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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    TheDarkDM's Avatar

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    Default Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers


    Two hundred years ago, the world came undone. A cold light filled the sky, a False Dawn that seared the eyes of any who looked upon it, and every land it touched heard the boiling screams of the four winds. In its wake, a red stain blotted out the sky, and the young kingdoms of the ancients were laid waste. Vegetation withered, the herds thinned, and brother turned against brother in an age of despair. Even as the years of red winter drew to a close, savagery and suspicion reigned, and the peoples of the world forgot the greatness they had once dreamed of. Until now. The coming of the False Dawn has passed from living memory, and for the first time in generations the horizon is clear of its bloody mark. New peoples rise to seize control of their destinies, tribes that have emerged from their trials scarred but unbroken. You will lead these people, your people, into an unknown future as clan becomes kingdom, family becomes dynasty, and you strive to carve your names into history. To forge an Empire.

    Below follow the kingdoms within the lands of Kiswa, Mamut, Sikar, and Tarandi, the first embers of civilization destined to grow into a bright flame and remake the world.

    Spoiler: Kiswa
    Show

    Spreading south from the shores of a trackless sea, Kiswa is a realm of thick rainforests and swamps, thinning to rolling grasslands further south. Born beneath searing sunlight and pounding rain, cool shade and soothing breezes have nurtured your people, but beyond the circles of your villages dangers lurk in every shadow. The vast river to the west has remained taboo for centuries, ever since it bore the tidal wave of the False Dawn’s destruction inexorably inland, while the northern hills remain wild and unexplored. Trade from beyond is rare, and growing rarer, as strange rumors of a terrible curse begin to spread from the south.

    Player Kingdom Regions Summary Status
    Gaius Hermicus United Blemmyae Tribes 213 Headless people with faces in their chests reproduce via ovipositing, keep records of heroes of the past, and live in cliff dwellings. Approved
    Minescratcher Ten-Fuj-Sa-Cos 195 Arrr, it be plunderin’ time... Approved
    bc56 Veramondo 218 A jungle kingdom dedicated to giving thanks to each other and to the land. Approved
    Aedilred Henanda Kingdom 193 ??? Approved
    Corona Hellves 211 Migrating elves that are maybe settling down. Stop judging us for our pyromaniacal ways, or we'll burn down your village! Approved
    Rolepgeek Kingdom of Lhungho Saar 221 Big, regenerating, and always hungry, the river trolls, their hippos, and their thralls all answer to the troll-king - so long as there is food. Approved
    Potato_Priest The Anbroch Houses 198 A fertile Jungle region controlled by Dwarven migrants at the mouth of the great Kiswan rivers. Approved
    Frostwander The Vygra 226 Elemental humanoids with an agricultural social culture. Approved
    Moriko Gehudu Forest 216 ??? Approved

    Spoiler: Mamut
    Show

    A land of plenty, Mamut’s fertile plains are divided by a profusion of rivers. Bounded by impassable mountains to the west and the vast expanse of the sea to the east, Mamut’s recovery from the False Dawn came swiftly compared to the rest of the world, as the region was spared many of the great predators that emerged to hunt elsewhere. Blightspawn are a rarity outside the mountain borders, and communication between tribes is a common occurrence. Recently, however, travellers from the north have come with increasingly strange tales of strife and demands for better trade accommodations, as though some great hunger had seized their lands in an iron grip.

    Player Kingdom Regions Summary Status
    Gengy Swampum 39 A vast swamp full of life, including boar people riding upon giant toads. Approved
    Ausar Deru 37 We do not speak for the trees. We are the trees. Approved
    PartyOfRogues The Na-Kri 44 ??? In Review
    SOSDarkPhoenix Scions of the Thalaz'ir 30 Displaced solar nobles Approved
    Electriccat Hraban Confederacy 34 Cleverness and honor are our core. Ooo that's shiny. Approved
    Zayuz Clan Algar 32 Displaced lunar peasants Approved
    Miltonian The Ko 51 Small stature, big egos. Approved
    mystic1110 The Targiz 19 Terraced Farms and Rocky Cliffs Home to Nihilistic, Law-Abiding, Blood-Knight, Flower-Loving Goliath Vintners Approved
    Silent_Interim The Scrimthun Unity 53 Stone remembers the weight of what it is owed. Approved
    Aventine Džíu Phè Hwǔ 46 Seafaring tribal humans Approved

    Spoiler: Sikar
    Show

    Beset by the searing heat of the deep desert, the clans of Sikar have emerged from the False Dawn constantly harried by its aftereffects. Blightspawn stalk the desert, only challenged by the great golden lions that rule the sands. Trade between tribes is as tense as it is essential, as cooperation vies with craving. Yet this crucible has made your people strong, and as you stride forwards to face the sirocco it is with the knowledge of ancestors that endured far worse and survived.

    Player Kingdom Regions Summary Status
    Epinephrine_Syn Nocturnal Hydra 280 ??? Approved
    D&D_Fan The Soreni 308 ??? Approved
    OmnivorousOgre Ixkarr 295 Cave-dwelling orcs obsessed with glory. Approved
    Ivor_The_Mad The Sol'lkoth 292 ??? Approved
    Lleban Ta Seti 288 A kingdom of herders hot and the burning sand, and just as rough. Approved
    Nefarion Xid Clan Al-Ashir 302 ??? Approved
    C'nor ??? 278 ??? Not Submitted
    zabbarot Crow's Tribe 306 Caw. Approved
    DoomHat The Thunderpeople 275 ??? Approved
    Roarke The Sands of Shá 307 ??? Approved
    JBarca The Dolod of Nellen 291 Beings with perfect recall and hereditary memories seek to add all possible experiences to their peoples' memories. Approved

    Spoiler: Tarandi
    Show

    The frigid reaches of Tarandi have never known plenty. Spared the worst of the False Dawn, its impact would be in aftershocks, as foul beasts rose from the snow to compete with your ancestors for scarce food and forage. But to endure is the Tarandi way, and your people have found some way to thrive on the tundra. Some have started to feel the pull of the soft lands to the south, said to be a world of plenty, even though to go there would be to risk the taboo of the great mountains. Others look east, across the sea, to frozen lands just visible on the horizon. Destiny calls to you in the cold voice of the north wind, and your hot blood rises to meet the challenge.

    Player Kingdom Regions Summary Status
    PepperP. Hiverness 108 ??? Approved
    Elemental Aran Viska 111 Semi-nomadic children of two gods that live in reverence of their dead heroes. Approved
    Jade_Tarem Clann Solais 113 ??? Approved
    BladeofObliviom The Dannu-Gaon Tribes 96 Beware the River-Smiths, for no blade can turn away a flood. Approved
    m9p909 The Brayewen Tribes 129 A small civilization of grey humans with a passion for arguments. Approved
    Tychris1 Creatures of Ancient Ways 137 Spiritual Scavengers Awoken With Rage Approved
    bupkis Gethan 133 ??? Approved
    LapisCattis The Arrok of Uldra 109 A snow-covered kingdom bordered by lakes, the Arrok are fiercely protective of their lands, their wolves, and their northern allies. Approved
    Tentreto Sangar 136 Ascetics who cherish music, and despise decadence and the blightspawn. Approved
    Laura The Shandole´ 115 A peaceful tribal culture with deep spiritual beliefs just beginning the transition toward agriculture and a more sedentary existence. Approved
    Last edited by TheDarkDM; 2020-07-12 at 04:16 AM.

    I was old when the pharaohs first mounted
    The jewel-decked throne by the Nile;
    I was old in those epochs uncounted
    When I, and I only, was vile;

    Spoiler
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    Quote Originally Posted by apocalypsePast2 View Post
    ...one could possibly refer to you guys' elaborate dance of allies-to-enemies-to-suicide-of-the-universe as some sort of weird art form.

    If one were on drugs.
    Quote Originally Posted by VonDoom View Post
    Behold, the mighty slayer of strangely coloured mutant equines! The thwarter of forum woes! The! Dark! DM!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Miltonian's Avatar

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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    The Ko (Region 51)

    Small stature, big egos.

    Spoiler: Leader
    Show
    Worldmaster Thicket:
    Dip 1
    Mil 2
    Opu 5
    Faith 2
    Int 5


    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    The Ko have mapped the whole world! Ignore the sprawling plains beyond our borders. They don't exist.

    The World, at least as the Ko know it, is comprised of forests and thickets surrounding the tower beneath which they were birthed. It is a primeval place, with many hidden gulleys and dense groves where those Ko who have left the Tower make their homes. However, even those that do take care not to leave the Tower’s sight, for until recently they believed that, once you passed to where you could no longer see it, then you would soon step off the edge of the world.

    As for the Tower itself, it is a great, stone edifice erected by the combined might of Ko blood and the mad vision of their creator. It looms over the countryside, providing safety and security to the Ko, a beacon by which they can guide their steps. However, to other tribes, it appears as a tall stone structure placed upon the top of a hill. Both its height and location give it an excellent view of the surrounding countryside, but also expose it to watching eyes.

    However, the Tower is the former realm of the Master. While the Ko do make use of it, they live in the Under, a sprawling collection of warrens and burrows that riddle the ground beneath the Tower. The entrances to the Under are heavily guarded with devious traps and confusing mazes, which have become something the Ko implement in all their dwellings.

    Other warrens exist, dotted here and there, but none have as of yet left sight of the Tower's peak.

    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The Ko are the most powerful race in the world! They conquered every last corner of it, you see, when they slaved away under the Master’s whip. Now, by virtue of their cunning leader, Tangle the Blight Master, they have risen up and taken their rightful place as masters of all they survey!

    The Ko are a short, lizard-like race about the size of a human child when full-grown. Most are a mottled brown in color, but rarely other scale-patterns form. While they do walk on two legs, they move with a hunched-forward, skittish gait like a raptor, eyes always looking out for danger. While they are proud and jeer at the 'tall ones' who 'think they're so much better', the first sign of danger sees them scurrying away.

    They delight in all manner of shiny trinkets. It is the gleam that attracts them more than the value. For in the darkness of their homes, glittering things are pleasing to eye. A rich Ko will form a bed from hoarded treasure, nesting in it like a lizard protecting her eggs, and wear all manner of trinkets and ornamentation, though a poorer one will rarely wear anything. Second to all that glistens and gleams are trophies of their past exploits. They delight in showing off their superiority and skill, but having proof on hand ensures the others also appreciate it just as much.

    Spoiler: History
    Show
    We Ko have a long and glorious history. Much better than yours, because it has Ko in it.

    They were created by “the Master”, a mad wizard of “great eldritch power”. In reality, he was a second-rate meddler who learned a few tricks about manipulating animals and tried his hand at making an army. As time went on, he became convinced that the gods of the sky and life were angry at him for meddling with the natural order of things, and so ordered his servants to build him a tower that would protect him from the heavens, where the sky-gods lived, and keep him away from the ground, where the life-gods resided. Afterwards, he sealed himself up in his new quarters, requesting only that his servants bring him food and water while he furiously tried to come up with some spell to escape his “curse”.

    The Ko decided they could not abide this tyranny, but were afraid to oppose such a mighty wizard as their master. And so, they settled on setting traps and snares, hoping to kill him without exposing themselves to danger. These traps failed to slay their Master, but did convince him that the gods were indeed trying to kill him. Then, a certain Ko named Tangle stepped forward and poisoned the kaffee that they daily served their Master. When he died, cursing the gods all the while, the Ko elevated Tangle to the grand status of “Worldmaster”, for as far as they knew, he now ruled the whole world. He lived and died a hero to his people, beloved by all, and his son Thicket now rules in his stead.

    Yet there are rumors of tribes beyond the sight of the Tower, and Thicket is worried and wants to discern if they seek to become the Ko’s new masters. Indeed, some claim to have seen them, or even have had children stolen by them. This, he has decided, will have to be investigated.
    .
    Spoiler: Government
    Show
    The Ko are the best, but only the best of the best gets to be on top.

    The Ko are a competitive meritocracy, where position is decided by personal exploits and general renown. Scheming and plotting are common methods of advancement, and the individual families are split between jockeying for position within the family unit and competing with other families for prominence. However, as they also believe that greatness can be passed down via blood, the Heir of Tangle the Wizard-Slayer, Worldmaster Thicket, currently holds the undisputed position at the very top. Thus, it is he who can make or break a Ko. If he is suitably impressed, the lowest servant can spring into prominence. If a Ko earns his ire, though, they are doomed to a swift and merciless plunge.

    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    I'll have a triple-pitcher of Kaff, please. And make sure it's fresh-boiled!

    Kaffee Beans: The beans harvested from the kaffee plant are bitter, but when brewed have a very pleasing aroma. Additionally, the beans and drink have an invigorating effect, granting those who imbibe it a certain measure of energy and focus. The Ko often use it to stay awake far past when they should have gone to bed. Thus, many have become dependent on its effects to continue functioning.

    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    Yes, yes! Your gods are mighty. Which makes it all the more fun to trick them.

    The Ko (will) believe in many gods, adopting those of the tribes around them (or, to start with, the gods of the sky and of life that their master believed in). However, they do not ‘worship’ them, per se. Instead, the Ko revere the legendary heroes of their own kind who, through wit, cunning, and guile, got the better of the ‘Long-Legs’ and their gods. Thus, the Ko religion is effectively a form of ancestor worship.

    The first and foremost of their heroes is Tangle, now deceased but never forgotten. His magnificent tomb, where the Ko hold their "ceremonies of remembrance", is their home's Holy Site. It is Open at game start.


    Spoiler: Additional Information
    Show
    You want to know more? Well, okay. It all started when I was getting my scales polished and--

    Starting Tech: Masonry

    Starting Position: Plop me down anywhere. Trees are preferred, but I can modify the geography section according to where I end up.

    Required Resource: SHINIES.
    Last edited by Miltonian; 2020-07-11 at 09:28 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers


    Hiverness

    Region 108, Tarandi



    Spoiler: Region Summary
    Show

    Region: Hiverness, Tarandi, 108
    People: Human
    Resource: Northern Husky Dogs
    Required Resource: Luxury Goods
    Faith: Way of Eauden
    Starting Tech: Writing

    Spoiler: Terrain
    Show
    Terrain:
    The frozen expanse that falls beneath the claim of Hiverness is an arctic tundra. Above the permafrost, the gravel-like soil offers little nutrients for all but the hardiest of vegetation. These coarse scrub grasses and shrubs feed herds of large grazers, such as reindeer and mammoths, who in turn, feed the humans and wolves that rely on them for their primary means of sustenance in these harsh lands. Never reaching temperatures above twelve degrees Celsius, the frozen treeless plains of Hiverness are enshrouded in Winter for most of the year.

    There are few landmarks amidst this desert of white, but for the ones created by human hands. Located in their southwest territory is the capital settlement, known to its denizens as Wolfenhall. Wolfenhall consists of hundreds of round mammoth bone houses, arranged in concentric circles spiraling out from the largest in the center. These mammoth bone houses are formed of large curved mammoth bones painstakingly dug deep into the permafrost layer, lashed together with woven grass and then finally covered with animal hides for additional wind protection and warmth.

    In the extreme northern frontier of the Hiverness expanse, is a smaller outpost of settlers eager to try their hand at taming the edges of civilization. These tenacious adventurers call their encampment simply, The Breach, seeing themselves as trailblazers, unwilling to settle for the relative safety of the larger community group in exchange for their freedom to roam their territory and beyond. In-between Wolfenhall and The Breach lies the oldest man-made structure within Hiverness, The Stones of Cristalmont. A sacred site to the people of Hiverness, the Stones of Cristalmont consist of thirteen large stone formations, each chiseled with intricate esoteric carvings largely consisting of an astrological theme. These formations were placed to coincide with the phases of the moon and the Winter Solstice.

    Spoiler: People
    Show
    People:
    The people of Hiverness are humans, with light-brown skin, dark brown hair and pale eyes. As lean as their diet, the harsh environment has produced a rather short population with adults ranging from 5’-5’6” for full grown women and men, respectively. They call themselves the Nordgen, simply Northmen in the local vernacular. Despite the seeming cruelty of the Hiverness environment, the Nordgen strive to find and exploit the beauty of their frigid lands, which is shown in the intricate beadwork of their heavy clothes or the carved stone totems that rise up from their settlements, often representative of an important family’s dwelling. The humans of the northern expanse must be eminently adaptable in order to survive the harsh climate. They see change as adaptations for survival instead of threats to the status quo, believing in innovation and tradition in balance. It is this flexible mindset that has enabled the Nordgen to flourish in lands where a less yielding people might struggle against the elements instead of adapting to them.

    Wolves, Mammoths, Owls and the Moon are all important symbology for the Nordgen and often arise in their art, lore and sculpture. In Nordgen lore, their people were taught to hunt in a pack by the wolfback-riding Spirit-Princess Pamuya. Like the wolves of their legends, the Nordgen value their community above all else, including their Arrok of Uldra to the west who are seen as extensions of their own people.. With heavy emphasis on love and family, their folklore is often told as precautionary tales, riddled with valuable tidbits of survival passed on by generations since before the False Dawn. It is this pack mindset that allows the Nordgen to hunt the great mammoths that roam in herds across the frozen landscape in search of food. Hunting groups of ten elite hunters each are at work nearly year-round, tracking and bringing down the large animals on which the populace depends upon for food, fuel, clothing and shelter.

    Spoiler: History and Government
    Show
    History & Government:
    According to most of the Nordgen legends, their people have endured the harsh Hiverness conditions since the world began. The arctic environment of their territory is not inherently supportive of life however, especially a burgeoning one, so the reality is more likely of migration and adaptation from the south, no matter how unpopular the idea might be amongst the proud Northern folk. It is believed that the Nordgen were once nomads, following the migration patterns of the herds of reindeer and mammoths they rely on for survival. With the swelling of the population came also the desire for stability, and so Wolfenhall came to be the first, and still largest, of the Nordgen settlements.

    The Nordgen Government is composed of several pieces, each wielding its own power and influence over the citizens. At the head is the Nordgen Chieftain, responsible for the intermediating of disputes and diplomacy between the Nordgen and the varying other clans that share their northern lands. The War Council is comprised of several veteran hunters and is responsible for the mapping out and planning of the hunting routes. The Chaman is in charge of utilizing and teaching the healing arts of herbs and spirits and imbuing the next generation with their wisdom. The Oracle is said to be the direct intermediary between our world and the Spirit world, and is in charge of maintaining that connection as well as being given the oversight of holy day celebrations.

    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Resource:
    Believed to be a gift from the Spirit-Princess Payuma herself, the Great Northern Husky dogs are revered amongst the Nordgen and are considered to be an important part of their family, rather than pets. Highly intelligent and adapted to the cold environment with their thick fluffy coats, the Northern Huskies are believed to be descended from domesticated wolves and still hold a strong affinity for their pack. Useful in hunting and hauling, Great Northern Huskies are the pre-eminent working dog, unfailing in loyalty and the stamina required to thrive in the harsh conditions of their environment.

    Due to the scarcity prevalent throughout the Hiverness wilderness, the Nordgen value luxury items such as salt and gems very highly. Gems are sought out as high status gifts for special occasions, or as the status symbols of the wealthy who can wear these items in their day-to-day lives. Salt is more practical luxury though just as coveted by the Nordgen for drying their meats to last throughout the harshest deep Winter when hunting is impossible in the blizzard-like conditions.

    Resource: Northern Husky Dogs (Great)
    Required Resource: Luxury Goods

    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    Faith:
    The faith of the Nordgen has evolved over generations but has held onto a core reverence for the elements that enable their survival in their harsh frozen wasteland. Originally known as the Way of Wolf and Water by their ancestors, its adherents now refer to their system of beliefs as the Way of Eauden, Eauden being the name for the Moon Spirit that is revered by Nordgen. Credited with dominion over wolves and water, the moon is seen as the driving force in the northlands, as the influence of the sun on the tundra is comparatively weak. Adherents of the Way also sometimes refer to themselves as Seekers, such as Seeking the Way, and the significance of finding one’s own path is a recurring theme in the Nordgen’s spiritual philosophy.

    Freshwater lakes and rivers being somewhat scarce in the permafrost lands, open water sources are seen as divine gifts which Eauden either lovingly tends to on behalf of her followers or wields in the guise of floods or droughts against their enemies. A flood or drought in Hiverness would be an occasion to appease the Great Moon Spirit, most appropriately with offers of juniper berry and white sage, both symbolic of the moon. Home shrines are common and often depict symbology of depending upon the focus of prayer for the day, month or week. A moon would symbolize protection or healing. Water upon the shrine would symbolize purification or change. A wolf would symbolize family or success in the hunt.

    A yearly gathering is held at the holy site of Cristalmont, a difficult journey at the height of the Winter Solstice. Those who do not survive the trek are said to go on to serve Eauden in the spirit realm. The spiritual leader, known as the Oracle, is seen as the conduit between the spirit world and our world. It was the Oracle who first dreamed of the Aratak Falls to the South, which led to the meeting of the Nordgen and Arrok peoples. Aratak Falls is revered as a space sacred to Eauden and pilgrimages between the two lands are a common occurrence.

    LC: Cristalmont (Way of Eauden)

    Elements Season Color Attribute Astrology
    Water Winter Black Patience Full Moon
    Earth Change of Seasons Yellow Stability Earth
    Fire Summer Red Renewal Sun
    Wood Spring Green Abundance Stars
    Metal Fall White Transformation New Moon


    Spoiler: Way of Eauden
    Show
    The Five Elements of the Way of Eauden

    Elements Season Color Attribute Astrology
    Water Winter Black Patience Full Moon
    Earth Change of Seasons Yellow Stability Earth
    Fire Summer Red Renewal Sun
    Wood Spring Green Abundance Stars
    Metal Fall White Transformation New Moon

    • The Full Moon overcomes the Earth because it affects the tides on the Earth.
    • The Earth overcomes the Sun by turning away from it.
    • The Sun overcomes the Stars by being the closest one to us.
    • The Stars overcome the New Moon by remaining in the sky while the moon isn't visible to us.
    • The New Moon overcomes the Full Moon by erasing it from the sky.


    Phoenix Star: As a shooting star, it is associated with the aspect of wood. Harbinger of hope and a new spring.

    The Tenets of the Way of Eauden:

    • Naturalistic Civilization. Many of the processes of nature are good and healthy, but this does not mean changing them is wrong. Many things in nature are without purpose, signs of a world-soul at odds with itself, and turning them to a purpose is good; it forges a small piece of a shattered identity anew. Trees can grow back, and the lumber can be put to use; this is not the same as rapacious destruction. The natural world is in constant flux and we can learn from it and use that to our advantage. Fire is a natural element and can be used to shape metal, metal can then be used to shape wood, this is a natural transformation.
    • Death-as-dormancy. Outside of unusual cases of restless spirits, dead people and animals merely sleep. Their old purpose lost, they rejoin the World-soul in much the same form the spirit of unworked stone has. In time they may become a different sort of spirit, joining the stone as interred or the soil as ashes. Some spirits might be reborn as humans again, if they are very patient. In rare cases, they might retain an old identity if their remains are cared for and cherished for what they are. Aer Caladon, adopted from the Aran Viskari, is seen as the aspect of Eauden that Guides the souls of the dead to their next journey.
    • Spiritual Materialism. While dealing with the supernatural like any faith, the Way of Eauden is materialistic - it deals with things existing in physical space, rather than gods and demons, afterlives, planes, and abstract ideas. Spirits are linked to things in the world and not unbound ideas; the river Yvaon has a spirit, the land you stand on does, each person and beast does, but there are no spirits of "vengeance" or "justice" or "knowledge" - though the spirit of a murdered bride might be vengeful, the spirit of an honorable knight's sword just, or the spirit of a library knowledgeable. Spirits are representative of the shape of things, a purpose, more than necessarily conversational living entities. A lump of metal has a spirit, but likely a dormant one; forging this lump into a sword makes it the spirit of a sword, a thing with purpose.The Way of Euden places significant emphasis on roles and purpose, finding your Path is a recurring theme.
    • Unifying. Though one spirit, one thing, is not another, all are parts of a whole. A great and complex system of specialized small things. All that is on Earth, taken whole, is a world-soul. This is not to say individual parts cannot be at odds with what is good; cancer is part of the body and seeks to destroy its host. The Blightspawn are likewise seen as a great cancer. The False Dawn is seen as the great sundering that broke apart the world-soul and created chaos. The world is healing, after the coming of the Phoenix, but we are not yet whole.
    • Lunar and Stellar. The Moon is divine, its light magical and pleasing. It does not burn, merely illuminates. The world-soul loves and longs for it, though it keeps its distance, it has not yet healed from the wounds of the False Dawn. Why does the Moon not embrace its lover? After her long absence from the sky, Eauden is too shy to embrace her lover, the world-soul. Even so, we have forgiven her; the waters rise to her, the wolves howl. It is natural to long for the Moon. The Stars are pieces of the world-soul too distant to reach, the missing pieces that make it whole no more. The sun is merely the closest of them, and its presence heals the world in green abundance as it passes.


    While the Way of Eauden does leave room to respect the indigenous culture of our adherents, such as weddings and funerals, there are certain aspects and traditions that are universal amongst Eauden worshippers.

    • Sacred Hospitality. Way of Eauden worshippers can not deny another in need of food or shelter, nor can they allow harm to come to another while under their roof.
    • Household Shrines. In lieu of trekking through the often inclement weather of Tarandi to visit a public shrine, adherents keep a small shrine within their domiciles. These shrines can vary from the simple to extravagant. They are adorned with symbols representing the moon, wolves, owls, and can be changed to represent the current need of the worshipper. Somebody needing help with patience might lay their shrine with a black cloth and a bowl of water, for example.
    • Way of Eauden practitioners celebrate the Lunar New Year. As the long winter is about to end, and a new year begins, it is a popular time to begin new projects or make resolutions for the upcoming year. Oracles, or their regional equivalents, will meditate on the portents and their interpreted meanings for the upcoming year. Days begin and end at midnight, and months begin on the day of the new moon. Years begin on the second new moon after the winter solstice.
    • Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice represents the height of Eauden’s power and is often marked with pilgrimages to Holy Sites. Those who do not survive the trek are said to go on to serve Eauden in the spirit realm. A ritual in Eauden’s honor is held at these holy places, always at night and can vary depending on the phase of the moon in any given year. A common theme during the solstice, regardless of moon phase, are the offerings brought and left on the communal altar. Offerings can consist of food, alcohol, or anything with personal value to the adherent. These offerings help sustain the holy center for the rest of the winter months.
    • Symbology. The primary religious symbol of the Way of Eauden is a wave encircled within a full moon. Some other symbols often associated with them are depictions of wolves, the moon in her various phases, owls, and a tree with stars for leaves. In the northern reaches of Eauden’s influence, dog and wolf figurines are seen as bringing good luck to travelers.
    • Moon Phase Meanings and Associations.


    Phases of the Moon Attribute 1 Attribute 2 Attribute 3
    New Moon New Beginnings Possibility Intentions
    Waxing Crescent Energizing Growth Declaration
    Waxing Half Moon Momentum Challenges Action
    Waxing Gibbous Refinement Gestation Nurturing
    Full Moon Blessings Gratitude Celebration
    Waning Gibbous Release Service Contemplation
    Waning Half Moon Transition Decomposition Forgiveness
    Waning Crescent Surrender Reflection Intuition

    Last edited by PepperP.; 2020-09-05 at 04:32 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    Somehow it is nostalgic to see the lewd discussion to return again to EMPIRE game.
    BIG thank you to Gengy for my fabulous avatar! ღ
    #Notallinfluencers

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    The Targiz
    Region 19



    "Terraced Farms and Rocky Cliffs Home to Nihilistic, Law-Abiding, Blood-Knight, Flower-Loving Goliath Vintners"

    Spoiler: Summary
    Show
    Leader: Ells Ogra, Bishop of Olkan, Witch-Sister of Solvo, Celibate Priestess of Uko, Warrior Maiden of OORT
    People: The Targiz
    Resource: Flower Wine (Great)
    Required Resource: Metal
    Religion: The Four Faiths (Olkan Church, OORT Crusade, Charms of Solvo, Ukoism)
    Holy Center: Unnamed Rectangular Pillar (The Four Faiths)
    Starting Tech: Pottery

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    The land of the Targiz is in the penumbra of the mountains. They do not live in the peaks not the valley but along the unforgiving slope of the mountain ranges themselves. The Targiz have felled the trees and tilled the land necessary for terrace farming, but unlike in the real world these terrace farms are not carefully constructed marvels of underground pumps or dams. No they are merely terraced enough such that the soil that is on them is rained upon. The Targiz grow mostly sustenance food on these farms, enough for each commune and the occasional feast. They do not grow flowers on the terrace farms.

    Speaking of which, the mountainous region contains many flower fields. These fields are necessarily wild. The Targiz do plant their own flower, but only in small private worship gardens in each community. The Flower Wine they make is made solely through the use of wild flowers. All types of wild flowers exist in the mountains, they dot the landscape and some are known only to specific commune who guard the knowledge of their particular gods. This does not mean the land is wild, the Targiz would fell trees and uproot the weeds, but they keep the flower fields fallow.

    Other than some of the below recognizable landmarks, the abundance of flowers, the farms and the huts, the region is mostly just wild mountain, with the requisite caves, valleys, cliffs, brooks, waterfalls, mountain lions, eagles, etc.

    Since the land is mostly wild there are few recognizable landmarks, of note though there are the following:

    Unnamed rectangular stone: as described in Faith, the Targiz Faith is complicated but this stone speaks to all four faiths equally. It is completely rectangular. Whether by accident or design it is all right angels, perfect and smooth. It is not obsidian, it is only stone colored.

    Great Flower Field of Uzo - while there are many such fallow fields and each commune has its own garden, the Great Flower Field of Uzo is by far the largest. It is misnamed since it is actually not a field at all but instead a path strewn thick with wild flowers. The path stretches from the base of the mountain til the peak, the flowers changing from weak tulips to hardy echinacea.

    Church of Olkan - The church is by far the largest structure in Targiz, but it is still only a large thatch building. The large hut is not domed or even constructed cleverly to allow an open space in the center, instead the large roof is supported by many columns leading to an oppressive and cramped feeling inside. The Church could fit almost fifty Goliath inside standing to skin to skin.

    The OORT Arena - This is not a coliseum. It is just a square constructed by felled trees and filled with Mulch. The Targiz engage in holy wrestling within its four corners.

    Cliffs of Solvo - The mountains have many cliffs but Solvo's are special because they face the setting sun. They are not the tallest cliffs but they are the cliffs that Targiz who wish to commit suicide go to. They jump off in spread eagle towards the setting sun and fall for seconds to the rocks below. They smash themselves apart and their blood fertilizes the red flowers that grow lush and abundant at the base of the cliff. It is not uncommon for other Targiz to go pick Flowers from the base of the Cliffs for their ritual wear or even wine. The dead may be holy but the corpses are not.

