In Progress Spheres of Influence
01-26-2016, 05:11 PM (This post was last modified: 04-05-2016 02:54 PM by Demonsul.)
Post: #1
Spheres of Influence
Spheres of Influence

or

A Most Selfish World: A Tale of Arrogant Imperialism, Wonderous Magicks, and a Civilization's Dance with Ruin


States games are back! Our great nation awaits your command. Go forth and explore, conquer and dominate the world, and write the name of your nation in the history books, to be revered forevermore!

But this time, things are not so straightforward. While most of the world lies waiting, untapped, ripe for the powerful to step in and establish global empires, in a few select places mostly clustered around the heart of the supposedly-civilized world, development of mighty superweapons has created a new stalemate, and with it a tense peace, one ensured by mutual threat.

This is a fantastic world of mystery and magic, of steel-clad armies equipped with swords and gunpowder. Technology is advancing rapidly to make easy the once arduous tasks of crossing oceans and now beginning to conquer the sky. The fate of the world rests in the balance of power, as nations with the power to crack the sky decide what they want the future will hold.

But before that, there must be a world.

***

Alright, this time, I want world creation to be a bit more involved for the players. In it, we'll go through four sections to establish a groundwork for the Known World.
  • Races
  • Culture
  • Player Nations
  • NPC Nations, Geography and Phenomena

Culture will cover all broad-reaching stuff that influences the global backstory, like religion, ancient multicultural empires and big cultural groups. Player nations are your actual applications, and the last category is a catch-all for anything interesting you want to see in the world.

First, of course, is Races. You don't have to play as a race you suggest - indeed, playable races need to be capable of having societies of conscious individuals capable of using conventional tools and weapons, so if you suggest an absolute hive mind or an all-consuming mindless ooze you won't actually be able to make a country out of it - whatever race you suggest, it needs to be possible for them to have multiple player and non-player countries to be playable.

Also, this'll probably set the general theme, so if you call on elves and orcs and stuff, that's the world we'll be looking at (and I'll fill in the usual gaps if that's the kind of theme you want), whereas if everyone's weird monstrous races, that'll be the world instead, so it's entirely possible we end up with no humans at all.

So, to suggest a race, just come up with a name and a description, and possibly some history or traditions.

(thanks Cid for the alternate title)
Reply
01-26-2016, 05:17 PM (This post was last modified: 11-07-2016 01:15 PM by Demonsul.)
Post: #2
RE: Spheres of Influence
Map:
[World Map]
[Cities Map]


Races:
Organized Races:
Organized races are playable without any issue. They form large, structured societies, such as countries and empires. Of course, an empire could easily exist containing multiple races, including both organized and disorganized races.
Mún: Also known as humans or men in casual conversation and for those who can't be assed to type accent marks, they are adaptable and highly varied, being found practically everywhere.
Elvár: Similarly to the Mún, the Elvár are a varied, civilized race of Mankind that other people call a simpler name in casual conversation (Elves). Inclined to magic, different varieties of them can be found in a vast variety of environments.
Kethúl: Like the other races of Mankind, the Kethúl have a name other races call them; Dwarves. They are split between two sub-races, Dregs and Clods. The two hate each other, but their society would probably collapse without each other's shared skills.
Windfolk: Living in warmer climates, Windfolk are bird-headed humanoids. Capable of flight, quick to act and industrious by nature, they are nevertheless fragile in combat and prone to outbursts of individualistic short-sightedness.
Lushedi: A winged (though they fly about as well as chickens) mammalian species, most Lushedi live in warm climates. Their cultures tend to value honor and magic, and tend towards stricter legalism than other races.
Valtir: A bipedal reptilian race that live in a range of climates. They frequently tame a variety of unusual creatures, including many that other races would consider monstrous such as giant insects, for transport, work and war.

Disorganized Races:
Disorganized races are theoretically playable, but they usually form fragmented societies, such as small tribes or clans, that do not organize into larger nations under normal circumstances. As such, an unusual situation must be created in order for them to organize into a playable country. Alternatively they may sometimes be found in countries organized by other races.
Dragons: Large flying lizards that have the power to terrorize entire regions and take great pride in amassing hoards over their lifetimes. They come in a variety of colors and have breath attacks, most commonly fire but sometimes frost, acid, poison gas, lightning or attacks of an even weirder nature.
Aun: Sentient sea turtles that live in semi-sedentary coastal communities. They are technologically primitive, but have a rich culture and history stemming from their origins as a magically awakened species. They tend to lack large-scale political organisation.
Dire Men: Large, spindly degenerates that are the result of the Mankind races being corrupted by magical wastelands. They are almost immune to magic and rule each other by might. Mostly incapable of intellectual insight, they are technological scavengers. A shrewd dire man could raise a host to last a lifetime, but they are not inclined to permanent empire-building.
Vox: The Vox are beings of some fell animation, appearing to be built out of soft clay and bones. They are greatly disliked by other races due to their macabre construction, bizarre screaming days and a tendency to burn down a considerable part of any city they are in when they injure themselves (or are injured by violent anti-Vox sentiment in the city), and as such are usually prevented from settling in or near other race's settlements.
Nurkum: Small reptiles that dwell in subterranean caves. Like dire men, they are technological scavengers rather than inventors, though they exhibit a violent cunning in their plots and schemes against the other races and rival tribes. They are extremely prolific, and the Kethúl in particular often have trouble when their mineshafts breach Nurkum caves.
Sarin: Large, powerfully built reptilian nomads. They have an inexplicable biological drive to wander, which sometimes drives a Sarin caravan into even the most extreme and hostile terrain, regardless of the consequences. The occasional Sarin manages to suppress this drive in order to settle down in a city.
Goblins: Mismatched humanoids who mature very quickly and vary greatly in appearance, goblins are frequently stupid, ugly and violent by nature, but even this varies massively from individual to individual. One might have long bandy legs while another's are stumpy, one might have oversized muscular arms while another has lanky stick arms and dragging knuckles, and most of them seem to have faces and bodies that have grown weird and misshapen.

Other Races and Outsiders:
These races are not playable.
Patriarchs: Strangely transmuted male Elvár, Mún or Kethúl, the Patriarchs are lonely wanderers who are steeped in supernatural lore and myth. They can sometimes be found acting as advisers or sages. The fate of similarly transmuted females remains a mystery.
Blights: A race that manipulates the emotions of others and feeds off of their misery, Blights can be found scattered throughout the civilized world. Their ability to turn invisible and wreak havoc has many consider them to be lesser demons, though this is suspected to be false by scholars.

Religion and Tradition:
There do not appear to be many religions shared between races, and indeed most religions and traditions seem to be particular to small, local groups. The world is diverse and sometimes religiously tolerant, as one cannot travel far without meeting those who believe strange things, though some faiths are far less forgiving of those they see as infidels.

There are a vast variety of traditions, from the most minor Nukrum musical traditions to the fragmented histories of the Kethúl divisions. Spiritism and its myriad beliefs and superstitions are widespread among the nations at the Heart of the World. Because of widespread and inherently varying beliefs such as the Great Path, the Philosophy of Living Stone and the divine Family, as well as smaller, stranger cults and local traditions, most countries do not try to enforce adherence to a single state religion, although there are, of course, exceptions.

Cosmology:
Besides the gods, there are many strange planar beings who occasionally intrude into the material world, whether by their own designs, by those of mortal summoners, or by random chance. They come in almost infinite variety, though some mortals attempt to classify them, and the current intellectual consensus of classification, from Imps to Thaldrimm, is laid out in the book The Tattered Veil by Nessanthikor the Sage. As for the planar worlds themselves, foolhardy are the adventurers who seek them out, and there is little understanding of their true design or nature.

Mundane cosmology is another science entirely. Although rarely investigated, the nature of the heavens and firmament has been the subject of more than a few books, and the fixed positions of the stars against their dark background are mapped with great precision. The motions of celestial bodies as they move around the world are still not entirely explained, though both natural philosophers and great magi have mused on it for years.

Recently, it has finally been definitively proven (or reproven, considering old texts supposedly 'proved' it long ago) that the world is flat. Te resultant scientific investigations are still ongoing.

Countries:
High Kingdom of Ahsar
Government: Elective Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Borova
Ruler Name: High King Kasper III Ojwice
Ruler Age: 43
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Ruled by a king elected on the death of his predecessor in a grand meeting of all the lords, the high kingdom would be a constitutional monarchy if the parliament met more regularly. However, the power of the parliament tends to limit the ambitions of its kings. The high kingdom is known for its horsemanship, most proudly exhibited through their heavy lancer cavalry that are universally feared by more mundane armies. Their forces also feature disciplined line infantry and mage support, though they have nothing out of the ordinary. They are currently allied with Rudahog, though their new king is not so keen on maintaining this alliance.

Principality of Somilla
Government: Parliamentary Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Kethul
Capital: Somilla
Ruler Name: Prince Maren II Yoreus
Ruler Age: 64
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
A culturally distinct and moderately wealthy principality wedged between Ahsar, Rudahog and the Old Hills. They protect their independence with an alliance with Ahsar and a subservient alliance with Rudahog. The Mun have a maritime tradition and make excellent sailors, while the Kethul are much like any you might find in the Old Hills, except mildly less xenophobic. Its southern mountains are unusually rich in minerals.

Deep Hall of Dolgothur
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Kethul
Capital: Dolgothur
Ruler Name: Queen Kyaz Stelírm
Ruler Age: 83
Ruler Race: Kethul Dreg
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
Much like any dwarven state you might find in the Old Hills, Dolgothur mostly keeps to its own devices and is relatively distrusting of outsiders. Most of their settlements are subterranean, making them highly resistant to invasion. They are in league with Rudahog and Ahsar. They are known to dwell on top of a deep silver mine.

March of Mytil
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Mytil
Ruler Name: Margrave Hanimir Gulisk
Ruler Age: 58
Ruler Race:Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
A quasi-independent satellite state of Ahsar, the March of Mytil was formed initially to protect against incursions from the necromantic lands to the north. It is largely autonomous in its affairs, though it and Ahsar always join each other's wars as if they were the same country. It is known for the great fortress that protects its capital.

City of Korov
Government: City-State Republic
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Korov
Ruler Name: Olaf Korovnik
Ruler Age: 62
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Korov was a Faralonian breakaway state in league with Rezhnov during their battle for independence from Faralonia, though soon after their independence was achieved they made it clear they intended to remain independent. Due to the close friendship between their leaders at the time, this was achieved, and there was a cordial relationship with the Kingdom of Rezhnov until the latter was annexed by Kalvesiya. These days, they have a firm alliance with the Kalvesiyans instead. Korov itself is known for its elite infantry that can fight both with firearms and in melee with swords.

Fault
Government: City-State Dictatorship
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Fault's Keep
Ruler Name: Fault
Ruler Age: ?
Ruler Race: Patriarch
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
This 'nation' is little more than a single humble keep and a couple of small villages. Fault has no military force to speak of. Nonetheless, Fault is mysteriously left well enough alone by its neighbours, no matter how aggressive they might be. Those who have been, at times in the past, adamant about even the smallest attack have either changed their mind overnight, never speaking of why, or vanished without a trace or any sign of foul play.

Kingdom of Teralon
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Kilney
Ruler Name: King Aron III Maloren
Ruler Age: 77
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
Teralon is a xenophobic kingdom nestled in a verdant mountain valley. Largely a mystery to its surrounds, it denies almost all travellers and traders passage through its borders, restricting access only to a trusted few. Teralonians are almost never seen outside their borders. That their strange religious traditions involve a great serpent named Nesariet and that their king may be a powerful magic user are all that most outsiders know about them.

Sovelian Protectorate
Government: Puppet Regime
Race(s): Elvar
Capital: Treimi
Ruler Name: Governor Eli Cux
Ruler Age: 45
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Protectorate
The deep forests of Sovelia have been combined with a small amount of Tamvarian farmland to create this protectorate. They are known for their skill in archery and ongoing resistance movements. The Duchy is a protectorate of Rudahog and basically an extension of the country.

Duchy of Dol Duran
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Elvar
Capital: Durelid
Ruler Name: Duke Rikod Mareton
Ruler Age: 69
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
A duchy very keen on maintaining its own independence in spite of extremely low defensibility and a position lodged between greater powers. Easy to conquer but hard to hold, it might be better to turn it into a client state. Currently protected by Arcavat.

Kingdom of Atelmour
Government: Parliamentary Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Valtir, Kethul
Capital: Airid
Ruler Name: King Lorensen II Yuvo
Ruler Age: 29
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
A culturally disunited kingdom. The mountains are full of disparate Kethul settlements which are largely autonomous and like it that way, while the lowlands are full of Mun and Valtir living in communities, each with an elected member of parliament. The current king is ineffectual, and a lot of his power has been de facto seized by parliament, who are trying to enforce greater control onto the Kethul. The kingdom has a democratic tradition copying from that of Eorela, although with much less representation of minority interests.

Four Kingdoms of Sydnenia
Government: Absolute Monarchies
Race(s): Valtir, Elvar, Mun
Capital: Seiden, Canen, Vadren, Laeren
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
Four kings ruling five of the major islands in an archipelago of six. They mostly just want to be protected against outside threats, and largely protect each other's independence. The four royal families are closely related to one another. Currently in the Amaro Zor trade league.

Septduran
Government: Tribal Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Sevirin
Ruler Name: King Victor Tyveni
Ruler Age: 56
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
A tribal kingdom formed to unite the clans of the mountains, originally against the dark empire that was conquered by Herinhia. Their lands are poor, they distrust outsiders, and their population density is low. Led by Victor, the warrior king who has the respect of all the clans and has managed to secure friendly relations with both neighboring great powers.

Kingdom of Basvia
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Bas
Ruler Name: Queen Ilrona Yuvo
Ruler Age: 63
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
The lands of this kingdom are not especially wealthy or poor, but the coasts are rich with fish, sponges and other maritime wealth. The kingdom also allows free passage to all pilgrims and philosophers on their way to the Heart of the World, the great mountain to their south around which the heavens appear to revolve. The Kingdom is allied with Arcavat to protect them from the dark armies of Rudahog, as they have proven that their army is not up to the task of protecting themselves.

Kingdom of Theaxia
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Theax
Ruler Name: Queen Betha of Salz
Ruler Age: 29
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
This maritime kingdom is spread across many islands. The former absolutist ruler, King Otho, was overthrown by the Eorelan Republic, who implemented the current system of parliamentary monarchy. With little democratic tradition or voter consciousness, not to mention a ruler who inherited the throne when she was a powerless child, the new system has become rife with corruption that has sapped the strength of both the army and the navy, both of which are substantially diminished from the Absolutist days. The queen has recently begun to attempt to revoke power from the corrupt parliament and has a great deal of popular support in doing so, leading to uproar.

Theocracy of Stitorika
Government: Clerical Theocracy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Vaicita
Ruler Name: Hierophant Aegir IX
Ruler Age: 85
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
A maritime theocracy that follows some strange otherworldly pantheon which is starting to gain supporters abroad. The high-ranking clerics of this faith are blessed with otherworldly power, and bring it to the secular battlefield without hesitation. Even so, the theocracy is only expansionist in its drive to bring the light of the true faith to other people, and is not an aggressor against those who refuse to convert of their own accord.

Dominion of Gizarth
Government: Puppet Regime
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Zazith
Ruler Name: Governor Jiriv
Ruler Age: 32
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Protectorate
A kingdom with inwards-focused culture and backwards technology, Gizarth was isolated on the ocean for centuries. Aside from the occasional lost ship, none made landfall on the island for a long time as it slowly moved by unknown process around the world. Now it has been 'discovered' and properly located on a map, it has been invaded by Rudahog and brutally subjugated, turning it into a dominion in their empire.

Kingdom of Suidia
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Ulairin
Ruler Name: King Goarus of Byirin
Ruler Age: 58
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
A militaristic kingdom with proud armies in a human-dominated part of the world. They are known for the red and white banners depicting a wild boar that fly from every pennant and standard carried by their armies. They are somewhat xenophobic against non-humans, though that is mostly down to lack of exposure to such people, and have a good working relationship with Eorela.

Kingdom of Yayovey
Government: Monarchy/Military Dictatorship
Race(s): Mun, Kethul
Capital: Kelka
Ruler Name: King Setin Neis
Ruler Age: 33
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
Though ruled by a king who officially rules the country, in reality the Kingdom of Yayovey is a dictatorship ruled by Simeon Savomir, Marshal of the Army. The country is in a dilapidated state, with most infrastructure being old and underfunded. Though the country sports a large professional army, the officer corps has collapsed into decadence after becoming the chief political power, and leadership is abysmal, leading to the recent challenges to their hegemony. They used to rule everything between Suidia and Zun, after all.

Kingdom of Balzaha
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Kethul
Capital: Uriz
Ruler Name: Queen Nikolena Zepev
Ruler Age: 57
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
Balzaha rebelled and gained independence from Yayovey around a generation ago. Ever since, their biggest threat has not been decadent Yayovey, but their belligerent neighbour Trellemak. Their culture was not entirely liberated during the rebellion, and they have a majority in parts of the Yayovey land across the border north and east of them. They are allied to Vaikarika.

Principality of Vaikarika
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Sorgrade
Ruler Name: Prince Obrad Babukov
Ruler Age: 54
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
Vaikarika rebelled and gained independence from Yayovey around a generation ago. However, their rebellion was mostly crushed by Yayovey, and they only gained partial independence as a concession to end the revolt – most of their cultural kin remain controlled by Yayovey, living in the area to their east south of the mountains. They are allied to Balzaha for their mutual protection against both Yayovey and Trellemak.

Kingdom of Trellemak
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Kethul
Capital: Tevrad
Ruler Name: King Petro Kolokov
Ruler Age: 57
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
Vaikarika rebelled and gained independence from Yayovey around a generation ago. They were the main force during the multicultural rebellion, and managed to liberate their entire culture – and they even 'liberated' a little extra from another culture as part of the peace deal. The king is a tyrant, and his harsh taxes and strict controls pay for a small but powerful army, supported by a sizable group of arcane battlemages.

