What is the Songs of Loss ?

Translated By Alain Coubard

The songs of Loss is a series of novels, a universe and a role playing game in the da-Vinci punk fantasy genre that is set on a foreign and distant world : Loss.

Loss is a world on which deadly creatures, mysterious powers, forbidden secrets and ancient civilisations mix with renaissance level science, technological wonders built by geniuses and engineers, exploits achieved with levitating ships, pulse weapons and the first electrical machines, as well as the fright of the first exepriments on life.

Loss is only inhabited and explored on the lands that make up the subcontinent around the Seas of Separation. All the inhabited landmass of Loss forms a subcontinent around the seas of separation. A millenium after the Long Winter that was brought about by the singers of Loss and which could have ended human life, societies flourished in some twenty cultures, often led by city-states. Yet, an empire dominates the Seas of Separation : the Hegemony of Anqimenes, a fief of the all-powerful Church of the Divine Council. The Church used its empire to put down almost all the other kinds of cults, which have become minor, and has imposed its laws by means of speech and military power since then. It decides what is moral and what is impious.

Only one city actually counterweighs its all-powerfulness : Armanth, the capital city of Athemaïs. It is the city of merchant lords, the haven for savants and freethinkers, the city of a hundred thousand slaves, the greatest and freest city of Loss.

The novels

The Songs of Loss extend on 9 volumes. The first two are published at les éditions Stellamaris. They tell the story of Lisa, an earthling lost on Loss who started at the lowest level in the social hierarchy. She will be broken, enslaved, traumatised and conditioned. When she thinks she has lost everything, she will regain her freedom thanks to her intelligence and her courage in a world which is as cruel as it is wonderful and exotic. Plus, she is a Singer of Loss, she has a destructive and irresistible power. A weapon that cannot be stopped by anything.

She will then become the standard of another fight for freedom : that of the peoples of Loss who are inspired by ideas of human, social and scientific progress against the all-powerful Church of the Divine Council. This oppressive religion is established everywhere. It deems itself to be legitimate to dictate the destiny of mankind and to impose its dogmas.

This struggle will carry everything away in a conflict that will unveil the astounding and vertiginous origins of a mystery that has lasted since the dawn of time. Who are the Lossans? Why are they on Loss, a world that is not made for them? And why are Earthlings still arriving regularly on Loss? And above all, Who did that and why?

The authors

Axelle “Psychée” Bouet: illustrator, creator and novelist. The Songs of Loss were born of her feverish imagination, after a private discussion with Igor Poulouchine, which resulted in this somewhat crazy world. She likes to say that it is “the sum of her worst dreams and her most wonderful nightmares”.

Alysia Lorétan: model maker and graphic designer, great role-player, she has taken part in the project since its very beginning. Some of the characters of the novels come from her imagination and she has co-written several major chapters of the role-playing game. We owe her the concepts and rules on the Song of Loss, shamanism and part of the “metaplot”of the universe.

Emilie Latieule: human ressources manager, poetess and essayist, and also counter for Vampire, live action role-playing game (LARP) in a local association and a national federation. Jawaad and Sonia, the characters of the novels, are her creation. She has written almost all the chapters on equipment and the rare and legendary objects of the world of Loss.

Loss on the internet

the Songs of Loss, the role playing game has its website. You can find it at the address: www.chantsdeloss.com. There, you will find all the files, folders and articles that were written for the role playing game. You will also have access to the ressources for the Songs of Loss including the character sheet, the maps, and links to the blog of the novels, where they can be found, where they can he read prior to release, etc.

Thus, you will be able to find all the detailed rules of the role playing game, read them online or download them in PDF or EPUB format for free. As the writing of the Songs of Loss is still in progress, these numerous documents, which will become the RPG book, are all work files.

You will be able to read and keep all these documents and there will not be any bad surprises: the system and the universe of the game will remain the same between what you will find online, the contents of this discovery kit and the game book to come.


The world with two suns

Loss is a distant and foreign planet. It is hostile and savage. Its wildlife is exuberant and dangerous. It is a world that has never been made for humans. Nobody knows how they reached this world millenia ago. Nobody even knows how long humans have dwelled there. But all the Lossans know that they come from the stars. Only the myth on their arrival and its origins changes.

A world of drama and of wonders.

The Lossans say that the first gods offered them Loss as a present. Others that it was a punishment or the consequence of a divine war. In all cases, they managed to survive in this hostile world. Originating from the ancient peoples of Asia, Africa and Europe, they settled in the shores of the Seas of Separation, a vast inland sea with scattered archipelagoes. They founded new cultures and big city-states there.

Later, they discovered the Loss-metal: a metal with wonderful properties that is present in many Lossan technologies. Its strangest feature is its usefulness as a catalyst for the song of Loss, which can be manipulated by only a few people, often women, most of them red haired. It is an extremely rare and misunderstood power which permits to control gravity, magnetism, elementary forces and even life. A frightening gift which evokes the magic and exploits of the ancient gods and heroes.

It is mostly a destructive force which almost destroyed all the Lossan civilizations. That was on the Day of the Destruction of Antiva by the dreadful and demonic Orchys of Parcia. That was the day of a wordlwide cataclysm. That was the day when the suns disappeared to remain hidden for years. That was the Long Winter, a thousand years ago.