    Spoiler: Leader
    Show
    Ells Ogra, Bishop of Olkan, Witch-Sister of Solvo, Celibate Priestess of Uko, Warrior Maiden of OORT

    D2
    M4
    O3
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    Ells Orga is a strongly built female Goliath with dark slate skin. She has long black hair which is pulled back into a braided pony tail. She carries a great wood club with her and always has some pretty smelling flowers around her neck and in her hair.

    As described in the People section the Targiz mostly organize themselves into matriarchal communes made of intermarrying families. On a political level there is no gathering of the heads of the communes to make decisions that effect each commune. Instead you need to look towards religion for national policy.

    However, religion is tricky in Targiz, See Faith. There are Four Faiths that are all contradictory but each Targiz somewhat (at least nominally) believes in. This includes the organization of the faiths themselves. For example the High Priest of Olkan would still somewhat believe in the other three faiths. In fact, he must, or Targiz would consider him a heretic and not listen to him which would mean he could not be the head of the Olkan Church. So leadership is a balancing act of being the most influential in one of the Faiths while still having a good reputation in the other three.

    Now, no one has managed that more than Ells Ogra. Ells Ogra is a mid ranking priestess in each of the Four Faiths. Granted she is technically under the authority of the leaders of each of the Four Faiths, but due to the fact that it is rare for someone to become a priest in two or more of the faiths and even rarer for one to advance as a priest of multiple faiths, she has accomplished the unheard of. As such her word carries much weight with each of the leaders of the Four Faiths and with each Targiz. While her word is not law, it is essentially worth its weight in Gold.

    Her titles (Bishop of Olkan, Witch-Sister of Solvo, Celibate Priestess of Uko, Warrior Maiden of OORT) are never used at the same time, but may all be used during the same conversation.

    Spoiler: People
    Show
    People: The people of Targiz are Goliaths. Their bodies are large and look like they have been carved from stone. They are a hard people, born for hardship, destined for trial. Their history, like their beliefs are contradictory. They could tell you that their people are nomads that traveled far and wide and settled in this land because of its beautiful flowers and in the same breath tell you that they have always been in this land, that the same time this land was made they were here and they never left. They wear pelts of foul smelling beasts and garlands of roses and lavender. They wear hide-skin boots and tuck daisy in their tight black braids. The bright colors strange against their gray skin.

    It is hard to describe the culture of the Targiz. Mostly they coexist in various communal farming units made of a small number of intermarrying families. Given the Four Faiths, primarily OORT and the Charms, they do mix between the communes fairly frequently primarily for physical contests, blood sports and hedonistic parties. However, also given to the Four Faiths, primarily Olkan, they are an extremely serious law abiding citizenry. They do not have writing, so their laws are passed down through oral tradition so singing warrior flower wearing priests are highly prized. They are ruled by the heads of the communes which happen to be mostly women, so it is a non-strict matriarchy, meaning there is no rule that a man can’t be in charge and some men are, it’s just that it is the minority. No one person can speak for each commune and what is more the communes do not have a council in which they regularly meet.

    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Resource: Flower Wine

    For whatever reason, maybe a long ago volcanic eruption, perhaps an underground river, maybe some composition of their **** or the animals, the seasons, the rain, some divine favor, something that no one know – the Targiz have the best soil. Flowers bloom with ease and plants grow twice as large. Hell, I am sure it will make great bombs as well. This soil is simply the best. Given this great soil the Targiz make really good wine. Now they don't have grapes or many other fruit but what they do have is Flowers. Flowers grown with Targiz soil produce wine as sweet as honey and as rich as blood. Many different varieties of Flower Wine are made, each commune has its own specialty, and the Targiz use them in rituals of each of their faiths. For example in Ukoism, drinking wine is drinking the essence of a God, for the Witch-Sisters of Salvo the state of total inebriation is when you are closest to not being an abortion, when life might but will not have meaning.

    Required Resource: Metal. The Targiz are largely subsistence terrace farmers and hunters, as such they do not have the resources to create weapons beyond clubs and flint spears. As a people that wish to somehow prove themselves in vainglorious combat the love of swords and other metal weapons is almost ingrained in each Targiz. As such metal weapons or any weapon not made with wood and stone is a valuable commodity

    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    Faith:

    The Four Faiths

    The Targiz have Four Faiths. The Faiths are not one interwoven whole, they are not a patchwork quilt of different pantheons that work together or even side by side. No, instead each faith in one complete and separate theology, with its own central message and origin. However, each Targiz believes each one of these faiths. The Faiths contradict each other even on the most basic level. If even one of them is true then the other three Faiths must be wrong. None of the Four Faiths should coexist with any other. Yet, they do. A philosopher might claim that the belief in contradictions is the central faith, but it is not so. A Targiz doesn’t see the contradictions of their contradicting faiths. Instead, perhaps the lesson of the Faiths is Faith is the goal of Faith. It is easy to believe in a logical story, it is easy to believe in a fantastical story and therefor such easy beliefs cannot possibly be correct. Belief must be hard and treacherous. It must be grueling and tasking. You must have Faith even when the Faith you believe in says otherwise.

    The Four Faiths each have their own temples, priests, orders and rituals. A priest of one of the Faiths, to be a true priest of any one, must still nonetheless believe in the other three, regardless of how much the Faith in which she is priest of claims that the other is false.

    The Church of Olkan – The Faith of Olkan is a monotheistic religion. There is and only could have been one god, that being Olkan, the Law. Olkan is not the Lawgiver or the creator of Law he is Law. Law is Olkan. The rules the universe functions by is Olkan. There was nothing before Olkan, only chaos and then by self-creating himself Olkan became the guidelines that chaos became organized into everything. Olkan is not an active deity. He has no will. He has no agency. He is simply Law. To swear upon Olkan is to swear upon the Law, to break the Law is to commit a attempted deicide. The Church takes swift and brutal action against those that dare harm their god.

    Charms of Sovlo – Those that follow the Charms are those that believe that they are already dead. They believe that this is an aborted world, that the Mother deity, Sovlo, had many lovers but only one husband, Vortov. Sovlo, being the goddess of fertility could not help but become pregnant when she took on the seed of each one of her nameless divine lovers. Each time she became pregnant she birthed a world within her. To avoid Vortov finding out, Sovlo self-aborted these nascent fetal worlds. The world we live in now is one of them. As such those that follow the Charms think that everything and each thing in this world is meaningless – it is merely the discarded flesh of the Mother. They are given to Hedonism and Nihilism. Nothing could have consequences because nothing matters.

    Ukoism – Ukoism preaches that each flower is its own God. It does not preach that each natural thing is its own god. Gods are not mountains, they are not rivers, they are not rain or soil or trees. Only flowers. Each Flower must be carefully tended, planted, cared for, worshiped, prayed to and remembered. Each such Flower God buds, blooms and wilts and is reborn each spring. Such is the way of the world, of life and of people. We are all born, we strive for the full bloom of life, and then we age and our petals fall to the floor. Then we are reborn.

    OORT Crusades – There is only one way to prove that you are alive and belong in the next world and that is combat. The OORT are the gods of the world, One Hundred mighty Heroic Gods that existed from the implosion of nothingness that birthed the Universe. Each of these One Hundred was a proud warrior and they did battle across the stars. Their battles are what shaped the constellations, the world and ourselves. We are carved by swords, the rivers were sliced by spears. Our flesh was cut off from the Gods during their battles. And the endless glorious war is not over, it will never end nor should it. But the OORT are not blood thirsty, they are not conquers, they simply love the battle and so followers of OORT train to become great warriors, not to march into other lands just so that when they die they may fight alongside their immortal Hundred Gods.

    Holy-Site – Given the nature of the Four Faiths the main Church of Olkan is not representative of their entire belief system. Neither are the flower fields of Ukoism, nor the Arena of the OORT, nor the Cliff of the Suicides of Mother Solvo. Instead the only place that may be called the Holy Site of the Targiz is a perfectly rectangular stone pillar found in a barren field that the Targiz have not even named but each hold sacred.

    Practical – Now of course an individual Targiz might believe in one of the Faiths MORE than the other, for example the more lawful might be more inclined to believe Olkan and not Solvo, the more depressed might be likely to believe Solvo and not Ukoism, the stronger might believe in OORT more than Olkan. However, what is important to note is that each Targiz somewhat believes in all four to some extent AND strives to believe all four at once. This involves a lot of meditation - a lot of repetitions of oral legends through songs that are constantly heard over the terraced farms of their land. The Four Faiths are their birthright, joy and goal. They each, in one way or another wish to be reborn, die and attend the eternal Crusade, Rot into meat and nothingness and become the Spoken Law, all at once. The Contradictions are the point. Faith is the answer.

    Spoiler: Starting Tech
    Show
    Starting Tech: Pottery. Primarily due to Ukoism and its love of Flowers, pots are a specialty of Targiz. That said each of the Four Faiths is a master of Pottery, for their own reasons (Olkan – Pottery is a law, for what purpose or reason does not matter, such is the law and you must make and keep a perfect Pot. Sovlo – Nothing matters, but lots of Sovlo rituals involve bodily functions and waste and you need a good chamber pot. OORT – Pots are excellent for physical training and swordsma ship, for example one must balance a pot on their head and fend off an attack and such practice goes through lots of Pots), and since each follower of one of the Faiths is a follower of the others, contradictory or not, each Targiz is a master potter.

    Most importantly the Pots hold the Wine!


    ---

    Nal Dryb
    Land of the Grain

    Region 36

    Spoiler: Summary
    Show


    Region Name: Nal Dryb
    Brief Description: An ocean of wheat between the mountains and the sea.
    People: Humans living in small nomadic villages.
    Resource: Wheat
    Faith: Belief in the Reaper-Folk

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Geography - The lands of Nal Dryb, meaning Land of the Grain, are an ocean of wild wheat fields between the ocean and the mountains. Given that Kursaal has become a popular destination there is a well-trodden and wide path that bisects the region. A traveler down the road would just see a sea of wheat gently swaying in the breeze, the salt air and the earthy scent of the grain mixing in the air and making all travelers hungry. They might catch a sight of the land’s inhabitants but more than likely they would simply hear the skittering of wings or imagine they hear the laughing of children. They might look around in surprise and see nothing except those golden grains blowing in the wind and shake their head in bemusement as they continue on to the debauchment found in Kursaal or shake their head in shame from the memories leaving.

    There is almost nothing of consequence in the region other than the wheat fields except for the fact that the wheat fields seem unbroken except by one major and popular road. The road itself is made of mere dirt and is almost concave after being trodden by so many people, those said people have erected way stations up and along this road – some are no more than a wooden triangle, others are more elaborate stone structures. One could travel the road and could easily tell which people constructed which way station and as such decide whether to seek shelter there or to find friendly shelter further along their journey.

    There is, however, one notable and relatively new geographic feature and that is the great pyre. This is a large pile of charcoal and burnt wood that remains of the Deru leadership after their brief battle with the Savlo Revel. It resembles the leftovers of a large bonfire because it is one - but given the twisted faces of the trees it is also a graveyard and is treat with a mixture of fear and solemnity.

    Spoiler: People
    Show
    People - Nal Dryb appears empty to most travelers through its grain fields, but here and there are the Nal Loodi, meaning the people of the wheat. The Nal Loodi are short light skinned humans who live in a variety of simple huts in small villages throughout the region. These villages are nomadic and consist of no more than fifty individuals each; usually from only four or five families consisting of a Husband, his wives and their children – there are perhaps only eighty such villages throughout Nal Dryb. These Nal Loodi villages journey towards the center of the country during the summer months and journey outwards during the winter.

    The nomadic villages are simple, the Humans living in strict patriarchal units of Husband, his wives and his many children. Perhaps only forty persons consisting of three families per village and perhaps only a hundred such villages in the entire region. They are a small and humble people, who only want to live in the Golden Sea of Wheat and get along with the Reaper-Folk. These new travelers – they are a disturbance and make the Humans nervous. They are a parade of strange creatures or Humans in garish clothing and manner. The Nal Loodi are wary crossing the strange road now bisecting their land and rarely trade with the travelers.

    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Resource - Nal Dryb has a good resource of wheat. The Nal Loodi use the grain but they do not have the tools to really reap it or harvest it in much amount. They are largely nomads who live off the small animals that live in the grain and subside on bread made in pots that they have traded for.

    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    Faith – The humans of the Nal Dryb believe in the Goddess of the Grain and the Goddess of the Moon. The two sisters are the ones responsible for the rhythms of their lives. However, the sisters do not interfere in the lives of mortals, instead the Nal Loodi believe in a sort of Fae of the Wheat which depending on how the Nal Loodi act may provide them with boons or cause mischief. If they leave offerings outside their huts before going to bed then perhaps the Fae, the Reaper-Folk, would help with the days chores; and they tell their children not to run into the endless golden sea or else the Reaper-Folk would get them.

    However the clever traveler would think – there are not enough Nal Loodi to take care of the grain. Wheat isn’t a weed, it doesn’t grow in such abundance without some hand taking care of it and keeping the flowers of the Targiz and the other plants of Mamut from taking over the land; the Sea air can’t be good for the wheat? In fact why is there so much of it – who reaps it? The Nal Loodi are too few in number to manage such a load.

    And that is because the Nal Loodi are right. The Reaper-Folk are real.

    They are shy, small fleeting, Fae-like creatures of the grain. They flit between the beards and the stems of the wheat like flies and birds. They sleep in the wheat in place of kernels. If one is lucky enough to see one of these Fae they would see a small insectoid, six iridescent wings, two eyes that are cloudy and the color of Maize, two sharp scythes in place on their raptorial legs. They have the faces of youthful humanoid children, generic enough that they could be of any race, instead of the expressionless face of an insect and they are very often smiling in contentment. They fly and flee into the wheat they hear people approaching – their faces changing instantly to one of trembling fear or impotent anger. When left alone they make sure the wheat is protected from other insects and animals, weeding when needed, watering when needed, pruning when needed. To them they are the wheat and the wheat is them. However, some crimes against the grain warrant a proportional response, the blades on their hands gleaming in the noon sun, proving their sharpness with their clean cuts of the stalk.

    The kernel fae have no name for themselves but the few that have seem them call them the Reaper-Folk; the name not intended to be sinister but instead evoking their seeming only purpose – the reaping of the wheat. Despite being as small as a kernel of grain their scythes sharp enough to cut through the long stalks and stems and prune the golden sea.

    The Reaper-Folk do not have a real society to speak of; there are no family units, the locust-like fae merely live among the wheat, eat the wheat, take care of the wheat and play games in the wheat. The Reaper-Folk racing each other through the stalks, tumbling into each other and laughing – occasionally a skirmish leading to a fierce if small exchange of scythe upon scythe leading to a small death and a small victory; perhaps the right to a particular kernel?

    A traveler might only hear the soft sound of a bell during this clash – a sound that is quickly swept up by the wind. One may also be forgiven to think they are not sentient being even, but they are and they do have a language except that language sounds like the skittering of a grasshopper and the collision of a kernel with the ground, the soft prayer of their mantis-like scythes being sharpened.

    The Reaper-Folk are relatively rare, it is not uncommon for a Nal Loodi so only see one such Fae in their entire lives and such sight would be a tremendously important event for them. If a Nal Loodi can claim to have seen three Reaper-Folk in their lives they would be considered a great and important person during the annual meeting in the center of the Grain Sea.

    Holy-Site - If one could fly like a Hrabanian then one would see that the wheat has been harvested such that it flows in a grand spiral throughout the entirety of the region. The very center of that spiral does not appear to be any different than the rest of the wheat field, the center stalk is merely another stalk, but Reaper-Folk do seem to journey towards the center as they age – if age could be seen on their youthful faces and small insect bodies. No one has seen a Reaper-Folk born or die, so perhaps in the end they become the very grain kernels they imitate throughout their entire lives.

    The Humans of Nal Dryb also make the journey to the center of the Golden Ocean during the summer months and journey away from it during the winter months. When they come to the center all the various tribes meet again for the first time since last year and feast on bread and meat and leave many offerings to the Reaper-Folk and the Sister Goddesses, they finds husbands for their daughters and wives for their sons.
    Last edited by mystic1110; 2020-09-16 at 07:43 AM.

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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Creatures of Ancient Ways
    Tarandi Region 137 The Carrion Ward




    Spiritual Scavengers Awoken With Rage


    Spoiler: Leader
    Show

    Wounded-Vulture-That-Nests-In-Skystruck-Tree



    A wise Vulture of relatively young age, she was trapped inside a tree during a wildfire while she rested, and was spared only by the powerful clap of the realm above and a blinding bolt of power crashing down. The tree was split open, singed as black as the fields around it, and she has remained there ever since telling stories and helping her people.

    Diplomacy: 5
    Military: 5
    Opulence: 1
    Faith: 4
    Intrigue: 4


    Spoiler: Geography
    Show

    The Carrion Ward encompasses a swath of steppes with boring tunnels snaking hidden through rolling hills. Birch and poplar trees sporadically rise from the land like the grasping fingerbones of the world reaching for the realm above in its final moments of life. A vast plateau with blades of green mixed with amber grass rustle to the song of earth and wind to the south of the Carrion Ward. Forbs and low spiny brush become less prominent the further north one goes, either killed by climate or natural competitors for land. Fields of bright beautiful Taiga Poppy pock the land like the brushstrokes of an ancient artist. In the center of the Carrion Ward is the Gray Lake, so named for its near-constant fog and mist, and the crystal clear quality of the water therein showing the gray craggy rock and clay below. The bones of dead creatures long picked clean litter the landscape from the highest hill to the lowest ditch. Seasonal droughts are a known problem in the Carrion Ward typically around Summer, with brutal winters causing the grass to dry up and become more flammable, and exacerbating the issues with wildfires.


    Spoiler: """People"""
    Show

    The Scavengers are the beasts of the land. All the cretins of fire, spear, and two legs died long ago. Despite their bestial appearance identical to other animals of the land The Scavengers possess an intellect to rival any mortals (And self-purported wisdom in excess of those who wield such cursed things as fire) and the ability to speak their cursed tongues as easily as they growl, buzz, and preen. The Scavengers number a plethora of creatures. Maggots, Wasps, Beetles, Flies, Rats, Leopards, Hyenas, Lions, and Vultures all look to each other eye to eye as kin. Not bound in blood but in spirit, in the eternal cycle of life they know to be true, and self-evident in their dreams.

    The Scavengers claim no rulership over each other, though they still adhere to traditional pack structures among their own blood relatives, and instead operate in an anarchic community of mutual respect and shared spiritual wisdom. The Vultures are respected for their long lives, many past incarnations, and particularly powerful dreams but they hold no explicit sociopolitical power over even the freshest maggot birthed in a rotting cadaver. Only the respect and sought after wisdom of the ancient ways and years gone past. The Scavengers have been particularly acclimated to the climate of Tarandi and the local coloration of the steppe, plains, and sparse brush that smatters the Carrion Ward. Fur, chitin, and feather of mottled gray, white, black, and dark brown are evident throughout the many Scavengers as natural camouflage and they are coated heavily to survive the frigid environs of their home.

    The Hyenas, Lions, and Leopards populate the many caves that emerge from the steppe and craggy lands of the Carrion Ward. These dens are often shared by other Scavengers during the particularly harsh winter times. The insectoid Scavengers spend the most time in the Poppy Fields of the Carrion Ward, trading feverishly in dreams they have experienced under the mystic sway of those plants, and raptly absorbing the same experiences from their spiritual elders. Though they possess the gift of flight they do not wield it to the same extent as the Vultures of the land, whose high perch, wide wings, and keen eyes grant them a level of awareness both physical and metaphysical unmatched by their kin.

    Only the Vultures and the Maggots, the two ends of the spiritual journey of a Scavenger, are pure scavengers in their diet. Untainted by the troubles of the world in the former case and enlightened past those boundaries in the latter. All the other Scavengers in between partake in hunting or gathering to some extent and those Scavengers higher along the chain towards Vulturedom are the fittest for war and combat. Their souls hardened by many lifetimes of pain and conflict, with dreams of struggle, and restless nights of prowling beneath the new moon.

    When a new Scavenger is born they are often raised amongst their own flesh but are taught and aided by another Scavenger regardless of their physical form. Lions raising rats, Wasps tending to Maggots, and Vultures feeding Hyena pups are all frequent sights in the Carrion Ward. When the Scavengers march to war it is as a unified force of conglomerate animals. Swarms of rats gnawing from underneath, clouds of stinging insects descending from on high, and a proud pack of feral predators wading through the midst of smaller kin. The Vultures observe soaring above, skirmishing where needed, and acting as scouts or tacticians in the field of war.

    Scavengers do not have traditional surnames or given names and instead refer to each other with allegories that reflect an experience critical or well known to the individual scavenger in question. Such names tend to involve physical descriptors as well but tend to be dropped when in casual conversation or when the subject is clearly known to all. "Spotless-Leopard-Who-Cries-In-The-Field" or "Orange-Wasp-That-Dances-Under-Newmoon-Light" would be referred to as "Cries-In-The-Field" or "Dances-Under-Newmoon-Light" by their immediate kin or close companions.


    Spoiler: History
    Show

    Before we were asleep. Now we are awake.

    We have always existed. Since time immemorial. When the lowest of beasts stalked the brush and the gloom of the Unbroken Dream we have lurked in the shadows. Doing our duty. Feasting on the dead. The forgotten. The waste. In the eternal cycle of life we have done the necessary, grisly, horrid, and dangerous work to ensure that the end and the beginnings of life link properly. That the land and its children can continue in the face of death. The world in motion.

    Then the Rapture happened.

    Our greatest mystics and elders know not of the specifics of life before the Rapture, the Unbroken Dream, only that the world was right. We were simpler creatures then and our world has been fractured since. The beasts of two legs and greedy hearts broke the ancient contract. With the bringing of the False Dawn our world has been wounded. The most hopeless of our kind believe it can never be repaired. Many died in that dark time, many who could not be properly reclaimed, and the shame of such a grievous injustice weighs on us still. Though the two legs invoked the False Dawn during the Rapture, the world was ready, and we awoke.

    The water of the Gray Lake shone like it never did before and we supped from it and became aware of our new stature. Of our new duty. Many Scavengers were confused, during The Unbroken Dream we dreamt together. Now, we are alone. Hunger was heightened by knowledge, the guise of our flesh masking our inner bond, and like abandoned cubs we found each other staring back into our eyes. The tension of our anger was palpable and in our foolish youth we struck out.

    The Day of Red Flowers was bloody and wild.

    From then on Scavenger turned on Scavenger with fang, beak, and claw like never before. After that it took many years: for the awakening to settle, for us to come to grips with the truth of our world, and for us to acclimate ourselves to our duty. The Vultures were the first to see this through. They flew from pack to pack, squawking the wisdom of peace, and the virtue of our shared goals. Of our desire to see the world set right.

    A return to sleep.

    When the last Cave Lion saw the dream of a future with the cycle in perfect harmony we reconvened at The Gray Lake in the name of prosperity. For peace. Where we had needlessly butchered each other we raised our voices to the realm above and the bowels below and marked this ancient site in the eyes of Nature. Never again would violence befall another within a Vulture's sight of our ancient water. The life of the land would know peace in the Carrion Ward.

    We killed the two legs who festered nearby.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show

    The Ancient Way is a path followed by the Scavengers of the Carrion Ward. It is the understanding that all creatures in life serve a purpose, united together in a spiritual cause, and will one day be reunited if there is any hope for the natural order to be made whole. Like stones in one long winding river we are initially only capable of seeing each ourselves as individual entities but when viewed from a higher perspective the truth of our bond is made self-evident.

    The Ancient Way preaches harmony in the world, the joining together of imperfect parts to create a perfect entity, and that while conflict and bloodshed are inseparable parts of life these are ultimately concepts that can be transcended with tantric meditation and introspection. Specifically, the Scavengers believe that they are the spoke on the wheel of life that links the end and the beginning together. All creatures reincarnate, or so they believe, and dependent on their spiritual growth they manifest as new entities in the next life.

    It is the duty of the Scavenger to not only ensure that the physical remains of the dead pass on to the land by being consumed but that their spiritual essence is also kept in constant cycling until one day they may ascend to the next higher level of spiritual being. They do so by turning their feasting duty into ritual song and dance or oration of philosophical contemplations regarding the life of the deceased and how they got here. When the dead are found they are revered and desired in equal measure.

    The Scavengers believe that their particular cycle of reincarnation starts with Maggots. The freshest of souls who are beginning their spiritual journey of self-discovery and maturation. Their souls are pure and clean from the struggles and taint of the broken world as it is now and so they feast only upon the dead and do not hunt or kill for their food at all focusing purely upon their duty of scavenging. However, they are ill-equipped to properly interact or express their internal landscape to others or fully digest the meaning of the song and dance and story involved in the ritual consumption by the other Scavengers. So they are bound to the earth and isolated mostly to their own kind in writhing piles.

    When they mature and perish the next step on their journey is that of Wasps, Beetles, and Flies. They are still relatively neophytes in the understanding of poetic tantric meditation and the rituals of the Ancient Way but have begun to participate and with their participation, they now fly and interact more readily with the other Scavengers of their own accord. This spiritual development however comes with a loss of innocence and begins the cycle of violence and cultivation found in Scavengers going forward in the cycle. They are no longer blissfully unaware of the troubles of the world, the brutality of those who rage against the Ancient Way, and the heavy burden we are all born into to keep the world in motion. This weighs heavily on the soul and is why they lose their flight as they turn into Rats.

    The initial pain of this realization on the soul is enough to cause them to scurry, to flee to the bowels of the earth, and nurture themselves in the dark. They have become aware of the world as a whole but now must come to grips with what to do about it personally. Many Scavengers harden their hearts and choose to take up claw and fang in rage against the broken world before them. They are reborn as hunters full.

    Still Scavenging and participating in the process of shepherding the dead and the forgotten but also ushering in the living and defending what they see is right. More communal minded and codependent Scavengers, like those in past lives who were Wasps or Flies, tend to become Hyenas hunting in packs together and commiserating in their isolated despair in the sequestered caves they claim as home. Other more independent spirits become Leopards and Lions, either roaming the hills of their home in silent solo sacred sojourns or brooding in the labyrinthian caves they have carved out as their own "Ideal" world free from the horrors outside. This is the darkest and most isolated step in the spiritual journey. The burden of having to understand the process of how those who perish come to pass and the inevitable nature of conflict in the soul and the flesh of all who wander this physical realm.

    When a Scavenger can transcend this burden, freeing themselves from the eternal cycle of pain and unnecessary desire, they become a Vulture. Though Vultures are the most literally distant from the other Scavengers, flying far overhead, and roosting in trees far from others they see the world as it truly is. That the distance separating any Vulture from another is meaningless for they all fly in the same realm above and are united within it. They have returned to their origins, brutalized by countless past lives, and purely feast upon the dead as is right and proper.

    All creatures are believed to go through similar processes of spiritual rebirth and each one is unique to their particular role in the Ancient Way.

    The Ancient Way also considers lakes and ponds and other bodies of water as sacred sources. Violence is taboo near such watering holes, where instead they should be treated as neutral ground, and places for social gathering and celebration. The Gray Lake is a purified location in the eyes of the Scavengers, where any Scavenger may come to sup the water, speak of their dreams, gossip, and make merry in the company of their kin.

    Flowers, particularly the Taiga Poppy are considered to be important spiritual tools for dreaming and cultural heritage indicative of a time when they were not mentally awake and could do their duties without further work necessary to safeguard the process. Dreams are taken as wholly factual in the eyes of the Scavengers, who believe that dreams are the past lives of the individual Scavenger manifesting itself in their mind, and telling them something of themself when induced into a state where the physical and the spiritual are blurred closely together.

    Dreams are rarely so straightforward as just literally showing such moments from the perspective of the Scavenger in question and instead are always coached in metaphor, outlandish hyperbole, and muddled visuals. Dreams induced by the Taiga Poppy are more clearly vivid and lucid but still confusing and metaphorical. The discussion, debate, and recounting of dreams to other Scavengers is a favorite past time for all who follow The Ancient Way. Every year the Scavengers of the Carrion Ward gather at the Gray Lake to mourn the Day of Red Flowers, drink from the water of the Gray Lake, and celebrate their dreams of the past and the future.

    HC: The Gray Lake (The Ancient Way)

    Spoiler: The Story of Crow
    Show
    Long ago the creatures of the world lived in harmony. Beasts were born, lived, and died in a perfect balance of power and purpose. Then the Beasts of Two Legs grew hearts greedy and full of lust for power. They broke the bond of ancients and bent the land out of shape. Perverting the cycle into a tool for them to rest upon in slothful excess. This angered the beasts of the land who began to bandy together to rip the throats of their oppressors and set the world right.

    But when the swarms had converged and the predators had left their dens to march upon the Twisted Tyrants Crow betrayed them all. Crow hated the work and the toil of the cycle before and fawned after such privilege and so struck a deal to ascend at the right hand of perverse tyranny. Crow stole the Sun and blinded the Beasts, causing the army to go into disarray, and before Wise Vulture could reorganize the Animal Host to give chase to Crow they had already fled south with sun in tow.


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show

    Taiga Poppy grows in the steppe and around the Gray Lake of the Carrion Ward. These flowers bloom during the few months of waning spring coloring the land in a glorious wave of bright scenic views evocative of the sunset itself. These plants grow with hairy wafting stems up to two feet long that support lightly fragrant, large, papery, bowl-shaped flowers. The wafting of the winds often spreads pollen that is pleasing to the nose and to the eyes inducing a drowsy state in those creatures who spend too long near them or experience strong winds.

    The sleep brought upon by these flowers is often deep, powerful, and usually accompanied by vivid but confusing dreams. Most of these perennial flowers are white though yellow and orange are frequently seen growing as well. The rarest form of the Poppy is the Red Poppy, found normally a stone's throw from The Grey Lake, and is rumored to have gained its red coloration from the spilling of kindred Scavenger blood on the Day of Red Flowers.
    Great (Taiga Poppy)
    TP 1: CAW
    TP 2: Open
    TP 3: Open

    Required Resource: The Scavengers feast on the dead and the discarded waste of others. It is their duty to breakdown and process the end of life so that new life may grow from it and as such they require Corpses to stay satiated and whole.

    Starting Tech: Writing (Kagahara)
    The Scavengers practice a written language of scratch marks on bones and flower petal coloration to spy on others and record information to leave behind for other Scavengers. They do not use this system to tell stories or their culture as that is meant to be a living breathing oral tradition passed down from one Scavenger to another.


    Spoiler: The Ancient Ways
    Show
    Despite it’s organization in the past years The Ancient Ways are old and deeply personal. Cultural dispersion has led to regional differences in many practices and friction is inevitable when discussing such matters as each individual is ultimately a fixed point that must to some extent perceive such majestic matters through their limited vessel. This leads to impassioned differences in rituals and customs but these are the most common and recognizable of them.