City of Izantin
Government: City-State Republic
Race(s): Mun, Kethul
Capital: Izantin
Ruler Name: Dozh Mladen Stomanov
Ruler Age: 71
Ruler Race: Kethul
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Izantin is a neutral city-state that has long maintained its independence from Yayovey by means of canny diplomacy, though with the decline of Yayovey they have had less need of this in more recent years. A multicultural mix of all surrounding cultures, the city-state is a nexus of trade and wealth, and the city itself is splendid to behold. A small force of elite guards is supplemented with enough wealth to hire an entire mercenary army, should the need arise. It is part of the sphere of influence of Eorela, though it may still hold ties to the Amaro.

Kingdom of Senobela
Government: Democratic Republic
Race(s): Mun, Kethul
Capital: Aranta
Ruler Name: President Milivoj Kanivak
Ruler Age: 47
Ruler Race: Kethul
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Senobela rebelled and gained independence from Yayovey around a generation ago. On his deathbed,the heroic liberator-king Iksander Fuqishem willed the country to become a republic, as he had no heirs. His will was upheld, beginning the spread of democratic ideals to the mainland Near Southeast. They have an unusually close relationship between Mun and Kethul in their lands, and both serve in their armies with almost equal regularity.

Deep Halls of Underzweig
Government: Mysterious Council
Race(s): Kethul
Capital: Underzweig
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
A diplomatically cordial Kethul state buried in the western mountains on the very border of the heartlands. Trades freely with its neighbours and those who arrive by sea or river, though nobody knows exactly who rules the state or what their ultimate ambitions are. They have recently become significantly more insular, and trade has started to dry up.

Kingdom of Alamidia
Government: Puppet Monarchy
Race(s): Valtir, Mun
Capital: Aisamekh
Ruler Name: Queen Szehek III Rithir
Ruler Age: 35
Ruler Race: Valtir
Trade Policy: Protectorate
One of the desert kingdoms of the near southwest, Alamidia is known for the bizarre desert beasts that serve in their armies as well as for controlling most of the green territory on this side of the sands. The current queen is widely regarded as an Arcavat puppet, installed by claimant war against the last ruler who had previous usurped the title from her in a palace coup when she was living abroad.

Kingdom of Shivida
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Valtir
Capital: Brez
Ruler Name: King Volhz III Bissirk
Ruler Age: 61
Ruler Race: Valtir
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
One of the desert kingdoms of the near southwest, Shivida is mostly a barren wasteland. Most of the population is semi-nomadic, with permanent settlements around the capital and its groundwater wells, the river in the southwest and the mountains, which contain rich veins of gold that fund most of the royal expenses. Currently part of the Anti-Imperialist Coalition of the Southwest.

Kingdom of Alyutaria
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Valtir
Capital: Vokadh
Ruler Name: King Alhaz Sassud
Ruler Age: 56
Ruler Race: Valtir
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
One of the desert kingdoms of the near southwest, Alyutaria is mostly a barren wasteland. Aside from a small navy of a few frigates that protect their fishing boats, they don't have much of a professional army at all, though conquering the desert is an imposing task in and of itself. Currently part of the Anti-Imperialist Coalition of the Southwest.

Kingdom of Ulbarida
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Valtir
Capital: Kussat
Ruler Name: Queen Szehek Silsyk
Ruler Age: 60
Ruler Race: Valtir
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
One of the desert kingdoms of the near southwest, Ulbarida clusters its settlements around the river Ulbar. The farms around the river are highly fertile, making it the second most populous of the near southwest's kingdoms. Like its larger neighbour Alamidia, its armies contain many strange desert beasts. Said beasts make up a greater proportion of its comparatively smaller armies. Currently leader of the Anti-Imperialist Coalition of the Southwest.

Kingdom of Syxida
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Valtir
Capital: Varin
Ruler Name: King Davak Bezu
Ruler Age: 23
Ruler Race: Valtir
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
One of the desert kingdoms of the near southwest, Syxida is protected by mountains and sands. Much of the population relies on pastoral grazing to feed their families, and the capital is notorious for its hot, sandy days and frigid nights. The palace, despite seeming humble to most outsiders, is the grandest building in the city by a long way, with large open arches on most walls looking out onto the gardens. Currently part of the Anti-Imperialist Coalition of the Southwest.

Kingdom of Mulak
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Valtir
Capital: Mulak
Ruler Name: King Vokhor Akun
Ruler Age: 35
Ruler Race: Valtir
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
The vast majority of Mulak's controlled territory is made up of desert dunes. Burning beneath an unkind sun, it is hard to see how anything can survive out here, but the citizens of Mulak manage to make their way somehow. They have a bizarre priesthood who lead the worship of their blazing Sun God, a figure of wrath and destruction, who is said to grant His champions terrible power. Over the last ten years, their population has shrunk dramatically, and entire factories they were building using imported steam engines seem to have vanished, much to the king's concern.

March of Scallia
Government: Divine Theocracy
Race(s): Mun, Kethul
Capital: Warhall
Ruler Name: Scalla, the Eternal Lady of War
Ruler Age: ?
Ruler Race: Living God
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
Scallia is an insular realm supposedly ruled by a living god of war who hasn't been seen in over two hundred years. No noteworthy account even corroborates her existence, but the divine theocracy that rules the March apparently follows her commands, relayed from her private chambers by her most holy councilors. Scallia was once a great military power, but centuries ago they fell into obscurity, apparently when their goddess-queen went into seclusion. Still, few are courageous or foolhardy enough to threaten the lands of the war goddess on the mere chance that she might not be real.

Duchy of Setderine
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Aun
Capital: Seilarmouth
Ruler Name: Duke Bizhod of Setderine
Ruler Age: 36
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
Setderine is a coastal nation that thrives on fishing. The coasts near the capital are covered in aun villages, and the humans and aun here live in a degree of harmony not found in other places. Because of this cooperation, the two races are more prosperous than you might expect, considering the lack of wealth or anything of note to be found in the duchy.

Kazahor
Government: Elder Council
Race(s): Kethul
Capital: Halls of Kazahor
Ruler Name: Chancellor Vorl Vaksson
Ruler Age: 56
Ruler Race: Kethul
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
A dwarven realm ruled under an ancient system supposedly dating back to the Golden Age,where a council of elders from the upper strata of society rules in place of a king. Kazahor reflects this exactly as you would expect, being a deeply insular and conservative nation mired in ancient traditions and rigid courtesies. The dwarves here are easily offended, and loath to let anyone from outside their halls meddle in their affairs. They have a long-standing grudge with the Kingdom of Urek.

Kingdom of Urek
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Kethul
Capital: Dolurek
Ruler Name: King Bhys Olburadan
Ruler Age: 63
Ruler Race: Kethul
Trade Policy: Free Trade
A dwarven kingdom, ruled from the deep halls of Dolurek, entrenched far beneath the mountains even compared to most other Kethul halls. In this kingdom, dregs and clods live in relative harmony, with only minor grievances between the races. For this reason, most other Kethul do not trust them. In spite of their friendliness to traders, they do also get into frequent border conflicts with neighbors Alysa and Kazahor.

Principality of Alysa
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Elvar
Capital: Ildus
Ruler Name: Queen Aria
Ruler Age: 59
Ruler Race: Elvar
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
A mix of elvar subspecies make up this nation, which is based along a major river network. The swamplands are filled with one type, who make their homes in hard to find villages and specialize in guerrilla warfare. The flatlands are instead home to bands of nomadic elvar riders. They are quite defensive, and are not above employing large bands of mercenaries. They are currently preparing their defenses in case of hostility coming from expansionist Kalvesiya.

The Empire of Tolmavar
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Elvar, Windfolk, Valtir
Capital: Emavor
Ruler Name: Emperor Matani Abax
Ruler Age: 31
Ruler Race: Elvar
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
A disintegrating empire that once owned the entire Tolmavarian region. The common folk, a mix of elvar, windfolk and valtir, are oddly vacant and pliant, while the ruling class – entirely elvar – rules in decadence from the autonomous provincial capitals. There are no limits on the emperor's power and the emperor is in charge of the army, but the army itself is weak and complacent. After losing all of their major port cities to disintegration, the empire has turned in on itself.

Siercite
Government: City-state Dictatorship
Race(s): Elvar, Windfolk, Valtir
Capital: Siercite
Ruler Name: Director Aumox Vilar
Ruler Age: 78
Ruler Race: Elvar
Trade Policy: Free Trade
A city-state that used to be a province in Tolmavar. It became independent when the emperor didn't bother to follow it up when they stopped paying taxes, much like their similar neighbor. Ruled by the former provincial governor, who became a dictator when the province seceded. Unlike all of its neighbors, this city-state is open to foreign trade.

Amarite
Government: Hereditary Dictatorship
Race(s): Elvar, Windfolk, Valtir
Capital: Amarite
Ruler Name: Director Balia Doss
Ruler Age: 37
Ruler Race: Elvar
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
A city-state that used to be a province in Tolmavar. It became independent when the emperor didn't bother to follow it up when they stopped paying taxes, much like their similar neighbor. Ruled by the daughter of the former provincial governor, who became dictator when her father died.

The Tamine Federation
Government: Tribal Federation
Race(s): Elvar, Windfolk, Valtir
Capital: Larvar
Ruler Name: High Chief Carunan Tos
Ruler Age: 44
Ruler Race: Windfolk
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
A federation of disparate tribes in the upper mountains of Tolmavaria. Isolationist and fiercely independent, a history of bloody wars and brutal oppression by the elvar elite of Tolmavar taught them to oppose all contact with outsiders, even though Tolmavar gave up on subjugating them decades ago.

The Kingdom of Federine
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Elvar, Windfolk, Valtir
Capital: Yaaror
Ruler Name: Queen Gilgam Wesunh
Ruler Age: 70
Ruler Race: Elvar
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
A kindom that was once part of Tolmavar, but hasn't been for a very long time. Like all the other elvar-ruled breakaway states, it has inherited Tolmavar's societal structure with its ruling elite of decadent elvar and its caste of subservient subjects. Though not as xenophobic as their neighbors, they still aren't hugely in favor of diplomatic engagement and trade, and trade only with Arcavat and Rudahog. They recently conquered Bylarite outright with aid from those two great powers.

The Halls of Eronsken
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Race(s): Kethul
Capital: Eronhall
Ruler Name: Emperor Garghust Godh
Ruler Age: 45
Ruler Race: Kethul
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
A vast, isolationist, xenophobic kethul empire. Though their technology is notably behind other nations, even ones nearby, they are extremely hard to attack due to the terrain of their homeland and their conviction in defending it with maximum force – even against merchants who attempt to travel further inland than a narrow strip of coastline or innocent trespassing settlers or tribespeople.

Guercebon
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Windfolk, Lushedi
Capital: Spire Castle
Ruler Name: King Vass II Vokhun
Ruler Age: 49
Ruler Race: Windfolk
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
A highly unstable kingdom that only recently ended a generations-long civil war. The rule of the king is highly contested and dependent on outside support from Rudahog and Arcavat. The fact that he ended the war with outside support has caused him to be viewed as dishonorable and without legitimacy, so his rule may not last much longer.

The Kingdom of the Orchidborn
Government: Druidic Circle
Race(s): Orchidborn
Capital: Granbough
Ruler Name: High Druid Hujh Dacke
Ruler Age: 70
Ruler Race: Orchidborn
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
A forest kingdom, ruled by mysterious green-skinned mun-like druids, known as Children of the Orchid, Orchidborn or a number of abbreviated epithets. They are relatively reclusive, residing in living tree-houses and consorting with the intelligent and magical beasts that populate their realm.

The Kingdom of Amaret Heuris
Government: Judicial Monarchy
Race(s): Lushedi, Windfolk
Capital: Alahan
Ruler Name: King Vasht III Shahid
Ruler Age: 65
Ruler Race: Lushedi
Trade Policy: Free Trade
The most populous of the Istani Kingdoms, Amaret Heuris leans in favor of lushedi legalism over windfolk spontaneity. It is difficult to tell which has more power in the Istani Kingdoms, the kings' decrees or the judges' laws, but here it seems pretty likely that it is indeed the latter, as King Vasht is highly restrained by honor codes and legal precedents. This creates a system bound by conservatism and tradition, where society struggles to adapt to changes with any speed. A rich source of luxury goods, Amaret Heuris is a firm believer in free trade.

The Kingdom of Somamonia
Government: Judicial Monarchy
Race(s): Lushedi, Windfolk
Capital: Istefure
Ruler Name: Queen Jidan III Safad
Ruler Age: 27
Ruler Race: Lushedi
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Originally a client kingdom of Amaret Heuris, Somamonia has since achieved de facto independence and equality with their former overlords through legal process. Here, the monarch and the judges are more open to new ideas and societal change than elsewhere in Istan, and with the death of the old queen and the inheritance of her liberal granddaughter that innovation seems to be entrenched on the throne – while if the more conservative elements in the court and judiciary are rapidly growing rebellious.

The Kingdom of Toh
Government: Judicial Monarchy
Race(s): Lushedi, Windfolk
Capital: Toh
Ruler Name: King Miduan Dov
Ruler Age: 42
Ruler Race: Lushedi
Trade Policy: Free Trade
A former city-state, Toh is known for its arrogance and military paranoia among the other Istani Kingdoms. Although bound by the same ancient laws, the people here suspect that other kingdoms are attempting to subvert the true original intentions of the laws by changing them over time to adapt to societal changes. Fiercely nationalistic and traditionalist, Toh is however not the least bit expansionist.

The Kingdom of Jalabash
Government: Judicial Monarchy
Race(s): Lushedi, Windfolk
Capital: Humavan
Ruler Name: King Esan V Halaan
Ruler Age: 36
Ruler Race: Lushedi
Trade Policy: Free Trade
This expansive and populous kingdom in Istan has the same judicial balance in government as the others, though in this case the king has decisive power over the judges. This has given it an unfavorable reputation in the rest of Istan, particularly as the current young king has proven reluctant to stick to the old ways when it wasn't directly beneficial for him to do so. Jalabash has an open trade policy that leaves it able to make a great many deals to benefit itself.

The Kingdom of Areji
Government: Judicial Monarchy
Race(s): Windfolk, Lushedi
Capital: Dsoth
Ruler Name: King Olanud Evas
Ruler Age: 60
Ruler Race: Lushedi
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Another former city-state that expanded into a territorial kingdom, Areji has a greater proportion of windfolk than most of the Istani Kingdoms. A good proportion of this population is migratory, and Areji maintains good trade relations with the roaming windfolk tribes that live on the river system to their south, trading many valuable goods with them.

The Kingdom of Bharad
Government: Royal Theocracy
Race(s): Lushedi, Windfolk
Capital: Yasma
Ruler Name: Queen Madana Mobad
Ruler Age: 45
Ruler Race: Lushedi
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Although Bharad does have the empowered judges of the lushedi judicial monarchies that dominate Istan, they are not as powerful as in other states. Instead, they have a vast, empowered clergy, with the king empowered with leadership of both church and state. Though traditional laws and honor still rule in this society, the administration and the church are inseparable, and the state religion (which, like the other Istani kingdoms, is monotheistic and sees the world in absolute terms of good and evil) is strictly enforced. The kingdom has numerous conflicts with the sovereign windfolk tribes beyond its borders, and as such maintains a large army.

The Kingdom of Alpein
Government: Judicial Monarchy
Race(s): Lushedi, Windfolk
Capital: Pyvan
Ruler Name: Queen Duhana Shah
Ruler Age: 77
Ruler Race: Lushedi
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Ruled by a relative of the king of Amaret Heuris, this kingdom lives in its larger neighbor's shadow. Diplomatically it is all but a puppet of Amaret Heuris, bound by tradition and honor to follow its neighbor to pay off a great debt, the details of which are lost to history. Like Amaret Heuris, the judges seem more powerful than the queen, and the country is a rich source of luxury goods, from silks to spices, though not in such abundance as its larger neighbor.

The Kingdom of Toblanun
Government: Judicial Monarchy
Race(s): Windfolk, Lushedi
Capital: Hanote
Ruler Name: Queen Iviss Sahn
Ruler Age: 40
Ruler Race: Windfolk
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Toblanun is perhaps home to more racial tensions than other Istani kingdoms, as the judges are all lushedi while the nobles are mostly windfolk. The resultant conflicts are mostly confined to the upper classes, as the regular citizens still largely get along with each other. Toblanun has a densely populated coastline and dominated by its fishing industries, and it imports more luxuries than it exports, making it somewhat poorer than its neighbors.

The Kingdom of Bosorgan
Government: Judicial Monarchy
Race(s): Windfolk, Lushedi
Capital: Bosorgan
Ruler Name: King Mavon Sosiss
Ruler Age: 54
Ruler Race: Windfolk
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Bosorgan takes a somewhat more casual approach to the strict legalism of Istan than its neighbors. Though it still puts great stock in honor and justice, it doesn't stick to the same strict traditional code of laws that can be found in other parts of the region. Rather than building on this code as others have done, an old windfolk king of the region created his own charter of laws, an altered version of which is still being followed to this day. Bosorgan is open and inclusive to all outsiders.

The Kingdom of Iyneine
Government: Judicial Monarchy
Race(s): Windfolk, Lushedi
Capital: Nyneevi
Ruler Name: Queen Ewain Huha
Ruler Age: 48
Ruler Race: Windfolk
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
The arid lands of Iyneine are barely a part of Istan. Though still adhering to traditional laws, they are far more militant and less open to outside trade than all the other kingdoms apart from perhaps Toh. They view themselves as a bastion against “the dark horrors of Jahav”, and demonstrate a great deal of racism and xenophobia against the natives thereof, and they distrust all who have come from distant foreign lands in general.

