloting what in my mind is (incorrectly) big ol' soap bubbles. It's a very cool concept and well developed, it was a real fun read :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
3 Jan, 2022 01:38

Thank you! I am glad you enjoyed it!

16 Jan, 2022 17:54

That's what I call a really ingenious concept. Maybe I don't read enough, but I've never seen anything like it. Dwarves controlling platform bubbles through lava channels. A really good idea and yes, Qurilion is really right: especially together with dwarves it really makes a very unique picture. Thank you for the article.

23 Jan, 2022 21:47

Thank you for the comment and the favorite! I myself need to do more reading too!

17 Jan, 2022 09:40

This is such a fun idea! I love when magic and technology are mixed together, and dwarves provide the perfect place to write such things. The different sizes and castes are really interesting to read about here, too! I've added this article to my reading challenge :D

Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.

Looking for something to do over March? Why not participate in my month long prompt-based unofficial challenge, Marchitecture!
23 Jan, 2022 21:49

Thank you so much! Hopefully, I will have more inspiring things to show you in the future!