    The Ancient Ways is a set of paths followed by the Thi'Skaids (Devoted Followers) and various polities in Tarandi. It is the understanding that all creatures in life serve a purpose, united together in a spiritual cause, and will one day be reunited if there is any hope for the natural order to be made whole. Like stones in one long winding river we are initially only capable of seeing ourselves as individual entities but when viewed from a higher perspective the truth of our bond is made self-evident in the swirling maelstrom of life.

    The Ancient Way preaches harmony in the world, the joining together of imperfect parts to create a perfect entity, and that while conflict and bloodshed are inseparable parts of life these are ultimately concepts that can be transcended with tantric meditation and introspection. The ending of things is sacred, be it the felling of a dying tree, the drying of a lake, and even the taking of life. All creatures play a part in this grand process of creation, transformation, death, and back again.

    All things must end and to attempt to circumnavigate this is the greatest taboo. The Scavengers are the spoke on the wheel of life that links the end and the beginning together. In time it has been seen and recognized by even the most ornery of Vultures that the Two-Legs are responsible for the linking of creation. They are skilled in the process of propagating life, sheltering the living, and recording the imperceptible vastness of chaos that is the world. Though they use tools it is always encouraged and desired that such tools be salvaged, scavenged, and repurposed instead of needlessly taken from the world out of its proper time. All creatures reincarnate, or so they believe, and dependent on their spiritual growth they manifest as new entities in the next life.

    The Way of Death is followed predominately by the Scavengers. One of the oldest and bloodiest of the Ancient Ways, it is the duty of the Scavenger to not only ensure that the physical remains of the dead pass on to the land by being consumed but that their spiritual essence is also kept in constant cycling until one day they may ascend to the next higher level of spiritual being. They do so by turning their feasting duty into ritual song and dance or oration of philosophical contemplations regarding the life of the deceased and how they got here. When the dead are found they are revered and desired in equal measure. Some Two-Legs also follow the Way of Death, feasting on the flesh of their kin, and performing bloody rituals in honor of the ending of things. They see in their dreams glimmers of past lives as a Scavengers and take it upon themselves to rekindle their connection with their past self. These particular Thi'Skaids are given mixed acceptance by the Scavengers of the Carrion Ward. (More Detail on the Way of Death in Region Writeup 137 Carrion Ward).

    The Way of Song is popular in the reaches of Sangar. Where those who follow the Way of Death perform some small measure of musical rites in the processes of their holy service for these Thi'Skaids the music is the process. Every soul has a song and the world is rife with such a cavalcade of intonations the gravity of which is cosmic in scale. The wind, sacred as it is, carries forth notes from the throat of the world imperceptible to one mortal. But together a tapestry can be formed through which a greater understanding of the madness and discord inherent to our world can be attained. The song of a rock is retained so that the broken bones of the world can be remembered, traced like the scars of a wound, and recounted in the claiming of caves or the omens of landslides. Its strength can be examined detached from its physical form, the Thi'Skaid granting the empty stone a measure of their own soul, and in so exemplifying it carrying the wisdom far away for the whole community to bear witness and grow from. The Way of Song is carried by souls who wish to attain self harmony in a world rife with dissonance and chaos. Those reborn in pursuit of it are particularly inspired during their lives, creating new songs unheard of in their lives, and carrying a tune transcending lives.

    The Way of Simrah is the most obfuscated and strangest path of the Ancient Ways. The world is made of physical parts, an undeniable truth of life, and these physical parts are all pieces in a grander soup we are stewing in. Such primal forces as fire, water, earth, and air flow through and around us with a frightful purpose that ignoring is untenable. Some may find it odd then that such holy minded folks would focus on the spirit, the mind, the void of mortality wherein creativity and sentience spring forth. On Simrah. Views of past lives are evident for all who follow The Ancient Way and beyond, these glimpses into mystical cracks of the mortal frame are revelatory, and to drink deeply of this font of wisdom is a cathartic transcendent experience many devote themselves to after their first taste. Discussing, processing, and explaining one's vision of the past is integral to the Way of Simrah. Be it in vivid dream or languid trance those folk who travel the Way of Simrah are simultaneously more detached from the immediate world and yet integrated into their own self being. Seized by the providence of one day becoming a channel in the great river of the soul of nature and all life. One can learn cloistered secrets from listening to the echoes of one's past. Dire portents of the future and hard earned lessons on the brutality and anagnorisis of life. Many who follow the Way of Simrah keep some record of their dreams or trances in the hopes of connecting the ephemeral dots of insight presented to them and cross comparing them with other followers to chart the mysteries and wonders of the past. It is whispered that many who roll through such a mystical path are reborn as the distant Shan.

    The Way of Thought on the other hand is more grounded in physical practices and the observable world. Tantric practices of ritual burning of vegetation to rejuvenate the land, mind focusing to clear one’s thoughts wholly save one topic, mantras on the mysteries and components of the world, and the dissolution of the self in practiced set of yoga ending in the manifestation of the self in union with the cosmic mystery to be understood and contemplated. All material things are to be regarded in this way by these ascetics, who attempt to reach greater understanding of the land by analyzing, secluding, and then reintegrating objects and truths into a cathartic purifying process of self evaluation. Pieces of knowledge are burned in sacred group rituals to invoke the wisdom of the world contained within, mantras recited during the burning by initiates or onlookers, and the Thi’Skaids involved must vigorously disseminate all the knowledge they have on the matter with no consideration to the self or environment until the fire dies or a revelation is reached. Grand feasts are held with the inclusion of powerful substances in the process of engaging all of the senses to perceive the world in a wider scope. Those who follow the Way of Thought are most likely to have a Teacher, who will often officiate a Soul Bonding for them, and dispense upon them all of their wisdom in the hopes of tying the truths held within the immortal mind over lifetimes. This process is known as Initiation and can take a lifetime. The greatest of these teachers is known as Fraheeito and many look to the Thought King as a font of such ritual yogic practices (And whisper that he himself might have been Fraheeito in the past).

    The Ancient Ways also considers lakes and ponds and other bodies of fresh water as sacred sources. Violence is taboo near such watering holes, where instead they should be treated as neutral ground, and places for social gathering and celebration. The Gray Lake is a purified location in the eyes of the Thi’Skaid’s, where any may come to sup the water, speak of their dreams, gossip, and make merry in the company of their kin.

    Flowers, particularly the Taiga Poppy are considered to be important spiritual tools for dreaming and cultural heritage indicative of a time when the world was simple and as one unbroken dream. Dreams are taken as wholly factual in the eyes of the Thi’Skaid, who believe that dreams are the past lives of the individual manifesting itself in their mind, and telling them something of themself when induced into a state where the physical and the spiritual are blurred closely together.

    Dreams are rarely so straightforward as just literally showing such moments from the perspective of the individual in question and instead are always coached in metaphor, outlandish hyperbole, and muddled visuals. Dreams induced by the Taiga Poppy are more clearly vivid and lucid but still confusing and metaphorical. Every year the Scavengers of the Carrion Ward gather at the Gray Lake to mourn the Day of Red Flowers, drink from the water of the Gray Lake, and celebrate their dreams of the past and the future.

    3 is considered a sacred number among The Ancient Ways for it is symbolic of the natural cycle. Birth, Life, and Death. Often such rituals are taken in account with the number used to determine how many or how frequently a mantra is spoken, how many offerings are given, and how many participants are involved.

    Earth is of the flesh. It’s prone to fracture and breaking like bone and when it mends together there are things like mountains mended stronger from trauma and chaos. Earth is the hardest of the components to feel. For it is long and deep and does not give its dangerous secrets until the very last moments when bursting forth. It is bound by the universal chaos and swirling eternal cycle of life, a harness of the substantial for the metaphysical process, and thus is like the framework of the path; Slowly moving along but bound in form. It is long lasting but even it shall die and crumble to dust and provide new life taken by the green of the world which in turn passes on to others. This is distinct from Metal. Metal is in absence of the cycle, it is a perversion of Earth, and it does not die and propagate new life like all things should. Like the Blight it is cold and unfeeling, dead yet undying, and its use is ultimately always self serving. Such tools are not used in holy ritual.

    The Ancient Ways believes in no Gods. The world was not made, it simply was. And it shall continue to be long after we have all perished and our minds have sublimated once more into the Unbroken Dream. When a Scavenger or Death Thi’Skaid has not performed the proper rites in their position as psychopomp of the natural order the soul within may become adrift and sucked into the maelstrom of chaos that permeates all life. This can cause strange occurrences, wandering spirits, supernatural occurrences, and some even whisper the Blight itself. Many things attributed to Gods or “Nature Spirits” are simply believed to be those poor mortals whose beings have been stretched and diluted so hard that they have lost all connection to their past and are locked into a single broken caricature.

    Indeed the existence of such rampant chaos and the Blight are all the evidence followers of The Ancient Ways need to dismiss such foolish notions as some invisible entity in the sky coordinating the strands of fate and mortals. If this is all part of some sentient plan they are giving a dismal performance. Certainly some beings are more powerful than others, particularly when they are locked in the cycle, and begin to break and disrupt the world around them. But a warrior skilled in violence is deserving of no more worship than a particularly heavy boulder rolling down a hill and crushing a village.

    When the end of one’s life is upon them ritual yogic suicide is a common practice. The next incarnation is often dreamed of or focused on during such a dark time and it is said that those particularly wise and learned in the ancient secrets can prematurely determine where they will manifest in the last moments of life if the ritual is performed correctly. The manner of such suicide changes culturally, from the The Departing of the Shan to the grisly feasts of the Scavengers, and yet they all retain a level of solemn grace and reverence for those involved. It is a practice rarely studied for it can only be performed once a lifetime and thus a community tends to have a dedicated performer for the ritual if they have it at all.


    Region 138 The Bloody Hills


    Spoiler: Region 138 "The Bloody Hills" Overview
    Show

    Region Number 138
    Owner: Creatures of Ancient Ways (CAW via Raced-The-Sun)
    Resource (Great) Cranberries
    TP 1: Open
    TP 2: Open
    TP 3: Open
    Holy Center: The Ancient Ways


    Spoiler: Terrain
    Show

    Similar to the Carrion Ward the Bloody Hills are vast roiling steepe pocked with the occasional small forest or fresh water stream flowing through the land towards the Grey Lake. But the plateau land is highly irregular, bumpy hills stretching in clustered mounds as far as the eye can see, and swept with harsh grass, and patches of arid waste. The climate is highly temperamental, with intense blizzards that leave long periods of drought or famine, referred to by the locals as "Zhuts", and wildfires or intense winds during the summer months. A small stretch of forest separates the lands of the Carrion Ward and the Bloody Hills with a natural border. This "No-Man's Woods" is rumored to be haunted and is the sight of many a discarded and picked clean corpse. The most heavily populated part of the region is the most arable and reliably fertile valley in the cross section of interwoven steep hills covered from near top to bottom in cranberries, roses, and a variety of other flowers fed by an intersection of two rivers through their valley. In old days it was equally referred to as The Rosy Cross and The Bloody Hills for its evocative crimson coloration, intersecting naturalistic pattern, and the inescapable bouts of violence involved when men are greedy and selfish enough to desire such things. The ever green hills are sheltered from most of the worst zhutz. Of particular note is the valley Orkhda only a few days march from the Bloody Hills, pocked with caves along its stony face, and curving in a semicircular pattern towards the Bloody Hills.


    Spoiler: People and Government
    Show

    "Long ago we were one, now we are many.

    In ages past we were but one of many people, spread far from this cursed land, and then the Sky Scarring came. Our cousins and kin from afar went silent, the land grew harsh, the world bled, and we with it. The forests are not safe, child. Beasts roam those lands. And they take with them a final price. The spirits of them who pass from this world to the next look afoul those who travel too far and their cries cling to you long after you leave if ever. Our kind ruled the Rosy Cross since as far back as when the sky was first blooded and with each passing season more and more people came running through those cursed woods, slipping past our fingers, and spreading as best they could beyond the safety of Our Hills. Some integrated into our tribe, others wilted beneath the zhutz harsh gaze, behexed by their passage through No-Man's Woods, and some made meager lives in the Orkhda and beyond but all pay tribute to the Bloody Hills. We are all similar people, Men of true blood, and though time or distance has rendered us different in many ways we are the same. Our skin, hair, and eyes may vary wildly between tribes, but in all of us beats a warriors heart, and the spark of Man to live. To conquer. The land has long defined us, imposed upon us, and corralled us. Now it makes one final demand of us as a new wave of life bursts forth from the dread forests. But these are not the disparate kin of families long seperated now reunited from destruction and terror. No this is the land's will made manifest. A plague, a Zhutz, unlike any other, and the greatest of them all. The great bears of the land, towering over man with snouts short and fierce, now command with the tongue of Man, and with it they have taken the Orkhda Valley and its many caves. The sparkling wings in the bearberry fields are spies and madmen all. Chittering incessant voices and shifting sights from unseen hands. But worst of all in burrows near or tree branches far, on craggy hilltop or sunken valley low, and most fiercely in that cursed wood are the Beast of Day and Night. Those small folk with beady dark eyes and striped fur. They are ruthless killers all, stalking together beneath the cover of night, and some wield dark war magics that bubble forth frothing from the mouth. These "Woken" are a threat to our way of life and our kind."

    - Jaholo, Former Chief of the Bloody Hills, now since deposed and replaced in partnership with the Bloody King Raced-The-Sun and his Mourn Queen Jahoon


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show

    The Bloody Hills are often called so because they run thick with the blood of warring tribes of man but in truth they are known as such originally for the vast swathes of Cranberries that grow on these hills and the surrounding land. Mixed in with other flowers and short plant life that easily recovers from the harsh winters or sudden wildfires they are a constant source of jam, dye, and ingredient for alcoholic beverages. The harvesting of these berries is a ripe industry propagated both by the human thralls employed by the Woken King "Raced-The-Sun" but also by several of the Cave Bears, Butterflies, and Raccoons of the surrounding less arable land.
    TP 1: OPEN
    TP 2: OPEN
    TP 3: OPEN


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show

    Holy Site: The Bloody Hills are the cultural and religious heart of the land. Many of the humans that populate the region travel to the cluster of hills to work the fields, pay tribute, and otherwise seek a life in the otherwise unforgiving plataue beyond. From its heart the Vulture "Raced-The-Sun" preaches The Ancient Ways, though his sermons on the nature of reality, the fickle state of the physical, and the necessity of death in cycling forth new reinvigorated life endlessly would to a laymen seem nearly identical to that of the Carrion Ward. In truth his teachings are a heresy of the Way of Death, with himself position as the final arbiter of death, and his interpretations the sole acceptable dogma of the official "civilized" barbarians who roam the land. Where the Bloody Rivers intersect at the lowest point of the valley between the Bloody Hills is considered a most sacred site, and many rituals are performed upon this land. Beyond the sight of the Bloody King's reign though are many simple stone shrines in the caves of Orkhda tended to by the Cave Bear Thi'Skaids or by the Woken who lair within No-Man's Woods.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Tychris1's Avatar

    Join Date
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Who would ever need another post for lands
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    bc56's Avatar

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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Veramondo
    Region 218


    A jungle kingdom dedicated to giving thanks to each other and to the land.

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Veramondo is a land of lush, colorful jungles, heavy rains, and lots of insects. In the center of the land is the capital town of Moro Karem, a hub for the trails that wind through the jungle to other, smaller villages. At the center of Moro Karem is the chief's home, surrounded by the homes of wealthy citizens and landowners. These homes are made from wood, and are surrounded by a crude palisade of logs to keep the animals (and poor people) out. Around the outside of the wall are the houses of the commoners, grass and occasionally wooden huts where they live and work. In the northeast of the region lies the great holy spring of Lumo Taher, center of the region's faith, surrounded by the huts of the priestly caste and their servants. The southern part of the region thins to grasslands, and it is here that most of the food is grown, save for the staple cacao trees, which are grown further north, in the jungles.


    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The Veramondi are human, dark of skin and hair. They are said to be an eternally grateful people, with deep and complex rituals surrounding the giving of thanks to one another for various gifts. Another core part of their culture is religious and philosophical debate, especially among the priestly caste. It is common to have such a discussion over a cup of cocoa. All social interactions are seen as an exchange of gifts and thanks, no matter how routine or simple. For example, both customer and merchant are expected to thank each other after an arrangement is made. Two friends who have a conversation are supposed to thank each other, and after a real fight, the participants thank each other for giving their all. In Veramondo, social duties are decided based on wealth, especially land ownership. The commoners are expected to serve nobles without much recompense as a form of thanks for the gift of leadership. Taking criminals or prisoners of war as slaves is commonplace, and considered a gift of mercy from harsher punishment. One rite of passage for young warriors is to hunt, kill, and eat a powerful jungle predator. This is believed to bring the life of the predator into them and give them greater strength as a warrior. Marriage customs are fairly simple. A wife is given to a man as a gift. In exchange, he's expected to give an equally valuable gift to her parents, or, more often, to work for them for a time, traditionally 3 years.


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Veramondo is rich in edible fruits and mushrooms, but none is so widely grown as cacao. Cacao beans are sometimes eaten raw, but more often they are ground into paste and mixed with water and spices into a drink which has become central to the spiritual life of the Veramondi people. On the other hand, stone with which to build more permanent structures is lacking. The Veramondi need more such materials.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The Veramondi follow what is called the Way of Green. What started as a manner of giving thanks to the land for providing its bounty has grown into a religion in its own right, worshipping the land itself as the great provider. The Way of Green places emphasis on thankfulness and generosity. Adherents believe in maintaining the natural order of things, and in the three "Gives": Give Thanks, Give Well, and eventually, Give Back. These represent the cycle of birth, parenthood, and death, which is considered the most natural process of all, found in all living things. They also believe in a flow of lifeforce through the world. Life is stored in the land. The plants draw life out of the land, then animals eat the plants and so on. When something is eaten, the creature that ate it inherits the life that was in it. When something has children, each child receives a portion of the life their parent had. Lastly, when something dies and is not eaten, its life is eventually reclaimed by the land. As a result, there is a constant amount of life in the world, which is passed from prey to predator and from mother to child.


    Spoiler: Starting Tech
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    Writing
    Where other tribes have developed more immediately practical advantages, the Veramondi created a complex system by which they keep ledgers, record decrees,, and keep their traditions. A carved piece of bark or wood has a much longer memory than a man, and stones, whose memories are even longer, are used for the greatest of writings. The Veramondi logography uses individual characters to represent different words, combining them with each other in a manner similar to a rebus to express more complex ideas.


    Spoiler: Ruler
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    King Oram Hadev II
    Diplomacy: 3
    Military: 4
    Opulence: 5
    Faith: 5
    Intrigue: 2
    Rolls
    Awesome avatar (Kothar, paladin of Tlacua) by Linkele!

    Quote Originally Posted by William Shakespeare, King Lear, IV.i.46
    'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead the blind.
    My Nexus characters

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    Apr 2010

    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Faction Title: Nocturnal Hydra; Mainland Regions


    Spoiler: Full Size Flag
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    Spoiler: Region Start; Sikan, 280, Alskan (and resources)
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    Region Start Sikar, 280
    Alskan

    Geography: Dirt. Dry dirt. People call it sand, and it’s everywhere. Why did we come here? This is the worst possible place to be. Sure, we’ve got our water and our bulls are nice and strong, but holy hell does this place suck lion wang. Yet another day where I regret every decision I’ve ever made that has led my life to this point.

    The hills are high, the valleys are low, and everything in between is on a slope. Meaning when you make your bed it’s always scorching hot, standing sideways, or in the dens where the beasts lie.

    At least the wildlife is useful for keeping other people away. We typically deal with it by not being out and about during Peak Prowling Hours. Of course, going into the valleys at the dead of night means your nipples turn into ice sculptures and it’s a damn wonder how they don’t break off.

    I hate everything about this place except the oasis, which has for some holy reason been declared “The Drinky Hole”. I’m gonna find a reason to rename that, but I spent my political capital on practical crap like the rescheduling.

    So yeah, in short. Great tourism scene, five stars. Come by and check out all the trade and attractions. Just don’t move in cause once the honeymoon novelty wears off you’ll learn to despise it the same way I do.

    Zora Soulsilver, on the majesty of Alskan, circa three days ago.


    People: Night Elves
    Trade Posts: Drinky Hole (Great)
    To-Be-Filled
    To-Be-Filled

    Resource: Flavored Water
    The people of Alskan hold access to the coveted Drinky Hole. Before they snuck into the oasis during the dark, but now they hold claim full-time and outright. Which is slightly difficult as it means fending off those that would take things, but the wild animals, while ferocious, don't actually need to be fended off because they generally aren't making deliberate attempts to damage infrastructure as long as they have some access to everything.

    In truth, the water does more. It tastes really good, and induces magical visions onto any that partake. It can be filtered down into natural water, but otherwise glitters in both sun and empty moon alike. Shamans used this to foretell the future and divine what their animistic deities wanted and would give in return. Also handy as a light source if you absolutely need one, but most nights the dim moonlight is better anyway.

    Disclaimer: Drink in small doses, anybody taking one goblet will be taken out of this world, anybody taking two may not make it back.

    
Resource Dependence: Food
    While water is readily available (to the point where it even get used in technology), food is not. It’s hard to raise up grass grazing mammals in a barren desert, and the rest of agriculture suffers as well. The situation only grew dire recently, as settling down to guard the oasis limited their ability to forage like vagabonds. Elves don't need much, but they need something.

    Once problem for another, as it always seems to be.

    Starting Technology: Irrigation

    Spoiler: Starting Leader: Zora Soulsilver Stats done
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    Military: 5
    Diplomacy: 5
    Opulence: 3
    Faith: 1
    Intrigue: 1


    Spoiler: Religion (might flesh out more)
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    Animistic, believe in spirits living as gods, but not a very strong belief in that system. A combination of their newest unification coming from a pronounced rejection of all these beliefs, and the fact that no actual magic has graced their hands for over a century, it leads almost to a resentment against that religion. If people were given a sign these things were true however, they could still be very easily convinced. A large group of people still believe in their ways of the past, they just recognize that something went Terribly Wrong, and just want to rebuild what was once lost (as so many things were, before the False Dawn).


    Spoiler: People/History:
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    Night Elves. Violet in hue, nocturnal in nature. A relatively small band consisting of a mere thousand. Vastly outnumbered and outmuscled by the surroundings, their biggest advantage lied in the complete lack of a circadian rhythm.

    What was once a malignant defect, causing sleep problems and heavy disco ordination, under desperate circumstances and a unified leader caused them to genuinely shift their entire society to live by moonlight. It didn’t hurt that elven eyes were well suited for the transition.

    Traveling in packs to hunt prey at exactly the point where it wore out the most allowed them to kidnap young Hydra Worms (unlike Lions which travel in late packs, Hydra Worms are bigger but more solitary creatures). Once tamed, they are given armor and proclaimed Bulls, and each one gets a military unit formed around it for large scale battle.

    These creatures start off as small as little tapeworms in size, but they grow, and grow, and grow. Five feet long, then five feet in diameter. Their biggest problem is the fact that they literally cannot stop growing, and eventually starve themselves to death, and are suspected by commonfolk to be blightspawn for this reason despite not sharing many of the other typical characteristics. It's unknown what the true maximum size for them is, there's yet to be a year with one held in captivity that hasn't resulted in it ballooning up at least twofold.


    Spoiler: Governance, Societal Structure, and Zora Soulsilver
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    Before current day, the Night elves were organized into different factions, each pledging allegiance to a specific animistic god and using a combination of omens and games to decide the outcomes of quarrels. A sort of sectarian theocracy, based on utilizing the little magic they had left after the False Dawn.

    And then Soulsilver showed up.

    It turned out that all of the rituals used to divine their fate had long since lost any real power and were no better than random chance. Zora knew the actual laws of the world though, and could manipulate the results to her favor. Despite not being part of any of the factions, she challenged them all and caused a rapid delegitimization.

    Naturally the religious upper caste of the Night Elves did not take kindly to this, and attempt to have her executed on the spot. But their support base was shaken, and Zora had a military force of her own. Soon enough, she established dominion over the entire clan of Night Elves. Setting up a council and a vague hierarchy of government where everything was flipped upside down, with her at the top.

    Currently their governmental structure is still very tribal and basic, and after such an upheaval (and making sure to codify laws such that her position can't be as laughably challenged as her predecessors) much of their small society is still writing up their laws.

    But it is declared the Nocturnal Hydra, symbolizing a beast represented by none of the animistic spirits, but a new one of their own taming, and their new cultural mode of operation which despite only having been in place for a very short amount of time has lent itself to enough flourishing success that it's already become a favored and potentially permanent part of their culture.


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    Spoiler: 289 Land Of Thanks TL;DR
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    (Named after Zora thanked the not-gods that this place was so much more hospitable than the native region she ruled)
    Geography: Wide Open Range
    People: Elves and Humans
    Resource: Wild Horses (Great)
    Required Resource: Construction Supplies
    Faith: The Wandering Sun


    Spoiler: 289 Land Of Thanks TL;DR
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    (Named after Zora thanked the not-gods that this place was so much more hospitable than the native region she ruled)
    Geography: Wide Open Range
    People: Elves and Humans
    Resource: Wild Horses
    Required Resource: Construction Supplies
    Faith: The Wandering Sun


    Spoiler: 289 Land Of Thanks History/In-Depth:
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    The region was conquered in 206 AFD, added to the growing HYD empire. Before this point there were just a few travelers within the region and a couple tribes of man-horses. But then one of those rare peoples murdered Sonyae Soulsilver, the young child who had been being raised to take over the empire once Zora’s reign had reached the end of its long night. She instead ordered a march and purge of the lands in retribution, claiming them as her own.

    

The native menhorses rode off into the sunrise, never to be seen again (as of turn 3).

    Now it has begun being settled by people of the Night Elf tribes, with some of Alondite ethnicity brought over from the people of their allies slowly coming in to occasionally live and intermarry their own. Even human allies, some of them have night vision and are quite compatible. Of note, Noiame, a high ranking power within the empire, brought along her newly wedded husband to settle down in the region. Both to search for more little beasties to tame, as well as to defend it against potential invaders from further unexplored zones.

    This land is very hospitable, green grass grows for grazing goodness, it’s flat and the weather is nice. Zora stayed an extra week due to how peaceful it was compared to the bumpy extreme heat-cold atmosphere of Alaskan weather. Of course, grass does not a fortress make, the menhorse and the wild horses both did not make do with any kind of housing structure, not even so much as a tarp on a tree. Speaking of trees, there aren’t too many of those around on these plains, so it’s not like those could make for good supplies either.

    The faith of the area is the Wandering Sun. As its name suggests, those that believe it are eternal wanderers, primarily composed of menhorses who seem to not have actually left the Land of Thanks (it’s a wide range and hardly like you can keep cost effective patrol of it that well). Not too many humans or elves are as of yet convinced of this new religion despite it outwardly holding no grudge for uprooting the menhorse and forcing them to migrate so they could plop their own civilization down in its stead.

    Also despite there still (for now) being a mandate keeping members of The Wandering Sun out of elven dominated landscapes specifically, being primarily laid to blame for said murder. “One must always put one hoof in front of the other, that which compels a gallop should coax a whinny.”


    Spoiler: The Future City Of Mt Soulsilver
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    These plains won't be a plains forever. One day, it's planned that within this perfect region will be a walled off area. Scoring high, two, three, maybe even four stories high. All in rows, like a mountain of buildings and architecture. The Night Elves, as a shamanistic vagabond people have never attempted something so grand, and neither have the natives, either humans or menhorses that surround and make up their military and citizenry.

    The surrounding fields will be for the horses. Within the inner walls at ground level will be the city and its people. Within those will be a slew of buildings for shelter, two and sometimes three stories high. And finally at the center of it all, a castle to soar upwards. From which you can see all of the Land Of Thanks.

    Of course, this mountain of a city is but a pipe dream in the minds of Zora and Noimae, but with all their new power and allies it could very well become a reality. Maybe even become the trading center of the empire. It will take a lot of construction to make it work though, and as of yet those are scarce.

    Yet everyone is excited to be at the ground level and the first citizens of something grand, and the transformation of this land into a central hub worthy of Thanks is the gossip on the lips of all those nearby. Even if it is known to be a decade out from reality.


    Spoiler: The Sun Wanders Towards The Moon
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    Not all the men horses beholden to The Wandering Sun are okay with being chased out, a lot of them stay within borders. Wandering back inwards to their homelands, and while the Night Elves have a dictum to keep them at bay and chase them out, Men Horses are faster on foot than *mounted* Night Elves. Or at least, their speed is comparable but they can turn on a dime which makes capture incredibly difficult.

    Plus, other citizenry don't mind their presence. The men horses are primarily a peaceful people, often fetching food and making efforts to befriend the populace. Even befriending some Night Elf soldiers. Insert anime episode here where the vigilante befriends the officer trying to capture him. All this results with the faith of the Wandering Sun gaining some popularity and the men more. Pretty soon that petition for safety allows the menhorses to coexist within the bounds of the city, even if ultimate control is still within the hands of the HYD empire.

    Also, an adventurous couple composed of one manhorse and one officer abandoning the HYD nation becomes the first couple to be wed between these two races officially. They're a fantastic duo who seem to go by a different title wherever they go, and cause ruckus for the newfound kingdom. Rumors say they even rode in and messed up peace negotiations to assimilate other lands into the Night Elfenpire, and who knows where they'll show up next.


    Spoiler: Wild Horses
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    The horses here are untamed, but vary widely in quality and in kind. Almost like a new breed sprouts out from the earth to meet particular demands of specific people, it is said that their coloration, size, and specialties often correlate to those of chosen finders. To the point where the HYD have made a tradition out of sending distinguished warriors in to 'find their gift horse'.

    Even people that immigrate inlands to see the soon-to-be city from other nearby regions of different sizes like the Uzii, Orca, and Goliaths find horses here, although horses are not as useful in all regions as they are in these open plains basically built for horse riding. Actual races around the circumference of the preliminary territory of Mt Silver has become a tradition and a way for duels to contest and compare. Specifically, both riders would start out going opposite directions around the circle and whoever made it to the other side first won. Which on one occasion lead to an actual joust collision right atop the finish line, which was a treat for the audience.


    Spoiler: Horse and Manhorse Description
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    The horses of the region are based primarily on Przewalski horse. Stocky and cute, most.

    Manhorse are essentially centaurs, bulky like the native horses of the region, but even in their human halves they tend to lean towards stocky builds for their bodies. Which in part helps them deal with the turbulence of their horse bodies swinging them all about. It would almost be better to call them dwarf-horses in terms of how their humanoid half appears, if it weren't for the fact that they aren't small like mountain dwarves are at all.