The Sky Kingdom of Sjranie
Government: Tribal Monarchy
Race(s): Windfolk
Capital: Assij
Ruler Name: King Feivr IV Drasst
Ruler Age: 34
Ruler Race: Windfolk
Trade Policy: Free Trade
A vast tribal realm of windfolk, loosely held together under a king. Much of the population roams the region without being tied down to a single home, and many of the towns are entirely built around large migratory populations passing through. Many windfolk who leave the Istani Kingdoms come here to seek the freedom of a traditional windfolk lifestyle, while many windfolk here emigrate to experience the luxury of Istan firsthand and decide to stay.

Sej
Government: Nomadic Tribes
Race(s): Sej Valtir
Capital: Sej
The Sej are a strange race of hornéd valtir who roam the southern shores of the great western desert. They worship some kind of fiendish god of war, and ritually train in combat. They also fight amongst themselves and even kill each other over relatively minor matters, though they don't ever seem to hold a grudge or grow hateful because of this. They have no unified leadership and are as such very difficult to negotiate with – and to make matters worse they seem to have almost all vanished.

Swaroba
Government: Tribal Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Lushedi, Elvar
Capital: Kyzibara
Ruler Name: King Hakfub II Kul
Ruler Age: 52
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
A tribal kingdom most predominantly populated by the dark-skinned mun of Jahav, Swarobia is sparsely populated but stunningly civilized. Complex feats of architecture surround their stone-built capital with sheer walls and elevated aqueducts supply it with clean water. The people here are tolerant, welcoming and friendly, though they are still united more by their racial and tribal allegiances than by the monarch. They have a degree of trade exclusivity with Eorela.

Abara
Government: Tribal Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Lushedi, Elvar
Capital: Abara
Ruler Name: King Lorro Udab
Ruler Age: 39
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
The dark-skinned mun of Jahav dominate this polity, which is highly militarized to fend off the horrors of the Jungles of Jahav although still friendly and welcoming towards outsiders. The populace is united by a shamanistic religion which apparently draws power from the jungle spirits, giving shamans magical powers that, while not as impressive as the exploits of Heartland arcane mages, play a key role in their tribal societies. The jungle spirits are also routinely bound to the melee weapons and shields of their greatest warriors to aid them in battle.

Muduan
Government: Tribal Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Lushedi
Capital: Lokotu
Ruler Name: Queen Kaf Koholla
Ruler Age: 28
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
Populated almost entirely by the dark-skinned mun of Jahav, this tribal kingdom is united by a tradition of jubilation. The drab stone streets of their cities come alive at night, when colorfully dressed citizens dance in celebration of a day well lived, as is the local custom. During the regular festivals they may even celebrate past midnight, sleeping long into the following day. Though they are militarily cautious due to the ever-present threat of the mystical horrors of the jungle, they nevertheless friendly towards those who do not mean them harm.

Datumu
Government: Tribal Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Lushedi
Capital: Matu
Ruler Name: King Husey Nainos
Ruler Age: 42
Ruler Race: Lushedi
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
Though the dark-skinned mun of Jahav are still the majority in Datumu, the striped lushedi of the continent rule this kingdom. They have imposed strict formalised laws on the kingdom and enforced order in a land where everyone must be capable of defending themselves from the supernatural horrors of the jungle. They naturally distrust outsiders, and frequently feud with Muduan in minor border skirmishes.

Hoss
Government: Tribal Monarchy
Race(s): Lushedi, Mun
Capital: Hoss
Ruler Name: King Solmo VIII Yemnib
Ruler Age: 39
Ruler Race: Lushedi
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
Ruled by the striped lushedi of Jahav rather than the dark-skinned mun, Hoss has an unusual maritime tradition that stems from their fishing industry. They frequently raid the far richer regions of Istan with their ships, seeking pillage and even slaves, mostly attacking nearby Iyneine. They are not always hostile to outsiders, though they have been known to capture visitors to serve as slaves in their society.

The Empire of Apacua
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Acuscara
Ruler Name: Emperor Sapa XVII Cuachuti
Ruler Age: 30
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
An empire of mountain-men with incredible engineering talent, where progress is stymied only by their isolated location. Apacua is imperialistic and sovereign, where the emperor rules in the name of a divine pantheon of gods led by the Holy Sun. Defended by both harsh terrain and a large professional army, Apacua has in the past launched numerous aggressive campaigns, first to unify the mountain tribes and later to acquire slaves and pillage from the more populous Zahamac kingdoms of the flatlands.

The Princedom of Suco
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Suco
Ruler Name: Prince Mayta Oyqueti
Ruler Age: 69
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
A large vassal principality under Apacua, which in recent years has managed to regain a degree of diplomatic autonomy. The people here have a different identity to those of Apacua, even if they long since adopted their religion which gives the Emperor a powerful divine mandate. Although most are satisfied with the status quo, some want to head north and conquer the flatlands from the decadent infidels of Zahamac.

The Kingdom of Talamak
Government: Puppet Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Windfolk, Elvar
Capital: Talamak
Ruler Name: King Sezos Thaliarn
Ruler Age: 48
Ruler Race: Windfolk
Trade Policy: Protectorate
The northernmost of the many Zahamac Kingdoms, Talamak is home to a sizeable windfolk minority who willingly serve in its army, including a notable officer who was made king by Eorela. Talamak produces luxuries like cocoa and cotton for export, currently monopolized by their overlords Eorela. The entire capital is built atop a huge hill, giving defenders an unparalleled view of their surroundings, and the spire of the grand temple looms even further above it all.

The Kingdom of Swaro
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Elvar
Capital: Swaro
Ruler Name: Queen Chicamek V Laulco
Ruler Age: 42
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
This decadent Zahamac Kingdom is widely forested and difficult to navigate. The locals are said to consort with strange beasts and many are said to live entirely outside the reach of the gluttonous nobility. The capital is filled with fountains and gardens, most of which are well maintained. The army has a high proportion of mages, as a result of the ancient magical academy that operates in the capital city.

The Kingdom of Juzo
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Elvar
Capital: Juzo
Ruler Name: Queen Rikaki Fonlico
Ruler Age: 50
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
The capital of this decadent kingdom huddles next to a river amidst treacherous forests. The people here are not as prosperous as some of the other Zahamac kingdoms, but even so, the nobility extracts everything they can from them to fuel their exuberant lifestyles. It honestly wouldn't take much to topple this unstable kingdom, but its remote location makes it hard to reach.

Qormaran
Government: Tribal Monarchy
Race(s): Elvar
Capital: Ganist
Ruler Name: King Habiy Ballah
Ruler Age: 49
Ruler Race: Elvar
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
A tribal society of stone elves, Qormaran is arid, hostile and unpleasant. Aside from a scarce number of luxuries such as cotton and opium that grow in its interior valleys, there are few reasons to conquer such a place, other than perhaps to eliminate the threat raiders from there pose to the surrounding area.

The Empire of Aszha
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Valtir, Mun, Elvar, Kethul, Windfolk
Capital: Shijin
Ruler Name: Empress Huvoi Xiyi
Ruler Age: 37
Ruler Race: Valtir
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
A vast and powerful empire (pronounced Azer), home to gold, silver, tea, silk and porcelain, magic and technology, fine goods and glory. Worships a dizzyingly large pantheon of gods, which is a union of many thousands of regional temples conglomerated over vast histories and great distances, all headed by a single divine overlord figure which is linked to the Emperor or Empress. The empire is majority valtir, especially around its densely populated heartland where the rural population is almost 100% valtir. The army is huge, technologically advanced and powerful, as is the navy, but neither have fought a real war for almost two hundred years, back when the current dynasty seized the throne. Both are completely dismissive of so-called barbarian innovations, and might soon begin to fall behind.

The Kingdom of Degao
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Valtir
Capital: Beokh
Ruler Name: King Hunyo II Haxion
Ruler Age: 44
Ruler Race: Valtir
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
A kingdom filled with gold and silks, allied with the Empire of Aszha and their most honest and regular tributary. Has a weak magical tradition that focuses on defense over offense, but instead supplements their armies and navies with advanced rocket artillery, making them dangerous even without their alliance.

The Kingdom of Lungsair
Government: Feudal Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Lung
Ruler Name: King Sestyriul Lam
Ruler Age: 35
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
A kingdom home to horses of legendary quality, with the elite cavalry tradition to go with it. A lungsair horse is strong, healthy and above all else fast, capable of delivering a crushing charge just as easily as winning a race. Understandably, they guard their best horses jealously and export them only at high prices, though the majority of their land is sparsely populated flatlands and you need at least an average horse to ride from one town to another.

The Kingdom of Drovied
Government: Feudal Monarchy
Race(s): Mun
Capital: Dulinor
Ruler Name: King Dev II Totirel
Ruler Age: 40
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
A warrior kingdom, which draws its name from the Drovi river that runs through it. It has a good cavalry tradition (though not as great as their northern neighbor) and a sizeable infantry army, with its population spread widely across the farmlands that make up its borders. Naturally distrustful of outsiders but willing to trade, the landed aristocracy is very powerful here.

The Kingdom of Sanagvair
Government: Feudal Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Valtir
Capital: Naor
Ruler Name: King Rahara Amud
Ruler Age: 39
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
This kingdom draws its wealth and unity from the river that flows through its lands. Though it as militant as its western neighbors, it can still hold its own thanks to the presence of elephants and heavy artillery in its army. It is highly populous, more than one would expect, as its farms are unusually productive, producing both wheat and rice. It exports richly colored dyes, though its relative isolation from the sea thanks to the vast swamp to the south of it means that it can find few merchants willing to buy them.

The Empire of the Zun
Government: Clerical Theocracy
Race(s): Mun, Valtir
Capital: Naor
Ruler Name: The Sun Lord
Ruler Age: 39
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
Xenophobic worshippers of a deadly sun god who make use of vast quasi-magical mirror arrays mounted on defensive stone towers to incinerate their enemies. All their cities are heavily fortified, and their armies are well-equipped with golden infantry, camel cavalry and solar artillery. There is so much gold in Zun that even infantry armor is coated in the stuff, but they choke the passage to the sea of reefs anyway, demanding a steep toll in gold for every ship that passes through that doesn't want to be incinerated. It is even rumored that there are pools of molten gold in Zun. Unregulated practice of magic is banned here and outsiders are treated with the highest level of suspicion, only to be thrown out at the soonest opportunity or abandoned in the desert if they overstay their welcome.

Zalva Vabekia
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Valtir, Elvar
Capital: Quraih
Ruler Name: Sheikh Amet Zalv
Ruler Age: 44
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Free Trade
One of the Vabekian Shiekhdoms, Zalva Vabekia trades freely on both sides of the isthmus it controls – at a high markup, enriching itself in the process. The state does not have much inherent wealth, instead drawing its value from the cotton and opium that grow along its coasts, the trade that flows through its ports and the pastoral lifestyle of the camel-riding nomads who fill its interior.

Muha Vabekia
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Valtir, Elvar
Capital: Reyon
Ruler Name: Sheikh Ebin Muuh
Ruler Age: 72
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
One of the Vabekian Shiekhdoms, Muha Vabekia is neither wealthy nor open. The state is suspicious of outsiders, in particular those who have come through Zalva Vabekia. The land here is all but barren, with the majority of the population made up of camel-riding pastoral nomads.

Unarium
Government: Absolute Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Elvar
Capital: Unar
Ruler Name: Sheikh Temet III Rah
Ruler Age: 23
Ruler Race: Mun
Trade Policy: Limited Trade
One of the Vabekian Shiekhdoms, Unarim is rich in natural resources, from coffee and opium to iron and silver. They are reluctant to trade, and enforce high tariffs on everything that leaves their lands to finance their government. Considering their natural wealth, that makes their government very rich, and they field a large army to protect those riches as a result.

Movorium
Government: Elective Monarchy
Race(s): Mun, Elvar
Capital: Movor
Ruler Name: Sheikh Atep Dago
Ruler Age: 53
Ruler Race: Elvar
Trade Policy: Closed Markets
One of the Vabekian Shiekhdoms, Movorium has no ruling dynasty, but instead elects a sheikh from the community. Half of the population is composed of camel-riding pastoral nomads, while those on the coast make their living growing spices and coffee. Officially, trade with outsiders is forbidden, which explains how Movorium gained their reputation as smugglers and pirates.

Places:
There are many different locations in the world. This list is small, since world creation is incomplete and things are still to be added.
Warteeth: A large mountain range. Warhall, the capital of the Scallian March, is located on the side of its largest mountain. The other three cities of the Scallian March are located in its foothills.
Great Western Desert: Desolate and near-impossible to survive in, the landscape is supposedly rich in mineral wealth and ancient ruins, but legend has it that a great immortal warmaster assembles horrific invasion forces that spew forth and threaten all of civilization every few centuries. But there hasn't been one for a few hundred years, so it's probably just old stories.
Istan: A distant region to the far southwest populated by Windfolk and Lushedi. A land of multiple kingdoms where peace reigns and many valuable and exotic luxuries are produced.

History:
First there was the Golden Age, a time when things were good at the Heart of the World. People learned great things, secrets since lost to time, such as the art of golemcrafting and the motions of the heavens. Ancient texts describe classical civilizations in forgotten majesty, which was brought eventually to a crashing end.

What followed was the Age of Formless Torment, a time when strange, amorphous beings rose up to conquer the world. Their vast, decentralized empire was inefficient and incapable, and they ruled by might and sheer numbers, not so much actually maintaining control as continually smashing those who sought to slip through their fingers. Their reign destroyed most records and learning from the Golden Age, and their legacy is ruin.

The next age came when the last was ended by some strange force, which was possibly a plague or curse. What followed was a time of darkness and strife, as the races gradually rebuilt, and new empires rose and fell. Eventually, civilization stabilized, progress reasserted itself, and people began to build the modern world.
Reply
01-26-2016, 05:58 PM
Post: #3
RE: Spheres of Influence
Reserved for environmental hazard.

Space is warped and time is bendable.
Reply
01-26-2016, 06:00 PM (This post was last modified: 04-13-2016 07:59 AM by Cidellus.)
Post: #4
RE: Spheres of Influence
I, of course, suggest dragons!

Name: Dragons

Description: Dragons are long-lived (possibly immortal), giant, fire-breathing, sentient, magical creatures with absurdly durable scales, batlike wings capable of flight, two arms, two legs, and the ability to breathe fire. Their scales can come in a large variety of colors, and their eyes often match their scales. There are also rumors that they can shapeshift or some such nonsense, but that's all a load of crap. Probably.

History or Traditions: Draconic culture is quite old, but they don't possess a very well-developed civilization of their own. Due to their massive size and food requirements, they often compete for hunting territory, using brawn, guile, and clever negotiations to win more hunting territory for themselves. Over time, dragons began to organize into small clans to fight more effectively, with individual hunting territory becoming clan territory. The dragons developed vast hoards of wealth through extorting local villages and towns, with some enterprising dragons investing that wealth into land, cattle, and other resources. As such, draconic civilization (if that's even the word for it) is often simply built off the efforts of races that can actually multiply in meaningful numbers and handle precise tools.

Flag:
Courtesy of Protoman:
[Image: HdvXu4f.png]
Reply
01-26-2016, 06:06 PM
Post: #5
RE: Spheres of Influence
First of perhaps many to come:

Name: Aun

Description: Aun are large, peaceful creatures which inhabit islands and shallow waters. They are slow and have armored hides to protect them from predators. The Aun reach about 2-3 meters in length, and eat mainly sea grasses which they farm and small fish. They have four limbs - two flippers in the back, and two in the front which have mutated slightly to allow a rudimentary hand. The Aun are friendly to outsiders, but their semiaquatic lifestyle has prevented them from developing much in the way of technology. They live long lives, up to 200 years.

History/Traditions: In the cultural memory of their species, the Aun knew they were not always sentient. All their earliest legends begin in great undersea cities, not as their denizens but as beasts of burden. The Aun do not remember the shape of their masters, but they know that they called themselves Marids. The Aun were uplifted by a Marid scholar, who tried desperately to prevent some great calamity. In the end, their efforts were in vain, and all that remains of the Marid civilization are some undersea ruins and the Aun themselves. The Aun try their best to preserve what they can remember from those times, and they often bring ashore artifacts from the Marid cities to repair and use in their own settlements, or else to trade to outsiders for more modern technology.

Despite their relative technological backwardness, the Aun have an impressive amount of expertise in aquaculture. They have secret techniques for regulating water temperature, salinity, and other factors locally, producing large amounts of high-quality fish and seaweed. Their youth enjoy diving and treasurehunting as a sport, and most expeditions to retrieve goods from sunken ships have enlisted Aun aid. Aun music is weird and rhythmic, with long wails and clicks. They say that it sounds better underwater.

(tl;dr - basically sentient sea turtles)

And another, based on the first:

Name: Marid

Description: The exact physical form of the Marids is unknown - despite the Aun's attempts to preserve any art from the period and maintain their cultural memory, the descriptions are vague at best and sometimes even contradictory. All that is known is that they had a powerful tail for swimming, and two arms to manipulate objects and grab hold of their Aun mounts.

History: The Marids were an underwater civilization that at its peak rivaled the greatest of land empires. Their cities stretched across the seafloors, and they domesticated many animals and developed very advanced aquaculture. However, at some point the Marids were faced with a great calamity which they were unable to solve. After the sudden collapse of their civilization, there have been no Marid sightings at all - some think that they have disappeared from the world, or gone completely extinct. Whatever the cause of their disappearance was, it was certainly very deadly.

