Frigates and Flintlocks is my colonial-age campaign. I have been working on it for quite a while, and I finally have something to share with you guys: I wrote up the lore of the first continent, Obbittia. I will add the lore of each of the eighteen nations of Obbittia to this thread, but for now I'd like some feedback on the general lore!
Obbittia: A Brief History
Since the dawn of civilization, Obbittia has been a blood-soaked, war-torn land. From the rich grasslands that fill the continent’s northern half to the cold forests to the south and even the icy tundra that lines the southernmost coast, every inch of land has been fought over at one point or another. Dozens of kings, emperors, or warlords have seen the rich offerings of Obbittia and sought to bring its people together under a single banner; thus far, none have succeeded.
Obbittia was united only once, eight hundred years ago. A Dralian warlord by the name of Aurstin Fuelm successfully forged an alliance between three of the largest kingdoms at the time. Though Aurstin himself held no land and had no rightful claim to any throne, he convinced his three allies to throw the considerable weight of their respective kingdoms behind him. The Panbbittian Empire, as they dubbed their union, slowly conquered or cowed the remainder of the continent into joining the alliance. After fending off a Shamshian invasion from beyond the Dralian Channel, the Panbittian Empire seemed to have finally brought peace to Obbittia. Aurstin Fuelm took the title of Great Caesar and ruled over the entire empire, but placed seven of his loyal subjects as kings of their own domains. Each kingdom was allowed some autonomy and a defensive military force, but a number Caesarian Laws applied to any citizen of Panbbitia. For a time, it seemed that Aurstin Fuelm would forever rule the land from his Iron Throne. But the peace would not last.
Each year, the Great Caesar and his seven kings would convene in Castle Aurstin to discuss the state of the realm. On the eighteenth year of his reign, Aurstin’s meeting with the kings was cut short by Aurstin’s sudden death. All seven kings swore that they saw nothing out of the ordinary; all attempts at resurrecting the Caesar were met with failure or, in some cases, severe magical backlash upon the priest attempting the spell. Divinations as to the cause of the Caesar’s death showed him to have died of natural causes; unfortunately, each diviner revealed a different natural cause.
Without the iron-fisted leadership of the Great Caesar, Panbittia collapsed in short order. The seven kings returned to their homelands and, within a fortnight, each declared himself to be the new Caesar. The great war that followed lasted for three hundred brutal years, which came to be known as the Bloody Centuries. The war itself took many names including The Great War, The War of Seven Kings, or simply The Bloodbath. Currently, the most popular of these names is simply The Kingswar. When the war finally ended, Obbittia was soaked in more blood than ever before. Finally, five hundred and seventy three years ago, the Panbbittian Accords were signed. The peace brought on by this agreement did not last very long; by the end of that year, two new wars had broken out. Yet in comparison to the war that raged throughout the Bloody Centuries these wars were mere border skirmishes.
Since the end of the Kingswar no single kingdom has been able to unite much of Obbittia. Many wars have been fought, alliances have been forged and shattered, and kingdoms have risen and fallen.
For years, even small kingdoms were able to defend themselves, as a strong defensive position was nigh impregnable when enhanced with magic. In Obbittia, this led to a multitude of small kingdoms who warred against each other. While each major nation certainly could have conquered these cities, doing so would have left them vulnerable to a counterattack by one of the other major nations. As a result Obbittia was divided into dozens of small kingdoms from the end of the Kingswar until the introduction and adoption of gunpowder.
Gunpowder was invented in Shamsh almost three hundred years ago, but it was not weaponized until the year 412 PW when a Bengarish professor built the first cannon. Within thirty years, bombards had replaced catapults and trebuchets as the artillery of the day, ships and walls held cannons instead of ballista, and harquebuses had found their way into the hands of infantry. The next century saw major improvements in gunpowder-based technology. Today’s armies are formed of musketmen and pikemen backed by light field cannons and cavalry charges.
Changes in wartime technology brought about major changes in the political reality of Obbittia. Wizards, once the most powerful and destructive forces on the battlefield, quickly found that they had been replaced. A cannon can fire a missile that is almost as destructive as the average wizard’s fireball, but while a wizard takes decades to master magic to the extent of casting empowered Fireballs, a cannon can be built in a couple of weeks. Further, a Wizard can fire a few Fireballs per day (less once slots used for defensive or utility spells such as Fly or Haste are taken into account) while a cannon can spew lead all day long. Finally, a city contains a limited number of individuals with the skill or inclination to become Wizards and no amount of resources can change that fact; a cannon, on the other hand, takes a certain amount of steel and a few skilled workers. Other spellcasters have similar problems; Warlocks, for example, are much more potent when it comes to delivering raw arcane power to a target, but are also much rarer. The last nail in the coffin for caster dominance of the battlefield was the development of the handheld firearm. A powerful Wizard might stop twenty or thirty bullets with ease, but if an entire battalion focuses their fire on her she will soon be slain. With muskets, which take less skill and training to use than a longbow and are more deadly than a crossbow, such massed fire became easily possible, meaning that casters could no longer soar above the battlefield with impunity.