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    Spoiler: The Orcan Coastal Territories (281)
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    Geography: Pond-Splattered
    People:
    Upper Caste: Orca, Night Elves
    Lower Caste: Uzii, Goliaths
    Resource: Maize (Good)
    Faith: Brotherhood of the Immortal Heart


    Spoiler: Land Dweller Caste System
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    The primary denizens, workers of the fields, maintainers of the lands are the Uzii and the Goliaths. Far more former than later, but both are in a similar status of society. Within the upper rungs such as the merchantille and royal systems are the Night Elves, who primarily maintain their grip on this society via their dealings with the Orca.

    The Orca form the warrior caste, helping establish dominance and maintaining a monopoly on the violence and weapons. Night elves in turn grant them access to trade upon the shores and relations with far off lands. They do feel slightly like they’re getting a raw cut of the deal, which is why it turned out that they overthrew the night elf royalty and married one of their denizens to the top.

    It’s all the same for those lower down the rung though, as this marriage and reins taking of the government was with the aid of the Nocturnal Hydra, a Night Elf dominated group who send Wyelde to worm her way inside and create some ties to royalty. They were all fake of course, but it was pretense enough to diplomatically bring the region into the fold.

    So basically, new boss, same as the old boss. The old royalty didn’t even get that bad of a deal, mostly maintaining a powerful role in society and being welcomed into the upper caste of the HYD empire. The literal royal family was excised, with Wyelde and an Orca King (named Orcus) on the throne now instead.

    Also on the bottom rung of the society are the pack animals, like giant lions, trolls, and workhorses. Nobody thinks of these animals as sapient, or even has reason to consider them as such.

    The new caste system within the region now is
    Zora Soulsilver (above the rest, owning the nation)
    High King Orcus
    Noble Night Elves + Warrior Orca
    Night Elf Citizens + Orca + Uzii + Goliath
    Workhorses, Trolls, Goats


    Spoiler: The Orca of Region 281
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    The Orca being a group of whale/humanoids primarily residing off shore, and more recently within in-shore lakes. Alliances and relation to actual whales and sea folk and possessing a purely carnivorous diet. At least amongst elites, the lesser lucky folk can eat corn and greens but it isn’t very nourishing to them. High warriors heroes often keep a personal troll as a producer of fine meat.

    Despite this attitude and their average size of about seven and a half foot, they still serve as a halfway point between shark and … human? Elf? Orc? Hard to say. Skin color is very variable and often dependent on parentage than anything, purple’s a new one that’s shown up recently due to their connection with the night elf lineage.

    Primarily wielding primitive sledge axes while on land to take advantage of their high muscles, and thrusting spears while in the water to help lance into enemies when swimming at high speeds (primarily useful for hunting, though the nets are often more practical there). Their lance proficiencies are further improved as they get introduced to the Axotol weaponry of the Nocturnal Hydra coming in from the west, and it is much appreciated.

    Not all the Orca are menacing monsters, however. In fact a majority of them are relatively peaceful. They just have a reputation of being bloodthirsty mercenary marauders establishing a throttlehold on the kingdom because it is their Warrior Caste that primarily comes inland, but even that is changing with full integration of Orca into the region. It’s the smaller lads and lassies (which can be as diminutive as 4 foot six in some cases) which take up the role as OooOoers.

    The role of OooOoer, specifically, is meant to understand and speak to the other aquatic life. They read the currents and tides, pray to the stars, and have the Obsidian Whale as kin. This specific black whale has been with them for generations, longer than any of their living memory (which admittedly isn’t that long as their lifespan tends to be about forty five years at most), and forms the The Immortal Heart backbone to their cultural religion.



    Spoiler: Geography
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    Best described as “If bob ross made a bunch of happy little accidents across the canvas, but then the trees spontaneously combusted into lakes and ponds.“

    Nature went wild in this region. In stark contrast to the deserts of the east, everything here is wet. Humid, often hot. The water here flows inland to continually fill the Alaskan Oasis, and it shows. Trees grow in between rivers like weeds, forming their own dams to catch good drinks and suppress the constant beating of waterflow. Which is usually gentle, but even gentle currents will wear eventually if not fended off.

    Many ponds have been quartered off as Orca Domains within the wetlands, far mores with the rise of the new King Orcus. The rest give plenty of water to wash up both the common citizenry and the pack animals they use to till the fields. Growing Maize is much easier in moist soiled, warm damp areas with long sunlight hours, which combined with fishing allows for a much higher population than most areas possess.

    Speaking of goopy soil, people often take to tying pieces of bark to their feet in order to walk around in the wetter areas near the many rivers. An extremely primitive version of Snow Shoes, if you will, which is needed and useful year round. Gives a whole new meaning to ‘take off your shoes at the door’.


    Spoiler: Orcus’ Time On The Throne
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    Wyelde really did not know what she was getting into.

    Being married to Orcus is a rough job, but very well compensated. As a well trained spymaster, her job was to forge connections to the royal night elves of the region, marry upwards, slaughter the true queen, and used her position with the backing of Orcus to throw a coup on the region and integrate it into the Noc Hyd. Delayed by the Dastardly Duo, but the reassembly of the nation is still well on track.

    The real issue is how this guy acts. Wyelde had this planned from the start, hung out with the guy since he was an upstart warrior decades past before she rose up with Zora to help form their nation. Unholy **** he got so much more arrogant. She doesn’t precisely blame him, he’s getting up there in years and now relies on intimidation and reputation far more than actual muscle to keep his spot as king.

    …but Wyelde’s marriage and the Nocturnal Hydra’s region claim accepting him as an actual king where he doesn’t have to bluster to maintain that control anymore so what the ****. Does he need to claim the wife of every disgraced warrior as a concubine? Can he not demand the finest delicacies in the middle of a famine year? Stop being a blustering jackass for one ****ing day?

    To everyone else, he’s a monster. To her and her alone, he’s King Charming.

    Wyelde can’t fathom why. They both know what this is, there’s no love in it. She’s his lifetime ticket to unprecedented hedonism and power. His one consistent sex partner, the only person he trusts not to stab him in the throat in his slumber. He knows she can do it. She jokes about tracing his throat in the morning the same way he jokes during sex the way his teeth on her throat could twitch and rip her bloomin’ skull clean off her shoulders.

    They both know she won’t, though. Why go to the effort? He’s in his forties, bones creaking with every step, no Orca in remembered history that isn’t an OooOooer has lived to see age 60. She just needs to wait out the clock.

    There’s no love, but no hate either. These two share a report, are functionally childhood friends, and co-conspirators of the most sinister accord. They share a bed whenever he’s not strong-arming her to dive into his concubines, and are unashamedly honest about what horrible people they are.

    She’ll miss that when he’s gone. He calls her ‘his legacy’, knows she will last for centuries after he passes, and should she manage to fulfill her promise before his clock runs out, he promises to let her personally do him in. For real this time.

    …is there love in that?

    On reconsideration, yeah. He definitely loves her, as much as a borderline sociopath can love anyone. Doesn’t mean he shows it though. Some days he makes her so mad she wants to end him on the spot, grand plans for her bloodline to dominate the dynasty be damned. Other days… she considers whether it’d be worth it to delay past the tipping point, just to keep their twisted dance going a few months longer.

    … does she love him back?

    …Ungods ****ing damnit.


    Spoiler: Native Defenders Join The Nocturnal Hydra
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    The Orca Mercenary unit added to the empire is composed of 50 of the finest Orca elites that can stand walking on land, armed with spears and sledge axes. Additionally in their retinue is about 150 Uzii, Goliath, and Orca peasants, lead at the helm by a Orca Warchief riding a single War Troll.


    Spoiler: Uzii and Goliath Culture
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    Uzii and Goliath culture here differs in minor ways from those abroad, but retains most of the essentials. Communal living, high belief in ritualistic physical contests and activities. The death rate isn’t as high as it tends to be for the Uzii though, given the more hospitable nature of the region.

    Other Goliaths may have changed from their farmer heritage to mercantilism, and other Uzii may have formed into packs of war bands, but the residents of this land are primarily at their farming roots. There are plenty of food resources within the land, and so they multiply into groups reaching close to a hundred in size for tribes.

    For the most part, the Goliaths and the Uzii are separated into their own pockets, even if they interact often, and often times fight each other in order to see who wins a given dispute. Though in recent decades and especially with the Nocturnal Hydra’s acquiring of the region and influx of additional settlers and full on villages being built up, this hard familial separation between the Uzii and the Goliaths has started to break down, and while they still organize within communal broods, those tend to interact with each other in the same larger village structure now.



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    Spoiler: Serpentine Hill Zone (282)
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    Geography: Mountainous
    People: Lamia
    Resource: Chickens (Great)
    Required Resource: ???
    Faith: The Great Hunter



    Spoiler: Resource: Chicky Dees (and other wildlife)
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    The primary resource of this land is made up of chickens, specifically Chicky Dees. Tiny feathery things the size of your hand that produce eggs, produce a fair amount of meat, and have a proclivity for getting everywhere like rodents that can also fly short distances. They're very useful and practical, but also a pseudo-invasive species and you might need some natural predators to hunt them out if you import them cross-continent.

    Regarding the general wildlife, it's pretty accurate to say all kinds of poultry occupy this area. Something’s caused these species to take up most wildlife. Small chickens you would see on a farm called Chickys. Giant chickens the size of Trolls called Chacuus, and smaller more horse size ones called Cheban are here, and they serve as horse-like mounts for the Lamia that take up residence. This is the region where Catosaurs originally sprang from too, the natural predator of Chicky Dees.

    

Catosaurs know how to make all kinds of different growls and chirps, almost like parrots, and use this to stop from being hunted by the much larger Cheban and Chacuus as well as to lull far smaller Chicky Dees into a false sense of security before pouncing them. Though this doesn’t exactly work when it comes to Lamia ridden Chebans catching them up for sport, or more recently, as pets.

    The Cheban is a fine animal, rivaling the Horse in raw speed and power, but being a little behind in both. What it gains is much greater turning capability, mountain scaling capacity, and the ability to briefly glide. Though this gliding is completely defunct when being ridden by a lamia, it can help them leap six feet onto a raft or help them scale a cliff they otherwise could not while the lamia (who are greater still at mountain climbing) travel on foot.

    Feathers from Chacuus are prized possessions as it usually takes a whole group of Lamias to hunt one down. Their feathers are incorporated into War Bonnets for warchiefs and religious hunters, and because Chacuus tend to have the bottoms of their otherwise only-for-gliding wings be of vibrant color, they tend to be good for decoration as well. As *well* as being one of the only sources of rare colors like violet on the continent, which in particular is of high interest to Night Elf artists looking to make colored depictions of their citizens.


    Spoiler: Pride Societal Structure and Lamia Biology
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    Lamian society typically centers around war bands each headed by an Empress. That empress has a court of liaison males serving her and royal family, branching outwards from that into the rest of their Pride (similar to the prides that lions form), and then a bunch of lower class people within their pride. The biggest Empress of them all has a huge war band, to whom the other warbands tentatively give allegiance.

    This is in large part due to the Polymorphism within female Lamias, where social cues to become ‘the queen bee’ encourage them to grow bigger in size. Normally this caps out at about 5 foot 8 inches, about the size of an average male human. However, a mutant gene or some other runaway process has caused Queen Freya to grow to a monstrous fifteen feet tall, before factoring in the longer tail.

    Gigantism has caused many problems for her personally, but it had lead to her being able to take control of the area. With outside help the new alliance of lamias has consolidated into the HYD, forming a hierarchy with her as their queen and representative within the larger HYD nation.

    Within each individual war band, the highest revered roles are those that have to do with Cheban mounts. Either their riders and hunters, or especially their tamers/raisers. The Cheban are treated almost as family and given special care, and the status of those that help them grow up to size is promoted thusly. Closer to prized hunting dogs than to livestock or tools, and each family strives to have a Cheban.

    Those that don’t have that status symbol at least in their family are typically the lower rung. Not associated with the Royal bloodline of the Empress in the warband, these lamia often need to fend for themselves. Lamia tend to overproduce eggs, and many children created outside of their Pride’s royal bloodline are left out in the wild. Their survival is often massively enhanced by several members of their society sticking around to help rear the eggs into a fully formed Pride, usually under the belief that they and their children will be better off at the top of a new Pride rather than languishing on the outskirts of an already-sizable Pride.


    Spoiler: The Great Hunter
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    Birbs are lauded as fantastic hunters in religious culture, but this is far and away from the case. Generally, they are usually the prey being hunted at for food by Lamias. That is a more recent development though, in olden times giant Chacuus hunted Lamias literally like farm chicken hunted and gulped down worms. Even to this day, youngling Lamias left on their own need to beware and fend off the Chacuus.

    From this reality comes a myth, the story of a great hunter. One that originally befriended the lamias and taught them how to ride Cheban, instead of hunting them down like the prey that they were. If it weren’t for this great hunter that they revere in their War Bonnets, they might never have advanced out of their fearful pre-civilization days.

    Now the hunters have become the hunted, and with Freya, the first Lamia to grow larger than a Chacuu herself, having actually ridden one like a Cheban, their religious status has become very confused. Freya claims that the Great Hunter would have been proud to fight by her side as warriors stalking the big dinosaur game of old. Others just think she’s disrespectfully inserting herself into the mythos for her own glory.


    Spoiler: Lamia Pack Hunting: Slabs of Stone Battle Tactics Bestiary
    Show

    With the oncoming inclusion of the lamias of region 282 into the Nocturnal Hydra comes a whole new set of fighting skills entirely separate from the ways that the Night Elves have fought. Zora’s good reputation with the sentinels of the stone have convinced them to come to this relatively wild backwater to check on the fighting styles of these peoples personally, and while the culture and interactions are scary, the information gleaned was well worth it.

    Lamia Siren Corps are one of the most unique things these people have. Many of their warriors, even on mounts, use synchronized bursts of loud noises to scare their prey and intimidate their predators. It is usually a small number of them that go to an off-corner and shout out, scaring the herd in a panicked state right into the spears and nets of the larger force. This kind of simplistic maneuver absolutely could work on blightspawn too, though figuring out what noises would attract the blighspawn and which would repel the blightspawn would take experimentation, both are useful.

    The Lamia ride and die on Cheban, similar to the more standard Horses many of the inlanders use. These Cheban are far more dexterous in their turning however, and much more advanced when fighting on mountainous terrain. Especially hauling big rocks up to a high cliff and then rolling them down at enemies near the bottom. Once composite bow technology becomes ubiquitous this may become obsolete, but for the last century utilizing height advantage before a charge had been one of the best ways for people to make use of any ranged strike at all.

    One thing these people are very expert in is underwater tactics. Fishing utensils, nets, and knowledge of how to bind together rafts is very useful for the sentinels to study in and of itself, but the way they specifically use rivers and crossing points to separate themselves from enemies and create artificial choke points, wading foes chasing them down in the drink. Often they will lay in the water with spears completely out of sight, and wait for the specific notes of their own Pride’s bullhorns (heard distinctly even underwater, as loud as they are), to come charging out into the fray.

    A lot of their primary weaponry is composed of spears and swords. A few of them carry tiny throwing swords (especially the Sirens, whose primary weapon is their bullhorn), but most use regular sized swords to chop their enemies down. Their fighting style is rather primitive, swing metal bit, make chopped snek for dinner, and peeking at the sword tactics used from around the world has greatly improved their own knowledge of sword dancing as well.

    One classic hunting trick that they use on occasion is the art of the Chacuu Drop. Not super useful in their own combat, but this principle may be very useful on Blightspawn who don’t know any better. Gather Chacuu Feathers (which can be as long as ten feet and over half as wide), then dig a hole. Place the Chacuu feathers over the hole, with a couple rocks to hold the edges of the feathers in place to stop them from blowing away.

    This method is often used when combined with food bait to lure in simple minded Chacuus and would never work on thinking beings. But Blightspawn aren’t thinking beings, they’re mindless beasts. And constructing a moat with feathers atop it might be the thing to drop a couple dozen down should the sentinels have time to fortify a position.


    Spoiler: Lamian Sizes/Shapes
    Show

    Typically a fully grown adult Lamia's humanoid upper half would be in proportion to a 4 foot 6 human, resulting in it being about two foot three from head to waist. Their tails, which are scaled and serpenty, tend to be almost three times this length, meaning an average adult Lamia from head to tail-tip would be about six and a half feet.

    Some lamia matriarchs activate a portion of their gene pool that indicates more growth in their bodies, causing their upper halves to grow to the size of in some cases a large human male, resulting in head-to-humanoid waist of over three feet, and a head-to-tail-tip of almost nine feet.

    The Empress ruler of the lamia with Gigantism in particular has swollen up to a full eight feet from head to waist, with a tail thicker and longer in proportion to her body than average, resulting in her being approximately thirty feet long all the way through.


    Spoiler: Land Spacer
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    Delicious

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    You lovely people.
    Last edited by Epinephrine_Syn; 2020-11-06 at 05:07 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #9
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    The Scrimthun Unity
    Region 53 - Thun


    "Stone remembers the weight of what it is owed."
    Spoiler: Summary
    Show
    Ruler: Thunspeaker Ulun
    Diplomacy: 4 Military: 3 Opulence: 4 Faith: 2 Intrigue: 2
    Home Region: Thun
    Resources: Furs and hides/Gemstones
    Faith: The Way of River And Stone (Monastic work tradition valuing personal perfection)
    People: Scrim (Rock people)
    Starting tech: Masonry

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    The region of Thun is sparse, hilly, and cold, populated by those few plants hardy enough to endure a frosty winter and those animals that can make their living in such a place. It is only colder at higher elevations, usually free of even the hardier vegetation, and it is in these places that the Scrim make their settlements.
    The Scrim are relatively new to the land, but have already begun to make their mark. It is usually easy to spot a Scrim settlement, as they usually consist of a handful of very large buildings, since the Scrim think nothing of packing in close together. Most notable is their first settlement, also named Thun (a word which translates essentially as "[all of]/[the essence of] the Scrim") which sits deep into the foothills of the central mountain, creatively named Thun, and next to it the pock-marked cliffs they call the Heart Nursery.
    Scrim rarely bother giving proper names to settlements or landmarks, on the basis that if the places wanted to be called anything, they would have said so.

    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The Scrim sometimes call themselves "the oldest people", and in a sense, they are not wrong. However, in virtually every practicality of the matter, they are completely wrong. Having physiology made essentially of animate stone, they are indeed older than most conventionally biological life, but only since the False Dawn have they manifested in their mobile forms. While the Scrim do indeed have ancient, ancient memories, in addition to near-perfect recall of any events that have happened to them, the vast majority of that memory tends to be of being stone, underground, with minimal changes. As such, many of them show a certain naivete when it comes to matters such as trade, diplomacy, or war.

    Physically, the Scrim are large humanoid pieces of stone, with the smallest coming in at around six feet in height, and the largest at around ten feet. They are made out of stone, and can sculpt their forms (or even add to them using smaller rocks, which bind onto the greater whole). Common to virtually all Scrim is the practice of auto-masonry, a process similar to tattooing, and done for similar reasons. From unique identifying marks to hieroglyphs depicting deeds, a Scrim's sculpting is a reflection of their personality. Most Scrim end up with forms that are only roughly humanoid, though it is fashionable in some areas to sculpt their forms to resemble the bodies and clothes of other peoples.

    Despite their large stature and rocky makeup, Scrim are not exceptionally strong. Most of their strength is used in holding their bodies both together and up. They are, however, very hardy, and even the force of a light punch from an arm made of dense rock will hurt. It takes a concerted effort to destroy one. The Scrim do not fear death, precisely, as they see it as more akin to dissolution, a scattering of their constituent pieces and memories through the world. Elder Scrim often voluntarily choose this process, as time begins to weather their stone and they begin to crave the peace of the earth once again, they will find a suitable cave, and meld back into the rock.

    The process of Scrim reproduction is more like craftsmanship than anything else. When a group of Scrim wish to create new life from existing stone, they will take an existing section of stone- usually an assigned plot in a "nursery", a section of exposed rock dedicated to this purpose- and begin the slow, arduous process of carving out a new body. Throughout this process, they will explain to the stone what it is, and what it is going to become, which they call "sculpting the hollow", which "teaches" the stone to be person-shaped, and imbues the animating spirit into the newly-separated sculpture. When it is finished, each of the Scrim will take a small portion of their own stone and add it to the body they have sculpted, and a new Scrim will emerge.
    (From time to time, Scrim have spontaneously emerged from bodies of rock, fully formed and mobile. This is how the first Scrim came to be, and though it was once common it has become much rarer recently. Scrim who have emerged recently- "young births", as they are known- are venerated by some of the older Scrim, and frequently find their way into leadership roles.)

    Generally, the Scrim are much like the stone they are made of in demeanor: solid, slow, and steady as a rock. They are an intensely practical people, not much given over to daydreaming or contemplation of higher matters, though there are exceptions. Their society is founded on the principle of mutual aid: Scrim help each other, always. When one Scrim drifts, the whole of Thun drifts, and when one Scrim falls, all feel the pain. In practice this simply means that they have well-organized, mutualistic communities with strong ties to each other. They have seen enough cruelty in the world to know that they need to keep themselves safe, so they work together to build shelters against the elements or incursions of the blight, to hunt for food, and to grow crops for their livestock. It is rare to see a Scrim not in constant motion, going from task to task in the name of keeping all of Thun safe, and settlements are similarly hives of activity at all times. In those rare moments that a Scrim has nothing to do, they will stand motionless, virtually indistinguishable from a statue.
    (The Scrim do eat, although it's not entirely clear why they need to, or exactly how, as they have no mouths, or any other orifices, for that matter. Food is applied to the body and then absorbed into whatever the force is that animates them. It is clear that they eat for sustenance, as a Scrim who does not eat for some time will begin to slow before finally ceasing to move and undergoing dissolution. They do not seem to breathe, sleep, or drink water.)

    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The Scrim are mostly united in their following of The Way Of River And Stone, known more generally as The Way. It is a primarily personal and spiritual path, but a demanding one nonetheless. Adherents are expected to be pursue absolute mastery of whatever craft they dedicate themselves to, and to "be like the river, which may given time grind even the mightiest mountain to dust." In general, it is more treated as a guideline for how to live a satisfying life, although the more dedicated followers often turn their life to preaching the virtues of the way, believing that one day, their faith will, like the river, topple mountains.

    River-Under-Stone is a large cavern accessible from the surface. It does not contain a river, although some mystics claim that rather than containing a literal river it contains the spirit of a river. Certainly some visitors claim to feel rushing water move through them while inside. It is a calm and quiet place, where adherents come to meditate in solitude and consider how best to pursue The Way with a minimum of distraction. It is generally kept in total darkness, the better to allow those meditating to focus wholly on their selves.

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    Starting tech: Masonry. The Thun have a great facility with stone, and an intuitive understanding of how to shape it for the purposes they need.
    While the Scrim do need to eat, their stony physiology makes them virtually impervious to even the harshest winters or the cruelest summers. As such, they have an abundance of animal furs and hides from hunting in the lowlands.
    One of the few material things that the Scrim desire for any reason other than practicality is precious stones, which they believe to be the hearts of the world. Scrim people will pay highly for gems to place into the hearts of new Scrim, which has no material effect on the resulting person, but is believed to give them greater spiritual presence.


    Region 65 - Arkusa

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Arkusa is a land of taiga and hills, with extensive pine forests covering much of the land. In between is snow, stretching for vast swathes of the landscape. Through all this, a wide range of wildlife can be found, and hunted, from rabbits and deer to fish in the often iced-over lakes to predators like wolves, big cats, and large black bears.
    Notable locations:
    Karoth Plateau: Really more of a large hillock with one sheer side, Karoth Plateau is central to Arkusan culture, standing almost at the center of their lands. It is also home to the more-or-less permanent Gathering, where the Arkusans stay while not traveling. (More in the People section.)
    Karoth Nursery: A relatively new addition to the landscape, this structure for the creation of new Scrim is carved out of the bottom of the plateau and through the permafrost, where Scrim made of granite are brought into the world. It was almost named the North Nursery, but the locals objected and it has a marginally more dignified (in the Arkusan view) name.

    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The primary population of Arkusa is composed of humans, generally fair-skinned, loosely organized around the groups that move nomadically across the region. Each group is assigned its Joura (lit. “path”), a broad loop of land across which they travel, at a variable pace depending on how much they are carrying and how large the group is. The group assigned to each Joura is known as it’s Jouraka (lit. “path-walkers.”) Along this path, these families hunt, gather, and fish to maintain their survival, preserving any excess for lean times and the Gathering. It is not out of respect for the land that the Arkusans take care not to over-hunt or over-fish, but out of pragmatism- an empty Joura will kill those traveling it. Each Jouraka always has at least one record-keeper, who memorizes a verbal record of births, deaths, and the joining and parting of their Jouraka with new members.
    If the Joura is the cultural center of the Arkusan people, the physical center is the Karoth Plateau. The Gathering is essentially a permanent settlement set across the top of the area, although individual structures are raised, lowered, occupied and abandoned as families pass through. All Joura cross through the Gathering, and it is where Jouraka both start and finish journeys. A Jouraka returning to the Gathering is a cause for celebration, as they donate any excess supplies to the Jouraka, and spend a short time (usually about one lunar month) mingling with those present, sharing news, rumours, and sometimes people, and generally letting loose for a little. The Gathering depends on this steady income of food, as those too old or too young to be part of a Jouraka have little other recourse for food. Any Jouraka that is not recorded as being seen at the Gathering for at least four years is legally declared dead, and their Joura is then considered open, although it is typical to wait at least a year before it is given to anyone else.
    Joura frequently cross over each other outside of the Gathering, too, and places where this happens are marked by stone cairns, stacked tall to be visible even through heavy snowfall. It is traditional to wait at a cairn for a short time, traditionally three days, when a Jouraka reaches one, though sometimes the pressure to push on prevents this; meetings at cairns are rare, but when they happen it is considered excellent luck for both parties. If both parties arrive at the cairn simultaneously, without either needing to wait, it is regarded as an especially good omen.
    The Arkusans are polyamorous, with each Jouraka being generally composed of a web of romantic connections between its members. Children born on the Joura are left at the Gathering the next time the Jouraka reaches it, where they are raised communally by those at the Gathering until it is agreed they are prepared to walk the Joura themselves. (Descent is technically marked on the maternal line, but the relationship between parent and child is typically a distant if fond one, rather than a close family bond.)
    When they are considered to have come of age, a child will either join an existing Jouraka, or will find some other children of a similar age to form a new one. In the latter case, those currently present at the Gathering will consult with each other to work out whether there is an existing but abandoned Joura for them to take over, or if there are none, a new Joura will be given to them. If the Jouraka can successfully walk their Joura, then they will all be considered as full adults upon their return to the Gathering. A similar process is undertaken when a Jouraka splinters, either because it has grown too large or those within it have had irreconcilable differences.
    Technically, there has never been a standing Arkusan army. But should any threat to the Gathering or to an unacceptable number of Joura and Jouraka arise, every able-bodied adult at the Gathering is expected to take up arms in its defense. This has historically only been necessary to deal with Blightspawn, and the standing army of Thun is now committed to their defense, but Arkusa still has many fit, healthy, and armed adults ready to fight if needed.
    Since the arrival of the Scrim, several more permanent structures have been built on the plateau, generally out of stone. Many of the older Arkusans have chosen to begin living there full-time, and some small-scale agriculture has been successful, though the locals are dependent still on some food brought by returning Jouraka. In addition, many Scrim are now brought on as record-keepers, as their prodigious capacity for memory makes them ideal for the role, and they have no objection to the harsh conditions walking the Joura. However, the role has also largely obsoleted due to the proliferation of writing, although record-keepers have often simply switched to being essentially scribes. Older record-keepers, of course, bemoan this fact regularly. Most of the local Scrim have broadly assimilated into the culture, adopting the mannerisms and habits of the Arkusan people.
    There was also a great deal of awkwardness over the matter of the political marriage that secured Thun’s claim to Arkusa. Scrimspeaker Lurn, who is assumed to be dead somewhere in Arkusa, apparently assumed that the locals were monogamous, as the other humans they had met were, leading to the faux pas that resulted in their exile and presumable death. Scrimspeaker Nithor had better luck in proposing that they be joined to one of the Jouraka, and indeed spent several months on the Joura before being accepted by the majority of the Arkusans. The Arkusans have still largely resisted efforts to centralize authority, but a permanent envoy with Thun has been set in place at the Gathering, and the general opinion is that the Scrim are worthy of respect and that their opinions should be taken into consideration. Scrimspeakers, and even the Thunspeaker, are treated more like deeply respected members of the community than nobility or rulers.

    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The Arkusan people are deeply superstitious, and a great deal of time is spent by them on rituals to ward off evil. Some of these are in combination with practical measures- it is considered not only stupid but deeply unlucky to leave an entrance open, for instance, as it is believed not only to let in the cold, but evil spirits alongside them. If someone inadvertently leaves a door or tent flap open, it is then necessary for certain herbs to be burned, which then drive the spirits off, as well as warming the inside of the structure and letting a pleasant aroma wash over those present. However, they have no organized faith as such, and the Gathering has historically never pushed for any specific belief, even if many members adhere to the same traditions.

    The Wanderer’s Throne sits just a short ways south of Karoth Plateau, but the locals believe it to be a deeply cursed place. Sitting at the center of a strange empty glade stands a throne, hewn of granite, and a marble statue sitting by the foot of the throne. Both are weathered deeply by the passage of time. Animals steer clear of it, which is usually a bad sign. Rumours persist that there is a mysterious guardian who will slay any who sits on the throne save the one destined to sit there. Naturally, it is common for young adults to spend some time there, egging each other and building up their courage, before heading out, lighting a fire, telling each other ghost stories, and having a harmless fright and a frolic under the stars. This is tacitly encouraged by the older generations, some of whom even consider spending a night sleeping in the “cursed” glade a rite of passage. It is even common of for some of the older Arkusans to also sneak off there to relive some of their lost youth and reconnect with old friends. Still, nobody would ever go there alone. And as a rule, nobody sits on the throne.
    (Open holy site.)

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    Arkusa is home to extensive forests, primarily pine and spruce, spread across the land. The abundance of Lumber is freely available for those interested, though it is perhaps wise to prepare for the cold if any concerted logging effort is planned.
    (Although Arkusa engages in almost as much hunting as Thun to the Southwest, the Arkusans desperately need every scrap of hide and fur they can get their hands on to keep themselves warm, so they are unable to match the prodigious fur exports of the Scrim.)


    Region 50 - Ol’kolsa

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Sitting towards the northern edge of the river valley of central Mamut, Ol’kolsa (lit. “The Land of Truffles”) is a land of very mild weather and seasons, both in the summer and the winter. Rolling meadows and the occasional grove mark the Northern side, while the South is dominated by a wide swathe of forest.
    Notable locations:
    Lake Al’yan: Technically only ambiguously a part of the region, sitting as it does on the borders to the North-East, the lake is nonetheless important to the locals both as a food source and as a means of relatively easy and safe transit for trade.
    Il’kolta: A fairly new settlement built in Scrim style, this well-organized but still fairly small town sits on the edge of Lake Al’yan and is both the central trading post and seat for local authority in Ol’kolsa.
    The South Nursery: This previously pristine hill has been the victim of intense digging, as Ol’kolsa was found to have few suitable outcroppings of rock to establish Nurseries in. It was therefore necessary to make an exposed section of rock, and as such is placed conveniently near to the town of Il'kolta. Scrim coming from here are made of limestone.