The one, the only, Vancho!
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01-26-2016, 06:47 PM
Post: #6
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Windfolk

Description: A race of humanoids with the head and wings of predatory birds, dappled in a spectrum of colors. They have lean physiques and tends towards the tall side – six to seven feet tall. They are capable of powered, sustained flight due to their freakishly hyper-efficient circulatory system. However, it comes at a cost - their hollow bones contribute to their fragile constitutions and the energetic cost of flying results in their short lives – the average Windfolk lifespan is a mere 50 years old.

Windfolk are highly individualistic and value personal freedom. They are aware of their short lives and so, believe in value of initiative. They abhor the thought of time potentially wasted. As a consequence, they tend to act first and ask questions later – which gives them a reputation of rash impulsiveness to outside civilizations.

History: Windfolk prefer to live in the warmer, unforgiving areas where hot winds allow some ease off the strenuous exercise of flight. Some Windfolk are nomadic but most prefer to live in more permament settlements of geometric gardens and white cubes. Their technology tends towards simplicity and efficiency, often taking compact and ergonomic forms. Recently, they had taken a fancy to environmentalism as the concept of using less natural resources while doing the same thing strikes a chord within their industrious philosophy.

As of the present, the majority of Windfolk are secular. They still occasionally pray to their ancestral spirits out of tradition. Respect and deference to elders is expected but not enforced, although to do otherwise is considered fairly rude.
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01-27-2016, 03:04 AM (This post was last modified: 01-31-2016 08:00 AM by Galloglasses.)
Post: #7
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Mankinds

Description: Elvár, Mún and Kethúl. Three races of humanoids at once eerily similar and yet distinct and alien to one another.
Elvár are generally the tallest of the three races, lithe in build with long, pointed ears. Elvan are more prone to magic than their sister races. Faster and generally more athletic and precise in movement, Elvan make excellent light infantry and specialized warriors. Elvan come in a bewildering variety of sub races from the mythic Moon Worshipping glade Elvár with their white eyes to the mystic, jungle dwelling Spiderkin, with their purple skin and broad ears, from Frost Elvár, to city dwelling Kithian Elvár.
Mún are made of sturdier stuff than their Elvan cousins, slightly shorter, but generally broader of chest, thicker skinned, stronger and distinct from their cousins with smaller, rounded ears. Mun are common and prodigious race, famed for their versatility and adaptability, Mún generally make excellent troops and all purpose warriors, settlers and farmers with a preference for plains and hill-lands to build their settlements, they are also excellent sailors. Like their Elvár cousins, Mún also come in a startlingly array of variations.
Kethúl are the sturdiest, stockiest and stoutest of their three races, being notably shorter than Mún, they are nonetheless made of muscle and sinew and vigor. These hardy creatures are reknowned for their legendary facial hair, their fantastic craftsmanship in weapons, armour and architecture and their beer. Their mountain holds are famously impregnable fortress of rock, from which they dwell. While lacking in the physical finesse of their sister races, the Kethúl are not to be trifled with, shock troops without peer. Out of the three races, the Kethúl have the least variance among them beyond minor physical appearences based on geography of their holds. There are no Kehúloid sub-races and any talk of such nonsense will easily lead to the ire of any local Kthúl nearby.

Elvár - Fragile Speedster/Squishy Wizard
Mún - The Ace
Kethúl - Mighty Glacier

History: "If you want to take care of something weird or talk someone to death, send an Elvár. You want something broken or built, send a Kethúl. If you have no idea what to do, throw a Mún at it, one way or another it'll stop being a problem." - Old Saying.

The three races have been around as long as any of their records can remember and have been aware of their relationship to one another since time immemorial. All three races are capable of safely and reliably intermixing, and all of their cultures, however disparate and far apart and diverse, always contain the reference to the title of 'Man', which all three races claim as their rightful inheritance. Despite their clear, if poorly understood relationship with one another, the three races rarely, if ever, coexist on any large, meaningful scale beyond the occasional minority status in the kingdoms of the other races and are as varied in language and custom as any other race could hope to believe. Their esoteric squabbling is as quaint as it is baffling to outsiders.

There is on mystery that cannot be ignored, however. Every so often, perhaps once a century, someone from the ranks of the three races will 'ascend'. It is unknown what causes it as no clearly defined similar characteristics have ever been discovered surrounding their ascension events.

The individual becomes what is known as a 'Patriarch'. A tall, shadowy being, slightly haunched, draped in shadowy robes that appear at first to be physical but at the same time not. Ethereal chains phase in and out of existence in the air around them and a strange, low whispering is always just barely perceived upon the edge of hearing in their presence. Nothing can be ascertained of their appearance beneath their robes beyond their bony, emaciated arms and lengthy, claw like hands.

They are, however, despite their fearsome appearance and mysterious origins, actually renowned as peaceable and well spoken creatures. Patriarchs are known to wander the lands and realms of the world of their own volition, according to their mysterious designs and any of the races of Mankinds who comes across them prays to the gods that whatever they are up to does not include them. They are accorded due fear and respect by any sensible Manling and it is not uncommon to see them advising the great and the good of many a realm on matters of import.

Usually because they were asked to.

Patriarchs also have never been known to fight other sapient creatures, beyond murdering wild beasts or demonhosts that threaten them, no patriarch in recorded history has ever raised a hand to stay the blade of one who would do them harm. But woe to the fool, brigand or king who slays a Patriarch, for such violence is considered a grave sin and an ominous omen amongst manlings. And if the gods dont do something about it, the local manlings just might.

Patriarchs, as the name suggest, are always male. Females ascend too, and with equal regularity. But female ascensions, to a one, always end in pain and sorrow, with the ascended female manling always dying a screaming death and shouting a psychic shriek of terror before exploding in a burst of light. The trauma causing patriarchs within a hundred miles to convulse and rendered helpless for a full three days and nights. It is not known why this is so, none of the patriarchs will ever be drawn into discussing the matter, seeming to become dour and morose when the topic is broached.

It has never been heard of more than two Patriarchs ever being in the same place at any one time. A convergence of patriarchs, for whatever reason, is surely a omen of great import. But for good or for ill, none can say.

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01-27-2016, 03:36 AM
Post: #8
RE: Spheres of Influence
Damn, I had an idea for humans - here's the sketch:

Humans:

Humans arrived to this world suddenly in an event they call "The Breach" and everyone else calls "the day those assholes showed up". The humans arrived in small groups at first, seemingly scouting out the area, but one day, thousands appeared at once. They immediately proceeded to start conquering and pillaging, those heartless bastards, and established an area of control. Humans are unusual in that they have no magic, but their technology is very advanced. Fortunately for the rest of the intelligent species of the world, the Humans stopped coming - something cut off their connection with their homeworld. Unfortunately, the humans thought of a way to increase their population - interbreeding.

Humans, using their superior biological technology, selected several races with which they could hybridize. They managed to create some successful lines, and through some quirk of fate the human side dominates these hybrids. The human nation fell apart to petty squabbling without their homeworld, and the humans and "half-humans" quickly scattered around the world, but they're still around and still a huge nuisance. Nowadays, most humans have some local blood in them, though there are a few lines which pride themselves on being pure human stock.

Of course, if Gallo has a more interesting idea I will be happy to defer to him.

The one, the only, Vancho!
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01-27-2016, 06:35 AM
Post: #9
RE: Spheres of Influence
Man guys I had my own idea for humans... sort of. They're half a joke though and work with anything so I'll just drop the basic details.

Dire Men: Tall, spindly humans with notably more angular facial and body details. Surprisingly strong and durable, dire men are the result of humans living too close to magical wastelands. After years of using up what little resources could be found in the area, they moved into more hospitable lands and clashed with the races there. Oftentimes they would lose, but in greater numbers they drove out and destroyed whoever and whatever was living there before.

Their strength is offset by a lack of imagination and poor intelligence - they tend to make use of whatever technology or other advancements that whoever they defeated used. Highly resistant to magic, they are the bane of magical races in particular, though only a small number of them are ever able to use even the slightest of magical power.

Rule among dire men is usually decided by who is the biggest and strongest, but the rare dire man with even a human level of intelligence can often take hold of large groups, particularly if they work through a proxy.

I have other race ideas but they'd probably take more than three minutes to flesh out so I'll get to them later.
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01-27-2016, 07:35 AM (This post was last modified: 01-28-2016 02:03 PM by Sotek.)
Post: #10
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Tch'k'k'chsss, or Tch'k, or k'chsss (depending on life stage and other details)

Description: The Tch'k'k'chsss are an endosymbiotic pair of creatures - the lacertilian Tch'k, and the fungal k'chsss.

A Tch'k, independently of any k'chsss, is a beaked lizard of unusually low intelligence for their size - approximately four feet long from nose to tail - and are capable of both bipedal and quadripedal motion. The Tch'k are opportunistic carnivores - eating both rotten and fresh meat, as well as certain kinds of simple plant matter. A pair of Tch'k can have hundreds of offspring in a year, though they have very poor nesting instincts and are prone to cannibalism - they are, however, far more social than one would predict from the previous facts.

A Tch'k'k'chsss occurs when a juvenile Tch'k has spores of the k'chsss implanted into open wounds - if it survives the process and grows into what would be an adult Tch'k, it becomes an 'adolescent' Tch'k'k'chsss - a being of intelligence approximately on par with other sapients, with normal tool-using abilities, and a high resistance to disease.

When the Tch'k portion of a Tch'k'k'chsss dies, the k'chsss within it may remain alive, if the central body was not significantly damaged. (The primary 'brain' of the Tch'k'k'chsss lies in the center of the creature's body) If the environs are correct - that is, dark and moist - over the course of a few days, the k'chsss will sprout and sporulate, to become the adult form of the creature.

Adult k'chsss are immobile, but capable of communicating with one another and with adolescent Tch'k'k'chss - they do, however, require a steady supply of Tch'k flesh to support themselves, which is typically provided by the Tch'k'k'chss. Furthermore, if multiple k'chss are in close proximity, they will grow together, slowly melding into a single entity - if a k'chsss colony maintains a steady influx of new members, the colony as a whole can live indefinitely, though the older personalities and memories will slowly fade, replaced by the new.
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01-27-2016, 10:16 AM (This post was last modified: 01-27-2016 09:29 PM by Bramzter.)
Post: #11
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Kethúl Dregs

Description: One of the two subspecies stemming the mysterious 'Kethúl' which were described as short and stocky humanoids that were known for their skill in craftsmanship and their fondness for enormous mountain kingdoms in which they once retreated into and only left their prodigy behind in their disappearance

Dregs retain the size and stockiness of their 'father' but lack their iconic beards. their skin is of a gray hue and seems to be quite robust. Local legend has it that their skin is as strong as the mountains itself. They seem to have retained the skill of craft their ancestors were famed for in the crafting of tools but seem to distinctly lack the skill for grand construction

Dregs live among their wayward and hated kin the Clods in the mountain home in heavy urban segregation. Dergs outside the old mountain homes live as traveling caravans or in crude villages in the wilds.

History or Traditions: The Dregs pride themselves in their skill in crafting, diplomacy and trade and such are superior then the Clods. The Dregs have close knit culture which has oddity's like 'true names' and a strong decleration of loyalty to friends...they are however stubborn and distrustful of strangers especially of they are seen conversing with Clods who are keen to corrupt all values that true Kéthul should follow!

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Name: Kethúl Clods

Description: One of the two subspecies stemming the mysterious 'Kethúl' which were described as short and stocky humanoids that were known for their skill in craftsmanship and their fondness for enormous mountain kingdoms in which they once retreated into and only left their prodigy behind in their disappearance.

Clods retain the muscle and facial hair growth that was characteristic of the Kéthul yet they are notably thinner and slightly longer then their ancestors. Their eyes also are usually of a red-ish hue and can see clearly in low to even the absence light conditions. They are also lean and not as much as stocky as a Dreg. They retained the skill of construction and architecture as they are more used to long and hard work then the more finicky labor needed to craft various smaller items and thus their tools are crude.

Clods live with their decadent and oppressive kin the Dregs in heavy urban segregation enforced by the Dregs. They responded to this by carving marvelous homes and living spaces for themselves debunking the lie that they were just 'simple folk' to any traveler that might gaze upon it. Outside of the mountain home clods usually make their living in service of cities, putting their strengths to use as builders or even architects.

History or Traditions: The clods have a culture that is heavily built on bonds between family and community and efficiency. They take on problems as a group and thus are a bit shy among strangers and it can be difficult to earn their trust. they also despise the Dregs and anyone associated with those oppressors!


There is a rumor some doctor once sewn a clod and a dreg together. It was deadly for all involved.



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01-27-2016, 11:06 AM
Post: #12
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Myxoians

Description: A civilization of fungal-based organisms. They are amorphous (their default form being a puddle of goo) and have a shiny, plastic-like appearance but are incapable of producing mucus. Their coloration is reliant on their diet and environment. They have no consistent height or weight – although they tend around 100-200 pounds, which varies depending on age and health. Their anatomy lends a significant degree of adaptability but they are quite fragile – their frequently eroding numbers kept up by their extreme fecundity.

History: Myxoians are a monarchy supported by a republic. Social divides are large and striated to the point it is social taboo (just barely outlawed) to marry those outside your class. Poverty is a constant and significant problem. Resources are poorly managed - their efficiency stymied by corruption and apathy. The problems that plague the petri-dish kingdoms frequent to the point that it fuels the imperialist sentiment of their ideology. As a consequence, Myxoians are militaristic and colonialist despite their fragility.

Myxoians have a nigh-universal fondness for neckwear – one tradition not tainted by their dystopic, imperialist attitudes – and many wear ties, cravats, scarves – their quality and design depending on their income and attention to appearance.
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01-27-2016, 12:57 PM
Post: #13
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Blights

Description: Withered, grey things that strain your eyes to look at, Blights are small, thin bipeds that stand two feet tall. The often have crooked horns with the texture of dead tree limbs that jut out from the edges of their foreheads, capable of reaching up to two feet in length. Their faces consist of two pale eyes, eggshell white, with translucent irises/pupils, making their eyes appear blank and expressionless, ragged slits for nostrils, and a wide maw lined with narrow, jagged teeth. Their heads are about six inches in diameter and clash with their lean, bony bodies. They have tails of varying length, tipped by a barb that naturally secretes a paralyzing toxin, which, while non-lethal, has a duration of about a day on most humanoids. Their skin is the color of dark ash, and they shed it at least once a month, leaving behind flakes which quickly break down into an allergenic dust.

History: Nobody really knows where Blights originated, just that they've been around for as long as most intelligent races can remember. Clever and aggressive by nature, what these creatures lack in physical size, they make up for in strange power. Firstly, they possess the ability to mask their presence, becoming completely transparent to the naked eye. Secondly, they can communicate telepathically, allowing them to whisper thoughts into the minds of others. Finally, they can amplify the emotions of creatures in their immediate vicinity. The combination of these powers has led to the superstition that Blights can control peoples' minds, but this is not true, they are merely capable of pushing people towards choices and decisions. They use that ability to cause anguish and strife, as these creatures, in part, feed upon a mixed diet of vermin and strong negative emotions.

Fortunately, Blights are spread out across the world in a scarce manner. While they form hives near civilizations to reproduce, they hunt alone. Their hives are, to them, sacred, and they do the best they can to keep the locations of them hidden. Blights are long lived, capable of lasting up to a hundred and fifty years if they feed correctly, but this is difficult. They can psychically feed from non-intelligent species, but this does not provide their minds with enough nutrition, causing them to suffer a sort of 'mind death', where they slowly become feral and savage.

Blight Hives are normally twenty-five to fifty feet across, and always half that as tall. In more remote areas, it's not unknown for clusters of hives to be found, but these are not as highly populated as one would think, instead normally serving as historical archives for bloodlines of Blights. Most bloodlines lack this luxury, and the few who establish it must work hard to brainwash sentient victims into living nearby, so that the cluster can be guarded. Most of these victims, or Sentinels, as the Blight call them, do not last more than twenty years, since in order for the Blight in question to feed the victim must be in a constant state of misery.

Finally, while aggressive and clever by nature, this does not mean that Blights are EVIL by nature. There has been instances of Blights who sought people who were ALREADY miserable, feeding off their misery as they tried to HELP them. However, this is rare, as the Blight in question is essentially working to cut off a source of food. These individuals tended to meet tragic fates, as not only as their actions were disapproved of by their peers, but they also, as Blights, were still targets of most intelligent life's hatred of Blight-kind.
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01-28-2016, 07:51 AM
Post: #14
RE: Spheres of Influence
You mean Dire Men? They already exist guy.[/joke] Anyways, some basics for two more races that I'll expand upon if I have time:

1. The Nohir: A short, industrious race notable for their rough, leathery skin and prominent horn (that, on older Nohir, can be up to a third the size of their body). Based on small communities, very few Nohir nations can actually get their shit together enough to exist, and instead they are often part of other powers. Talented tinkerers they are quick to come up with things but slow to implement, they focus more on what they need than what would be useful, and a lack of manual dexterity means that many of their more delicate creations aren't usually meant for them.

2. The Hituemu: Each member of this race is actually eight smaller races that long ago formed a strange symbiotic relationship and now usually exist in a single form, the Hituemu are known for their great strength and ability to alter their gestaltic form to suit different needs. Are often slow to come to major decisions that don't have to do directly with them due to their parts having to come to some sort of consensus. Vulnerable to separation - leading to many enemies adapting a literal 'divide and conquer' strategy when fighting one.
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01-28-2016, 09:20 AM
Post: #15
RE: Spheres of Influence
One more for the pile:

Name: Lushedi

Description: The Lushedi are mammalian creatures with four limbs and two wings. They have maned heads and thin fur covering their bodies. Lushedi vary in size from 1.7 to 2.8 meters from head to the end of the body. Although they walked historically on four legs, their front paws are more specialized to grasping and manipulating objects, and in modern times Lushedi have transitioned to bipedalism. A consequence of this is the mostly vestigial nature of their wings - very few have wings capable of producing lift, and those who do are often smaller and weaker than their peers. The Lushedi use their wings for balance when standing upright.

