The general atmosphere of Paradisa is lighthearted. After all, even if you've been told you've been kidnapped and part of your soul stolen from you, well, Paradisa will try to win you over. Maybe your vice is plush bedding and fine clothing and excellent food. Maybe your vice is careful service, the castle doing everything from turning down your covers at night to drawing you a bubble bath. Maybe your vice is adventure, being whisked from place to place and having a chance to face all kinds of wonders. Or maybe your vice is life alone, just the chance to live again after coming from a world where you are dead.
But still, you might not be won over when your luxury comes with harrowing invasions and attacks from the unknown, or when your adventures come with near-death experience, or when the castle treats your relationships like fodder for a drama performance. The castle may be kind, but it carefully picks away at your soul. It's looking for the right people, people it can keep for years at a time as living power sources to fuel its existence.
Some people are content to live in Paradisa like this. Others, not so much.
Unfortunately, you don't get a choice. In the mean time, you can make a life for yourself in Paradisa or you can hunt to find a way out, and Paradisa has a way with those who ask questions.
ARRIVING IN THE CASTLE
Paradisa generally leaves its new residents to their own devices. There's no voice in your ear telling you where you are, no instruction manual laid out, no welcoming committee or prologue sequence. You blink, you open your eyes, and everything is different. You're in Paradisa, and all you have is the clothes on your back and whatever might have been on-hand at the time. There will be a journal on your person, which can comfortably fit in any pocket or bag despite being a leather-bound book. You can speak the local language, the Common Tongue, with fluency comparable to one's native language. Any wounds may or may not be healed, depending on what the castle's mood is.
Most people arrive in their new room, but Paradisa occasionally gets creative with this. People have washed up in the duck pond, fallen out of the sky, walked out of elevators, and found themselves in strangers' showers, amongst other things. Residents who do not arrive in their rooms may need to do some hunting to find the room intended for them.
YOUR NEW ROOM
If the start of your time in Paradisa is set in your room, the first sight won't be too different from the first sight most others see: beautiful living quarters fit for a king. Basic, unpersonalized rooms in Paradisa are simple despite their ornateness, with a bed, a couch, a desk and chair, a bookshelf and a wardrobe. There is a modest three-piece bathroom attached, as well as a large picture window for plenty of light and "electric" lights that masquerade as traditional oil lamps and candles. The beds are always made with fresh linens and the wardrobe is stocked with clothes that the new resident has never owned before, but matches their preferred fashion and style. It's all impersonally personal, as if Paradisa has peered into the residents' minds but has not quite understood how to exercise human sentimentality. It's something trying to be your home. This may be more readily apparent to some than others, making some residents unable to explain their unease while others delight in the luxury goods afforded to them.
Rooms need not always stay as they were one day one, however. Paradisa allows residents to customize their rooms through "wishes", requests made to the castle. (See below for more on wishes.) With wishes, residents can increase the size of their room, divide their room into different rooms like an apartment, redecorate to the floorboards, and generally make their space suit them as they please.
LEARNING ABOUT THE CASTLE
Journals are the basic communication device given to every resident upon arrival. All of the journals are connected by magic, like a bizarre community message board, and it is how many residents interact on a daily basis. Curiously, they can transmit sound, too. Whatever is put in one appears in every other journal; photos put between the pages become imprinted, liquids "mistaken" for ink seep through every other journal's pages, and a burned page will blacken all the others!
The journals look like ordinary, run-of-the-mill hardcover books with black binding, and they seem to change size when put into pockets or bags that they wouldn't normally appear to fit in. There is nothing printed on the cover or spine, and no indication of what's inside. The resident’s name is embossed on the inside of the front cover, and every page is full of handwriting, written by thousands of different hands -- save the first, of course, which is always blank; if someone fills it up, a new blank page appears ahead of it.
Some people record themselves, rather than write. Sometimes it picks up things in the background, and sometimes it doesn’t; Paradisa is tricksy! Anything recorded is transcribed in text, so past recorded records can still be read, although the person may not be speaking anymore. The journal may also translate text into audio for characters who have impaired vision, and the journal will also sometimes pick up telepathy to transcribe it.
Residents can also filter the content they put in the journal so that only certain residents can read it. Filtering is as done by writing another resident's name at the top of the page, or even something broader, such as "people who like the colour blue" or "room filter."
However, we must not confuse the journals for being animate or intelligent; they're just magically intuitive, and an extension of the castle's magic. As such, they often seem to be “alive” in the way they tend to slip themselves into bags and pockets unnoticed, or blow open without even the slightest breeze around. If something big is happening, there is usually a journal around, even if no one notices it. When people first arrive in the castle, the journal is usually open to record their shock. They seem to like the action.
Because of their penchant for following people around, it also means it is very difficult to lose a journal. Generally, if one loses or forgets their journal, it will just reappear at some convenient time, as if it had never been lost at all. If residents want to escape the journal, they're going to find it incredibly difficult; even destroying the journal outright doesn't seem to keep it away, as it'll be back again in no time.
Things can be removed from the journal by scratching them out, burning them out, or doing other such things to the surface of the journal. A last resort is to rip the page out entirely, but the castle will replace/repair the page if it pleases.
The current journals only house entries found on paradisa. Antiquated journals with entries going back to the "beginning" can be found in the library, with entries logged on paradisalost.
Wishes are the castle's way of giving the residents nearly anything they could ever want. A simple wish to the castle and the castle will probably make it happen - any from a hamburger to the Mona Lisa itself. It's all pretty convenient as long as you don't stop to wonder where it all comes from.
More information on wishes and how they work can be found here
A "loss" is a general term used to describe the castle's antics targeting particular residents. Whether the castle makes one lose their morals or inhibitions for a week, or become a cat, or change bodies with their neighbour, losses are the source of many unusual opportunities for residents.
However, residents may also realize they have one permanent loss as a price for being in Paradisa, and Paradisa's endless bounty may seem a little duller for it.
Detailed information on Losses can be found here.
Events in Paradisa run a huge a large spectrum. In a world powered by magic, after all, anything is possible. Especially when the thing pulling the strings is out to stir up the emotions of residents in any way it can. Sometimes forces outside of the castle, or just inadvertently drawn into its web, pose a threat to residents that must be dealt with.
Everybody likes a party, right? Parties and festivals are a fairly common occurrence in Paradisa, and generally center around holidays and seasonal changes, though don't expect them to be the same every year. Dress-codes are sometimes required and even less occasionally enforced.
The word is something of a misnomer from the early days, when residents used to believe the castle changed itself entirely to appear like an entirely new place. It is now known that such events are when the castle takes the entirety of the residents and places them somewhere else on the continent. Sometimes these are exotic locations or places made to look exactly like cities from the character's worlds. Sometimes characters get to spend the time simply exploring or working, while others a threat must be contended with. World change events often, but not always, come hand in hand with effects that "humanize" the residents. After a week or so confined to their new home, residents are then whisked right back to the castle.
The world of Nostos, of which Paradisa is only the known center of, is a vast and strange place. While the castle likes to keep the residents close, more curious or adventurous residents sometimes gather groups to go out into the world beyond. These are character led events that often take a few weeks. These are long and often dangerous trips, as the world outside is a wild place. To further discourage leaving, outside of the castles sphere of influence is the Dead Zone, which turns off all magic and modern technology.
THINGS TO DO AROUND THE CASTLE
Put a big fucking bullet point list (tabled) here listing ideas of fun things to do in the castle.