    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The primary native population of Ol’kolsa is human, spread mostly across the northern region in small settlements generally centered around the truffle groves that dot the landscape. While there are a very few people living in clearings and suchlike in the truffle forests of the South, this is very much the exception, not the rule.
    The people of Ol’kolsa call themselves the Tel’kolsans. They are generally dark-skinned, generally standing on the short side for humans. For day-to-day wear, the Tel’kolsans generally favour minimalist clothing, wearing little beyond the bare minimum required to maintain decency. For ceremonial garb and special occasions they tend towards long, flowing robes, often with several layers of fabric in flowing designs.
    Outside of the larger settlements, the Tel’kolsans generally live on subsistence farming, with the excess going to feed the larger population centers. Most of the year round, they live humbly, with the occasional slaughter of a pig providing meat for communities, but otherwise mostly subsisting on grain. In the winter months, though, comes Ur’kolsa- the Festival of the Truffles. Every year, on the Winter Solstice, everyone in Ol’kolsa takes to the forests with muzzled pigs, who seek out and dig up the signature black truffles of the region. During this time, reserves are opened and a feast of sorts is had, taking preserved foods in combination with the freshly harvested truffles in large communal groups, where food, alcohol, and good cheer are all shared in equal measure. Then, any truffles in excess of what is needed for the feasts are sent to the larger settlements for trading.

    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The closest the Tel’kolsans come to religion is in their treatment of the truffles, which they regard as more than a delicacy, but a near-spiritual foodstuff which has to be experienced to be believed. Opinions outside Ol’kolsa vary on this, of course, but it is widely agreed that the truffles are delicious, even if eating them isn’t usually considered to be a religious experience by most.

    Ila’kolsa, The Sacred Grove, is a section of scrupulously maintained forest near the larger settlement of Il’kolta. It is technically home to some of the finest truffles in all of Ol’kolsa, but no Tel’kolsan would ever eat them, or even dig them up save on special occasions. Nor would they ever chop down one of the trees. It is not known whether or not the truffles found here actually have mystical properties, although it seems unlikely, but the locals take no chances, and they won’t allow any outsiders to take those chances either. The only time the truffles of Ila’kolsa are ever dug up is when new trees are planted for the grove. At the same time that the new trees are planted, a sample of truffles are planted around them. In this way, the life of both the trees and the truffles are assured, although the locals will happily admit to having no idea of what it is that allows the trees and truffles to thrive in this specific area when efforts to replant truffles elsewhere have proved consistent failures.
    (Open holy site.)

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    It is no surprise that the Land of Truffles is home to an abundance of the eponymous Truffles, although those who have found them elsewhere might be shocked by the sheer density of truffles spread across Ol’kolsa, as well as the high quality of the fungus. Ol’kolsan black truffles are prized for any seeking culinary delights.
    Last edited by Silent_Interim; 2020-09-30 at 04:03 AM.
    I go by them/they/their pronouns, but I'm comfortable with he/him/his or she/her/hers.

    Spoiler: STUFFS
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silent_Interim View Post
    Yes... continue ignoring me... exactly as planned
    Quote Originally Posted by Xihirli View Post
    'Kay! Ignoring a ninja never hurt anyone.



    Being terrible at being a wolf since always.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Aran Viska
    Region 111

    Semi-nomadic children of two gods that live in reverence of their dead heroes.
    Starting tech: Animal husbandry

    Spoiler: Ruler
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    The current Aranin is Talsharn Anviskad, who has served in this position for thirteen years. His reign has not been marked by any incidents of note aside from a notable scuffle with Blightspawn in Iskaran Venat which cost him an eye and earned him the admiration of warriors throughout Aran Viska. However despite this he is a somewhat ineffectual and weak leader, unwilling to impose his will on his subordinates and so the Nari are relatively free to ignore him despite the support he has from the Elders.

    Rolls.
    Diplomacy: 1
    Military: 4
    Opulence: 2
    Faith: 5
    Intrigue: 1


    Spoiler: Geography
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    A cold and windswept land, Aran Viska is located between three great lakes in the western portion of Tarandi.

    In the local tongue these lakes are Karis Ra, the westernmost lake on which Aran Viska has only a very short coastline, Skarazic Ra, the northern lake across which lies Uldra, and Uracan Ra, the southern lake across which lies the lands of Clann Solais. These large freshwater lakes are home to abundant fish and water fowl and, aside from the Skarazic Ra, are large enough that they avoid freezing over entirely in all but the harshest Winters. During the False Dawn this was a very common occurrence and led to much hardship among those of the Viskari who rely upon the lake fisheries and seal hunting for their livelihoods. The Skarazic Ra does freeze over each Winter, but the ice can be broken through and fishing resumed. A river, the Tallanak, flows from Uracan Ra and empties into Karis Ra and forms much of the southern border of Aran Viska.

    Aran Viska itself can be divided into four main geographical subdivisions:

    The smallest of these is Talla, a marshy area around the delta of the Tallanak. This area is sparsely inhabited and home to stunted trees and shrubs. During the Winter most of the marsh freezes over, but when the weather is warm it comes alive with millions of migratory birds and flowering plants.

    The next smallest is Uraca, a lightly wooded area along the shores of Uracan Ra. The migratory routes of many steppe animals, including mammoths, wild horses, bison, musk oxen and aurochs, pass through this region and provide a valuable opportunity for hunters and predators. Predatory animals include wolves, steppe lions and the occasional bear or sabre-tiger.

    North of Uraca is Iskaran Venat, the Dead Forest, a densely wooded region that marks the eastern edge of Aran Viska and grows right up to the shores of Skarazic Ra. Iskaran Venat, despite its name, is very much alive and indeed quite beautiful. It is dominated by conifers and is home to a wide selection of deer and other herbivores that are preyed upon by wolves, bears and sabre-tigers. The name given to Iskaran Venat derives from the ancient and discontinued custom of clearing out sections of the forest and raising great burial mounds for revered heroes. These mounds, long since grown over, are considered sacred and approaching them is a deep cultural taboo backed up by rumours of curses and hauntings. Priests do brave the risk however to commune with the dead interned within.

    The remainder of Aran Viska, and it's largest component, is the Viskari portion of the Great Steppe of Tarandi. Though separated from the majority by Iskaran Venat and Uraca, it shares many of the features in common with the rest of the steppe. Large herds, both wild and domesticated, roam the lands, moving with the seasons and to avoid predators.

    The Viskari primarily live in Uraca, along the Tallanak and on the Steppe, with smaller populations in Talla and Iskaran Venat. Most live a semi-nomadic life, but permanent settlements have grown in the more mild portions of the country and fishing villages are present on the shores of each of the three lakes. Aside from the fishing villages, most settlements are constructed with the purpose of shelter and safety in mind. They usually consist of a large hall, built on a hill if possible, surrounded by a cluster of small houses that are then surrounded by a palisade. Another palisade is located at some distance from the first and the area between them functions as housing for herds should the need arise. Much more transient settlements are located at three spots along the Tallanak where old riverbeds are scoured for silver. Religious sites are usually megalithic in nature from solitary standing stones to entire circles, the largest of which is the Circle of Heroes, located at the edge of Iskaran Venat. While mound building was popular generations ago, the current tradition is to bury the dead near to a stone circle and mark the grave with a stone. This has led to the largest cemeteries being akin to a forest of standing stones.


    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The Viskari, or the Children of Two Bloods as they are sometimes called, are a people formed from the intermingling of Human and Orcish bloodlines generations ago. The circumstances that resulted in this state of affairs is unknown, the facts having been obscured by time and later legends and will likely only be able to be picked apart by genetic studies and extensive archaeological studies. The legends of the Viskari however state that when the world was young and the gods still walked among their peoples, two gods, one of the Orcs and one of Men fell in love and through their union produced a new people. This has led to a feeling of superiority among them as they are dual-blooded, unlike most who are descended from only a single god.

    Viskari stand on average six and a half feet tall with women being slightly shorter and have green or greyish-green skin. Their hair, which is worn long and often braided, is black or brown with shades of dark blond or auburn being very rare. Red is the most common eye colour, though black, blue and green are also seen regularly. Each has a pair of tusks pointing up from their lower jaw, a feature that is more pronounced on males than females. Viskari are adapted well to the cold and avoid the heat as much as possible. Assuming they manage to avoid violence, famine and disease, they can be expected to live in excess of seventy years.

    The majority of the Viskari live as semi-nomadic hunters and herders and gain their living from the beasts of the forests and great herds of sheep, cattle and horses. Hunting is considered more prestigious than herding, but ownership of herds is the primary source of wealth and control of the best land for pasturing is often contested by the various chieftains. Near to the great lakes at the edges of Aran Viska people live a more settled life, sustained by the bounty of fish from the lakes and crude farming settlements.

    The Viskari are master animal tamers and in addition to their equestrian skill, they are expert falconers and wolf-handlers. The golden eagle is both the most common and most prized bird of prey tamed by the Viskari and is regularly used to aid in hunts of small animals across the plains. Attempts to train lake eagles to aid in fishing have failed. Wolves are preferred for hunting larger prey, whether on the plains or in the forests, but they are also used as guard and companion animals. In addition to these useful examples of animal training, ravens are often kept as pets and occasionally they can be taught to speak simply phrases, in general however they are considered fickle companions and rarely trained to do anything. Their long lifespan makes them a fine companion however and they are much cheaper to upkeep than eagles or wolves.

    Clothing among the Viskari is dependent on the seasons. Winter clothing is primarily practical and dominated by furs, thick hides and heavy wool to keep the wind at bay. In the warmer parts of the years such heavy clothing can be discarded in favour of lighter garments. Women often wear light woven shawls dyed a number of bright colours and the men are not afraid to bare their chests. Fur trimmed capes are commonly worn by warriors even in the height of Summer as a mark of status. Throughout the year silver jewellery set with semi-precious stones is commonly used as ornamentation. Males occasionally wear tattoos that serve either as symbols of religious devotion or mark especially memorable kills. More than a few visible tattoos is however viewed as a mark of arrogance.

    The principle crafts of the Viskari are silversmithing and weaving, both of which they excel at. While weaving primarily fulfils a practical role in the manufacture of clothing and blankets, geometric patterns made through the use of simple vegetable dyes are in frequent use and often employed to make carpets and ornamental banners with most designs including symbols intended to ward off danger and evil. Silver meanwhile is entirely used for ornament and ritual purposes and each object is made with the utmost care.

    Marriage among the Viskari is usually for life with both parents expected to raise any children. Arranged marriages are looked down upon as being against the example set by the Dual Gods and a parent who refuses an adult child's right to marry as they choose without valid reason is shunned. However, as the parents of both would-be newlyweds are expected to provide a dowry, spurious objections are sometimes brought up by those who would risk much prestige by providing a substandard dowry. In addition, it is possible for a man or woman to take another man or woman as a concubine. This is a practice constrained to those with wealth to spare as a concubine who is improperly provided for may leave without consequence.

    All Viskari adults are expected to know the basics of fighting, but as they are expected to provide their own equipment this limits their usefulness. Nevertheless, they make good light cavalry armed with short bows, javelin and spears. Full time warriors on the other hand are maintained as part of the retinue of chieftain and are outfitted with proper weapons and hide armour. They spend most of their time hunting, feasting and honing their skill at combat.

    The chieftains themselves, or Nari, singular Nar, occupy an relatively informal position in Viskari society. Anyone may claim such a title as their is no legal basis or authority associated with it. In practice however, the chieftains regulate themselves, acknowledging 'rightful' claims and discouraging upstarts. In short, the chieftains decide who is and is not a chieftain and they are mostly concerned with preserving the exclusivity of the title even as they scuffle with one another over prime grazing land and silver deposits.

    Despite the disunity and decentralised nature of their people, the Viskari do in fact have a king/queen, the Aranin/Ara. They are chosen by a moot consisting of revered elders that meets to elect or remove the Aranin. The Moot of Elders meets each Midsummer at the Circle of Heroes to discuss matters of importance and advise the Aranin. Membership in the Moot is based primarily on age, as indicated by its title, and wisdom. As wisdom is difficult to gauge the Moot tends to favour the inclusion of priests, sorcerers and other individuals whose knowledge at least can be tested.

    The sorcerers and witches of Aran Viska in general live on the outskirts of society, respected for their knowledge of magic, medicine and the secrets of the world, but feared and mistrusted for those same reasons. However whenever a child is sick or a talisman is needed to protect against a curse, their door is the first many will turn to.


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Aran Viska, while otherwise not particularly endowed with natural resource is nevertheless rich in Silver which is widely used to make jewellery and ritual implements. Silver is viewed as sacred to the Gods of the Viskari and so it's use as money is considered unlucky. To combat this each object crafted of silver is taken to be blessed and marked with apotropaic symbols. Unmarked objects are regarded with suspicion and widely regarded as cursed.

    Isla Mine: Aran Viska
    Taruk Mine: Open
    Garant Mine: Open

    The Viskari have all that they need within their lands, but they desire more than this and seek the riches they have heard of in distant lands. In particular Precious Gems are of great interest to them both for their own beauty and the potential within them.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The Viskari worship two Gods above all others from whom they claim descent, though they do not deny the divinity of other deities. The Dual Gods are equal and are worshipped as an inseparable pair aside from very specific rites. Each has a high priest/priestess, or Aranin/Ara Sarak, who is ritually married to the high priest/priestess of the other, though they may have other spouses and concubines. Their tenure ends when either of them dies, whether through violence, sickness or age and a new pair of priests are elevated to replace them. Viskari priests, in addition to their religious duties, also practice sorcery, medicine and commune with the dead, though these arts are not restricted to them.

    The two Gods of the Viskari are Aer Caladon, God of the Moon and Guide to the Souls of the Dead, and Iskandrazac, the Warrior and Guardian of the Gates of the Underworld.

    Aer Caladon is usually depicted as a Human with long black hair crowned with silver horns. In one hand they carry a bow and in the other a lily.
    Iskandrazac is usually depicted as an Orc with braided hair. They carry a sword in one hand, a burning torch in the other and are often accompanied by wolves.

    Other than these principle attributes their depictions vary based on the skill and intention of the artists involved. Usually each is depicted as male, but female depictions are also permitted as the Viskari believe that the gods can alter their forms as desired.

    In addition to the Dual Gods, the Viskari engage in veneration of the dead. They regularly visit the great burial mounds to commune with the great heroes of the past and seek their advice. Of late however the need to seek advice has grown and perhaps more drastic measures will need to be undertaken...


    The holiest site of the Viskari is the Circle of Heroes, an ancient stone circle built atop a great mound. It consists of a circle of great standing stones capped with a ring of lintels surrounded by a sparse ring of smaller stones. The primary circle of thirty megaliths is aligned to the orbit of the Moon and the outer ring points to important constellations at midnight of the Winter Solstice. The area enclosed by the inner ring is a sanctuary for the performance of religious rituals and none may enter save through invitation of a priest.

    The stones themselves are black or perhaps very dark grey and are streaked with bands of native silver and silver ore that glitter in the light of the ritual bonfire. The inner face of each stone is carved in honour of one of the thirty heroes of legend and their exploits and the lintels form a frieze depicting hunters and animals.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Shandolé
    Elf Country

    Shandolýn - Elven River Valley
    Region #115 - Land of the River Elves
    (Shan Valley)



    Oh Shandolýn, my native valley,
    My ka longs t’ greet ye.
    Away ye rolling river
    My feet will follow hither

    Ye flows away, yonder a’ways
    Unto the Lýndícalah!

    ---

    Summery

    Shandolýn is home to a peaceful tribal culture that is transitioning from a traditional nomadic life into a more sedentary existence. The River Elves are deeply spiritual and take strength if the Ka River around which their civilization is centered.

    Region: #115 - Tarandi
    Race: Shaní (River Elves)
    Leadership: The Winter Council
    Religion: The Ancient Ways: Way of Simráh
    Resource: Furs (Great)
    Requires Resource: Metal
    Starting Technology: Animal Husbandry

    ---

    Leadership

    All Shándole tribes are ruled by Elder counsils, which meet regularly to make community decisions and settel differences among the local Shaní. All Shaní of the age 400 or older are considered Elders and may attend local council meetings. Decisions within meetings are made through voting and discussion.

    All tribal councils operate under the authority of the Winter Counsil, a group of nine appointed Elders, who rule over all the tribes of Shandolé.


    Spoiler: The Winter Council
    Show


    The Winter Council

    Ruling over all of Shandolé, the Winter Counsil selects its members from the most respected or experienced of the tribal Elders. There are nine Elder seats, but the Winter Council will also sometimes accept carefully chosen younger shaní based on their achievements and merits to sit on up to three additional “honor” seats of the Winter Council. So, the Winter Council may have anywhere between nine to twelve members depending on how many honor seats are being held.

    All members of the Winter Council sit in equal authority with one another and decisions are made by voting after thorough discussion. If a unanimous decision cannot be reached on a matter after five days of discussion, they will decide based on a two-thirds majority. If a two-thirds majority cannot be reached after ten days of discussion, the Winter Counsel will go with a general majority. In the case of a locked tie, the vote of the longest standing member of the Winter Counsel is the tie-breaker. If possible, laws and cases that passed with less than a two-thirds majority will be brought up for review again after six-months for a revote.

    While these methods of rule and leadership work for most times, in times of great trouble when the Shaní cannot afford the luxury of many days of debate or any hesitation in leadership, a Crisis Chief will be appointed and given a set number of days in which they can lead with greater authority making choices quickly and allowed to spend resources without hesitation. This is only done in times of dire need.

    Although all Winter Counselors are all technically equal to one another, there is often an organic hierarchy that tends to form based on seniority, charisma and ideological affiliations. In the century leading up to the Blue Commit and the early era of the Phoenix, the most respected and influancial Winter Counselor is Talákin’Záni’Quêzí - Eagle Flies High and Sees All. He held an honor seat for many years before coming an Elder and has served as Crisis Chief a number of times in the era after the False Dawn. He is well known for his foresight, diplomacy and willingness to take decisive and necessary actions in tough times.



    Spoiler: Talákin'Záni’Quêzí - Eagle-Flies-High-and-Sees-All
    Show


    Talákin’Záni’Quêzí - Eagle Flies High and Sees All
    Eldest Member of the Winter Counsel & First Leader of Shandolé in the Era of the Blue Phoenix




    Moniker: Zán’Quêzí (Eagle Sees)
    Age: ~ 530
    Marital Status: Widower
    Sexuality: Bisexual
    Eyes: Blue
    Hair: Black
    Height: 6’9”
    Symbol: A Golden Eagle & The Sun

    Original Stats
    • Diplomacy: 2
    • Military: 1
    • Opulence: 3
    • Faith: 4
    • Intrigue: 4

    Current Stats (Round #3)
    • Diplomacy: 3
    • Military: 3
    • Opulence: 3
    • Faith: 4
    • Intrigue: 5


    Over the past of centuries, Zán'Quêzí has proven capable in preparing and guiding the tribe through terrible circumstances. He has been a Crisis Chief on multiple occasions in the past and has done much to help the tribe survive the aftermath of the False Dawn and then advance into the Era of the Blue Phoenix.

    Many shaní would credit Zán'Quêzí for saving Shandolé, but he is also known some cruel and harsh decisions. Zán'Quêzí forced through a ruling, where he banished a quarter of the Shándole, over 2000 shaní. This was shortly after the False Dawn at the star of the Winter of Malice. He refused the banished aid and cut them off from shelter and resources in order to preserve enough for the rest of the shaní. This saved the core of the Shándole and kept starvation from consuming them all, but many shaní still hold this ruling against him and its rumored that a curse is upon him for the cruelty he enacted.

    Cursed or not, Zán'Quêzí is a practical and cunning leader. He's less spiritual than some other shaní personally but sees faith as a very important means of unity and understanding. Because of this, Zán'Quêzí has gone out of his way to groom and encourage shamans and religious leaders, who can help find explanations and rebuild assurances for the rest of the Shándole. This has included a younger shan, Leósha’Lýndónah - Peace-in-Deep-Waters, who has shown great enlightenment and religious insight and leadership. Zán'Quêzí helped get her get an honor seat on the Winter Council, even though she is barely even 300 years old.



    Spoiler: Other Winter Counselors
    Show


    Spoiler: Leósha’Lýndónah - Peace in Deep Waters
    Show


    Leósha’Lýndónah - Peace in Deep Waters
    Holds the only honor seat in The Winter Counsel, Chief Shaman & Lore-Master of Shandolé



    Moniker: Lýndónah (Deep Waters)
    Age: ~ 300
    Marital Status: Single
    Sexuality: Asexual
    Eyes: Blue
    Hair: Black
    Height: 5’8”
    Symbol: An eye in a circle

    Lýndónah is Shandolé’s chief shaman and a respected lore-master of her people. She’s also the youngest member of the Winter Council and, despite her relatively young age, no one can deny her wisdom and intelligence. She is thoughtful, well-spoken and an insightful and kind leader. She has proven herself able to bring understanding, open minds to new opportunities and make peace in difficult circumstances. She is deeply religious and believes there are many levels of awakening both in the past and in the future for her people.

    She was very young when the False Dawn happened and feels strong effected by the mysteries surrounding those times. She often ponders the nature of Simráh and the False Dawn, trying to pierce the madness and amnesia that has afflicted her people. She has yet to make true headway, but believes the answers are out there somewhere to be discovered and will prove important to knowing the world and themselves in the future.

    Since the Blue Commit, she has proved a capable diplomat and scholar, traveling to other lands of Tarandi and researching their lore, religion and histories. She has been a key figure in the Shándole’s religious transitions, organization and unification with The Ancient Ways and the other peoples of that faith and will likely to continue to help shape religious thought in the future.



    Spoiler: M’Áwaní’Dóah - I Returned from the Darkness
    Show


    M’Áwaní’Dóah - I Returned from the Darkness
    Winter Councilor & Accomplished Warrior



    Monikers: Edge, M’Áwaní
    Age: ~ 430
    Marital Status: Single
    Sexuality: Straight
    Eyes: Dark Grey
    Hair: Dark Brown
    Height: 6’6”
    Symbol: A jagged line that then circles back around

    Edge is probably the least popular and respected of the Winter Council in Shandolé, but his refusal to go along with group-think and his unique life experiences traveling the lands outside Shandolýn have given him a distinctive voice and unique qualifications. Zán'Quêzí pushed for him to be appointed, despite the fact that the two don't often get along. Zán'Quêzí understood the importance of having a dissenting and questioning voice to bring up wider perspectives and is also pretty confident Edge won’t ever gain the popularity and trust needed to actually challenge his own prominence.

    Edge murdered another shan over a century ago and got banished because of it. He managed to regain his honor and place within the society, when he helped saved the valley from a Blightspawn threat but is still viewed as a violent and disreputable person by many shaní. However, the knowledge he gained wandering Tarandi and his willingness to break from tradition and get his hands dirty makes him a valuable asset to the leadership of is Shandolé.

    Edge also has some personal connections to The Sentinels of The Stones and led the effort to construct a local standing stone for the order in the Rosewood. Since the coming of the Blue Commit, he has made notable efforts to improve his own martial prowess and weapons skills, seeking training from the Sentinel stationed at the Rosewood Stone. He also has pushed the rest of the Shándole toward more organized and militant war parties and fortifications. He views this new age as likely to be a time of danger and turmoil and strives to protect and prepare his people.



    Spoiler: Kaíske’M’Kaskí - Sing Free My Wild Heart
    Show


    Kaíske’M’Kaskí - Sing Free My Wild Heart
    Winter Councilor, Skilled in Animal Attunement & in Social Logistics



    Moniker: Kaíske
    Age: ~ 490
    Marital Status: Married
    Sexuality: Lesbian
    Eyes: Purple
    Hair: Black
    Height: 6’2’
    Symbol: A Running Horse

    Kaíske was the first shan to tame horses in known memory and has continued to play an important role in developing the relationship of the shaní with domesticated animals, finding new and better ways to attune with animals and integrate them as part of the society. She is a shan of remarkable spirit and optimism, despite having suffered many terrible things in her past. At one point in her life she was taken captive by Blightspawn and barely managed to escape after enduring terrible things. She likes organizing and improving socity around her and has a sensible and fair demeaner and is beloved and trusted by many shaní for her rulings and her hard work helping the tribes organizing the central administration.



    Spoiler: M’Eld’Simráh – I Will Stand and Remember
    Show


    M’Eld’Simráh – I Will Stand and Remember
    Winter Counselor, Explorer, Warrior & Charismatic Leader



    Monikers: Root, M’Eld
    Age: ~ 420
    Marital Status: Married
    Sexuality: Straight
    Eyes: Dark Gray
    Hair: Black
    Height: 6’8’
    Symbol: A Tree with Spreading Roots

    Root is a handsome and charismatic shan, who’s quick ascension to the Winter Council was expected by all. His courage, leadership and good humor are all well-known across the tribes. For an Elder he still maintains much of the optimism and adventure-seeking traits of youth and will eagerly take up any new challenges that present themselves.

    Because of his looks and charisma Root has often been sought by other shaní as a lover, but for over a century and a half, he has been true to his partner M’kazi’no’Soze. Their longstanding marriage and love affair are well known and lauded throughout the valley and their love shows no sign of falling off.

    Unknown to him to either of them, Root is Eagle-See’s oldest child. Root was born nearly two centuries before the False Dawn, so all memory of his childhood and the parental connection he has to Eagle-Sees has been lost to False Dawn Madness. No one knows about this, but maybe something the truth will pierce through the False Dawn Madness.



    Spoiler: M’kazi’no’Soze – My Heart Sings Against the Storm
    Show


    M’kazi’no’Soze – My Heart Sings Against the Storm
    Winter Counselor, Explorer & Charismatic Leader



    Moniker: ‘Soze
    Age: ~ 420
    Marital Status: Married
    Sexuality: Straight
    Eyes: Hazel
    Hair: Black
    Height: 5’2” (She’s missing her lower legs)
    Symbol: Lightning Striking Waves

    ‘Soze is a beautiful shan, with a keen wit and a wisdom often belied by her tendency for jokes and laughter. When she was younger, her legs got trampled by a mammoth and she nearly died. As it was, both her legs below the knee were amputated. Not many shaní can survive such a procedure, so she counts herself lucky to be alive and to have reached her Elder years. She has always shown a fierce determination and a will that never fights hoping or fighting. She will take on any challenge and cut with words any who deride her.

    She is married to M’Eld’Simráh more often known as Root and they have been a true couple for almost as long as memory goes back. He is also a member of the Winter Council and they bicker and debate as much as any, but always end up supporting each other in the end. Their long-standing love story is well known and lauded by the rest of the shaní. They both love adventure and thanks to his reliable assistance, ‘Soze has been able to travel and confront much in life that her handicap may otherwise may have prevented her from. She often rides a horse or a sled, but nearly as often he carries her on his back.





    ---

    Geography

    Shandolýn is a post-glacial river valley isolated from most of Tarandi by the Santícemnáh Mountain range. In these cold and remote regions, the Shándole are accustomed to long difficult winters, where the nights grow long and cold. Nature is often their greatest threat, as there are no other native peoples in the region.

    In the east the rocky ice-capped peaks of the Santícemnáh Mountains rise high and imperious, with evergreen forests of redwoods and pines on their skirts, and to the west is the Lyndicalah Sea, with the Ká River meandering its course though rolling central plains between the two. The Moriah Forest covers hills along the southern rim and the stony bluffs and shelves of Ice Worm Ridge closes in the northern end of the valley. Rain and snow are common in Shandolýn, along with thunderstorms and fog, as moisture flows in from the ocean and gathers against the mountains.


    Spoiler: Places & Features of Note
    Show



    Ka River: The Ka River is the heart of the valley and the culture. It is the symbol of the Shaní’s faith and for centuries Shándole nomadic lifestyle revolved around annual journeys between the headwaters and the delta of the Ka River. It meanders from the mountains on SE side of the region to coast in the NW and it floods regularly with the melting of the mountain snows, leaving rich farming soil in the plains around its banks.

    Santícemnáh Mountains: Dominating much of the region are the high Santícemnáhs. The name translates to Mountains of Ice and the peaks are, indeed, covered in snow and glaciers and rise into elevations well above the clouds. The foothills have evergreen forests that include towering redwoods and other ancient trees. Though the Shándole’s largest and most secured town, Winter Town, sits within the mountains, much of the Santícemnáhs are mysterious and ominous, full of places that haven’t been truly explored nor ever seen by the Shaní. Hidden vales, valley high meadows and untouched forests remain in the heights and many shaní dare not venture too far into those hidden reaches. Some who have explored the mountains have returned with stories of strange ruins, phantom spirits, underground temples and mysterious stone carvings, hinting at an eerie past, which has been lost to the False Dawn Madness.

    Lyndicalah Sea: As the Shándole have become more advanced and sedentary, they have started relying more and more on the ocean and the resources and opportunities for trade it provides. Stoney cliffs line much of the shores to the south and the far north, but the area around the river delta has deep and accessible bays carved out by old glaciers. Islands of dropped debris line the coasts and the waters are full of deep nurturance and robust marine life. Seals, orcas, dolphins and whales are common and fishing and whale hunting has started to become more and more a staple of Shándole culture and livelihood.

    Moriah Forest: On the southern hills at the edge of the valley, grows the Moriah Forest, a hardwood forest with many plants and animals not found in the plains surrounding the river. It's a rich source for trapping and hunting, and supplies lumber and firewood for the shaní. It is not as commonly traversed and lived in as the river plains, but a number of tribes regularly returned to the forest to gather wood and to hunt. It isn’t the heart and home of their valley, but it is a beloved and treasured place and a natural direction to begin expanding, as they seek out more resources and new horizons.

    Ice Worm Ridge: Rocky step and mesas rise on the northern rim of the region and the glacier sits closest to the ocean in these parts. There’s little vegetation and the winds are bitter and fast, screaming over the sharp ridge rocks with a spiteful malice. The shaní seldom ever venture up into the ridges, not only because there is little there of any value, but also because this is often where the dreaded Ice Worms come from. These enormous ice-burrowing beasts usually hibernate, but when the waken, they eat everything in their paths, swallowing whole herds, swathes of forest and could easily devours a village if it set its sights upon it. Some of the shaní’s earliest memories involve the horrors of Ice Worm attacks and fear of these creatures tend to keep them from venturing very far north or up on to the mountain glaciers where the worms hibernate.