History/Culture: Lushedi civilization began in a fertile region of the world, rich with savannas and floodplains. They were an apex predator that ruled the food chain, but as their population grew they started competing both with each other and with the other intelligent races emerging in the world. The Lushedi began developing a sedentary lifestyle based around herding and agriculture, building great cities near rivers. Their earliest cultures were very honor-bound, with duels determining the rule of law for a very long time.

As they developed, the Lushedi formulated codes of law and other ordered ways of life. They value order and honor over all else, and their cities and history reflect that. As ritualized combat became less common, legal battles took their place, making the law a very serious thing to Lushedi society. They are also very attuned to magic, and they have a deep respect for mages in their cultures. Historically, hereditary kings and queens ruled their people, though some have taken to the idea of constitutional republics, which are more ordered and easier to regulate than monarchies due to their increased legitimacy.

The one, the only, Vancho!
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01-28-2016, 10:30 AM (This post was last modified: 01-28-2016 10:35 AM by Whimbrel.)
Post: #16
RE: Spheres of Influence
The Vox

The Vox come in many shapes, sizes, and configurations, but recognizing one is always a simple matter. Their flesh is clay, you see. Not hardened like pottery unless they are quite near to death, but as workable as though it had recently been dredged from the bottom of a lake. The Vox have a deep appreciation for organic life, and often ornament themselves with living plants.

A Vox may contain anywhere from two hundred to five hundred bones, but they are rarely arrayed in an order that would be familiar or sensible to the various sentients they came from. And they do prefer that their offspring's bones come mostly from sentients, although it is possible to form Vox from the bones of animals alone with little ill effect.

A Vox might expect their lifespan to be anywhere from eighty to one hundred and ten in predominantly damp environment, and significantly fewer decades in an extremely dry one. When a Vox becomes inflamed due to aging, they can typically expect to live one to five years more before they waste away to nothing more than a lifeless pile of pottery and blackened bone fragments, which are then thrown into a mud pit along with fresh bones to jumpstart the formation of new Vox. Young, otherwise healthy Vox may also burst into flame if they are badly damaged, but in this case the inflamed Vox's life expectancy can be counted in minutes rather than years, as their final moments tend to be quite explosive.

Several times a year, on an apparently random schedule and yet simultaneously, all living Vox will congregate in small groups with other local Vox, and commence to shriek, wail, moan, and scream for the full span of a day. Responding to queries from other intelligent life on the phenomenon, the Vox will make comments to the effect that "It's all in good fun" or "I'd explain it but you wouldn't understand" and generally evade the matter entirely.
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01-28-2016, 10:56 AM (This post was last modified: 01-28-2016 10:57 AM by Cidellus.)
Post: #17
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Nurkum

Description: The Nurkum are a race of short burrowing reptilian humanoids, armed with everything from flint spears to muskets to repeating rifles, who multiply like crazy and constantly strike at both the surface and others who live beneath.They possess sharp claws for digging, nimble bodies for maneuvering through tight cracks or small holes, and eyes conditioned for darkness. A single Nurkum isn't a dire threat for any halfway decent warrior. However, one is far more likely to encounter ten to twenty Nurkum, in which case they become a significantly larger threat. They usually have brown scales, glowing yellow eyes, and a variety of markings to distinguish them from one another. Various genetic features such as nose length, claw size, or the number of spines on their back are dictated by individual genetics. Nurkum can live to be twenty years of age, reach maturity by four, reach middle age by twelve, and reach old age by eighteen. They very rarely live to die of old age. They tend to lay enormous clutches of eggs, often giving life to dozens of Nurkum hatchlings at a time.

History or Traditions: The Nurkum are highly hostile towards every other race, and are also very hostile against one another. Nurkum society is filled with constant betrayals, civil wars, coups, and power struggles. Despite this, Nurkum tribes are terrifying due to their sheer numbers, often burrowing into whatever communities they can reach for raiding and pillaging. They tend to dwell in caverns, shanties, or whatever else they can throw together. Their dwellings are often tiny and crammed together, and personal space is at a minimum for most. Shrines are often seen dedicated to the Undergod, a being of great power reputed to live in the lowest depths of the world. When the Undergod is angry, earthquakes occur. When the Undergod believes a tunnel to be poorly-made, the tunnel collapses. When the Undergod believes his flock to be too fat, a famine occurs. Some believe the Undergod controls the entire fate of his people, most believe that the Undergod favors those who distinguish themselves most in their short pitiful lives.

Naming conventions: The Nurkum are a rigorous tribe-based culture. As such, the tribal name comes first, followed by a personal name. Personal names are not necessarily carried for life, and are more often nicknames. A Nurkum's own tribal names are screamed in every possible context, as loudly as is possible, out of pride. However, they never scream the name of a tribe that is not their own. They also tend to drag our their s-sounds.

Naming examples: KERDEK!-Sshavo, TRESSKONIL!-Tevosskil, MORSSKIN!-Kaloss.



Name: Valtir

Description: Valtir are humanoid reptilian lifeforms, though they possess large tails and digitigrade legs. They have three fingers and a thumb on each hand (with long pointed claws that are often filed down to aid with more precise tasks), and large horns coming from the back of their skulls that can either be straight or curved. Their eyes are towards the front of their skulls in the manner of predators rather than prey, and their scales can come in a variety of colors. They are roughly the same height and weight as humans, though the females are usually the larger of the two genders. Reproduction is handled via the females laying clutches of eggs every five years, which may or may not be fertilized by the males.

History or Traditions: Valtir are quite civilized, possessing large, advanced cities constructed of stone, wood, and metal. They have a talent for taming beasts, riding a variety of different creatures domesticated for war, work, or entertainment. Valtir culture traditionally favors females for war, beast-training, the raising of daughters, and heavier backbreaking labor, with the males handling administration, the raising of sons, and the lighter backbreaking labor. Valtir societies can have a variety of governments ranging from chiefdoms to full democratic republics, depending on the culture and society in question. Religion varies as well, though most cultures are polytheistic. A singular member of the Valtir race is called a Valtiri.
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01-28-2016, 02:09 PM
Post: #18
RE: Spheres of Influence
Dammit, Pala, if we start introducing Godhood races, we'll get to The Mistakes. AKA, every creature my god made.

Name: Quetzanos

Description: Quetzanos are tall, slender, light-framed humanoid avians. They possess plumage of varying color, from bright, vibrant hues to dark, earthy tones. Their beaks tend to be six inches to a foot in length, and they have tongues capable of stretching two to three feet. They lack proper hands, instead having developed very dexterous feet, replete with long, slender toes, and have a sense of balance that exceeds that of most intelligent races. Males can be determined from females due to tall plumages that sprout from the forehead and run down the back of the skull.

History: The Quetzanos are, by tradition, nomads. Their ancestors flew from fruit grove to fruit grove, attempting to flee cold seasons in patterns of migration. With time, they became omnivores, as well, developing hunting skills to track and take down prey from the skies. Since they can only take what they can carry on their travels, they make sure to use every part of the animal possible. Modern Quetzanos operate a bit differently from their ancestors; for example, cooking has become a proud new tradition within the last century, and now, instead of each tribe member carrying only what they individually can, they work together to fly loads of camp gear in suspended caravans made from hide and hollowed-out, reinforced bone. They have a proud tradition of herbalism (which allowed them to learn what herbal solutions to soak bones in as to harden them) and are very spiritual. They worship not one god, but instead believe that every living thing has a "spirit bird" within them, and that upon death, each one rejoins an endless flock amongst the stars. Some radical practicioners, however, have taken a xenophobic approach due to bad experiences between Quetzano kind and other races, believing that only Quetzanos possess spirit birds, and that all other races are merely animals. Fortunately, in most tribes, this view is rather frowned upon.
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01-29-2016, 01:09 PM (This post was last modified: 01-30-2016 02:33 AM by SupahKiven.)
Post: #19
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Organophage

Description: Organophages are viruses, of a sort. They are tripedal creatures, the height of an adult usually around torso level of the average humanoid. Their tri-jointed legs attach to a spherical base, which also hosts a long, flexible, segmented 'neck' that makes up a majority of the Organophage's height. Atop the neck is a small, mostly hollow, crystal shaped 'head' where the Organophage's genetic material is stored. The base is where most of the Organophage's organs are stored. At the bottom of the base is the beak-like mouth of the creature, which serves a dual purpose of both nutrient intake and reproduction. In addition to the legs, Organophages have two segmented, tentacle-like limbs that end in tripronged 'hands'. The entirety of a Organophage's body, sans the head, is covered in a silvery carapace that makes the creatures look metallic.

Organophages are of slightly below average intelligence, though they are highly proficient in and tend to be quick learners of the arts of combat. They communicate through a language mainly consisting of clicks, buzzes, and groans; which are vocalized through not only the mouth, but also an organ within the head. They have excellent hearing to make up for their lack of sight, and navigate and hunt using a form of echolocation that gets stronger and more precise when Organophages are grouped together. Their reproduction is mostly dependent on outside creatures, which keeps Organophage populations low. Reproduction is tied closely with hunting, and involves a Organophage taking down a creature at least three quarters of the size of the Organophage. Once the target is subdued, the Organophage injects its genetic material, which also acts as a powerful paralytic. It then brings its catch to its mate, who also injects their genetic material into the creature. This results in the creature's death a few days later, which in turn prompts the emergence of two to twenty baby Organophages, which learn to fend for themselves on their own.

History/Traditions: Organophage tradition is deeply intertwined with hunting due to their reliance on it as a whole. Most Organophage colonies are set in areas with large prey and few nearby populations of sentient creatures. They are often led by the largest Organophage, as their size usually indicates the greatest strength, though with the development of tools and weapons, the leaders have begun to be those with the greatest mental prowess. Still, strength and ability are greatly valued in Organophage society, and martial prowess is one of their most sought after attributes. As Organophages begin to make more attempts to be relevant in society, however, they have been using their hearing to understand other languages, by way of voice inflection and speech patterns rather than words.

Organophage society is rather isolationist. Their tendency to resort to violence as a means of solving problems and sensitive hearing keep them away from cities and large groups of sentients, though a couple of the larger colonies in the past have moved into smaller cities upon realizing that their echolocation could be used as a dampener. However, this limits their mobility and dexterity. This, combined with their predatory nature and lack of proper species for reproductive use, served to keep them somewhat separate from the other races occupying the places. Because of limitations like this, the closest Organophage colonies tend to exist on the outskirts of small towns, for purposes of 'work'. Many Organophages have been hired as mercenaries and workers due to their surprising strength and ability to follow orders without verbal response.
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01-29-2016, 01:25 PM
Post: #20
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Voidlings

Description: These creatures have the shape of humans, standing at about 5'8", however, they have no facial features what so ever, and don't really have skin. They are made of a pitch black void with wisps of purple flames occasionally coming out of the holes in space that they represent.

History: The Voidlings have existed for as long as anyone can remember, people say the came into existence through a hole in space that opened a long time ago, a black hole almost. This place is almost a giant, unmoving, Voidling itself, known as The Void. The Voidlings represent an endless hunger, and emptiness, wherein they travel the world, individually or in groups, using their purple flames to eat and absorb other living creatures into The Void itself, causing it to slowly grow and cover more of the land it resides in. The Voidlings exist for the sole purpose of increasing the hole in space that is The Void, and devouring the world.
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01-29-2016, 02:51 PM
Post: #21
RE: Spheres of Influence
Aw man you caught me Kocel I was so sure nobody would. Hint: the trick is to fix the mistakes transitioning them here.

Zwad-Riss: The Zwad are a race of great magical power. Long lived but weak, their smooth, hairless skin feels and looks much like cold rock. While communities exist, most prefer a busy lifestyle away from the majority of their own kind, either as a wanderer or a face in a city's crowd. They age strangely, allowing their skin to crack and break off every hundred years and gaining those years all at once - looking somewhat as if a human or similar race suddenly aged ten years or so (and living a lifespan of approximately ten times as many years). Due to their weakness, they use their magic for as many mundane tasks as they can, which of course means that despite their magical powers the majority of them never practice enough with true, powerful magic to be able to use it until much later in their lives.
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01-30-2016, 10:39 AM (This post was last modified: 01-30-2016 10:45 AM by chimericWilder.)
Post: #22
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Sarin

Description: Sarin are a race of massive reptilian creatures, powerfully built and standing four meters tall on average. Though they are bipedal, their physique disallows them from standing up straight like a human would - instead they stand hunched over, using their long tails to maintain balance as they move about. Each of their individual kiteshaped scales are quite large, giving their exterior a serrated look and otherwise functioning as natural armor. Each sarin bears distinctive markings across their scales in atleast two different colors, thus often marking different bloodlines apart as they are hereditary. Despite their general reptilian appearance, sarin are actually warmblooded.

History/Culture: Sarin are a nomadic people, usually traveling together in small tribes or caravans of 2-12 individuals. Inexplicable, they are drawn to travel and explore the world for as long as they live, and as such it is not uncommon to find a sarin caravan in even the most remote of locales, whether it be climbing a great mountain, exploring the reaches of a tropical jungle or plumbing the depths of an ancient cave. Some tribes of sarin are highly isolationist, refusing to speak to any but another traveling caravan, believing that most other races are merely a distraction to their way of life. Other sarin are happy to act as traders between distant lands, or as cartographers for some noble or another. Though sarin will gladly bargain for any equipment that may prove useful in their travels, they rarely carry much with them, preferring to travel light in favor of a lesser burden - however, richer tribes sometimes purchase large wagons to carry food, tools and tradegoods. In spite of their imposing appearance, sarin have proven to only rarely be aggressive towards other sentient creatures. Despite the rarity of such attacks, a raiding tribe of sarin is a force to be reckoned with, and as such they suffer much distrust in areas that have previously been plagued by such attacks. Furthermore, there has on occasion been rumours that they are minions of the dragons, carrying out some dread task or another.

Ofcourse, not all sarin give in to the need to travel. A small percentage of the overall population can be found in the largest cities, where they are hired as guards, workers or even gladiators in exchange for a generous wage. Trained sarin warriors are very rare, and very deadly. Sarin slaves have also been kept on occasion, though they are often as much trouble as they are worth in their attempts to return to the road.

Sarin do not usually life past 70, probably owing to their active life. Likewise, they are not particularly proliferous and the population is largely stable, independant of whatever conflict may be ongoing in the lands they travel. They prefer very small, close-knit communities, and it is not uncommon for a tribe to split into two caravans should their number come to exceed twelve, or for individuals to join a different, smaller caravan met by chance on the road.
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01-30-2016, 11:53 AM (This post was last modified: 01-30-2016 11:53 AM by Demonsul.)
Post: #23
RE: Spheres of Influence
Alright, that's entirely too many races! No more new ones, please, but I'm gonna give people a chance to finish the apps they've already started while I pick which ones to include (probably most of them) and prepare for part two of world creation: world history and culture!
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02-02-2016, 11:59 AM
Post: #24
RE: Spheres of Influence
Races are as follows:

Organized Races:
Organized races are playable without any issue. They form large, structured societies, such as countries and empires. Of course, an empire could easily exist containing multiple races, including both organized and disorganized races.
Mún: Also known as humans or men in casual conversation and for those who can't be assed to type accent marks, they are adaptable and highly varied, being found practically everywhere.
Elvár: Similarly to the Mún, the Elvár are a varied, civilized race of Mankind that other people call a simpler name in casual conversation (Elves). Inclined to magic, different varieties of them can be found in a vast variety of environments.
Kethúl: Like the other races of Mankind, the Kethúl have a name other races call them; Dwarves. They are split between two sub-races, Dregs and Clods. The two hate each other, but their society would probably collapse without each other's shared skills.
Windfolk: Living in warmer climates, Windfolk are bird-headed humanoids. Capable of flight, quick to act and industrious by nature, they are nevertheless fragile in combat and prone to outbursts of individualistic short-sightedness.
Lushedi: A winged (though they fly about as well as chickens) mammalian species, most Lushedi live in warm climates. Their cultures tend to value honor and magic, and tend towards stricter legalism than other races.
Valtir: A bipedal reptilian race that live in a range of climates. They frequently tame a variety of unusual creatures, including many that other races would consider monstrous such as giant insects, for transport, work and war.

Disorganized Races:
Disorganized races are theoretically playable, but they usually form fragmented societies, such as small tribes or clans, that do not organize into larger nations under normal circumstances. As such, an unusual situation must be created in order for them to organize into a playable country. Alternatively they may be found in countries organized by other races.
Dragons: Large flying lizards that have the power to terrorize entire regions and take great pride in amassing hoards over their lifetimes. They come in a variety of colors and have breath attacks, most commonly fire but sometimes frost, acid, poison gas, lightning or attacks of an even weirder nature.
Aun: Sentient sea turtles that live in semi-sedentary coastal communities. They are technologically primitive, but have a rich culture and history stemming from their origins as a magically awakened species. They tend to lack large-scale political organisation.
Dire Men: Large, spindly degenerates that are the result of the Mankind races being corrupted by magical wastelands. They are almost immune to magic and rule each other by might. Mostly incapable of intellectual insight, they are technological scavengers. A shrewd dire man could raise a host to last a lifetime, but they are not inclined to permanent empire-building.
Vox: The Vox are beings of some fell animation, appearing to be built out of soft clay and bones. They are greatly disliked by other races due to their macabre construction, bizarre screaming days and a tendency to burn down a considerable part of any city they are in when they injure themselves (or are injured by violent anti-Vox sentiment in the city), and as such are usually prevented from settling in or near other race's settlements.
Nurkum: Small reptiles that dwell in subterranean caves. Like dire men, they are technological scavengers rather than inventors, though they exhibit a violent cunning in their plots and schemes against the other races and rival tribes. They are extremely prolific, and the Kethúl in particular often have trouble when their mineshafts breach Nurkum caves.
Sarin: Large, powerfully built reptilian nomads. They have an inexplicable biological drive to wander, which sometimes drives a Sarin caravan into even the most extreme and hostile terrain, regardless of the consequences. The occasional Sarin manages to suppress this drive in order to settle down in a city.

