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Entertainment

Since things like board games, novels, and videos have broad appeal and can be easily adapted for different human phenotypes, entertainment trends in Empyria tend to be bigger and more widespread than those of fashion or architecture.

Games

Games from the First Age and early post-Cataclysm tended to be more directly competitive in nature, but this has fallen out of fashion. In present day, cooperative games or race games where players try to be the first to reach a goal instead of directly attacking each other's pieces are more common. Some historians have theorized that this is due to the extremely volatile and dangerous nature of post-Cataclysm war; these games, many of which had pieces named after military units, were no longer considered appropriate for everyday entertainment in a world where direct conflict can destroy large chunks of the planet.

Tower

One example of a popular board game is Tower - a game about heroes climbing to the top of a spirit's shrine. Each player has several tokens representing offerings or members of their party, and takes turns rolling dice and moving them across the board. Each token has certain rules on how and when it can be moved, and in some regional variations certain squares of the board have special effects as well. The first player to move all of their tokens to the top of the eponymous tower wins.

Storytelling

Narrative works are less affected by the trends described above, but still tend to focus on small-scale, metaphorical conflicts over explicit depictions of war. Stories about adventurers are particularly popular, often depicting a heavily-romanticized version of life outside the cities with minimal actual combat.

The technology for recording audio and video has existed in Empyria for a long time. However, due to the lack of broadcasting methods, recordings had to be physically manufactured and shipped across the dangerous wilderness to be distributed to other cities. Most people considered home entertainment systems too impractical and costly to bother with, since you would have to pay for expensive tapes on top of all the machinery and setup. Instead, they went to public venues like theatres or bars to experience movies and music, treating it like a social event with friends.

Recently, the discovery of keys has led to significant advances in digital data storage. Audio and video files can now be quickly sent over long distances, making television sets and music players more popular, though it is still associated with the upper classes.

Performance

Since most settlements in Empyria are small isolated towns, many professional entertainers travel around to reach a bigger audience for their work. Some bands and theatre companies hire adventurers to protect them from monsters while travelling; others are composed of adventurers themselves.

The arrival of a travelling performer is almost universally a very exciting event. Most people never leave their hometowns, so stories and songs from faraway lands represent a rare break from the ordinary.

Light Theatre

Light theatre (or light puppetry) is a unique post-Cataclysm performing art. The basic principles behind spellcasting also allows humans to draw non-spell shapes in the air; with practice, puppeteers can hone this skill to draw and animate figures made of mana. Masters of the art can manage multiple 3D characters at the same time, and even send puppets swooping into and interacting with a delighted audience.

Simpler applications of the same principle are often found incorporated into other performing arts. For example, a band's road crew might use it to supplement the performance with flashing light effects.

Festivals

Both Orlis and Wywick have official King's Days, commemorating the founding of the Empire for the former, and the birthday of the reigning king for the latter. However, these are rarely celebrated with any seriousness anywhere except the biggest cities. Most towns celebrate a unique set of holidays and festivals found nowhere else.

The most common holidays are harvest festivals and holidays to honour local spirits. Founding days - the day the last brick was laid in the city wall - are a big deal in many cities, especially nests, since they symbolically mark the start of a peaceful life.

Many holidays are celebrated with several-day festivals. Food carts, game stalls, and performers set up near shrines and other public spaces. Due to influence from traditional spirit worship practices, there are often races or physical challenges at these events that crown a "hero" for the year. The hero gets to perform some special part in the end-of-festival ceremony, such as cutting a ribbon or riding on a special parade float.