    Winter Town: Winter Town is the largest and most fortified town in Shandolýn. It’s located in the base of the mountains, where the Moriah Forest meets the evergreen skirts of the Santícemnáhs. It has access to plenty of wood for burning is there is also stone for fortifications and sturdy houses. Most of the town is carved from the walls of a mountain gorge, where the source a of the Ka River flows out of an underground cave system. Almost all of the houses and Winter Hall itself are from times long before any shaní can remember and the methods of their construction have been lost to them. In the centuries following the False Dawn, when the winters were even harsher than they are now and blightspawn and other beasts were a constant threat, the fortifications of Winter Town were vital to their survival and almost all Shándole migrated to Winter Town during the darkest months the year. In many ways it was Winter Town that brought the varied tribes of shaní together as one nation. The Winter Counsel is named as such, because they traditionally gather and meet at Winter Hall when all the tribes are gathered together. These days, fewer and fewer shaní are choosing to migrate to its shelter every year, but it is still an important center of their culture and traditions.

    River Town Camps: River Town, is really more of a series of several small camps and huts along a line of watch towers and basic fortifications that follow the course of the Ka River. Most people move from Winter Town to the River Town villages as soon as thaws starts. They don’t really stay in one place, but move around, traveling the banks and taking which ever hut is available at the moment. They travel on both horses and in canoes, fishing and hunting and following the herds. Once spring floods recede, crops are planted in the river floodplains and some stay to continue to tend them, but the majority of the people either move on down river or spread out over the plains in order to fish, hunt or gather other resources. The homes in the camps are regularly maintained by the community as a whole, because so many people constantly move around and in and out of the camps. Home and land “ownership” isn’t a concept they use. The camps and all the lands are used and maintained by the community as a whole, not by individuals. The hut you use and fix up today may well be used by someone different a few days later after you have moved on and if you come back, you may use the same hut, or you may end up using any other of the numerous houses at the camp.

    Summer Town: Summer Town is on the coast. It is here that the Shándole do their yearly trading and hold the Summer Festival celebrations at the mouth of the Ka River. Summer Town is simple with only basic fortifications, as they try to be welcoming to the traders who visit them along the coast and summer is usually the least threatening time of the year when it comes to monsters and predators. Summer Town is a place of festivities and joyful gatherings. Boats and canoes are taken out into the sea, to hunt for whales and large fish and lot of busy hunting, crafting and socializing is done in Summer Town. Once the trading, sea hunting and partying is finished and the short summer begins to turn back to autumn, many Shándole go back up the river, harvesting the crops they planted on the way down and hoarding up as much food as possible to bring back to Winter Town to be storied in ice cellars, grain pits and pantries. In recant years, however, more shaní have started staying in and around Summer Town year-round. Boating and fishing industries has dramatically increased, as well as trading and travel. Of all places in Shandolýn, Summer Town has probably seen the most change and development, shifting from temporary festival grounds used only for a couple of months out of the year, to a bustling trading and fishing village year-round. The shaní of Summer Town have begun developing deeper connections and affinity to the ocean and the creatures of the sea, awaking memories and trance visions of ancient times when their people were sea farers rather the river nomads.

    Alter of Á’Nenámako: Near Summer Town at the mouth of the Ka River, is a small island known as Á’Nenámako, or “The Last Island.” At the western end of the island a point rises with a commanding view of the Lyndicalah Sea. On this point the is a small garden, mostly comprised of naturally occurring wildflowers, surrounding a simple stone alter. There are some carved designs reminiscent of waves around the sides and the top has a carving that depicts the course of the Ka River through the valley. The point and the alter are considered a sacred place and shaní visit during the Summer Festival to look out over the view and meditate on Simráh, the course of the Ka River, the course of their lives and existence itself.

    Rosewood Standing Stone: Built only a couple years after the Blue Commit was seen in the skies, the Rosewood Stone was constructed by both humans of the Dannu-Gaon tribes and shaní as a base and place of mystic power for The Sentinels of Stone, in hopes that the organization would protect the mountains and keep them secure from bligtspawn. It’s a significant site in that it was the first undertaking of international corporation, heralding a new era of greater awareness and interaction beyond the bounds of Shandolýn. The Rosewood Standing Stone is located up in the SE mountains, a few miles above Winter Town in a grove of towering redwoods trees. Several of the mystical Winter Rose vines can be found grown up the tree trunks and it's always been considered a place of spiritual power and reverence. The stone is of dark gray schist and is just over twelve feet tall but still looks small compared to the trees around it.



    Spoiler: Magical Creatures
    Show



    Frost Wolves: Frost wolves are larger even than dire wolves, standing nearly as tall at the shoulder as a horse and with packed muscles and a long lean body. They have white fur, distinctively icy blue eyes and vicious teeth and claws. They are rare and usually only seen in the worst of winters, leading packs of other more mundane wolves in bold and savage hunts. They’re more intelligent than other wolves, with a cold calculating cunning that can be lent to pure malice and spite as often as it is to survival. Besides their size and intelligence, Frost Wolves have the unique capability to breath frosty/stormy winds in powerful breath attacks. The most powerful examples of this breath weapon have been known to fell trees and tear down houses, while also freezing the blood of any living creature unfortunate enough to be caught in the attack and coating surfaces with frosty brittle ice. They are greatly feared, but if slain a shard of un-melting ice can be found in the creature’s heart, glowing with a frosty blue light. Holding the stone will keep other wolves from attacking a person and cause winter winds to almost continuously swirl around them. The Shándole have managed to collect a few of these and after about nine years the ice shard will finally melt, nonetheless both the shards and the wolves are viewed with awe and reverence and a recognition of mystic power.

    Lighting Lizards: These slender silver lizards are about a foot long, with bodies like a snake and short agile legs with claws capable of climbing sheer surfaces. Their heads are like small dragons with many sharp tiny teeth. These creatures are capable of mystic speed, moving from one point to another in a bolt too fast for the eye to follow. When they do, they crackle and spark like lightning. Also, when they bite a creature, they can electrocute it, causing a shock that momentarily stunts and disorients the victim, allowing the little lizard to get in several more shocking attacks and bring down creatures many times larger than itself. Usually Lightning lizards live and travel alone and mostly avoid people. They are rarely seen, but there have been times when food was scare that swarms of lightning lizards have been witnessed traveling together in a roiling sparking pack. In swarms they will attack huge mammoths, whole herds of reindeer, or even shaní camps. They can stripe creatures down to the bones in minutes and then bolt away before the bones can finish falling to the earth. When elves have managed to kill and gut lightning lizards, they have found a small metal ball inside that continuously buzzes and sparks with electricity. After several days the energy will fade, but the metal collected this way is considered mystical and greatly prized.

    Fire Boars: These boars are large and stinking with a continually haze of smelly smoke around them. Their eyes blaze with orange light and their tusks are flinty black and sharp. They’re mostly scavengers, roaming the wilderness and feeding off the frozen carcasses of creatures winter has claimed. They’re mean and territorial, however, often attacking any creature that tries to approach it or its food with savage and vicious spite. Fire boars can breathe out gouts of stinking explosive flame and will use this to attack enemies and also to uncover, thaw and cook its food. The boars themselves cannot be eaten, as they are very poisonous and even the toughest of other scavengers or carnivores become very sick from eating even just a little of the meat. However, if a fire boar is gutted a burning coal can be found in its belly. They coal will keep burning for many months and while it has a stench, it is remarkably effective at cooking food and can warm a whole wigwam byitself.

    Ice Worms: Ice Worms are the most feared of all predators in Shandolýn. They live in the ridges to the north and the glaciers of the upper reaches of the mountains, but occasionally come down into the valley looking for food and a mate. These creatures are enormous, capable of growing as long as 200 ft in length and 30 feet wide. They’re covered in hard gnarled scales of layered black glacier ice, packed with gravel and stone and impossible to penetrate. The ice of the scales glow when the worms are active with an inner light that is turned dark and dirty by the ice of the scales. An ice worm’s head is mostly a mouth round and deep, filled with rows and rows of sharp teeth, capable of ripping, slashing and grinding up anything it chooses, from ice to earth to whole tree trunks and certainly any living creature it closes upon. Despite their size, ice worms are also fast, nearly capable of keeping speed with a galloping horse and they can move over frozen ground and ice or borrow through it. However, if it moves into/onto ground absent of ice or snow, the ice worm begins to grow slower and more lethargic and it can’t swim. Ice worms have no eyes but have very keen hearing and tremor sense. When they are active, they will move toward noise and movement seeking food. They will consume whole herds of mammoths and still ravenously seek out more. Their hunger is a force of nature, a natural disaster that destroys all in its path. Thankfully, most of the time ice worms hibernate buried deep in the tundra earth or glaciers only emerging once every three or four decades to eat all it can find and seek for a mate. The awakening of one can trigger the awakening of another. They only have one sex and after mating both worms will lay an egg deep in the ground, before falling back into hibernation. The Shándole hate and fear ice worms. The shaní were once nearly destroyed when an ice worm attacked several tribes on their way back to Winter Town, many of the people managed to escape the area while their hunter distracted the ice worm, sacrificing themselves to give the rest time to flee, but all the food so carefully gathered over the yeas was devoured, smashed and scattered. What little was recovered was discovered to have been poisoned and trained by the ice worm’s passing. This was the beginning of the Winter of Malice the darkest year in Shándole history.

    Leviathans: Leviathans are similar to ice worms, enormous creatures long and serpent like in shape, but with many tentacles at one end. They live in the deepest and darkest waters of the Lyndicalah Sea, amid frozen icebergs and where glaciers meet the water. However, they will sometimes swim south into warmer waters to feed. They are not as well-known nor feared as ice worms, as aren’t they encountered by the Shándole but as the shaní start relying more and more on the ocean and ventures further out with their boats, Leviathans may begin to grow in reputation.



    Spoiler: Magical Plants
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    Winter Roses: This thorny vine mostly grows in the forests and high vales of the Santícemnáhs, but can sometimes be found in the Moriah Forest as well. It only blooms once and does so with large sweet-smelling roses, sometime red and sometimes white. However, once the roses have fully bloomed the plant stops growing, it doesn't wilt or change and remains in its state of full bloom for years or even many decades if left undisturbed. It seems completely immune to cold weather, ice and other harsh conditions while in full bloom. Only if a living creature breaks a stem, or picks a rose, does the vine begin to wilt, dying very slowly over the course of 5 to 10 years. If the petals of the roses are ground up and ingested or dried and then burned, it makes a poison that in a large dose can put a person into a deep coma they cannot be awoken from. In smaller doses is can cause a temporary stillness that might last a few days. Some elves will use to help them deeply meditate or get through a time of fasting, more easily.

    Kypher: Kypher is a blueish waxy plant with tangled stems and small leaves that grow close to the ground in shady areas. It can be found all over the region, except in the highest parts of the mountains and the Ice Worm Ridges. It has a sweet-tangy scent and very small purple flowers. It is highly valued, because he has healing properties, causing people to recover from wounds and sicknesses much faster than normal and without complications like infection or even scars. It can be smashed and mixed with a little water to make a topical paste or dried out and smoked. If a person smokes it, it also gives a very strong high, where the person feels energized and does not grow weary. While they remain high, they can ignore the pains of hunger, cold, exhaustion and even the pain of wounds, but once they sober they will crash hard into whatever they had been ignoring and feel it all the worse because of it. Hunters and warriors will use it when they really need to push themselves.T he trouble with kypher, however, is that it is very addictive. Shaní that get addicted can be driven crazy by their desire to get more and if they can't the withdrawal symptoms can leave them weak, mentally tortured and unable to get up for weeks. The plant is rare enough that the shaní can't keep enough to constantly supply an addict for very long. Some shándole have died from withdrawal or have even killed in their desperation to find more. Because of this the Winter Council has forbidden its uses except in medical emergencies to save lives, or when hunters and warriors must be capable of ignoring pains for the rest of their tribe to be preserved. It's known that kypher and its effects are not natural and that the plant has mystical properties, so it is treated very carefully.

    Chuckle Berries: These brownish purple berries grow on bushes in both the Ka River plains and the Moriah Forest. The brushes grow up remarkably quickly near the end of summer and then become heavy with berries, dying when the winter comes. The berries taste sweet and juicy, but do not actually do anything to fill a person up, or nourish them. They may as well have been eating air for all it fills their bellies. However, anyone who eats them will become very happy friendly and trusting. They will begin laughing at anything and everything and suddenly everyone around them is their best friend in the whole world and they will happily pour their heart out to them, spilling secrets and hidden desires and inner thoughts they never would have said while sober - all the while laughing and giggling between every other sentence they speak. The shaní believe the berries are magically cursed and warn their people to stay away. But... sometimes young foolish elves will sneak into the forest or the plains and find them and get super high with each other, laughing, crying and pouring out their hearts and like as not having sex, before falling asleep in the middle of the wilderness happy as babies in a cradle and without a worry in the world. They will regret it later, if their elders find out, or if some dangerous beast or predators stumbles upon them sleeping in the open like idiots.



    ---

    People

    The Shándole tribes live close to nature, with a strong sense of community and cooperation often eclipsing family and individuals. Domesticated animals play a strong roll in their communities, dogs and horses in particular and spiritualism shapes much of their world view. Trancing and meditation are practiced by all shaní and shaman play an important role in teaching and guiding other through life. With long elven lifespans and low birthrates their population still pretty low after the turmoil of the False Dawn and social structure is built more around age, accomplishment and vocation, than bloodlines or family connections. Also, because almost all shaní tend to maintain peak physical condition throughout their lives, as a culture they tend to value experience, intelligence and wisdom, more than physical strength and performance, as there is wider variance of intellectual ability within their communities.

    Spoiler: Elf
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    Shándole are elven, but are little larger more brawny and tough than southern elves, having adapted to a harsh and cold environment. They can travel well through cold and rugged lands and know how to face starvations, but would probably suffer in hot climates.

    Their skin is bronze-brown and their hair dark and wiry, with a thick texture. They have no facial hair. Their eyes are often blue, grey, or green, though sometimes they have amber or brown eyes. Pointed ears and long elegant hands and feet, are their most distinctly elven physical features. They mostly stand over 6’ tall and under 7’ with lithe dexterous builds and sharp bony features.

    They might be mistaken as humans, on first sighting, because they are a little less elegant and slender in frame, but they have elven darkvision, keen senses, are capable of bursts of great speed when they need it.



    Population

    Spoiler: Population
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    The Shándole were never very numerous and, having been devastated by the False Dawn and the following calamities of the Everwinter and the Blightspawn, they were reduced even more. Fertility rates in Shándole are lower than in human populations, so the 200 years since the calamity hasn't given them much time to recuperate their numbers.

    The nation has a total of about 8,000 people, broken up into tribal communities between 500 and 1000 in number. All the communities tend to gather in close proximity when they meet at Summer Town and when they shelter at Winter Town and then spread out much more during the migration through the River Town camps.

    Thanks to their smaller population size and migrational habits, the Shan are very mobil and adaptable, able to pack up and relocate in response to trouble and threats.



    Life & Death

    Spoiler: Life & Death
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    Like most elves, the Shándole are long lived, naturally living to be between 500 to 600 years. Once they mature around age 30, they don't physically age or weaken as the grow older. There is little physical difference between a 540 year old elf and a 30 year old elf.

    Rather than physically, an old elf shows their age, by growing more and more distance and then lost mentally and spiritually. They call it Má'Morian or “The Longing.” An elf gets more and more absent minded and will fall into long meditations and trances, just staring into the distance. They are drawn toward nature, wandering aimlessly into the forests or the mountains, or just staring at the river or the sea for hours or even days at a time. Usually, once and elf has fallen into Má'Morian, they will choose to undergo a ritual called “Má’Tanlilion” or “The Departing” which is similar to a funeral, except the individual is still present. After the ritual the old elf leaves to wander alone into the wilderness with no more than a simple satchel with a few days’ worth of food.

    Though losing family and loved ones in this way is difficult and sad for the Shándole, the elves view it as a natural and the right way to make room for the young and reserve resources for those with the greatest strength and the focused wisdom needed for the tribe's collective survival. An elf who tarries long into old age, dwelling on Má'Morian, but not departing is seen as selfish and a burden upon the younger generations and the people as a whole. Cruel as it may seem, social pressure is often put upon these elves to leave, though no elf is ever forced to perform Má’Tanlilion. While there is respect for individuals, the survival and good of the Shándole as a whole is prioritized. And those who, for one reason or another do not conform for the greater good, experience negative social pressure and even organized social ostracization if the nation decides their deviancy put the Shándole as a whole at risk either physically or morally.



    Trancing

    Spoiler: Trancing
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    Besides not aging, the Shándole do not need to sleep. It's a difference in their physiology as well as something of a learned and ingrained spiritual trait. Instead of sleeping, they must simply spend several hours a day (usually at least 4) in meditation or "trancing" as it is called. This is tied strongly into their religion and what they call the Simráh, a channel to the memories and spirits of all past life. A trancing elf is not as aware as a wakeful elf, but is more mindful of their surroundings than someone who is sleeping.

    They mentally discipline themselves during trance, and consider and review their own understandings and the ways of the greater spirit of memory, life and nature. Young elves usually have a spiritual teacher to help them get the most out of their trancing.

    It is also a very good way to preserve energy and survive on fewer calories, as it can cycle their body into a state of semi-hibernation. While it's not a common accomplishment, some elves have been known to be able to go into a trance and stay that way for weeks without needing food or even much water.



    Social Structure

    Spoiler: Social Structure
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    The Shándole are still very much still recovering from the calamity of the False Dawn and the Everwinter and Blightspawn that followed. However, partly thanks to their smaller numbers, they have very close knit communities. Their social structure is framed more around the community than the “family” in the traditional sense of the word.


    Spoiler: Marriage, Partners and Children
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    Choosing a single life-long sexual partner and raising your children yourselves isn’t especially uncommon, but it is not the normal practice. Throughout an elf’s life, they may have several spouses, either one at a time or in a more polyamorous situation. Committing to a single partner for the whole of one's life, when one lives centuries is not something commonly done, though for those who do find a partnership and love that can stand so long, there is much admiration and respect.

    Children are often adopted by those who are best suited and most pleased to live as nurturers and caregivers, even if they have had no children themselves, or their own children are already grown. Often times this means children grow up in busy household, where many of the children of their age group within the community are raised together like siblings. Children are born relatively rarely, so this isn't as big a group as might be expected in human communities.

    Craftsmen and lore masters, who have honed and perfected a skill are seldom expected to take on the burden of raising families or hunting. After all, it can take a century to perfect the building of canoes, the making of baskets or weaving of wool, the tanning and crafting of leathers and furs, or the strict memorization of the tribe’s history, lore and traditions. Younger and less skilled Shándole are expected to happily take on the responsibility of providing food and protection for these older artisans and lore masters.

    Hunters, warriors and scouts are respected as providers and their courage in the face of monsters is lauded, but ultimately they are only doing their part to serve the greater good like anyone else and are often seen as somewhat less relevant or special, compared to specialized craftsman or lore-masters.



    Spoiler: Old & Young
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    Older more experienced elves always lead, there are local sub-council that discussed problems in depth and agreed as a collective on decisions to bring before the main Winter Council. Younger elves have no say on what councils decide and are expected to trust in the wisdom of their elders and not question them, at least not openly.

    A younger elf voicing concern or questioning an elder in private is acceptable and, in fact, often viewed as the means through which wisdom and skill in decision making is passed on. Privately seeking advice and council, or even seeking to give advice and council with and elder is important to the relationships between generations. However, defying, opening questioning or denouncing the decisions of an elder is considered more than just an egregious taboo, it could be tantamount to treason and grounds for social shunning and harsh reprimand.



    Spoiler: Men & Women and Pregnancy
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    Among the Shándole a division between the roles of male and female is not particularly present nor important. Both men and women are accepted in any role within the tribe and the only time there is significant difference made is when a woman becomes pregnant. A pregnant woman would be forbidden from hunting, scouting and from most other activities and expected to temporarily retire into a position with little risk or physical activity. She is given easy, rather tedious tasks to occupy herself with while she comes to term. Her responsibility to safely bare a new tribe member and give them birth is prioritized over her personal desires and preferred activities. Pregnancies last a little over a year for elves, but a pregnant woman who grows restless or stir crazy if often reprimanded and told that out of all the long years that are her own, she should not begrudge a single year dedicated to bringing another life into the world.

    It can be repressive and some woman avoided pregnancy because of this, but once the child is born, the mother is free to raise the child herself, or hand it off to another caregiver and return to her normal role, as if it never happened. Sometimes a woman’s partner will willingly join her in retirement and fathers who do so are considered gracious and honorable. At times the father will even become the caretaker of the child once it is born, remaining in a more domestic role, while the mother returns fully to whatever role she had before getting pregnant. Pregnancy is not necessarily viewed as a choice and is seen more as a responsibility when it happens. Parenthood, on the other hand, is entirely optional and children are born rarely enough that there is always at least one person in the tribe that is more than happy and willing to take in and raise a newly born child.





    False Dawn Madness

    Spoiler: False Dawn Madness
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    Shándole live to be nearly 600 years old, so survivors of the False Dawn are still alive and children of that time aren’t even middle-aged yet. All Shan elders are False Dawn survivors, including everyone on the Winter Council. However, no one alive from that time can clearly remember what happened or anything from before the calamity.

    It wasn’t an instant mass amnesia, but in the decades following, memories just gradually faded away from everyone, even the most skilled lore masters. Carefully memorized songs and oral history just eluded them, names of ancestors faded away from thought, recollections of events failed and even careful meditation and reaching into the Simráh couldn’t bring memories back. Within fifty years nothing could be reliably known or recalled about anything around or before the False Dawn.

    Shándole put great value on memory and connections to the past. They see life as one spirit stretching throughout time back to a primal origin, so a collective loss of memory was almost as distressing at the brightspawn and Everwinter. The Shan assume that somehow the False Dawn disrupted Simráh and whatever taint and dreadful power is behind it, it must have gone deep-deep into the source of life and spirit.

    For a brief time the Shan feared all memory would continue to fade and people would relapse back into animals, unable to understand or remember anything of great significance. It took great leadership to get the tribe through this panic, as several people were ready to throw themselves into the freezing river and just die, rather than loose Simráh. But as time went on and memories of times after the False Dawn remained stable, faith and hope began to return and grow. Now Shándole leaders hope to even reconnect to the lost Simráh from before the False Dawn, but so far there hasn’t been much success. Councils speak of sending expeditions out on truth-quests, seeking other people and places and maybe even the source of the False Dawn in order to know what really happened. - Some younger elves think such plans and obsessions are the real False Dawn madness, but it is not there place to question their elders.




    Map

    Spoiler: Map
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    Tarandi Region #115




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    Last edited by Laura; 2020-08-23 at 01:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Shandolé
    The River Valley of Our People

    I hit the character limit on the previous post, so I'm editing this to contain some of the, stories, lore, descriptions and information I couldn't fit there. All the essential nation qualities are in the first post.

    ... but the best stories are here.


    Spoiler: Geography
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    Flora, Fona & Spirits

    Spoiler: Flora, Fona & Spirits
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    Spoiler: Magical Spirits
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    Magical Spirits of the Valley

    Spoiler: Wild Heart
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    Wild Heart : The first elf to tame and ride a horse was Kaíske’M’Kaskí aka Sing-Free-My-Wild-Heart (she had a different name at the time). Kaíske and a few other scouting elves got separated from their hunting party and fell into the clutches of an especially powerful, intelligent and cruel brightspawn, call Vial Spirit.

    Vial Spirit also had captured a heard of horses. It was torturing and eating both elves and horses, tormenting, killing and eating Kaíske’s friends before her eyes. It also tortured the horses, killing them in front of a particularly large and beautiful stallion that seemed to react with unusual intelligence and distress.

    Kaíske managed to escape her bonds, but was too weak to walk very far. She knew she would never be able to escape out of the camp of Vial Spirit alone and all the elves but her had been killed. But there were still several horses left alive and strong enough to run. She decided that if she couldn’t save herself, she would at least free the horses. She freed the large stallion and loosed the other horses from their ropes. She thought she was doing her final good deed. However, the stallion didn’t leave Kaíske behind. It took her on his back, carrying her because she could not run.

    Kaíske and the horses escaped, but Vial Spirit tracked them, hunting them relentlessly through the wilderness. The stallion led his herd, navigating the landscape and taking every advantage he could, while refusing to give up or leave Kaíske or any horses behind. They ran for six days, staying just ahead of Vial Spirit. Then, when they were so weak Kaíske though they would die for sure, the stallion pushed one more night, coming to a ridge at dawn and bursting over the top in a cloud of snow and heaving frosty breaths and stamping hooves. Just below the ridge was a camp of Sentinels, preparing to move out of the valley. Kaíske explained to the warriors that Vial Spirit was pursuing them and the Sentinels prepared an ambush, destroying that terrible blightspawn once and for all. They asked Kaíske how she knew they were here and she said she didn’t, that stallion brought them here.

    The Sentinels were suitably impressed, but had to continue on their way, giving Kaíske some food and supplies to make her own way home. As she traveled, the stallion and his herd reappeared and traveled with her. The stallion didn’t allow her to ride him again, but expressed friendship and fondness in her company. After many days, Kaíske found one of the River Town camps and rejoined her people. That Stallion departed, not going with Kaíske to the camp, but before he left he neighed and rallied what was left of his herd, and the dozen horses moved down to the camp, as if at his command. They became the first domesticated horses in Shándole memory.

    However, even after many tamed horses had been bred and become beloved allies of the Shan, Kaíske never forgot the stallion and searched for him many times. She would sometimes see him from a distance and even managed to approach her old friend, but he never allowed her to ride him and would never accompany her back to a camp.

    She named him Wild Heart and believes him to be more than a horse, but some kind great spirit. Even decades later, along after any horse should have died, Kaíske and other Shan will some times see Wild Heart, coming over a ridge, or leading wild horses through the valley on a frosty morning. They respect the spirit for the granting them the gift of horses, but believe he also teaches that horses are not just slaves or beasts of burden, that not every horse can be tamed or expected to bend before the will of elves or even blightspawn. Some horses will always be wild.

    Wild Heart is probably the most beloved of all the magical spirits of the valley.



    Spoiler: True Heart
    Show


    True Heart: Within the forests and along its boarder with the plains, Shándole will sometimes see a great Elk, giant in comparison with to his normal kin, standing over 15’ with a rack of great antlers rising even higher. This elk is only ever seen from a distance and not even the best of hunting parties can track it.

    Most often the elk is seen in spring time and the Shan think he’s a spirit who guards the forest and represents the many animals of prey that take shelter there in, hiding from the wolves and predators within its thick foliage and using speed and cunning to survive. He is presumed to be the King of the forest and the Shándole call him True Heart for his nobility and serenity. Many elves have tried to seek him out and hunt him down, but they have never succeeded, they suspect they never will, but think it is right to honer such an elk by at least trying.

    Shándole tell stories to one another that True Heart blesses a wise hunter, who respects the forest and the creatures and never hunts more than they need, but will curse a hunter who squanders their kills, or pillages the forest without due reverence.

    If a Shan should ever find themselves the hunted, rather than the hunter, with predators - beast or blightspawn - on their trail, they should seek True Heart in the forest and sing his song. He can channel the Simráh of the hunted, and help an elf find the strength to keep running, the wisdom to know where to hide and the courage to never give up.



    Spoiler: King of the Wild Hunt
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    Wild King of the Hunt

    On the edge of winter in the short days of autumn up until the winter solstice the Wild King rides. He appears as an elf, but over fifteen feet tall, dressed all in hides and furs and warring a helmet adorned with elk antlers of tremendous size and many prongs. With him always are many wolves, dogs, bares and other predators of the valley. He rides a huge large black horse, carried a spear and can be seen dashing through the snows of plains in the dusk that lasts many days.

    Usually Wild King of the Hunt and the rest of his party are only seen from a great distance and the echos of their howling and whooping will ring distantly off the mountain cliffs that surround Winter Town. However, should an elf ever find themselves near to the hunt, they face a great reckoning. The true measure of the elf will be tested, do they have a heart of fear, or a heart of boldness? If they have fear they will become the hunted and the Wild King will pursue them restlessly, riding them down and taring them apart, just for the joy and glory of the kill. If the elf has a heart of boldness, the hunt will come upon them and the Wild King will acknowledge them with respect and invite the elf to join him on his hunt this night. It is very rude to refuse and doing so will earn an elf the Wild King’s wrath and curse. Such an elf is unlikely to ever be successful on his own hunts again.

    The Wild King is believed to be the King of the open plains and the collective spirit of the hunter and all predators, as well as any one else who revel in the joy of the kill and the wild freedom of strength unleashed in the night. Those who hunt to survive, or just for pleasure can find strength in meditating on the Wild King, singing his songs, or seeing him in trance visions. He will teach an elf strength and ferocity, speed and the cleverness to overcome the tricks of the prey.



    Spoiler: Lost One
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    Lost One: Occasionally, throughout the past couple of centuries, a strange thing will happen when an elf catches a fish, or traps a hare or otherwise captures a small animal intending to eat it. The animal will speak. It will call out for mercy and plead that the hunter or fisherman release it and harm it no further. In exchange for being released, the creature will promise to answer three questions about the elf’s future. If the hunter agrees the answers will be accurate prophecies of the future, though it may not be what the elf was hoping to hear. After being released as agreed, the creature will shimmer and a strange mist will rise out of it and then flee the area. Attempting to speak to the animal again will be fruitless, as whatever intelligence was in it has fled. The next time an elf encounters the spirit it will in a completely different animal form.

    If an elf ignores the pleas and kills the animal anyway, it will shriek and weep, until it is dead. Then the strange mist will rise from the corpse, the sounding of weeping now fait and muffled. The mist will waiver and then drift away. The flesh of the animal the hunter killed, will taste foul and rancid and rot faster than normal.

    Shándole are baffled by this phenomena and do not know the truth of its origin or how the spirit knows the future or why it seems so desperate. However they call it Lost One and know it is related to another spirit occasionally encountered, Seeker. The true story behind these spirits is lost to the Madness of the False Dawn, or maybe it was never known. The Shan can only speculate.



    Spoiler: Seeker
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    Seeker: Over the past centuries, there have been strange encounters where a predator of some sort or another lashes out at camps, hunting parties, or even fortified towns with a madness and viciousness usually not typical of its kind. It doesn’t kill to eat, but kills in a rage, destroying buildings and fences, as well attacking people in a great temper, all the while roaring or growling.

    When warriors and hunter confront it and try to drive it back or kill it, it speaks demanding to know “Where she is!!??” screaming that “She is lost!!!” And insisting that “She must be found!!” Nothing the adult Shan can do or say will appease it.

    However, if a child approaches, the animal will begin to calm and speak in a more reasonable tone, crying that it has lost “her.” The child can explain that Lost One is not here and the elves do not know where she is and offer the animal a gift of food. If the child successfully mollifies the animal, it will eat the gift and then sit down and weep, until the child pats it on the head. Then a it will lift its head and offer to answer one question about the history of the valley. Its answer is presumed to be truthful and it is one of the few means the Shan have of uncovering their past, outside of Trance visions.