Other Races and Outsiders:
These races are not playable.
Patriarchs: Strangely transmuted male Elvár, Mún or Kethúl, the Patriarchs are lonely wanderers who are steeped in supernatural lore and myth. They can sometimes be found acting as advisers or sages. The fate of similarly transmuted females remains a mystery.
Blights: A race that manipulates the emotions of others and feeds off of their misery, Blights can be found scattered throughout the civilized world. Their ability to turn invisible and wreak havoc has many consider them to be lesser demons, though this is suspected to be false by scholars.

I had to shrink the list a lot so that we didn't have too many races to easily remember, since this was still only step one. In any case, I'll turn the second post into a codex for this stuff, since that's all the rage these days.

Now, on to step two! This one is a bit more varied than step one, so recall those weird and wonderful ideas you had and put them to use! 'Culture' is perhaps a bit of a misnomer for this step, since it's basically everything that ties the world together. For example, this could be;
  • A culture or group of cultures, monoracial or multiracial
  • A religion which could be present in multiple countries
  • Something from history or lore, like a fallen empire or legendary war, the influences from which are still felt in many countries
  • Varieties of demons or other outsiders from beyond the material world
  • Cool ideas for NPC countries to populate the world
or anything else you think fits!
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02-02-2016, 12:50 PM (This post was last modified: 02-02-2016 12:50 PM by Acolyte Doctor.)
Post: #25
RE: Spheres of Influence
Some excerpts from The Fall of the Myxoian Multiplicity, Author Unknown:

“…the Age of Formless Torment lasted from [x] to [x] century, immediately beginning after the end of the Golden Age. This period of time was characterized by a near total domination of the known world by the Myxoians until their sudden collapse of control and infrastructure, no doubt caused by their too-sudden extinction from unknown forces.”

“Myxoians are a fungal-based species of sapients. Their amorphous nature, significant regeneration, and lack of specialized organs allowing them to be flexible and less vulnerable to mortal dangers, no doubt contributing to their unnatural hold on the world. Despite their alien-looking natures, they were, in fact, natives to this realm."

"...Their notable inventions were highly specialized for maximum ruthlessness. Myxoians were a militant, colonialistic civilization (with a bizarre fondness for neckwear); even the most primitive of their weapons still left scars on the natural world. Despite this, their weapons were ponderous and wasteful and there was so much resources they could harvest from their realms..."

"Myxoians, for all their emphasis on glory, ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. They were encroached, then killed by some sort of force, primed only for their total destruction of their species. For their ballistas and bombs, the Myxoians could only wait as they ended up as puddles and burst skins..."
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02-03-2016, 02:42 PM (This post was last modified: 02-03-2016 02:43 PM by Kocel.)
Post: #26
RE: Spheres of Influence
Excerpts from ON NURKUM MUSICAL TRADITION, by Galva Elanius.

"Despite many claims to their savage simplicity, there are facets of Nurkum civilization which are quite fascinating. Through trickery, craft, my Kethúl build, and the help of artisans, I managed to construct a disguise and, after studying other writings of their language and behaviors intensely, infiltrated one of their tribes.

Though I could go on for days about their clever re-purposing of other civilizations' technology (indeed, I think that will be my next published work), what struck me most was their wholly original musical tradition. Most of their instruments are composed of a mixture of materials both organic and inorganic. They have, like most civilizations, drums, but a giant metal drum, possibly about eight feet tall and five feet in diameter, is the pride of the tribe. As best I can tell, the metal is salvaged from other societies trash, forged in a savage manner, beat and warped brutally into shape with a variety of tongs and hammers, and tied into place with leather straps. The leather they use to cover the instrument is harvested from a species of over-sized fruit bat, on which their species seems rather reliant. The resulting instrument produces a loud, resounding sound unlike any traditional wooden drum, and they compete avidly for the right to be the player of it. Painted on the sides are small recreations of scenes from the tribe's history, something I found quite interesting.

The next wholly original instrument of note is a stringed instrument, much like a lute, but with a short, narrow neck, and instead of an open cavity, they cover the hollow body with a thin hide. It is hard to translate their language into civilized words, but if I were to find an approximation based on the sound, they call it the 'baan'jo." This baan'jo produces a sound that has more 'twang' than most stringed instruments I've heard before. I took one with me when I left the tribe, and it is a jewel in my collection of cultural artifacts.

Finally, the most charming instrument that I've seen the Nurkum invent isn't necessarily something they made. Their race has an interesting tendency to use found objects as percussion instruments. Battered helmets, broken shields, shattered wooden furniture... They seem to be quite fond of using quite anything they can to produce a rhythm. Furthermore, when they find whole pots, jars, or jugs, they seem to compete over whether these finds will be used for their intended purpose, or instead used for musical purpose. Jugs that produce pleasing sounds when blown upon are highly valuable, and it is not unknown for Nurkum to challenge much stronger opponents in their traditional art of leg-wrestling in hopes of obtaining one.

However, there is much more to Nurkum musical tradition than instruments! While living among them, I transcribed many of their songs, and I'm prepared to reproduce them here. One of my particular favorites is 'MALKIN! Kreeeeeelech!" Malkin, of course, is the name of the tribe, and "kreelech" is the Nurkum word for "overcome." While I could simply present you with the translation, I fear that makes the song lose some of it's 'magic', so I'll start by reciting it entirely in the Nurkum language.


*what follows is five pages of near-indecipherable gibberish, then two pages of translations, followed by a lengthy dissertation over the cultural meanings hidden within the song. This pattern holds for the rest of the book, where Galva wrote gleefully about every Nurkum song he had heard. He couldn't understand why this book didn't sell as well as some of his other works.*

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Galva Elanius is a Kethúl, particularly of the Dreg tribe. He fancies himself a scholar and explorer, and has spent his life picking a civilization with the intent of living among it and learning more of their ways. Sometimes, this is simple, as some of his journeys through human and elven civilizations have gone. Other times, not so much so. He's infiltrated a Nurkum tribe, a Vox community he found in some ruins, and, against all odds, a tribe of Spiderkin (he convinced them he was just very, very short). Each time he goes on an expedition, his fellow scholars all assume he's dead after a year. But he always returns.

His recent obsession is to record the activity of a fabled Blight Hive. He is very optimistic about his chances of success. But, then again, he's always optimistic. His close friends and enemies consider that to be his most infuriating trait.
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02-03-2016, 03:59 PM
Post: #27
RE: Spheres of Influence
Fuck it. This excerpt format chain shall not be broken on my account! Will probably add more to this list as I think of new ones.

Excerpts from THE TATTERED VEIL by Nessanthikor the Sage.

"And next I bring up the actual subject matter: The Tattered Veil. The barrier that separates our world from the infinite other planes and dimensions that make up the invisible yet ever-present multiverse. What I mean to say is that our world is one of many, yet rare in the rigidity of its laws. Not political laws, mind, but metaphysical laws. Some planes of reality are quite close, with natural tears being quite common. Others are more rare, and others still are so distant and loosely-threaded that we could not reach them if he wished to.

As I was saying, our laws are rather rigid. Gravity, Physics, Biology, and all those other scientific phenomena are either widely-distorted in those planes, or non-existent. And those that enter our world often aren't subject to the same limitations that we are. Some can effortlessly change their shapes into whatever impossible form they will, some can walk forward and backwards through time and space, treating miles as mere inches. Some of the most powerful take pieces of their worlds with them into ours, removing the laws of reality and bending our world to their will.

I do not mean to say that all planar entities are hostile, however. Many are curious, or fascinated, or scared, or confused, just as we can be. Their citizenship of other dimensions doesn't make them immune to basic emotions, though their thought patterns and processes move down very different paths from our own. Now, to list all the various planar creatures and races would take far more time and paper than I have at my disposal, so I shall use this volume to introduce a method of classifying them.

First, we have the imps. As you might surmise, they can come in various shapes and forms. Some might pursue mischief, others might wish to help, and a select few may even be hostile and quite murderous. You can never really tell without proper observation, so it's advised that if one encounters planar entities, they remain hidden and alert. Imps are almost universally small and quite weak. If they are small, yet not weak, then they are not imps. Hence why observation is quite important.

Next, we have the Vellots. These are beings roughly comparable to the sentient civilized races of our world, such as the Valtir, Dwarves, or Men. Some can be larger, some can be smaller, but most can be fought one-on-one by a seasoned soldier or mage. Now, the unfortunate thing is that there's usually quite a few of them, and you often don't know just how strong they are. Planar entities can be quite deceiving in their appearance. Smaller ones can be strong, and larger ones can be weak. So I will again stress the value of covert observation.

Third on our list are beings of pure malice. Now, these can be complicated, and are often categorized on the TYPE of harm they intend to inflict. Some have an inborn hatred of law and order, and seek to destroy both the metaphysical laws of the world, and break the more political laws of the world. These are called Sertryls, though some simply call them demons. Really depends on the locale, though the term demon is inadvisable as people use it a bit too broadly. A Tzanderl is another type of malicious spirit, though they are often more organized, and are often in service to some kind of planar warlord or god. Whatever the case with these, know that you cannot appeal to them with reason or decency. They are completely and utterly incapable of feeling compassion or empathy, and will likely run you through with their weapon of choice if you attempt such an action.

Next on our list are various trickster spirits, often with great power, that can quite simply be called Djinn or Genies. These ones often get great amusement from tricking beings they consider to be beneath them, usually posing challenges such as riddles, games of strategy, or complicated death traps. However, if one manages to exceed their expectations, they are often heavily-rewarded. Whether or not the risk is worth it is up to you, as djinn have been known to steal souls.

Slestekei are more a classification than anything. Shapeshifting entities bear this name, though they can sometimes belong to the other categories listed here. Slestekei can change their size, shape, temperature, texture, and any other physical detail to match inanimate or animate objects. Some do this to employ stealth, while others do it while acting as predators. Particularly devious ones known as mimics disguise themselves as chests, wait for thieves or adventurers to open them, then devour them whole.

Ahlvesta are the above Vellots and Djinn, yet not strong enough to cause a cataclysm by existing. The singular for this word is Ahlveste. In any case, Ahlvesta are impossibly strong entities capable of weaving magic with the simplest of thoughts. They can destroy entire buildings with either their massive forms, or their arcane abilities, and even armies would find it a challenge to kill one. They can sometimes by warlords for massive planar empires, while others can be servants to even stronger entities. Regardless, Ahlvesta are not to be trifled with.

Thaldrimm are the strongest planar entities yet encountered. These ones, as previously mentioned, bring in entire chunks of their world with them. This, in turn, destabilizes our own world and can lead to natural disasters, plagues, famines, and all kinds of other destructive phenomena. Thaldrimm are impossible to fight head-on, as they are capable of destroying entire armies. The strongest of them are responsible for the collapses of entire civilizations, and many were worshipped as Gods in the days of old. Some probably still are. Regardless, if you see or even hear of a Thaldrimm and somehow aren't dead, mad, or enthralled, do not attempt heroism of any kind if you value your life."
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02-03-2016, 05:10 PM (This post was last modified: 02-03-2016 05:13 PM by Kocel.)
Post: #28
RE: Spheres of Influence
Excerpts from ON GODS AND CULTS: A DISSERTATION by Galva Elanius

"Throughout my travels I have happened upon a great variety of faiths and superstitions. Listed in this work are some of the most notable, including my own, for fairness' sake."

*Galva spends the first chapters following the major faiths of the world, from the Great Path worshipped by the Sarin, the Family worshipped by the tribal humans of the Frozen Expanse, to the Philosophy of Living Stone practiced by most Dreg Kethúl. Presented here are some of the more 'unique' entries.*

"The Eternal Lady of War, Scalla: Scalla is claimed by her followers to be a unique example of what myth has referred to as a "Living God." Living Gods are, just that, Gods that interact with humanity and whose divinity is undeniable. The only issue with this claim is that, simply put, Scalla hasn't interacted with the outside world for at least two hundred years. Even then, the sighting from that date is vague and comes from the written accounts of long dead elders of a fishing village closest to the Scallian March. The March consists of four cities, with the largest, the capital of Warhall, being built into the side of the largest mountain of the Warteeth Range. It is ruled by a theocracy, said to be led by Scalla herself. According to Scallian records, after the visit to that fishing village (The great Scalla, for whatever reason, was seeking pearls), Scalla returned to her Great Hall and declared that she was tired of 'inadequate company.' Outside of her Holy Council, none were to be permitted to enter her chambers. Any that dared to do so would have to fight Scalla herself. If they survived, they would prove their worth to know her. If they did not, they would pay with their lives. Furthermore, if any man could beat her in combat, that man would be her husband, and they would rule as equals.
Since that day, none have returned alive from Scalla's Great Hall. The Church of Scalla has been actively seeking suitors, capable warriors who could woo their queen and convince her to lead them to glory and conquest once more. For whatever reason, some of them seem to think a Patriarch would be a suitable option, despite their altogether refusal of violence, but no Patriarch has yet taken them up on their offer.
Note: The Church of Scalla are very, very good at detecting an outsider, and infiltrating The Great Hall undetected is impossible. Upon approaching the doors, you are informed that even touching them will result in the guards standing nearby throwing you inside. Refusing is considered a sign of cowardice. And since cowardice is a crime punishable by lengthy sentences in The Crimson Arena, this is not recommended. Do not be expecting any more works on the Scallian March or the Church of Scalla from me any time soon.

The Cult of the Four-Armed God: A most interesting cult. With chapters spread various civilized nations, I had heard of the Cult of the Four-Armed God long before I decided to infiltrate them. Infiltration is easy, to test your dedication to their god, they require you to combat a wild animal, armed only with whatever furniture or miscellaneous junk they have on hand. When the Nixian Wildcat they had pitted me up against finally fell asleep within my neck-hold, they were quite surprised that I hadn't bludgeoned the poor creature to death. I lied, claiming to have not considered the prospect, and they decided to welcome me among their number regardless.

The Cult was supposedly started by a group of seers. The seers, who were worshipping a nature god of an old pantheon, which had said to have been slain, used their powers to gaze beyond the Tattered Veil. There, they were said to have seen an image of a force of destruction, a terrible four-armed being of divine power. It lived for violence, strived for conquest, and with it came the end of all things. As it turned to behold them in its crimson gaze, they shuddered, cried out, and closed the rift. From that point on they decided their only chance was to deify this being, to worship it, to strive to be more like it. In this way, when it finally comes to our world, it may look upon them, be pleased, and spare them the destruction.

I find the whole thing quite entertaining. Their seers would not be the first to see a great and terrible vision (usually under sway of some certain type of mushroom), but their cult has a charm to it. Firstly, they prefer meat rare, as they claim is the preference of their god. Secondly, they constantly spar against each other, wielding not traditional weapons, but items scavenged from junkyards and condemned buildings. Chairs are a particular favorite. Thirdly, their strongest members seek out powerful creatures to test their prowess against, as they believe this would be the will of their god. This results in some tragedy, true, but also in the most remarkable stories. The leader of the chapter I joined, Brother Anson, claimed to have slain an Crowgar(1) with but a pair of bar stools. Whether he was telling the truth or not, he certainly had the scars (and the skull) to back up his story.

While the Four Armed God lacks a name, I can't help but not his semblance to Scalla. Both are said to have four arms, both have a penchant for meat, and both enjoy battle. However, Scalla was not solely obsessed with destruction, and was notably female in figure, whereas The Four-Armed God is described as appearing to be male. Perhaps they are related? Maybe not. But if he ever comes here, I know I'm telling him where he should visit before starting with the whole 'destruction of the world' business.

The Great Wheels: My personal faith, The Great Wheels. While my people TYPICALLY believe in their 'Philosophy of the Living Stone', I find such belief to be superstitious at best. It doesn't explain the movement of the oceans, and the great quakes of the earth cause cracks. What type of living being cracks and breaks? No, the stone is not alive, however... Consider this: it is being made.

At the core of our world is a great engine. An engine, you ask? What is this? It is a great magical golem, one which you can find examples of in the Deep Ruins of civilizations gone by. I have studied them intensely, and I believe they are mere recreations of a greater work, one which only the ancients could have ever seen! This golem, this... Great Engine... It CREATES more stone, more dirt, more gems, more metal! It churns the seas in depths we could never reach, it cracks the continents and pushes them outward, it emits currents of air from deep in the mountains, changing the skies and moving the clouds! I tell you, our very LIVES are dictated by these wheels. Drawn below is a diagram, showing my hypothesized locations and how they function. I intend to spread word to all who will listen about these Great Wheels. For, if we can understand them, as the Ancients understood these 'engines', which we can no longer work, then perhaps we can seize our fates and experience true free will!