With the rising importance of mundane armies smaller kingdoms found themselves at a severe disadvantage. By the year 573 PW Obbittia’s numerous kingdoms have mostly been eliminated. Seven major kingdoms claim the Iron Throne while eleven smaller nations try to maintain their independence. Once more, a continental war is brewing.
Life in Obbittia
In contrast to its harsh and warlike inhabitants, Obbittia is a beautiful and gentle land. Much of the northern half of Obbittia is composed of rich grasslands or pleasant forest. The major rivers are broad and slow, and the mountains are rich in mineral wealth. For most citizens of Obbittia nature poses no real threat.
Obbittia’s mostly temperate climate allows for easy farming. Most of the land north of the Frozen Wilds has been tamed by mankind. Animals shy away from humans as any wild species of a particularly aggressive nature have been driven to extinction long ago. Deer are quite common in the grasslands and plains of north Obbittia, though they are often pushed out of a region by cattle or sheep. Wolves are common, though they are smart enough to avoid preying on man or his beasts. The wide band of temperate forest between the plains of the north and the taiga of the south is similarly rich in wildlife; creatures such as moose, bears, or cougars fill these woods, though even the bears know the consequence of crossing men.
The Frozen Wilds are a different story. The southern third of Obbittia is dominated by a vast, frozen forest. Snow falls here almost all year aside from a brief period of growth in the spring. This region is much more difficult to tame and thus its wildlife is much fiercer. Dire creatures fill these lands; giant, shaggy herbivores who are stalked by fierce and twisted predators. Even further south, the surface of the Sea of Ice freezes in the winter. While the sea is frozen, frost giants from an unknown land stalk the shores of Obbittia, hunting the great beasts and whatever unfortunate men they happen to catch. The Frozen Wilds are no place for civilized men.
Perhaps because they needed to carry larger and more numerous weapons, ships grew quickly with the advent of gunpowder. Adventurers, with their ludicrous personal fortunes and love of adventure, quickly made use of these larger, faster ships to scour the seas for new opportunities. Far to the north, past the neighboring continent of Shamsh and the smaller Phirania, they found what they sought. Sevar, the Broken Continent, dominated the world’s northern hemisphere. According to Shamsh legends, Sevar was once a single continent ruled by a powerful empire whose achievements in magic dwarfed anything seen since. A great catastrophe befell the empire, and Sevar itself was sundered so that the great continent was split into a number of smaller lands with a multitude of islands in between. Though the lands that make up Sevar are harsh and brutal, they also contain a great number of ancient ruins and artifacts. A number of Obbittian colonies dot Sevar’s coast.
To the west of Shamsh Obbittian explorers discovered a number of lands that were thus far unknown to any of the nations in Shamsh, Obbittia, or Phirania. The unimaginative explorers dubbed the first of these lands Setland, as it lay to the west of their home and thus closer towards the setting sun. Setland was not a single continent, but rather a small, arid continent surrounded by a number of large tropical islands. The islands were mostly uninhabited or inhabited only by tribal groups, but the largest island was home to a kingdom who called themselves the Zalan. The arid mainland of Setland is home to one of the only known kingdoms of non-human creatures; fierce fire giants patrol the arid land, slaying any humans they find.
As Obbittian and Shamshian colonization of these new lands commenced during the 450s, exploration of the unexplored parts of the world continued. A few years later, in 457 PW, Shamshian explorers discovered yet another new land to the west of Setland when attempting to circumnavigate the glove. They dubbed this land Maigonato. While this land was inhabited, much of the central region was filled with thick jungle. The major civilization filled the corners of the continent, leaving stretches of uninhabited coastline. Obbittian colonists soon filled those sections in.
Obbittian colonies are in a rather primitive stage. Their purpose is to gather resources to send back to the homeland to help with the war effort, not to conquer new lands. However, some enterprising governors have set their eyes upon their native neighbors. The situation could very well change soon; the impact such a change would have on both Obbittia and the lands surrounding the colony can only be imagined.
No major lands have been discovered since then, though much of the world’s oceans have been explored. It is widely believed by many citizens and officials that no undiscovered lands still exist, but the truth of the matter remains to be seen.