    After answering the question, a strange mist will rise up from the creature and and whisk away. The next time the spirit is encountered it will be in a different form. The animal left behind, will be dopy and lethargic and easy to shoo away or kill.

    Most of the time, Shan are not willing to risk sending a child to face a raging beast, however, and the warriors have to fight to beat the animal down and slay it. When they manage to do so the mist rises from the corpse still howling in rage and then will disperse in the winds, with a final cry of anguish. The body of the animal it left is rancid and tainted, quickly decaying and of little worth for eating or skinning.

    The Shan have been able to conclude that Lost One and Seeker are part of some common origin and that their mystical knowledge of the future and the past is significant, but many mysteries remain. They have never been able to get Lost One and Seeker together. Attempts to capture and hold one or the other have always failed and the two spirits have never appeared in the same year let alone at the same place and time.



    Spoiler: The Banished
    Show


    The Banished: Unlike the other magical spirits in the valley, Shándole know the true origin of The Banished. They know it all too well…

    Spoiler: The Winter of Malice
    Show


    The Winter of Malice
    At the start of the Winter of Malice the last four tribes were returning to Winter Town, when they got attacked by the ice worm, Malice The Black Scourge. Most of the people survived, but their best warriors and hunters were all slain and all the food they had gathered for winter was devoured or ruined. This was only a few decades after the False Dawn in the mists the Everwinter and food war as scares as it’s ever been.

    When all was counted, it was seen that Winter Town had less than half of the food it needed for the people to survive the winter. The Winter Council met and debated long what to do. They themselves were incomplete, having lost nearly half their sitting Elders in the difficult seasons proceeding. Usually new Elders are chosen to replace those lost ones at the beginning of Winter Council, but strife kept even this from being accomplished.

    One Elder, Á’Eldíno’Roontí aka "Stands-Under-the-Cursed-Sky", put forward a proposal that was horrible, but the only way forward to be seen. They must banish at least a quarter of the people, over 2000 elves, - the four tribes who came to Winter Town last and lost their warriors and their food. It would still leave Winter Town short on supplies, but fasting and rationing could get them through if they disciplined themselves.

    Most of the other Elders were outraged and sickened by the proposal, in particular the two members who were of two of four tribes. One other elder saw the inevitable wisdom of this, Óstertúatarúndi aka "Yesterday-is-Lost", but she was loathed to speak strongly, because her conscious battled with her wisdom. She was greatly troubled and could not speak firm. There were two young members of Winter Council, who held honor seats, M’Sandi’an’meleti aka "This-Mountain-Does-Not-Move" and Talákinzáni’Quêzí aka Eagle-Flies-High-And-Sees-All (though his name was different at the time).
    - This was their first year at Winter Council, but the feats that earned them honor seats have been lost to the Madness of the False Dawn. - M’Sandi and Zán’Quêzí, had been mentored by Stands-Under-the-Cursed-Sky and saw his wisdom, but were fearful to speak on such a radical action in the mists of their elders, even though they have been granted equal seats at the end of the last winter.

    Stands-Under-the-Cursed-Sky debated long and hard, saying that "the few must be sacrificed for to save the many" and t"he greater good and survival of the Shándole out weighed the lives of the individual, even 2000 individuals." He was curses and challenged that "if such was so, then why didn’t he kill himself and rid the world of his cruel heart." Stands-Under-the-Cursed-Sky stood up and went to the center of Winter Hall. He took out his knife and said “Witness me and see that my words are true. - true of fact and truly spoken, not out of cruelty, but out of dedication to our people.” Then he raised his knife and quickly slit his own throat there before the rest of the council. All the Elders as well as M’Sandi and Zán’Quêzí watched in shock and horror.

    A few moment after his death, Yesterday-is-Lost stood and said she was convinced by Elder Stands-Under-the-Cursed-Sky’s last augment and she would not be moved. This terrible thing must be done. Zán’Quêzí stood as well and said he would not be moved and further he would see this done, by the strength and skill of his own spear. His eyes flashed and they all knew he was warrior to be reckoned with. M’Sandi also stood and said Zán’Quêzí had his strength behind him in this matter. The two Elders of the four tribes were enraged and yelled curses, saying if this happened they would never stop resisting or hating those who made could do such a terrible act. The final member of the council, LamoshijondíLast-of-Summer’s-Warmth, could not speak and refused to stand or vote. So the proposal was passed.

    That night screams and cries filled Winter Town as elves were dragged from their homes and forced out of into the mountain cold. Blood ran and many fought, but the four tribes being driven away had already lost their best warriors to the ice worm and no other elves dared defy the Winter Council and come to their aid. Men, women, old and young, even children were cast out and chased from the walls and gates of Winter Town, banished forever. Their fate out in the cold was inevitable.

    Later that winter, Last-of-Summer’s-Warmth was found with his throat slit by a knife. Yesterday-is-Lost fell into Má’Morian at a surprisingly early age and Departed only a few years later. The fate of M’Sandi is another story and Zán’Quêzí sits on the Winter Council to this day, the longest sitting Winter Council member of Shándole.

    The Winter of Malice is the earliest year that cam be remembered with any clarity after the False Dawn. And all winters/years are counted forward from this one. The Elves wished they had something better to be the cornerstone of their remember past, but still preserve all that they can, retelling and memorizing all the details.

    2476 elves were driven out into the winter that year and this is the origin of The Banished, - the 2476 elves driven away in the Winter of Malice.



    Banished are found in the wilderness, usually during the winter time, though at any time of hardship they might appear.

    Hunting groups or other travelers might see smoke in the distance and approach to see a what appears to be a ragged group os elves huddled around a flameless smoking fire, emaciated and bedraggled. As the hunters draw closer, the bedraggled elves will look up with the dazed and confused manner of those on the edge of freezing. It is then that the hunters will see that the elves are not just emaciated - they are thin beyond reality, pale, frostbitten and their eyes are pure black and sunk deep into their skulls.

    Even as realization comes to the hunters, recognition comes into the faces of the Banished. Opening great maws they will rise and scream in hatred and rage. Their bodies will begin to rapidly transform, growing taller, but remaining just as thin. They become stooping skeletons with ragged skin and clothes flapping around bare bones with teeth marks gnawed upon them. Their faces shift to skulls with the jaws of a wolf and the antlers of an elk and deep eyes that burn with cold blue furry. Their long arms end in claws over a foot in length.

    The Banished will rush the hunters, or any elves who happen to encounter them. The are full of malice and starving for elven flesh. They have speed and strength that defy reason and can not be killed unless they are torn completely apart. Even then the pieces will drag themselves back together and continue to pursue the Shándole unless the skulls of The Banished are cracked open. Then a cold blue light will rise and streak away, a scream lost forever on the freezing wind.

    It has been noted that The Banished react more strongly against elves who were alive during the Winter of Malice, targeting them first amid a group. Against younger elves they have a less drastic reaction. Though they will still scream and attack, their strength, speed and malice is lessened and not as focused. In the past, if any elf who was an elder during those times encountered the Banished their rage and strength was even stronger. These days there are not elves left who were old enough to be elders during the Winter of Malice.

    Zán’Quêzí was a young elf with an honor seat on the Winter Council when it happened. He became the only surviving member of the Winter Council who voted to banish the four tribes pretty shortly after The Winter of Malice. It is said that The Banished hold a special loathing and hatred for Zán’Quêzí. That it is truly him they seek to destroy and that, once he is dead, the spirits of the Banished will fade from the valley. - (This is never said in the company of any who might be suspected of reporting this rumor or those who speak it back to Zán’Quêzí.)

    The 2476 banished elves were the original Banished Spirits and many are still out there, though several have been had the skulls crushed over the centuries. However, it’s believed that any elf who gets lost in the winter and resorts to cabalism, will also become a Banished in the valley.









    Spoiler: People
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    Spoiler: Clothing
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    Clothing and Dress

    The Shan dress mostly in wool and animal furs, including soft leathers and woven coats made from the thick fur of wooly mammoths. They have some dyes and can make a lovely blue color and some greens, but don't have a wide verity of dyes and colors to dress in.

    They’re very modest in how the dress, seldom exposing more skin than what’s on their hands and faces. They do however like to tattoo themselves, keeping the art covered except for special occasion and important life moments, rituals where the tattoos are revealed.

    They like jewelry made of pearls, opals, shells and metal they buy from the coastal tradesmen and use it to adorn their hair, wrists and necks. They also tend to use feathers and animal claws and teeth in adornment. There isn't much difference in how people dress based on wealth or vocation. A finely woven garment might be a indicator of status, but there really isn't much class disparity in their culture.


    Spoiler: The Arts
    Show


    Music, Oral Traditions and Other Arts

    Music is a big part of Shándole culture and they have developed rather complex and advanced musical scales, harmonies and instruments, considering the materials they have available. Vocal intricacies, improvisations, multipart harmonies and poetic lyrics are practiced daily, as expression and entertainment is often done singing around the fires. It is a means that is important to preserving stories, lessons and histories and their most common way of expression deep emotions. Without written language these oral traditions are nearly sacred as memories and the learning from the past is central to their faith.

    Often times, a leader will begin a song and other participants are expected to skillfully improvise harmonies, and continue to add verses that follow the theme and base melody the original singer laid down. It takes a lot of skill and practice to keep up with the best musicians. True artists can improvise whole ballads on the spot as a group, passing the lead melody around the fire as easily as one might pass a smoking pipe and tuning in with harmonies when they aren't center vocalist. Every Shándole has an excellent musical ear, simply from how much harmonizing and singing is practiced in their culture. Drums, lyrs, woodwinds and wooden chimes are used, but they like to keep focus on the vocals.

    Besides music, they have tattooing as a developed and ritualistic art. It's the closest they have to written symbolism, as many pictures and signs used to tattoo a person are representative of meanings, stories and life paths. They make the ink out of pigments made from shells and the inks are often blue, a turquoise sea-green or black.

    Finally, they have rather elaborate weaving and tapestry making using the wool from mammoths and dyes from the coast. The colors aren't in huge variety, but the patterns are interact. They love the art of tapestry and woven patterns and their most prized procession might be a beautifully woven garment.



    Spoiler: Naming Conventions
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    Naming Conventions

    Proper names are often given as poetic symbols to represent a Shan's relationship to the tribe and to nature/the world around them. It is long, sometimes a whole sentence. As a person ages and if their role and/or self-understanding changes, they will often change their name to reflect this. Proper names are seen as a spiritual thing and a reflection of one's journey. It is always used in rituals and in formal settings and is how a person would initially introduce himself or herself to a person. An example would be “Watcher of the Setting Sun” this could symbolize that the person views themselves as a one who prepares for danger (night and darkness) or has a deep understanding of mortality and the end of life. “Dew in the Morning” would symbolize hope and a fresh perspective on life, maybe someone who sees themselves as a nourisher and caregiver, providing gentle water and life to those around them. “Mighty West Wind” could be someone who is strong but changing and who views themselves as an advent of great things and a forceful personality.

    Of course, such important symbolic names can’t be casually used, so most elves also have nicknames or shortened version of their name to go by, often times they will have several. Almost as a foil to the religious significance of a proper name, these names were often cute or ironic, descriptive of a physical feature or even crude in a teasing but usually well intentioned manner. While proper names are chosen by the person themselves, or by their parents/first caregiver, nicknames are only considered authentic if they are given to an elf by their friends. Getting a nickname is a big step to being accepted into a particular social group. Therefore, an elf will never introduce themselves by a nickname nor ask others to call them by it, it is something to be received or passed onto your friends by the friends you had previously, almost as a token of endorsement. To introduce a friend to another by their nickname is saying “he’s cool, he’s one of us.” This is why some elves will have multiple nicknames, especially if they are in a number of social circles that don't necessarily overlap much. To use or give a nickname when you are not a person’s friend and do not intend to include them as “one of you” is very cruel and misleading and big social taboo. Examples of nicknames would be “Fin” “Tess” “Dewy” “Farts-a-lot” “Big Eyes” “Scar” “Nell” “Speedy” “Danny” “Squirrel” “Jerkface” ect.





    Religion

    Spoiler: Religion
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    Spoiler: Simráh
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    The world was once one spirit deep, pure and unchanging. Then time began and the spirit began to flow. As it flowed it changed, divided and evolved, crossing many lands, becoming many streams, spreading over the world and becoming all the living creatures.

    "Simráh flows in all of us - the spirit, the memories of all that ever lived. We were all once one and those who seek understanding will remember."

    Shándole do not believe in gods, nor do they pray to spirits, nor seek an afterlife among the heavens. They meditate to remember and to understand. To see themselves in the grand perspective of the Simráh, as part of the one spirit. Shan believe every person has lived many lives. That the spirit that dies is born again in a new life. Simráh never dies, the spirit is never lessened, only changed.

    It is the duty of the living to see that it changes for the better, that the spirit flows forward and does not become stagnant or foul. One day Simráh will reach an ocean and will be both everything and one thing; diversity and unity joined together, where understanding is perfect and all that can be lived will have been lived and every conflict that troubles life resolved. Every piece of nature will find its place and be fitted together, so that all life can live in harmony.

    "Life, nature, animals, people - they are always evolving, growing toward a grander world, but to grow upward the tree must also sink its roots. It’s important to stay connected to the past, draw strength and wisdom from what has been before."

    Shándole see it as their purpose to both remember and advance, make a better world by building on the lessons of the past.

    When Shan meditate or “trance” as they call it. They do not dream as one who sleeps, but still they see visions. They know these to be memories of past lives, lives of their elven ancestors, but also lives of animals, memories, instincts and lessons flowing to them through time and spirit - through Simráh.

    They also believe that through Simráh, they can unlock not only these lost memories, but also some abilities from their ancestral and primal past selves. Through Simráh they can find the discipline to sharpen their senses, to better attune to and understand animals, find the ability to hold their breath and dive deeper into the waters, run faster, fight better, sharpen their minds and ignore pain, hunger and despair. They can become a better self, by remembering who they once were.



    Spoiler: Shamen
    Show


    Shamen and lore masters have the role of helping others in their discipline and guiding them in their understanding and remembering. They memorize history and stories known. They retell trance-visions and help other tell what they have tranced. They demonstrate and teach methods for better meditation and help elves gradually awaken themselves.

    Shándole believe there is always new awakenings to be had, new revelations to be found about one’s self and also about the world all around.

    Shaman are believed to have mystic abilities, to have awakened powers and mysteries others have not reached and they are greatly respected because of this.

    However, Simráh is not just about an individual’s journey. Society must move together and unity within the nation is important. So a strong sense of morality, justice and unity is taught and enforced. Community and the good of the whole is valued above the good of the individual, because Simráh flows best when it flows through deep channels of unity. Shaman and lore master are responsible for teaching ethical and moral codes and seeing that the codes are followed.



    Spoiler: Social Ethics
    Show


    Greed, selfishness, forceful intrusion and gross expression of one’s self without regard to other people and the world around them is considered very immoral. From this naturally theft, murder, rape and violent assault upon others is considered wrong, but the Shándole also views garish and untraditional clothing and immodesty as a sin and even loud and domineering expressions of emotion at inappropriate times as morally wrong. There are proper times and places to be emotional, the rest of the time a person should try to be serene, disciplined and quietly respectful of the world around them. Neglecting, abandoning or even simply slacking off in one’s tasks and responsibilities once they had been given is quite immoral, even if an individual may have good personal reasons for doing so. Disrespecting the Elders or shamans is a serious sin. Violence, except in the role as a hunter, warrior or a scout securing food and defending against the tribe, is also considered freakish and wrong.

    Punishment and discipline within the Shándole is never physical, but can be quite cruel socially and emotionally. For example, collective social shunning, where no one is allowed to speak to or even acknowledge an individual for a number of days or even months is common. Striping a person of their duties and publicly shaming them before the whole tribe, forcing a person to perform tedious and humiliating chores are all avenues of punishment. In the worst case, a person may be banished or possibly even marooned upon a barren island or deep in the forest. Usually, this is resorted to if the person has shown they will not accept banishment and continuously returned to afflict the tribe with their crimes and immorality.



    Spoiler: Holy Place
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    Alter of the Last Island - mouth of the Ka River in Summer Town

    The holy center and beating life vein of the Shándole is the river itself. They view it in a sacred light and its waters and course is the center of their world. Though they have towns, they are mostly transitory with people shifting from town to town with the seasons and homes are more communal than personal. The Ka River is what they see as their true home. Its source in the mountains and its mouth at the Big Water are holy to them and they travel between to the two every year.

    Summer Town is at the mouth of the Ka and where their most rambunctious holy place is. At Summer Town is an island, called The Last Island and it sits in the center of the river. This is where they hold their summer festival. At one end of the island is a a stoney point with an alter overlooking the delta. Flowers, carvings and decorations are often arranged around the alter during the festivities. It is the end of the river, where it joins something larger and greater. It is symbolic for the end of time, when all spirits will become everything and also one, becoming something bigger and greater and than an individual on their own path.



    Last edited by Laura; 2020-08-21 at 01:27 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Ivor_The_Mad's Avatar

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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    The Sol'Ikoth

    Region 292

    Starting tech: Writing
    alphabet WIP
    "No lunatic cultists or nameless horrors here, just us happy desert humans."

    Spoiler: Overview
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    Leader: Koth Akosh
    Dip: 3
    Op: 5
    Mil: 5
    Faith: 1
    Int: 2
    Required Resource: Man Power
    Resource: Nakhla Stone
    Tp 1: The Well of Kototh
    Tp 2: The Crater of The Black Sun
    Tp 3: The Beyond

    Holy Site: Nyarl’thoth the Black Monolith
    Starting Tech: Writing. The script of Non'rathk


    "Screamingly sentient, dumbly delirious, only the gods the were can tell. A sickened, sensitive shadow writhing in hands that are not hands, and whirled blindly past ghastly midnights of rotting creation, corpses of dead worlds with sores that were cities, charnel winds that brush the pallid stars and make them flicker low. Beyond the worlds vague ghosts of monstrous things; half-seen columns of unsanctified temples that rest on nameless rocks beneath space and reach up to dizzy vacua above the spheres of light and darkness. And through this revolving graveyard of the universe the muffled, maddening beating of drums, and thin, monotonous whine of blasphemous flutes from inconceivable, unlighted chambers beyond Time; the detestable pounding and piping whereunto dance slowly, awkwardly, and absurdly the gigantic, tenebrous ultimate gods—the blind, voiceless, mindless gargoyles whose soul is Nyarlathotep."
    -H.P Lovecraft

    The howling wind swept across the prismatic sands of the blackened desert, the landscape illuminated the aberrant moon. Nothing stirred for nothing dared walk these forsaken sands while the twisted abhorrent discord still filled the air. Alone in this desolate refuse, a decaying monolith to the malevolent precursors to this world juts from the unperturbed landscape piercing the endless black sky. All is not right with the world for a writhing ancient calamity wakes and taints the desert with its malignant cancer. The ruins shake and the air grows cold. All things fear what comes from beyond the stars.

    Below are the descriptions of the region of Sol'Ikoth as recounted by the famed traveler Ivor The Wanderer

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Geography: The scorching lands of Sol'lkoth, sometimes called The Sol', bear little life or variation but the sights are still quite breathtaking. Sol'lkoth is located on the northern edge of the deep deserts of Sikar. The majority of the landscape is covered by the rolling dunes of the great desert, broken up only by the occasional towering buttes. As for plant and animal life, there is none. The only signs of life are towards the center of the desert where a massive oasis makes life possible in this otherwise treacherous landscape. The Oasis is called Il'oth is the center of life in The Sol'. Around it, carved into the wall of the small cliff face of the oasis's crater, is built the city of Dakith. Dakith is mostly carved from the sandstone of the crater or from the wood of the date trees that thrive on the oasis edge. The grassy fertile land that surrounds the oasis, stretches about a mile outwards. On this land, the people farm emmer, chickpeas, lentils, corn, and papyrus, as well as graze the herds of Kahft, large creatures that resemble some mix of cow and camel with a golden mane that is the main source of meat and milk. However, this land is not as it seems. To the south, the desert grows darker and the wind howls so horribly it could drive someone insane. The Sol'lkoth don't venture this far south. They tell stories of the horrors that lurk here and the twisted nightmares that come from this place. Each step is unsure since the groud seems to shift and writhe underfoot, the sun seems cold and distant, and the endless sands destroy any sense of direction. It is an awful place, they say it is tainted by the black pharaoh from the warped ruins of a dark cults Mecca deep within the desert. They fear the horror from beyond the stars.





    Spoiler: People
    Show
    People: The Sol'Ikoth are well adapted for the harsh environment that they thrive in. They are humans, tall with a dark complexion. They wear white robes or skirts usually decorated to show their wealth. They also wear simple headdresses with a flap on the back to protect against the searing sun. The people here are mostly farmers, well built from their lives of work. There are also a large number of priests and scholars. The working class often wears skirts and veiled headdresses while they work in the fields while the priests and scholars wear more ornamental, dress-like garments. The farmers live further out, on the edge and outside of the crater. They live in small rectangular stone buildings consisting of one to two rooms for sleeping, a shrine room, and a common/cooking room. They often also have large wooden structures to store harvested crops or to shelter animals. Closer to the oasis, carved into the cliff edge are a few houses but the majority are storage rooms with the occasional guardhouse. On the fertile stretch between the cliff and the oasis are where the church and the upper-class houses are as well as the market and the barracks. In the center of the town is a massive Nakhla Stone obelisk with intricate carvings that is the holy center of Sol'Ikoth. Though by day this may seem like a normal city, though I was locked away in my room at night, out the window I caught a glimpse of the other residents of this city. At first, I thought I was hallucinating but what I thought was one of the crocodiles that live in the river, was in fact a humanoid. It reached the bank and crawled its self out standing upright. Its features were twisted and almost crocodilian in appearance. From the streets, came more of these terrible creatures. Most were shrouded in black but their robes couldn't hide their maddening, shifting, inhuman forms. Some were extremely short wth large claws that dragged behind them on the ground, some were tall and thin with crab-like claws or leathery wings, some were scaly and fish-like, and others I don't dare describe. They are the corrupted and the most fanatical devotees of The Black Pharaoh corrupted by his influence so that their bodies are twisted to match their newly twisted mind. They flocked to the obelisk in malicious worship with the other glassy-eyed people of the town.




    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Nakhla Stone. In my travels, I have never seen anything like it. The locals say it comes from beyond the stars. It is of an interesting composition like nothing I have seen before. The stone is mostly black and shiny similar obsidian but it has green flecks and streaks throughout as well as an indescribable third color that is almost grey/silver in color. The properties of this rock are strange as well. Though it is stone and feels like stone it has very similar properties to that of copper and iron. Its most intreaguing property is its attraction to its self. The small pieces are drawn to eachother. Quite interesting. They say it is found in the craters around their city as well as an enormous chunk in the center of the oasis.

    Required Resource: Slaves or manpower. Definitely for infrastructure purposes. Not to feed to an immortal evil deity.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    Faith: The people of this city worship their diety at the Nakhla stone obelisk they call Ka'Toth. I spent some time learning their scripts and was able to decipher the inscriptions. The obelisk tells of a huge rock falling from the stars after a massive explosion in the sky. From this stone emerged the soul of the black pharaoh. He gathered followers and they built him a massive pyramid deep withing the desert before the false dawn. Since then he has slowly begun corrupting the land with his horrible preasence. Since the false dawn its evil Mecca has been lost to the sands but his influence can still be felt to the south. The cultists of this blind faith search south to uncover these ruins and once again let the black pharaoh roam the lands spreading his nightmares.



    Holy Site: Ka'Thoth
    The Nakhla stone obelisk sits at the center of the city. It is covered in intricate depictions of the nameless horrors that live to the south. Written on it is the basis of Sol'Ikoths faith. A horrible, bloodthirsty, ancient, faith. The monument is around 30ft tall and carved entirely of Nakhla stone. The locals call it Ka'Thoth


    An Inscription from the Monument Ka'Toth.

    Deep within the desert lie the ruins of a great monument to our lord from beyond the stars. A great old god, a cataclysm, a titan as old as the dreams of the stars. Now he rests. Waiting. Spreading his nightmares across the land and he feeds on the sanity of his followers. Those who witness his dreams are twisted to follow him blindly. feeding him so that he may rise and walk the earth again. Fear him for all are his pawns. Fear that which is not known and that comes from beyond the stars.


    Last edited by Ivor_The_Mad; 2020-07-11 at 11:24 PM.
    Come to the dark side; we have pop-tarts.
    Avatar by Linklele
    "Is no fun. Is no Blinsky" "He is... FIZBOP THUNDERTOES!!!!!"

    Spoiler: The Night of the Living Thread
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    Quote Originally Posted by DivisibleByZero View Post
    We, as humans, have incisors. Those are made for tearing flesh and meat.
    Meat tastes good.
    If we aren't supposed to eat people, then why are they made of meat?

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    The Vygra Confluence
    Region 226

    Spoiler: Vyterrat - The Capital - Region 226
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    Spoiler: Summary
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    Region Name: Vyterrat
    Kiswa Region# 226
    People: Elemental humanoids with an agricultural social culture.
    Resource surplus: Copper
    Resource deficit: Lumber
    Faith: The Farah
    Holy Center: The Great Iris
    Starting Tech: Irrigation
    Starting ruler: Matji Khetra (Diplomacy 5; Military 4; Opulence 5; Faith 1; Intrigue 3)

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    The Vyterrat region is a vast fertile plain nestled south and west of Matarin Lake, dozens of small streams and rivers veining through the grasslands. In the southeast the rolling Percos hills frame the open sky. The Vygra people have three major settlements within this region.

    The first is the sprawling village of Marut, at the center of the farms dotted among the western plains. These farms freckle the landscape in irregular patterns, built around systems of tiny channels bringing the water from the nearby rivers and Matarin lakeside. Here grow crops of beans, grains, leafy greens and tubers, along with fields of berries and squashes. In the open grasslands nearby, wild herds of aurochs are stalked by hunters for meat and hides.

    East in the Percos hills is the town of Kolinth, where those who work the mines and quarries of the hills reside. Rich copper deposits were discovered here over a century ago, and the town has steadily grown ever since. This is the center of metalwork in the nation, where the coppersmiths ply their trade and delve into the secrets of metalcraft. The town occupies a mesa rising several hundred feet above the plains and farms, accessible by winding ravines that have been hewn to allow goods to travel in and out of the city.

    The final settlement is built around the holy site at the center of the Vygra lands. Farahabi is the capital of the Vygra people. Here the Matji plans the ascendancy of their people; here goods pass back and forth from the other settlements and the outlying homesteads. It is here where the Vygra weathered the False Dawn, to wait for a truer sunrise for their nation.

    Spoiler: People
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    The Vygra - Embodiments of the Elements
    The Vygra are a mono-gender humanoid species who manifest properties of the four elements. Adult Vygra typically stand between six and eight feet tall. Vygra children mature to adulthood in around 15 years, and naturally live around seventy years.

    While they are all flesh and blood, each individual, or ‘ra’, has certain racial features according to their affinity:
    Efra - Their skins range from bright reds and golds to coal black, with eyes like glowing embers, and ‘hair’ that rises like steam or coils like smoke.
    Mira - With skin tones in aquatic blues and greens, Miras frequently exhibit webbed fingers and toes, along with gills, allowing them to breath underwater as easily as on land.
    Ahra - Ahra tones run the full grayscale spectrum from white to black, with pale colored eyes and hair reminiscent of clouds - long and wispy or round and poofy.
    Bora - Their skin tones include shades of verdant greens and rich browns. A broad range of features appear, from shale-like protective patches on limbs to gemstone eyes or metallic veins.

    Each of the races is viewed with equality, and familial units are as likely as not to include persons of differing essences. Any two ra are capable of reproducing together, with either parent carrying the child. The elemental affinity of a newborn is not predicated on that of the parents - an Efra and a Bora could have Ahra offspring, for example.

    Spoiler: Leadership
    Show
    The Vygra leader is known as “the Matji”, and each Matji chooses their successor via a spiritual ritual called ‘the elevation’. While it is common for the children of a Matji to be selected, it is not infrequent that other proven leaders of the people can be chosen. Eligible heirs work under the Matji for several years as Fulji to learn the responsibilities and skills necessary for leadership.

    When the Matji is ready to retire, they withdraw into seclusion with their Fulji and a Farah priest for several days, and upon their return announce the new Matji. Fulji who are not elevated frequently move to serve as community leaders or advisors, or continue as Fulji until the next elevation. The Matji is never represented by the same element as their predecessor.

    The current leader of the Vygra is Matji Khetra, a Mira in her early forties. She has ruled since her elevation twelve years ago, focusing on fortifying internal resources in preparations for expansion and trade with foreign cultures. She is well respected, with a record of decisive and successful action. Her truest test, though, will occur soon, when contact is made with the outside world.

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    The Vygra largely make use of a barter system of goods and services, with some base essentials as communal property. Communities are usually mostly self-sufficient for day-to-day necessities. Their agricultural learning is advancing as they surpass their hunter/gatherer roots, allowing for more efforts to be spent in societal growth and outward exploration/expansion.

    Surplus Resource: Copper
    While the Vygra tend to produce most of their daily needs between farming and wild herds, their true treasure lies in a craft developed only in the last few generations - metalwork. Beneath the Percos hills have been discovered significant deposits of copper, and the art of shaping this metal has allowed the Vygra to make superior tools and weapons.

    Required Resource: Lumber (hardwood)
    A major hindrance to the improvement and building of the Vygra is the lack of hardwood lumbers for construction and development. Prior to the development of copperwork, most tools were made from reeds, bone, and stone. Most dwellings are built of wattle and daub or brick, with a few larger structures like temples being more laboriously constructed of stone. Gaining access to a supply of lumber would allow for more extensive and rapid construction.

    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The Vygra people worship the spirits of the Farah: the four pure elements who shaped the world and gave life to their people. According to the oral traditions, the earth ‘Bo’ and sea ‘Mi’ gave birth to the wind ‘Ah’ and the sun ‘Ef’, and then joined their work together to create a world between them where they could conceive a people to carry their legacy.

    Holy Center: The Great Iris
    The Great Iris is a network of hot springs, fed by subterranean aquifers maintained by the regular rainfall of the region. The Iris is sheltered by low rocky hills on three sides, sitting near the center of Farahabi. To the Vygra people, it is a point where all of the elements are present and in harmony, and therefore blessed by the Farah. Many Vygra travel to visit the Iris frequently to awe at its splendor, take part in festivals, and recover with the spring’s spiritual and medicinal qualities. Priests maintain the springs from a stone temple built at the entrance, acting as caretakers and spiritual guides.