*After the publishing of this work, Galva released The Great Wheels: Understand The World's Workings So That We May Understand the Working of the World. The work is considered heretical by some, ridiculous by many, and is cited by some as the reason why most scholastic institutions only grudgingly accept most of his work. On Gods and Cults is his most edited work; most editors remove his mention of The Great Wheels, as well as his chapter on The Spiderkin Queens. The Spiderkin are notoriously sensual in their faith, to a degree that disturbs most civilized races, but Galva wrote on it in great detail. Great, very graphic, very well-researched detail. As a result, that section of the book is sometimes reprinted and cycled about Black Markets and the criminal underworld.*

(1) Crowgar: A species of creature that is a hybrid of avian and feline. Crowgar grow to be up to nine feet long and five feet tall. They have brown fur, with patches of black feathers, four feline legs, a feline head, large, black wings, and wicked beaks that can reach two feet in length. They are a notorious predator and are known to attack humans while hunting for prey. The one Galva defeated must have been young, as there is no way the Kethúl could have grappled it otherwise.
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02-04-2016, 12:01 AM
Post: #29
RE: Spheres of Influence
Crazy Ramblings by Unknown Author

"They asked me to investigate the disppearances in the forest, what it was that had taken those poor souls without trace. But they all refused to accept the truth I uncovered, that the pineapples are alive. The pineapples disguise themselves as regular fruits until a lone prey passes by, it is then that they dislodges themselves from their tree and reveal their horrid fangs and claws. I kept myself hidden as they struck, and what I was to see can only be described as a nightmare. Their thick scales shielded the pineapples from harm as their speed and numbers made escape impossible for the poor boar. Their voraciousness was undescribable, they tore their prey chunk from chunk until not even the bones remained. Despite how gorged they had all become, they still climbed up their tree with surprising speed. As they reattached themselves to their branches, they all slowly deflated to their normal size, as if the tree was absorbing the remains of the boar. There is no doubt in my mind that these are the fiends behind all the missing travelers. They all say I am crazy but you must listen to me! Never go into the forest alone, and whatever you do, for all that is sacred do never go near the pineapple trees!"

I have no regrets whatsoever.
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02-04-2016, 03:36 AM
Post: #30
RE: Spheres of Influence
Clearly these are evil fruit masquerading as pineapples (pineapples don't grow on trees)

The one, the only, Vancho!
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02-04-2016, 06:14 AM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2016 06:14 AM by chimericWilder.)
Post: #31
RE: Spheres of Influence
Excerpts from Deliberations on the World Sigils, by Vicharak Aharin

"Unknown to many, a most miraculous discovery was made but a scant hundred years ago when a mún farmer was tilling his soil and broke his plow upon an unusual cube of an odd gleaming metal. This cube, known since as the Sigilstone, has long circulated within certain scholarly groups. I now find it my task to record what knowledge has been gained from this artifact, and to warn against the destruction that would ensue should it come to be used openly in war or other conflict. I would beg of my readers great discretion in the sharing of these secrets.

... The cube is seemingly indestructible and bears six distinct sigils, one upon each of its sides. At first, we thought little of them save as an artistic touch upon an otherwise remarkable artifact of ancient origin, but replicating these sigils has since shown the folly of such an assumption. Understand that by bearing a piece of wood or bone inscribed with one of the six sigils, one can come to command the forces of nature itself with nothing but a thought by 'linking' with that sigil. Yes, the implications of this are staggering, and will be examined further in the later chapters of this tome. For now, know that both the sigil and the material you inscribe it on define the invocation. What follows is a basic list of what we have come to understand about each sigil and material used - which is to say, not much."

Sigils

Garme: Heightens temperature
Thand: Lowers temperature
Kore: Heightens gravity
Darana: Lowers gravity
Jatra: Opens gateway to elsewhere
Laane: Opens gateway from elsewhere

Materials

Wood: Creates projectile
Leather: Affects a line
Bone: Affects distant region
Scales: Affects small intensified region
Chitin: Affects large region
Other: unknown

"But what does any of this mean? Truthfully, I do not know, but I can record the results of our labor. Using a Garme sigil, it should be clear to the perceptive reader that you may set fire to things, but that is far from the only thing that sigil is capable of - though I do not understand why, it can also be used to call forth great gusts of wind. One can only marvel at what other uses these powers have, given appropriate knowledge! Furthermore, understand that each type of material can have wildly different effects, even used with the same sigil. For instance, a Garme sigil etched on cured rabbitsfur will produce a long and wide zone of warmth, while a similar sigil on cowleather would instead produce a wall of flame in a much smaller area, provided that there is anything flammable in that area. I will do my best to record all of these variations, but the sheer amount of different creatures and treesorts available makes a complete list simply unfeasible. It should be noted, however, that inanimate materials such as rocks or metal simply do not work with any of the sigils. What follows is a list of known combinations and their effects. Note that some effects are instantaneous, while others appear to subsist for a while before fading."
  • Garme/Oak Wood: Launches orb of scalding-hot air
  • Garme/Rabbitleather: Warms wide rectangle of air
  • Garme/Cowleather: Warms smaller rectangle of air. Hot enough to ignite flammables
  • Garme/Mún Bone: Creates distant wind over wide area
  • Garme/Valtir Scales: Creates intense heat in tiny spot. Hot enough to melt rocks
  • Garme/Scorpion Chitin: Creates blast of hot air up close
  • Thand/Sarin Scale: Freezes single point solid, causing instant frostbite or crystallizing the air into ice
  • Thand/Scorpion Chitin: Creates gust of cold air up close
  • Garme & Thand/Mún Bone (With several invokers): Creates tornado
  • Kore/Palm Wood: Creates focused gravitic 'shockwave'
  • Kore/Cowleather: Creates line that forces most creatures smaller than men to the ground
  • Kore/Snake Scales: Pull small object to the ground with tremendous force
  • Darana/Snake Scales: Small object becomes weightless
  • Darana/Scorpion Chitin: Person or large object becomes near-weightless. Yes, you can levitate yourself
  • Jatra/Oak Wood: Launches harmless but indestructible energy sphere. Small objects vanish within
  • Jatra/Cowleather: Creates impassible waist-high barrier, too small for creator to pass through
  • Jatra/Scorpion Chitin: Creates planar portal. Impassible to any but the creator
  • Laane/Oak Wood: Creates indestructible energy sphere, spewing forth objects previously engulfed by a Jatra/Wood sphere as projectiles
  • Laane/Mún Bone: Summons demons far from the invoker
  • Laane/Scorpion Chitin: Summons demons near the invoker

"These last interactions of Jatra and Laane are most interesting. It seems only the invoker of Jatra can pass through the gates it creates, with the exception of the wood invocation, and that those gates are impassible fields to everyone else. I would caution, however, that none of my colleagues who have dared venture through a Jatra gate has ever returned. Presumably it leads to a similar gate opened using Laane, as we have succesfully called forth multiple creatures of extraplanar origin, but if it is possible for two invokers to link those gates within the same world, we do not know the method. For further thoughts on demons and their ilk, refer to tomes such as Netherworld and The Tattered Veil.

I mentioned earlier that it is necessary to create a link between invoker and sigil before use. Without a link, it is merely a useless hunk with something scrawled on it. Creating the link is easy, and requires only the focus of the user. While the link is in effect, the invoker may employ the powers of that sigil merely by willing it. Doing so is effortless, and there seems to be no limit to how many times one can invoke that particular power. However, the link itself comes with certain drawbacks - once linked, the link will persist for anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, unless the sigil is destroyed beforehand. Duration before the link is automatically broken seems tied to each inidivual combination of sigil and material, and also varies between types of the same material. None of this is bad in itself, but there seems to be a limitation to the amount of sigils it is possible to safely link oneself to. A single link causes no harm whatsoever, but two links places the invoker under great mental stress, and physically drains the user whenever either power is invoked. Three links is immediately fatal. The only way to circumvent these rules safely is to inscribe a sigil upon oneself rather than on a talisman, which grants the invoker the appropriate power for what I can only assume is the rest of their life, without seeming to have any effect on links, functioning otherwise as previously described. Inscribing oneself with more than one sigil should not be attempted. It can and will kill you."

"... I know not what to make of what we learn, but I know that if the kingdoms of the current era learn to use these powers, we will have nothing but war and death. I have found references in ancient scrolls of a 'Thundersign', said to bring great power to its masters. I can only assume that there is a relation between my own discoveries and this ancient document - indicating that there are might be more than one Sigilstone. As the civilization that knew of this Thundersign has since vanished, I can only caution you once again to use this knowledge with great care."

hi, im suggesting a magic system, because generic rule-less magic systems suck
feel free to tell me that i am a heretic and that i should be burned at the stake
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02-04-2016, 06:54 AM
Post: #32
RE: Spheres of Influence
Your magic system is heretical and you will burn for it! But seriously, I'm not a huge fan.

Reasons:
- Only discovered 100 years ago, sucks for all the magic races
- Practically free to use in terms of both teaching effort (learn these six symbols!) and resources (random tat), making it ridiculously overpowered. Imagine a line of ten thousand peasants waving scraps of wood and shattering the world and you see what I mean. It basically gives superweapon-like power to armies - at less cost than giving them conventional weapons, no less - thus making any and all conflict trivial and preventing imperialism in the rest of the world from being interesting.
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02-04-2016, 07:04 AM
Post: #33
RE: Spheres of Influence
the first point is irrelevant as that was from the authors point of view (woops i should get less in-character) and the book could easily have been ancient

your second point is good reason to burn me at the stake
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02-04-2016, 08:50 AM
Post: #34
RE: Spheres of Influence
Thought up some today but I'm still at work. So, stay tuned for: Vox history and heresies and etc, the state of modern banking, and Windfolk knight-errants
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02-04-2016, 11:05 AM
Post: #35
RE: Spheres of Influence
(02-04-2016 03:36 AM)Vancho1 Wrote:  Clearly these are evil fruit masquerading as pineapples (pineapples don't grow on trees)

In this world they do.
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02-07-2016, 12:08 PM
Post: #36
RE: Spheres of Influence
Excerpt from the Annals of Faralon, as scribed by Nix Selial

The book is filled with yearly reports on trade, infrastructure, law and political exchanges, save for the very last entry.

Year xxx
Our once fair capital stands in ruin. The amari plague took its toll, and the survivors flock now to the gates of the citadel, bearing torches and weapons. I fear they will set fire to the city in their rage - his Majesty is devising plans to flee, but I do not think he will get far. The riot leader, a young man named Guaire Alantir, is the cause of most of this violence, inciting the citizens to believe that the plague was a punishment sent from the gods in retribution for the failings of the nobility, and that it must be purged in fire and rebuild anew. I have little doubt that they will burn the archives once they get inside. These are likely my final hours, and so I will grab what books I can and hide them elsewhere, that some record of fair Faralon may remain. Perhaps if I join the rioters, they will let me live?



Excerpt from a Wyrmhunter's Journal

Entry 7
I've finally convinced the king to lend me the men necessary to carry out my charge. We shall make our preparations, then set out on the morrow.
Entry 12
The beast seems to regularly fly past the north-eastern clearing. We shall set a trap for it there and wait. May luck favor us.
Entry 14
We have done it! The dread beast lies slain, though at great expense. Those rangers proved their worth after all, shooting it from the skies while it was distracted by the decoy. We charged in to cripple its wings, but it recovered from the fall sooner than I had thought possible, decimating the mercenaries and most of the kingsguard, but even so the beast could do nothing as we pelted it with volley after volley of bolts behind cover of the trees. I claimed its head myself in a single heroic strike as it began to waver, ending the struggle. Though I should like to plunder its mountain lair, such will have to wait until after I have presented the beast's head on a pike before the king - and have rid myself of the others, besides. Still, Alantir will have to knight me for this! At last I shall be able to live with some decency, as soon as the treasure is mine.
Entry 22
Close now. Damned mountain seems to have no way in but from the top. As I thought, I'll have to climb.

The rest of the pages are blank.
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02-07-2016, 03:28 PM
Post: #37
RE: Spheres of Influence
From the memories of Dariush, a merchant
"Hail, travelers!"

A smiling human greeted the caravan as it entered the settlement. The village was small, even by human standards, and its tall palisade hinted at their less-than-friendly neighbors. Of course, that was to be expected - the men were recent arrivals to this part of the savanna, and the local Sarin nomads often raided their farms and houses. Still, men were hard to discourage. Dariush looked back over his carts, loaded with silks and spices, and decided that it would be better to stay the night in a settlement rather than out on the road.

The who greeted them looked no older than sixteen - still a boy, Dariush thought, and his eyes immediately widened at the diverse drivers of the carts, especially the group of Windfolk that were serving as their guard for this run. He looked at Dariush with obvious questions on his tongue. Dariush put his hand on the young man's shoulder and smiled.

"You folks have anywhere for a thirsty traveler to sit down and have a drink? Few ales'll loosen up anyone's tongue - 'specially mine."

The kid beamed and directed them to a slightly larger building near the middle of the place. It didn't look like much, but Dariush and the other drivers were tired after a long time on the road, so it didn't matter much to him that he'd have to sit on a log rather than a chair, or drink his beer out of a crude earthenware cup. As he sat back and relaxed, the bartender, a middle-aged woman with dark hair, asked,

"So where are you coming from, stranger?"

Dariush thought for a moment, and his eyes searched for the boy who greeted him. He wasn't too far off, looking with wonder at a game of cards between some of the Windfolk guards and a Valtiri merchant, Racarys. Dariush cleared his throat and started, loudly so that the boy could hear,

"We're coming from the Southwest, with goods from the Istani Kingdoms for the North. Istan's a fabulous place - it's warm almost the entire year, and there are a lot of folk flying around. The Windfolk and Lushedi, as different as they may be, live together there. The Lushedi have their big cities, all full of domes and wide boulevards. Everything's big because they're pretty big people, you know? But they also have a lot of towers and spires where the Windfolk like to live. They work together pretty well, strangely enough, 'cause the Lushedi are good at organizing and supervising while the Windfolk get a lot done if they're given direction. Not a lot of wars in Istan, either, because they have all those treaties and formalism and honor to resolve disputes and such.

Of course, Istan isn't perfect either. They've got a pretty rigid legal system thanks to all those Lushedi around, and the Windfolk sometimes get tired of the rules and leave their cities, and of course there's all sorts of petty squabbling over the rich agricultural land. Still, they have a lot of things that folks want up North, and they're not too unpleasant to deal with."

By then, Dariush was feeling tired. Well, tomorrow he would leave this little village, and continue up to the Northern Realms to offload his goods and get more for another part of the world. That was life, he supposed.

The one, the only, Vancho!
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02-13-2016, 09:31 AM
Post: #38
RE: Spheres of Influence
Last call for this section! If anyone has stuff they haven't finished, either finish it and post it or at least post something here to let me know to wait for it before we move onto Country Creation.
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02-13-2016, 10:01 AM
Post: #39
RE: Spheres of Influence
Of gods and other Elder things, by Withup Ichbald

"They say the fae play dice" - Old Mún saying.

There are many gods and pantheons amongst the races of mankind, manyof them often syncretic and fusing with the beliefs of other races or cultures, many of them are often the same religion with gods known by different names. But by and large, apart from families, communities or entire communities devoted to one deity or even to a select number of deities, there is very little homogenity of beliefs to the point . Indeed, even philosophical argument over what constitutes a deity or godhood is not universally agreed upon.

Spiritism is a very wide net cast out to categorize a myriad of beliefs, everything from basic animism, the belief that everything, the river, the rocks, the mountains the air the forests to the trees in the forest has a spirit, of lesser and greater power that some theologians suspect is the basis for what has become most superstitious practices and rituals regarding luck. To the belief of more power spirits and individual god-things with definable personalities and habits characteristic with the more superstitious cults of isolated communities. To the pervasive widespread belief in the 'fae', tricksters beings, some say are spirits, others say are a race hidden from sight, or something inbetween. Fickle and devious characters, it is the belief in these kinds of spirit-things that often define a widespread culture's unifying practices that can be recognised from one end of the culture to another to ward off or appease these creatures.

Then there are those that some say are gods proper, the sun god or goddess, or gods are a useful example. This is a difference of kind in most cases than of degree as with spiritism, very often these gods of 'great things', primordial forces or nature incarnate tend to be old, very old, usually having their beginning at the birth of all creation. Often capricious by mortal reckoning, these gods are characterised by immense power, knowledge and intelligence. Often in stories and myths, these gods, unlike lesser spirits if we are to distinguish them, aren't tied to what they are the god off, often being granted their spheres of authority, or winning them in contest, or wresting them from the control of another force or being. This key distinguishing feature is why they are categorized differently from spirits, they are rarely, if ever, dependant on what they are the god of. Though there are some exceptions to that, one widespread old religion no longer in practice used to believe the god of the sun required daily blood sacrifices of willing victims, or else the sun would not rise the next day, some others have their gods dependant on the prayers of their believers, often holding the elements hostage in these divine relationships.

Then there are the cosmic forces. A few major religions touch upon the forces that actually create the universe, but this is rather besides the point in the opinion of most religions, but it is worth noting that a few religions do have their gods actively participate in the creation of the universe, or are the servants, children or rebels of the power that did. Suggesting a higher plane of existence or reality above our own.

====================

The Elder tree,
Oh Elder tree,
Why do your roots grow so deep?

Elder tree,
Woe, Elder Tree,
Why is your cost so steep?

Blood of tots,
Forget me not,
Do you not see me weep?

Beneath mountain,
Beneath light,
Far beyond morning's creep,

Elder tree,
Fell Elder tree,
Thy soil does our lifesblood seep.

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02-13-2016, 10:24 AM
Post: #40
RE: Spheres of Influence
A fragment of a ancient Kethúl engraving stone, estimated to be just before the event only referred as 'Earthen Sundering' theorized to be the point of origin of the division between Kethúl people. Many parts are lost due to extreme vandalism and old age.

