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Hey guys, have my musings on a medieval punk setting. Feedback and ideas are greatly appreciated.
Magic is the basis of technology. No, not magic DnD or Harry Potter style, but a form of divine alchemy. This alchemy has progressed beyond OTL's, and has adopted what we'd call the scientific method. What they found was a rational universe, but not a wholly material one. Instead, it was created by God, and managed by various spiritual entities. Divine alchemy is the study of the nature of God and the spiritual as natural phenomena, a study which has revealed a lot about how this universe works.
Physics is, of course, fundamentally different. Chemistry as we know it is incorrect, and the ancient Greeks were right: there are four material elements (the classic four), and one "aether," from which non-material things are made of. These include souls, which are the animating force of all life. This is, naturally, exploited as a form of energy for "artificial life," which take the place of everything from cars to robots.
It turns out that none of the Abrahamic religions have it all right; instead, the truth is a mix of deism and medieval apocrypha from both the Christian and Islamic worlds. Djinn and demons, and even Baphomet and Termagant, exist. God is a divine watchmaker who walked away from the experiment to tinker with some other universe a few millennia ago, and Jesus and Mohammed were men who were tricked into thinking they were sent by God by some prankster spirits.
At the forefront of technological and social power, rivaling the megacorps of a cyberpunk world, is the Catholic Church. They see no trouble reconciling faith and reason; after all, they're right. They also have a keen business sense, and know that by monopolizing divine alchemy, they can overpower their rivals. This has worked wonderfully for them, and the Church is closer to a modern corporation than a spiritual body. They have adopted mass production and industrialization, and some cathedrals have become factories in all but name. Alchemists toil endlessly to unlock more secrets of the universe for the Church to apply in their new technology. And of course, the Church is secretly funding their greatest project beneath the Vatican: a gateway which will give them direct access to Heaven.
The Islamic world is the great rival to the Catholic world, and is just as advanced (if not moreso) than the West. They have unlocked many secrets from the ancients after they seized the former Greek portions of the Roman Empire (the Church managed to get Constantinople back during the Thirteenth Crusade). They've also perfected a method of using djinn as animating spirits in their machinery.