When it ended, after five years, almost all the singers of Losss were dead, exterminated because of the fear and hatred their power inspired. The city-states were only abandoned ruins and the Lossans were only survivors of starvation, cold and epidemics.

The first prophets of the Church of the Divine Council arrived then and claimed that the gods had failed, allowing singers of Loss to enslave the Lossans until destruction while they had been created to serve. The Church restored some kind of social order until it became a real hegemony which radiated from their first temples in Anqimenes. After crusades and conquests, the Church imposed its dogmas, its faith and its authority all over the Seas of Separation, and whoever resisted it was mercilessly crushed.

However, that conquest never was a total success. Century after century, new city-states and new empires were built. Peoples defended their beliefs against the crusades. Some fought mercilessly for their independence. If some peoples chose the faith of the Council, most underwent it. Finally, some are still resisting with rage, and sometimes victory, while other, more progressive, ways of thinking are growing among the city-states.

A world of conflicts and struggles

The world of Loss is constantly plagued with war. Each city-state fights to seize the assets of the other one and ensure its own subsistence. Peace is rare. Death is violent and frequent, due to either disease, fighting of starvation. It is a world of raids, of marching armadas and armies, a world where even nature is in conflict against men. And men themselves are aware that all their renewed genius is necessary for them to prevail.

It is a world of struggles: between the tyranny of the Church of the Divine Council, an authoritarian religion which has hundreds of fanaticized legions at its disposal, whose armed wing is Anqimenes, the capital city of the hegemony; and the irresistible momentum of progress, knowledge and innovation embodied by the Merchants’ Guild, an immense consortium of fellowships, of land owners and of city-states of the Athemais, which chose Armanth as a capital city and the place from where it spreads its subversive and heretical ideas.

Loss is a harsh and unfair world, on which the legacy of the dogmas of the Church weigh permanently, even when they crack in front of the theories and books of the modern intellectuals, philosophers and savants. These dogmas have made slavery a sacred practice, originally aiming at ensuring a complete control over the female Singers of Loss. The High-Art, its other name, is destined to them while all the male Singers of Loss are killed on sight. After Loss-Metal, the most valuable ressource is women, often enslaved. And nobody can imagine a world without slaves.

The same dogmas, supported by patriachal traditions leave very little room for women in the society and the family for people who apply them to the letter. They also refute the ancient cults, the innovative ideas, some scientific and historical research. Whoever tries to challenge these dogmas is doomed. The Church will chase them and all their relatives.

A world of honour, courage and wisdom

Lossans praise three virtues: honour, courage and wisdom. They are the three qualities that define the world and mankind. They are what makes them Lossans. Failure of any individual to either know them, understand them or demonstrate them will make a barbarian and a rightless beast out of them.

These virtues are more respected than Loss-Metal, wealth or material goods everywhere. They transcend and contradict even the dogmas of the Divine Council. The Lossans regard respecting, honouring and recognizing these values and those who bear them as having a greater value than respecting the dogmas, for these three qualities – honour, courage and wisdom – impose weighing people at their fair value, with no further consideration. Neither the origins, nor the race, nor the rank, nor even the word of the Church (to its dismay) are taken into account.

If the Lossans are chauvinist phallocrats, if the value of a woman is often underestimated, except when she’s a slave, that is to say a merchandise, if the Dogmas of the Council imposes cruel laws, virtues often offer a means of escape; an opportunity of outbalancing one’s rank and of breaking the societal straightjacket. Thus, female ship captains or military officers, warriors, savants or intellectuals, heads of families and entrepreneurs are women who have waved the flag of honour, courage and wisdom in front of men to be regarded as their equal or even recognized. They are swordstresses, considered with distrust, sometimes with disdain, but also with much respect.

A world of forgotten secrets and conspiracies

To finish, Loss is a world of false pretence, of forgotten pasts, of rewritten histories and reinvented myths.

The deep forests and deserts of Loss are hiding ruins of the Ancient Ones, the predecessor peoples of the Lossans. They are places of legend where audacious explorers can find wonderful or dreadful artefacts.

It is also a world of secret societies, of conspiracies between merchant families and noble lineages. Complicated and hidded inside fightings rage between the dark intentions of the sects of the Church and the dark mysteries of the secret partnerships of the Merchants’ Guild. Truth is never evident, appearances are often deceptive and certainties are often challenged. Even the antagonisms between the powers hide baleful and frightfully complex truths. Nothing is what it seems to be on Loss, starting with the forgotten and church-rewritten past the Lossans are only starting to rediscover.

Levitating ships travel the seas and plains, sailing over herds of giant animals and the predators which follow them, always mapping a greater portion of the world. Savants and geniuses explore the arcana of science and matter, discovering the movement of the stars, the mysteries of engineering and medicine, the secrets of Loss-Metal; and the most reckless and heretic of them explore the knowledge and the mysteries of the Ancient Ones. Each discovery is a new enigma and a new stake in a struggle between obscurantism and progress… a struggle which announces a new large scale war which wouldn’t refer itself to as one.

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