"Our group is journeying to Matul Remrit as was asked of us by missive from King-in-Mountain Gheim IV. I Atix have resolved to write a account of the travel and tasks we are given afterward."
-
"A herd of horses galloped past, and came upon our camp, wherein we consumed food. I gave petting unto their beautiful and elongated heads, and hearkened to whinnies, of all which were full of delight and mirth."
-
We are almost upon Matul Remrit when we encounter and similar traveling group such as ours. Our groups rejoice in the fact the mountain home looks better then 'Miserable Pits to Work In'. I have met and conversed with the other groups leader. His name is Voxe and he is a Kethúl of great skill in the design and building of living places, A talent compounded with my skill in the forging of good tools! We decided to travel onward on the same path.
-
King in Mountain Gheim IV has bode us welcome and explain why we were summoned. We are to go down into mountain and delve new rooms for the expansion of the mountain home. We also were alerted on a strange- [Unreadable passage] -Both groups have been assigned a mine-shaft int which it is located- [Unreadable Passage]-one and two of three
-
We two dear men, friends forever, were here. If you want to know our names, they are Atix Dregáson and Voxe Cloddoúr.
-
Betrayal! Mineshaft three is no more King-in-Mountain Gheim IV has been- [Unreadable passage] -part of the stone now and its not the only horrendous thing- [Unreadable passage] Voxe and his 'ilk' surely have been punished for their deeds for they altered differently then my crew within mine-shaft one. We do not know what to do with the king in the mountain nor our kin above was the rest of mountain home affected as we were?
-
Voxe lies and claimed it was me and my men that caused the 'Earthen Sundering'! The gal and slander! He wanted to keep- [Unreadable passage] Fighting is common between his kin and mine now, This cannot continue or the mountain home rips itself apart. They must be banished from our living places.
-
He and his 'kin' can live in the depths for all i care. We shall not speak to them and they shall not speak to us. We shall have Matul Remrit. and they shall have Dunan An.

The Mountain Home with no King endures.
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02-13-2016, 10:42 AM
Post: #41
RE: Spheres of Influence
I'll try to get something up tonight or tomorrow
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02-23-2016, 12:42 PM
Post: #42
RE: Spheres of Influence
That's plenty of waiting. Behold, the world and its histories!

Religion and Tradition:
There do not appear to be many religions shared between races, and indeed most religions and traditions seem to be particular to small, local groups. The world is diverse and sometimes religiously tolerant, as one cannot travel far without meeting those who believe strange things, though some faiths are far less forgiving of those they see as infidels.

There are a vast variety of traditions, from the most minor Nukrum musical traditions to the fragmented histories of the Kethúl divisions. Spiritism and its myriad beliefs and superstitions are widespread among the nations at the Heart of the World. Because of widespread and inherently varying beliefs such as the Great Path, the Philosophy of Living Stone and the divine Family, as well as smaller, stranger cults and local traditions, most countries do not try to enforce adherence to a single state religion, although there are, of course, exceptions.


Cosmology:
Besides the gods, there are many strange planar beings who occasionally intrude into the material world, whether by their own designs, by those of mortal summoners, or by random chance. They come in almost infinite variety, though some mortals attempt to classify them, and the current intellectual consensus of classification, from Imps to Thaldrimm, is laid out in the book The Tattered Veil by Nessanthikor the Sage. As for the planar worlds themselves, foolhardy are the adventurers who seek them out, and there is little understanding of their true design or nature.

Mundane cosmology is another science entirely. Although rarely investigated, the nature of the heavens and firmament has been the subject of more than a few books, and the fixed positions of the stars against their dark background are mapped with great precision. The motions of celestial bodies as they move around the world are still not entirely explained, though both natural philosophers and great magi have mused on it for years.


Places:
There are many different countries and locations in the world. This list is small, since world creation is incomplete and things are still to be added.
Warteeth: A large mountain range. Warhall, the capital of the Scallian March, is located on the side of its largest mountain. The other three cities of the Scallian March are located in its foothills.
Faralon: A huge city, the heart of which was razed by a revolution from within that collapsed the city-state's empire. The rest of the city has been taken over by the new state that was forged by Guaire Alantir after the revolution, but the former citadel remains in ruins, a symbol of the decadence they overthrew.
Istan: A distant region to the far southwest populated by Windfolk and Lushedi. A land of multiple kingdoms where peace reigns and many valuable and exotic luxuries are produced.

History:
First there was the Golden Age, a time when things were good at the Heart of the World. People learned great things, secrets since lost to time, such as the art of golemcrafting and the motions of the heavens. Ancient texts describe classical civilizations in forgotten majesty, which was brought eventually to a crashing end.

What followed was the Age of Formless Torment, a time when strange, amorphous beings rose up to conquer the world. Their vast, decentralized empire was inefficient and incapable, and they ruled by might and sheer numbers, not so much actually maintaining control as continually smashing those who sought to slip through their fingers. Their reign destroyed most records and learning from the Golden Age, and their legacy is ruin.

The next age came when the last was ended by some strange force, which was possibly a plague or curse. What followed was a time of darkness and strife, as the races gradually rebuilt, and new empires rose and fell. Eventually, civilization stabilized, progress reasserted itself, and people began to build the modern world.

Basically, everything that was suggested is canon except for the sigil magic system as it was written. Since there weren't any other submissions for magic systems (aside from references to summoners and the like), I'll write an inclusive one soon, though this leaves room for people to include types of magic they want for their countries in their applications (such as divine magic, if someone wants to be a cleric theocracy or something).

In the meantime, let's just jump straight to country creation. This is without a doubt the most structured part of world creation so far, since this is where it gets less worldbuildy and more like applying for a states game, and also it's the point where I give you nukes.

Name: What do people call your country?
Government: Who rules? How do they rule, and how are they viewed?
Leader: Who is in charge at this exact moment? What are they like?
Society: What races live here, and what is the country known for?
History: How did this country come to be? Is it old or young?
Weapon: What world-shattering power gives your country the edge?

On superweapons: Superweapons need to be expensive and limited (in the sense of not being able to be used over and over again in a short amount of time, nor instantly and cheaply created), though they can have exceptional range and power. It also needs to be easy for other countries to detect one being used. Therefore they'll be something I'll be more scrupulous about accepting than the rest of the app. Don't worry too much about it, since I won't reject apps solely based on their superweapons, though I may have to tone down people's weapons if they are too strong (or just give them a better one if it's entirely unsuitable). Remember: these are fantasy nukes, not toys, and it is perfectly possible to end the game turn one by over-zealously deploying them and destroying the world.

An example of a superweapon is thus:
BALEFIRE RITUAL: A powerful magical ritual that takes almost two months to charge to full power, but which can then be maintained indefinitely until fired. It has incredible destructive potential, striking at continental ranges. It creates a brilliant beam of arcane energy that strikes from the sky and devastates its target, unraveling entire buildings in the blink of an eye. Firing one can be felt by any mage for thousands of miles all around, and if targeted with no mercy could reduce an entire city to ashes.

The ritual has many costly components and a specifically designed ritual chamber required to handle the absurd amount of arcane power involved, and it takes skilled mages to maintain it, increasing the cost of keeping many charged at once. As with all such superweapons, its sheer destructive power is likely to have a backlash on the world if too many are used in a short span of time.
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02-23-2016, 12:49 PM
Post: #43
RE: Spheres of Influence
States Games:
It occurs to me that it's worth explaining what a states game actually is. It's basically a free-form RP game played through PMs, where every turn you get a PM explaining your situation and respond with what your leader tells your country to do for that turn. Usually they tend to turn into bloodbaths, which is boring for everyone not involved in the fast-paced war, so this one is going to be a bit more balance-of-power-y, thus the fantasy nukes. This means that the turn-based section of the game will be mostly establishing colonies, empires, client states, puppets and spheres of influence in the wider world, without actual warturns in the sense that other states games have them - excepting, of course, if people suddenly all start exploding each other with their superweapons, which is probably a fast track to a Bad Ending. This means a lot of the game will focus on diplomacy and conference-play, the latter of which being what will probably dominate the thread.
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02-23-2016, 02:42 PM
Post: #44
RE: Spheres of Influence
On the topic of magic, it ought to be possible to adjust the system i proposed to a point where it works - such as by, say, it only being usable by a very small percentage of the general population or whatever. Thats a fairly common fantasy mechanic, after all. That said i dont much like that system much myself and would totally be in favor of another system, given that it has clearly defined rules and interesting applications.
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02-24-2016, 04:45 AM
Post: #45
RE: Spheres of Influence
(02-23-2016 02:42 PM)chimericWilder Wrote:  On the topic of magic, it ought to be possible to adjust the system i proposed to a point where it works - such as by, say, it only being usable by a very small percentage of the general population or whatever. Thats a fairly common fantasy mechanic, after all. That said i dont much like that system much myself and would totally be in favor of another system, given that it has clearly defined rules and interesting applications.

There is an easier way to limit magic: the same way science was limited in real world, it takes fucking years to become halfway decent at it through expensive education, no need to limit it by population (unless someone wants to have a special kind of magic that works on just that basis)

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02-24-2016, 06:14 AM (This post was last modified: 02-24-2016 06:17 AM by chimericWilder.)
Post: #46
RE: Spheres of Influence
Aye, thats also a fine way to do it. Magic could also be the domain of gods or demons since we seem to have plenty of both, and only through a bargain or blessing of some sort can one gain the ability. There are plenty of ways of creating a limit. Hell, one could have multiple magic systems or ways of unlocking magical potential, though that takes extra work and only gets complicated.

My point is that if one is doing a bunch of worldbuilding, a good magic system is just really important - especially with multiple participants and a GM besides, who may not all share the same view of how a generic magic system might work
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02-24-2016, 08:29 AM
Post: #47
RE: Spheres of Influence
Magic should definitely work either by making a pact with a spirit and/or demon or imprisoning one. High risk and reward always leads to horrible mistakes a good time.
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02-24-2016, 09:00 AM
Post: #48
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Kalvesiya
Government: Absolutist
Leader: Tsar Zorateon I Saretin
Society: Dragons, Humans, Dwarves, Ice Elves in the far north.
History: The country is quite young by the standards of civilizations, having been unified eighty years ago from a number of feuding tribes and city-states. Before the Draconic conquest, the region was regarded as being impossible to conquer due to its lack of infrastructure, sheer vastness of the country, freezing winters, and the presence of cossacks.

Emperor Zorateon, the Dragon-Emperor of Kalvesiya, now rules with his large draconic clan over the whole of the country. It is a massive, very backwards, populous place, with rich natural resources and next to no industry. It has a few major population centers, like the glorious capital of Tsargrad, Surusha, Padera, Koskino, Mordva, Thranevo, and Surachino.

Weapon: Kalv'es Mat - A weapon also called "Father Winter". It is some kind of device that tears open a rift to another dimension of absolute cold. The resulting disaster completely shifts the climate of the region to one of extreme unsurvivable cold. It is rumored that the weapon could even summon a Thaldrimm based on scientific observations, if used in quantity.
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02-24-2016, 10:23 AM (This post was last modified: 04-30-2016 04:07 PM by Vancho1.)
Post: #49
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Narodina Eoreloa (Eorelan Republic)
[Image: Narodina%20Eoreloa.png]

Government: Eorela is ruled by the Savor [Image: Savor.png], the parliamentary congress of its people. The Savor elects from among its members a speaker to act as the head of state.

Leader: Slovei Savoroa[Image: Slovei%20Savoroa.png] (Speaker of the Savor) Anda Manu[Image: Anda%20Manu.png]: Anda Manu is the current elected speaker of Eorela, having served for the past four years. She is a capable administrator and is good at negotiations and compromise. She currently has a support of a broad coalition of dehoti (representatives), and seeks to lead the country forward into a prosperous and peaceful future.

Society: A majority of the country is composed of Men, Elves, and Valtir, with minority populations of other races. Eorela is known to be a mostly tolerant and accepting country, and thus many different cultural practices flourish within its borders. Minorities have reserved seats in the Savor to help give them a voice when they may not be able to gather enough votes to elect a member of their group.

History: Eorela traces its roots back to the mythical times of the Golden Age, when a powerful and multi-cultural state was ruled by a demigod from his city of wonders. Many people traveled among the lands of this empire on wondrous rainbow bridges and along great highways, and the God-King consulted with the peoples of his land to better rule them. No-one knows what caused the destruction of this holy country, but the city of wonders was razed to the ground and its stones scattered throughout the land.

Through the Torment, people who remembered only the legends of their holy country huddled together for shelter in the ruins of its great cities. Though its capital was destroyed, its second greatest city, Maret, managed to stay alive, though much reduced from its splendor. When the Torment ended, the people of Maret emerged into a new world to rebuild the paradise of their ancestral memory. Their region of the Holy Country was called Eorela, so they named themselves Eorelans.

The progress was slow, but the Eorelans expanded and created a new republic, representing not only their people but those who joined them as well. They no longer had a God-King to propitiate, but they still elected from among themselves representatives and a speaker, who would fill the void left by their lost ruler. When they discovered what they thought was the ruin of their ancient capital, the new republic built their own upon its foundations. Thus the city of Pharongot was founded, to be the center of their people.

Being an old country, Eorlea is well-established in its part of the world, and its people are proud of its traditions. They are a generally stubborn group, though after much argument people generally reach some sort of compromise. They have various religions, but a central part of their national mythology is the worship of their God-King, who is co-opted into the different religions and cultures of the country's various peoples. Thus, the Men claim that the God-King was one of them, but so do the Valtir and Elves, etc.

Weapon: Stars of Stasis:

The Stars of Stasis are ancient artifacts which date back to the days of the Holy Country. They are spiked objects of various sizes which are woven together with powerful time-magics. When one of these stars is activated, an area in a sphere around it becomes disconnected from the rest of time. From outside, it appears that time within the sphere is completely stopped. When the effect ends, entropy within the sphere increases suddenly, proportional to the time spent paused, leading to rapid aging, withering of crops, crumbling of buildings, oxidation of metals, and most likely death by starvation or thirst. These stars are in incredibly limited supply, as the method of producing them has been lost, and there is no way of telling the size of the artifact's effect or its duration, apart from a correlation with the size of the star. In general, a small Star of Stasis will produce a small amount of disorder over a small area, while a larger star will cause more entropy over a larger area.

Extra:

Provinces of Narodina Eoreloa: Eorela[Image: Eorela.png], Pamatela[Image: Pamatela.png], Genaela[Image: Genaela.png], Nabaal[Image: Nabaal.png], Vidin[Image: Vidin.png], Sajaak[Image: Sajaak.png].

The one, the only, Vancho!
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02-25-2016, 11:08 AM (This post was last modified: 03-04-2016 07:12 AM by Pagan.)
Post: #50
RE: Spheres of Influence
Name: Singheir Bodau Emrelatel; SBE (The League of Autonomous Bands)

Government: "Leadership" is split among a council of representatives from each of the Windfolk caucuses, acting merely as a voice of their constituent's wants. This council is head by 3 co-chairs, who are elected from the council, by the council. The government requires consensus from the council before acting, unless the 3 chairs unanimously vote to veto such an action. The chairs are primarily figure heads, acting as the face of the SBE to all foreigners. Each member of the council comes from an autonomous representative sub-council, which may be directly representative of average people, or may be a sub-league of such sub-councils, ad nauseum and to a greatly varying degree. Representatives can be voted out at any time that their constituents choose, and are only able to act if their constituents request such. (i.e. Council members can not, among themselves, decide that something must be done, but rather they must communicate with their community to get confirmation that a fair majority wishes for it to be done.) Each collective of individuals, regardless of scale, passes on 2 of their representatives to the next level of government, until the final council is reached. Any community which feels under-represented can autonomously organize, and separate their representatives from their previous sub-council, although sufficiently small communities may not be recognized as legitimate in some cases. Military is ran on a parallel system, having a total of 2 representatives in the final council. It must be stressed that *ANY* political moves made without the consent of constituents and a fair consensus with *NO* outstanding objections. Any military actions require the council to come to a 100% consensus on the need for such engagement, save for in matters of self-defense.

Leader:
The most influential of the chairs, Canuforod, is a young windfolk, who rose to the ranks through honesty and proving his trustworthiness. Born to a family of merchants, Canuforod has long been selfless, almost to a fault, his mother teaching that "an injury to one is a mortal wound to all". Although rational and softly spoken, he is not without aggression, having scars across his body from fighting with thugs and other social predators. He has always attempted to find the middle ground, something that has proven useful, considering his co-chairs, a military man and a healing woman, tend to butt heads on how exactly to translate the will of the people. Through his insistence on democratic process, and his persistence on working through issues and misunderstandings, he has gained quite a bit of respect with the populace, although he doubtless has enemies with great drive because of such.

Society: Primarily Windfolk, although most of the "civilized" races have some minor level of representation within the many communities of the SBE. The SBE is well known for it's equity, and it's massive security presence, with most of the population being professionally trained in de-escalation, threat assessment, and restraint grappling. Mutual aid is common, and neighborhoods seem more like large families than groups of near-strangers, and communities reaching out to each other in times of hardship. A postal service is ran by volunteers, using the natural windfolk ability of flight to distribute packages and messages with ease and efficiency. However, their lack of a "standing military", instead having a massive network of decentralized peacekeeping forces, make them appear weak, and their massive decentralization has caused some minor chaos here and there, especially when councilfolk butt heads.

History: Following the end of the formless torment, the many bands and communities lived in unorganized vague association, conducting trade, both economically and culturally. This lasted for many years, until a large warband of thugs began to enact their own "law" on the people, stealing capital from the many bands and acting barbarously towards the weaker communities. It was a group of prospective windfolk that stood against this tyranny, flying messages to the many bands, conducting diplomacy on behalf of the people across the region. Together, they came to the basic model which the SBE uses today, and through that organized the first of the peacekeeping forces, on a mission to remove the bandits from their citadel. Using massive numbers, and last ditch efforts, they managed to distract the forces long enough to reach the bandit-king in his tower, pull him to his balcony, and cut off his head in a display of victory. The forces began to rout, and the bands found themselves free. The citadel would become the seat of the council, which evolved over the years to what it is today, and council meetings are still held in that tower, some dozen of generations later.

Weapon: An altar, requiring voluntary sacrifice of flesh and blood, numbering 100 persons in total, designed to create clouds of ash which can blot out the sky. Weighing tons, it must be brought near it's target, the sacrifices made, and over the course of the days that follow, thick black clouds begin to gather overhead. Crops die from no sunlight, temperatures rise and drop with little rhyme or reason, and children shake with fear as the great expanse of blue and white becomes darker than night itself. No star or moon can pierce it's veil.

Working Name: Anarkismo
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