    Spoiler: Technology
    Show
    Starting Tech: Irrigation: +1 Stabilization

    Spoiler: Elkhrime - Land of the Elk - Region 225
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    Spoiler: Geography
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    The climate here is temperate, with mild summers and cold winters.The northern regions of Elkhrime are grasslands, with berries and tubers growing wild interspersed among fields of primroses and orchids. Southward the flowers and shrubs grow more sparse as boreal forest thickens. Firs, spruces, and conifers are found in sprawling clusters before merging into dense forests with mild undergrowth, thinning out again only at the southern edge of the region turns to tundra. Small streams and tiny lakes are common in the region, fed by snowmelt each spring.


    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The Harud are a tribe of nomadic humans. They follow the gangs of elk that wander the region, trusting the animals to lead them to good water and edible plants. They have learned from watching the elk which berries, mushrooms, roots, and flowers can be eaten safely, and the forage of these items augments the primary diet of meat.

    The Harud reside in small four-sided tents in a pyramid shape. Four simple wooden polls are tied together at the top, and hides are sewn together between them. This allows them to be folded and easily carried, as well as being used to carry belongings wrapped inside or placed on top and dragged like sleds. Besides hunting and foraging, the primary day-to-day work is repairing these tents, as well as maintaining clothes and tools.

    Marriage among the Harud is a simple affair. Two (or more) individuals who choose to join together exchange gifts from their hunts or crafts to each other as a sharing of labor, and share or place their tents together. There is no stigma attached to sharing between multiple partners, or to individuals leaving a marriage if they feel they desire something different. Children are raised communally, and little focus is given to matters like lineage or inheritance.

    Leadership of communities is handled by practical popularity. Each spring at the first thaw, a community will gather to discuss the circumstances of the tribe and who is best to lead, with all adults allowed their say. The role of chief is typically granted to whichever individual has shown themselves to be most capable, and is denoted by an antlered headdress. Though the Elkmeet is held each year, it is rare for the chief to change unless they have made significant mistakes, or have aged to the point where fulfilling the role has become difficult. In cases of widespread or volatile disagreement between two candidates, a tribe has been known to split, with the smaller division leaving to search for a new gang of elk to follow.


    Spoiler: History
    Show
    The Harud do not keep history, seeing little importance in events once past. Lengthy events, such as the False Dawn, are still considered the present while they are extant - though now, there is already a whole generation who has not seen this, and stories of a constantly red sky are sometimes thought of as a joke of the elders. Stories are told for lessons or entertainment, but factualness is not seen as a vital feature.


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Elk - Large mammals related of a similar nature to deer, elk are broader and sturdier of build, typically 16 to 20 hands at the shoulder. The males sport antlers that can grow to nearly their own height again in length, branching into multiple bony prongs. These antlers are shed each spring and regrow quickly into the summer, and larger antlers are signs of a healthier male used to attract mates.

    The Harud herd and hunt the elk, making use of all parts of the creature. Meat is eaten, antlers and bones are used to make tools and decorations, and hides are used to make clothing sewn with plant fibers, as well as tents.

    Lesser resources of the region include wild berries and edible roots, as well as the wood from the forest, though the Harud do not make use of lumber for permanent construction.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The Young Gods - The Harud believe that each winter, the gods die as the ice and snow thicken and spread northward, and each spring a new set of gods arise to push back the snows and grace the land with new growth. Because their gods live less than a year, temporary things, anything that lasts less than a year, are considered sacred. Perishable items or tools that require frequent replacing are offered to the gods at the end of their use.

    Names are important to delineate things of the gods (ephemeral and temporary) from worldly long-lived things, like people. The Young Gods do not have names. Children are never named before their first birthday, called the Naming Day. Children who do not live past their first year, including those that die in childbirth, are considered a visitation from the gods. Tamed animals, such as dogs and birds (but never elk), and some long lasting possessions are often given names as well, but only after they are over a year old themselves.

    The elk shed their antlers in the spring as offerings to the Young Gods newly born, growing new antlers each year. To the Harud, the elk represent a connection between the gods and the world - they are long-lived beings, but their most notable feature is temporary. The Harud believe that by taking these shed antlers and incorporating them into their tools and clothing, the gods will see the people as part of their herd and continue their cycle of restoration.

    Spoiler: Yembrand - Tundra and Spirit World - Region 236
    Show
    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    is an arctic tundra region. While there are a few hills in the eastern area rising above Lake Kamoe, most of the region is drearily flat. Trees are rare, with thin remnants of the forest to the north the only source of wood. In most of the region, the long winters and low temperatures prevent trees from taking hold. Instead when the snows thaw, shrubs, heathers, lichens and ferns cover most of the surface, shallow rooted plants more suited to the hard soil.

    The permafrost beneath the topsoil layer means that thaws do not penetrate the ground into aquifers. This causes the summer months to be marked by hundreds of ponds, streams, and bogs. These still frequently sport thin layers of ice that repeatedly melt and reform as temperatures drop below freezing during the night even in summer.


    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The humans who reside in Yembrand call themselves Yoan bok Rem Marnu-se, “Kindred with Ears in Two Worlds.” They are fairly pale of skin compared to some of the more northern humans of the region, though many are tanned from working outdoors. They stand between fifteen to eighteen hands tall, tending to a fairly heavy physique. Hair ranges in colors from dark brown to pale yellows and auburns. Both men and women wear their hair long, as cutting hair is seen as a sign of shame or sickness. Similarly, most men grow and keep full beards, often reaching low on their chest as they grow old.

    The Yoan practice polygamic marriages, where a man may have between three and seven wives, depending on their strength and status in the kindred. This serves to counterbalance the high male mortality rate - men, by practicality or tradition, take on the risker jobs, including defending against blight and hunting.

    Each of these wives may have four to eight children, depending on survivability, to combat a high rate of early deaths - this has become more manageable in recent years, and the kindred have quickly begun to expand to fill more space. Several close settlements are spaced around the region, as the last generation has begun to form families of their own and needed more land to keep resources plentiful.


    Spoiler: History
    Show
    While the Yoan do not have modern writing, they do record some information through a simplistic pictographic script carved into the walls of buildings, scored into shale tablets, and even tattooed. In particular, the shaman bear tattoos describing the spirits they speak with, and the accomplishments of the kindred they watch over.

    While year-to-year details do not stretch back so far, the kindred trace their presence in the region well back before the False Dawn. They are aware of the existence of other ‘nations’, and indeed have received some invitations to join in some of the conclaves, but decided that they are uninterested in the affairs of their neighbors.

    The recent threat of news of the Gluttonous Shadows is the only thing that has spurred them to reconsider. The most noteworthy event in the last three generations was an attack by a single large blightspawn that slaughtered over eighty percent of the men of the tribe before it was finally brought down. The memory and tales of the event are still used as cautionary tales against bravado and the blightspawn.


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Shale - In the hills in the eastern side of region, large deposits of black shale for the primary resource of the region. The Yoan have learned how to fracture the shale so it breaks into sheets or sharp fragments useful for tools.

    Other resources include some lumber harvested from the north and furs traded from the south.

    Animals in the region include elk and brown bears, as well as smaller creatures like foxes, rabbits, badgers, ducks and geese.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    Shamanistic Paganism - The Yoan believe that there is a second world that exists sharing our own, separated by a thin veil. Each settlement is led by a trio of shaman. These shaman ritually cut themselves to leave scarring patterns, and smoke the petals of small vine-growing flowers called Ubok. These rituals grant them visions of the spirits that share the world, which grant them insights for decisions to be made for the Yoan and warnings of the future. The shaman teach that the souls of those who die in this world join the spirits in the other, and sometimes in their visions they can receive messages those spirits wish to send back to loved ones yet living across the spirit barrier.

    Spoiler: Himarrat - Refuge of Ice - Region 237
    Show
    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Himarrat is an arctic tundra region. Three-quarters of the land is covered in snow and ice for the majority of the year, occasionally broken by short rocky peaks scattered across the south edge of the region. Tree growth is hindered by frigid temperatures through most of the year. Himarrat has long winters and short temperate summers, so the growing seasons are too brief for typical agriculture. Permafrost beneath the soil also prevents the growth of flora requiring deep roots, so most greenery consists of mosses, ferns, lichens and shrubs. Several small lakes can be found - those north of the snowline are fed by spring thaws, while those south are covered in a layer of ice, with the exception of the largest. Lake Kapi freezes over in the winter, but in the summer the ice thaws enough for easier access to the waters. There is only one permanent settlement in the region, built on the shores of this lake. The region experiences little rainfall, and high winds are frequent.


    Spoiler: People
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    The Vygra who reside in the region are similar in most ways to those of the Vyterrat region, with two striking distinctions. First, all of the populace are Mira, bearing no remnants of the other three elements. Second, their features exemplify ice and snow rather than the more aquatic styles of their more northerly kind. They call themselves Himara, or ‘People of Ice’.

    The Himara reside in a single settlement: a cluster of dome-shaped dwellings they call Farahima. A high wall of sculpted ice surrounds the dwellings, a single opening at each end narrow enough to be blocked by three ra. The houses are constructed by compacting snow into large blocks and stacking them, then packing a layer of snow over the surfaces. The floors inside are lined with furs for sitting. There is no furniture to speak of; lumber is rarely available as a resource here. What few tools are needed are made from bone and leather. Decorations, similarly, are usually stamped leather or intricately carved pieces of bone - necklaces and bracelets in this style are popular, and many Himara also sport piercings with small carved bones.

    Groups of Himara make regular excursions for trapping, foraging, and ice-fishing in the lakes of the region. These expeditions consist of a few dozen, usually several families together, including any children old enough to help contribute and learn. They carry bone spears, clubs and knives for defense and hunting, bores and fishing equipment, and traps of bone and sinew for catching smaller game. These groups gather and hunt as much as they can in the summer, then use ice houses to keep their stores from spoiling as they preserve them for the winter. In the deeper parts of winter, forays are only made for emergencies, and the ra spend as much time indoors as possible to conserve warmth and energy.

    In recent years since the False Dawn ended, contact was made with their northern neighbors. While tense at first, they quickly realized an opportunity. Once a year, at the end of the trapping season, an expedition moves to the northern edge of the region to exchange bundles of furs for a few sleds of shale from their northern neighbors. This stone has begun to be used to make more durable tools and weapons, though not in plentiful enough amounts to replace bone.


    Spoiler: History
    Show
    The oral traditions of the Himara trace back to the Calamity of the Red Star. The devastation drove their people south, a small band of ragged survivors forced to flee warmer climes to hide from the devastation and hordes of rampaging blightspawn. The small size of the band makes passing these stories easy, but they are simple. The survivors fled, not knowing whether any to the north escaped the destruction. They travelled through the woods, across the tundra, and into the snows as far as they could. They learned to forage in small groups that could avoid detection, and to build their homes from ice and snow, both to blend into the terrain and from lack of other resources.


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Furs and Hides - The Himara hunt and trap a number of animals, collecting a variety of furs for use in warm clothing and trade. The largest are from the massive white bears that roam the snow plains, yak and caribou. Smaller furs are also obtained from arctic foxes and hares, stoats, seals, and beavers.

    Minor resources include fish, and edible lichens, moss, ferns, and arctic willows that the Himara forage from past the snowline.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    While presumably the Himara were a part of the Vygra people that revered the Farah prior to the Red star, it does not seem that much of those beliefs survived two centuries of the harsher environment of the region. Aside from a few mannerisms carried down, there is little established faith. People treat each other with respect and work together out of necessity, rather than a faith-derived morality. Severe crimes against another are punished by exile - survival on one’s own is unlikely.

    Yet, there is one place that the icy Mira here revere, even if they have not developed any particular faith about it. The Spire of Ice is a natural vertical obelisk, pure ice nearly four times a ra’s height and a full arm span wide, that rises inexplicably from the ice on the opposite side of Lake Kapi from south of the fishing lakes. The Himara recognize that this is an important place, and sometimes will meditate here, or leave small tokens or mementos of a loved one lost.
    Last edited by Frostwander; 2020-11-12 at 09:13 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Planetar

    Join Date
    Jan 2019

    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Spoiler: The Korebita Foothills
    Show
    United Blemmyae Tribes
    Region 213

    King of Kings Negu Kw’Zinabi



    Headless people with faces in their chests reproduce via ovipositing, keep records of heroes of the past, and live in cliff dwellings.

    Spoiler: Summary
    Show

    Leader: King of Kings Negu Kw’Zinabi: Mil 5, Opu 2, Fai 4, Dip 3, Int 1

    Home Region: The Korebita Foothills

    Trade Posts:
    Resource: Flint
    Mount Terar: United Blemmyae Tribes [Great]
    Muketi’s Peak: [vacant]
    Mount Dinayi: [vacant]

    Holy Centre: Bete Great Library [Abiherism]

    Starting Tech: Writing


    Spoiler: Region
    Show

    The Korebita Foothills

    Sing, o Muses, of the Korebita Foothills
    Home of the Ten Tribes of the Blemmyae people
    Most beautiful homeland known to this mighty world.

    Tell of the stone cliffs standing tall as Adeni
    Of the stands of palm and tamarind and yucca
    And of the thornéd shrubs grown in the sandy ground.

    Let the earth hear of the rushing Eniz river
    And of Kema, capital of the Blemmyae
    Founded by Haleti in the Dawn of Ages.



    The Korebita Foothills, located in the western section of Kiswa, is a rocky, scrubby land. The tropical forests common in the north begin to fade away as they reach the higher elevations of the Korebita Foothills, being replaced by stands of palm and tamarind trees, sheer bluffs and ravines, and the ubiquitous shrubs. The ground is loose, but fertile, and in the rainy season of the winter all manner of other plants grow. In the summer, the region becomes scorchingly hot and dry. At its highest point, the Peak of Muketi stands ten thousand feet tall. At the top is a crescent shaped indentation containing a small lake, perhaps indicating that the Peak is a dormant volcano. At certain times of the day, the sun fits perfectly into the indentation, forming a vista that brings tears of amazement to the eyes of those who observe it. Flowing down the slopes from the lake is the Eniz River. It starts as a tiny trickle, but as it reaches lower elevations, it becomes a mighty river. The Eniz bisects the Korebita Foothills, separating the mostly depopulated southern regions from the north, where most of its people dwell. On a hill overlooking the Eniz is Kema, a town of three thousand souls and the capital of the Blemmyae tribes. The king who rules over all the tribes lives permanently in Kema, where they entertain passing bands of visitors.


    Spoiler: People
    Show

    Sing, o Muses, of the many Blemmyae tribes
    Those mighty headless men with faces in their chests
    Descended from Haleti of the ancient eras.

    Sing of the greatest clans, Okisi, Adeni,
    Mesihafi, Torineti, Anigoli,
    Haleti, Zinabi, Fekiri, Muketi

    Sing of the Sewi, allies of the Blemmyae
    Humans who adopt the customs of their masters
    And fight with the courage of the wild lion.



    The main people of the Korebita Foothills are the Blemmyae. They appear mostly humanoid, with humanlike arms and legs, but they have no heads. Instead, their eyes and mouths are implanted into the centers of their torsos. The Blemmyae have no sexual differentiation and no concept of gender. Every blemmyae is referred to as “they”, rather than with any personal pronouns. Likewise, they reproduce asexually, by producing eggs within their own bodies and implanting them into the bodies of a non-blemmyae host using ovipositors concealed in their long, spined tongues. After a three month gestation period, the eggs hatch inside the host, tearing through tissue and muscle as the infant blemmyae bursts free of its host. This process is often fatal to small hosts, like the goats commonly used by the blemmyae. Humans would have about a fifty percent chance of surviving.

    The blemmyae have a very sophisticated language, including an alphabet and a long tradition of written records. Most of their writing is carved on tablets of soapstone using flint styluses. They dwell in houses built in caves in the sides of cliffs. Although there are over a hundred small clans, each one descended from a minor hero of historical note, there are nine primary Blemmyae tribes.

    The oldest tribe is the Haleti clan, descended from Great Haleti, the first blemmyae in the world. The Haleti hold claim to the greatest deposits of flint in the Korebita Foothills, with which they dominate trade in the region.
    The Fekiri clan is the largest by far. Between the clan itself and the minor tribes under their dominion, almost one in five blemmyae owe their allegiance to the Fekiri. Unlike the other clans, the Fekiri keep slaves in accordance with their cultural tradition.
    The greatest warriors come from the Torineti clan, which prizes strength above all else. The Torineti train their young the hardest of any clan, forcing them to engage in near-constant mock combat and wrestling to increase their strength and skill in preparation for war.
    The current leader of the United Blemmyae Tribes comes from the Zinabi clan. The Zinabi jealously hold the secrets of coppersmithing to themselves, wearing bands of metal around their arms and legs.
    The Anigoli tribe is fully nomadic. Unlike other tribes, they do not build any sort of permanent home, instead roaming the hills in small packs. They are looked down upon by many blemmyae, who consider them petty thieves and scoundrels.
    The Blemmyae writing system was invented by the Mesihafi clan. Today, they maintain the Bete Great Library, serving as its curators and guards.
    Traditional blemmyae cooking involves heating a large, flat stone among embers, and then coating a slab of meat with honey, tamarind paste, and spices before cooking it on the hot stone. The Adeni clan, however, consider cooked food an abomination. They only eat their meat raw, and preferably freshly killed.
    Blemmyae of the Muketi clan can easily be recognized by their narrow eyes, with much smaller pupils than those of the other tribes. Because of this, they find it extremely difficult to see in dark or dim light, and so are almost never encountered outside after dusk.
    The smallest tribe is the Okisi clan. Most blemmyae clans eat their dishonored dead, but the Okisi refuse to engage in this practice, instead burying their dead in underground catacombs.

    Along with the blemmyae, there is a sizable population of humans in the region. Most of these humans belong to the Sewi tribe. Although they are of a different species, the blemmyae treat them essentially as equals, worthy of respect. In exchange, the Sewi have adopted the blemmyae culture in its entirety: they use the same writing system, speak the same language, eat the same food, wear the same clothing, follow the same religion, and, although they are forced to recognize sexual dimorphism, do not have a concept of gender and refer to themselves by the neutral pronoun “they”.

    The current leader of the United Blemmyae Tribes is Negu Kw’Zinabi. Although they have been king for twelve years already, they are not confident in their own abilities and are considered weak by the leaders of some of the other clans. They retain the title “King of Kings” mostly because the Zinabi tribe (and their allies in the Torineti and Muketi tribes) consider them an easily manipulated puppet that can give their machinations extra credibility. The real power in the Korebita Foothills is generally considered to consolidated in the hands of Negu’s vizier: Huleten Kw’Muketi. Although old and wizened, Huleten is an exceptionally cunning politician who commands the respect of many tribal leaders and is a master of forcing the King of Kings to take a certain course of action. If they were to die, chaos would likely erupt in the region.


    Spoiler: History
    Show

    Sing, o Muses, of eternal Great Haleti
    Born of stone in the days of the ancient ages
    Who conquered this homeland for the Blemmyae clans.

    Sing, o Muses, of Muketi the Golden-Eyed
    Who captured the sun and bound it into the sky
    Giving light and heat to our beloved home.

    Sing, o Muses, of swiftly running Adeni
    Wanderer in the wasteland, slayer of monsters
    Forever hunting the cruel Cosmic Hyena.

    Sing, o Muses, of ancient wise Mesihafi
    Inventor of the words we transcribe into stone
    Thus the heroes of the past stay in memory.

    Sing, o Muses, of lightning-fisted Zenabi
    Master of the storm, bringer of life-giving rain
    Founder of Demeniz, great city in the sky.

    Sing, o Muses, of war-leader Torineti
    Lone survivor of the Battle of the Blood Field
    Sacker of a thousand treasure-rich citadels.

    Sing, o Muses, of Fikiri of the Long Tongue
    Conqueror of fertile lands beyond the mountains
    Propagator of seven thousand descendants.

    Sing, o Muses, of fox-cunning Anigoli
    Who faced down the bone-clad giant Otowiri
    And, with no weapon but their words, drove him away.

    Sing, o Muses, of the pale-skinned king Okisi
    Who was thrice struck down and buried in the cold earth
    But thrice returned from death and arose from the grave.

    Sing, o Muses, of Sewi, first of humankind
    Brought from their homeland as a slave bound tight in chains
    But earned their freedom by great courage in combat.



    Spoiler: Religion
    Show

    Sing, o Muses, of the Bete Great Library
    Carved into the stony heart of a tall mountain
    Holding in its walls tales of world-renowned heroes.

    Sing of the flowering afterlife of heroes
    That paradise of snow-capped mountain fortresses
    Where dwell the most renowned heroes of ancient days.

    Pray, o worshippers, that we shall attain glory
    Shall die an honorable death with dignity
    And that our names shall be passed down through the ages.


    The blemmyae practice Abiherism, a religion centered on ancestor worship and a respect for those who lived before. Abiherists believe that the soul is tied to a person’s legacy in the mortal realm. A soul whose name and deeds are forgotten will simply fade into oblivion, while a soul still renowned as a great hero in the mortal world will receive great rewards in the afterlife. Abiherists thus consider keeping records to be of great importance, as a written record will ensure that a person’s legacy lasts far longer than the lives of those they knew. Certain heroes, historical figures whose feats are still well known, are worshipped essentially as gods, their stories exaggerated to explain cosmic phenomena. If a hero is especially great, their descendants will take their name as a clan name. This is the greatest of all honors for an Abiherist, as it ensures that their name will be remembered for as long as their family line survives. However, not all people will accomplish remarkable feats and die honorably. Abiherists practice ritual cannibalism of the dishonored dead. The body of a practitioner who dies dishonorably is to be consumed by their comrades, in the hope that their spirit will become linked to a friend who will one day perform great deeds and ascend to the afterlife. If they should do so, the dishonored soul will ascend with them as a servant. This practice ensures that even those who fail to make a name for themselves are not necessarily doomed to oblivion. There are very few requirements to be an Abiherist. All that is needed is a belief in the system of legacy and honor that is incorporated into the Abiherist afterlife (although praying to the more powerful heroes can sometimes yield great results).

    In the Korebita Foothills, the holiest of holy centers is the Bete Great Library. A massive cave system that fills the interior of a small mountain, it encompasses thousands of rooms, each one dedicated to a particular hero. The walls of these rooms are inscribed with tales of the hero’s exploits, while various paraphernalia associated with that hero are sometimes also placed in the room. The Bete Great Library is traditionally curated by the Mesihafi clan, who are in charge of adding the stories of freshly deceased heroes to its chambers.


    Spoiler: Resources
    Show

    Then great Haleti struck the stones of the cliff face
    And broke off a shard of the blackened flinty stone
    Long as an elephant’s tusk and sharp as fanged teeth.

    And with this flinty shard Haleti made a spear
    Suwifi, the ancestral weapon of his kin
    No mortal now could even lift sharp Suwifi.

    With this weapon, Haleti struck down their rivals
    Slaying many foul demons that once stalked this land
    It now rests forever beneath the earth’s surface.


    Many types of stone can be found in the Korebita Foothills, but the most common by far is flint. This brittle rock breaks into razor-sharp shards, which the blemmyae use as spikes on their clubs and heads on their spears. Although flint spearheads break easily, the blemmyae consider this to be an asset, as a snapped-off spearhead makes it easy to remove the shaft from an enemy’s body. Flint spears are also lighter than metal weapons, and most blemmyae warriors carry several spares into battle. Round disks of flint are also used for cooking, while blemmyae of the Haleti clan occasionally use tiny slivers of the rock as body piercings and personal ornamentation. Three mountains produce almost half of the region’s flint exports between them: Muketi’s Peak, Mount Terar, and Mount Dinayi. The blemmyae focus most of their mining on Mount Terar, as it is the most accessible by river and closest to Kema, the capital of the region.

    Although animals such as goats, sheep, hyenas, and even a few dwarf elephants can be found in the Korebita Foothills, the blemmyae do not herd any animals in large quantities, and so it can be difficult to find suitable hosts for their reproduction. If the blemmyae are to maintain an extensive geopolitical presence, it will be necessary to capture a steady stream of living beings, either by legitimate means or by force.
    Formerly known as the_brazenburn.

    Played New Bhule in Empire!4
    Played as the Rothuun Galactic Hegemony in Empire!5
    Currently playing Empire!6 as the United Blemmyae Tribes

    PM me sometime!

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Join Date
    May 2019

    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Hraban Confederacy
    Region 34



    Cleverness and honor are our core. Ooo that's shiny.

    Spoiler: Summary
    Show

    Region name: Hrathgan
    People: Hraban (Pronounced: rah bahn)
    Resource: Papyrus | Shiny Objects
    Faith: Soul Honor
    Leader Title: First among equals
    Initial leader: Heinrich Wurzelstarke aus Tirol

    Stat Number
    Diplomacy 5
    Military 5
    Opulence 2
    Faith 3
    Intrigue 1



    Spoiler: Terrain
    Show

    The region of Hrathgan is a green region, with both rich land for planting as well as green forests and borders along with mountains. With the overall very temperate climate the trees of a wide variety and support a breadth of game and life. Ranging from the mountains to the rivers the overall impact of Hrabanish is minimal. Living in relative concert with their surroundings and using what the region provides. Some competition is held in some of the other predators of the area, mostly with the large tree cats that inhabit the forested areas. Legends tell of other things lurking within the mountains, warning those that would dig deep and greedy that the Hraban are avians and do not belong underground.

    Spoiler: People
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    Hraban are a humanoid species most closely resembling a raven, though averaging in at 5'8" to 6'6" in height they are a lean race with their arms extending out to four fingered hands. Eye color is normally black on black with the majority of the race having predominately black feathers that are cleaned rather meticulously. Their arms being what were wings are still covered like their bodies in typically black feathers with reinforced row of longer feathers extending down from nearly the shoulder to the wrist. Male and female are both similar in size with the males typically having some slight highlight colorations on the fringes of their wings. Flightless now they long for a day to be able to take to wing once again.

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show

    Starting tech: Writing Written language in the form of a runic alphabet.

    Resource:
    Papyrus - made from cutting of thin ribbon strips of a specific plant named the same is then woven in a learned pattern to create a thin flexible material that can withstand time and climate while easily taking ink and writing.

    Required Resource: Eye Catching objects
    The Hraban enjoy items and objects that are aesthetically pleasing to them; usually things that are shiny and/or attract the eye. Trinkets, Precious Stones, anything that glitters in the sunlight or without the sunlight.


    Spoiler: Government
    Show

    Lead by a council of elders, male and female alike are given equal voice in the council. The leader of the council selected from within their number is given the title First Among Equals and is given that title with a specific goal or task in mind and will rule the council until such time as that task completes.

    7 council seats, one for each conspiracy
    Each conspiracy constitutes a region of land and collection of smaller towns and villages and has a central council that then sends a representative to the central council. The conspiracies also align to the traditional clan structure of their peoples.

    The Seven Conspiracies of the Hraban Confederacy
    • Utrecht Utrecht takes much of the northern part of the region, farming, primarily around grain foods. They are some of the most conservative of the Hraban, sticking to older ways, choosing the slow path in almost all things and not adapting to change well. Communities in the area are some of the few that are ground based, being in river flood plains coming out of the mountains.
    • Wesel Wesel is takes up a large section of the western side of Hrathgan, they are the miners and mountaineers as comfortable on the side of the mountain as they are in the side of them. Wesel also has some of the largest communities outside of Trier sporting large collections of artisans of various kinds as well as their guild organizations.
    • Trier The smallest region in terms of actual landmass it contains the mountainside city of Berghaus that is the capital city of Hrathgan and also serves as the central hub of government and learning. The mountain city is an old edifice slowly and carefully carved into the side of the mountain. Using the natural features is allows Berghuas to have many slender towers shooting up out of the city. These are given to the Guides and their families as places of honor within the city, a way to help remind of times past.
    • Braunschweig Hailing from the southeastern part of Hrathgan they are primarily hunters and sport some of the best hunters in the region. Congregating and training in hunting lodges, these jaegers are second to none at hunting down prey. The population of Braunschweig is spready far across the actual landscape in isolated communities in tree based housing. Using the mighty trees of the area as the basis of the housing the Nests of Braunschweig are a remnant time past.
    • Baiern Living in the eastern forests they work towards sustainable and practical harvesting of lumber and living in closer harmony with the environment than most of the other clans. Baiern also sports the more traditional tree based housing and community with smooth flowing lines dominating the looks of buildings.
    • Pfalz Pfalz is a region in the southwest, they are primarily crafters of fine weapons and soldiers. Sporting some of the few professional soldiers that stay engaged as engineers during the time when they aren't drilling and training. Pfalz is an amalgam of all of the different regions of the Hrathgan originating to make recruits transition easier but then leading to providing better combat and training grounds against a variety of actions.
    • TirolLiving in the south, they are known mostly as being the party destination. While having some precious mineral mines they are mostly known for the growing of fruiting plant and fermenting them into wines. Tirol sports a combination of buildings combining both the traditional tree based dwellings in the growing areas with more ground based in the areas where fermenting and storage is done. If only there were good ways to get the volumes of water they need up high…



    Spoiler: Faith
    Show

    When a hraban is more connected to the spirits than others they are called to be a Guide. Sometimes it manifests as a premier hunter with intuition from past generations, sometimes it a warrior who finds the strength of their ancestors with them, sometimes it is a farmer who just has a better feel than others, from a young age and pushes things a little farther.

    Holy Site Within Hraban lands the library Sammlung is held in highest regard. Containing primarily scrolls but also clay tablets it holds much of the Hraban. Stories, tales and all manner of wisdom are held for the ages here, open for all Hraban to read and learn.
    Spoiler: Melding
    Show

    Soul Honor, referred to as the Melding is the primary faith of the Hraban. With the Guides being a position of highest honor in all levels of society, though generally staying local.
    This is manifested when the spirit of an Ancestor visits a Guide to provide wisdom and strength in times of need. Some Guides when so visited have been said to perform great acts of strength and cleverness and in the rarest of occurrences something whispered as magic. Having honor and paying honor to the ancestors remains a powerful motivator for the people. Paying forward and crediting acts of cleverness and strength, remembering from where one comes and staying humble in the face of personal honor. Pride being one of the greatest of the sins and the easiest way to lose honor.

    Guides teach and help instruct their communities on how to gain honor, telling the ancient stories. They tell of the ways of progress and cleverness and strength. They also teach of the taboos:

    1. Do not be tricked by the gods.
    2. Do not practice blood magic
    3. Do not cause lasting harm to the land
    4. Do not be overwhelmed by pride.




    Spoiler: History
    Show

    The old stories tell of a time from before time and word. They tell of white feathered pure beings once flew the skies of Mamut. They worked great works and built great things to the aid of all. However the great goddess Amaryllis was fickle and jealous. While much attention was paid to her and honor done, it was not enough to please her and not enough things to satisfy her vanity. She began to play tricks on them, summoning storms and seeding horrible beasts to purposefully spoil some of the beautiful works wrought by the pure beings, bringing her much joy. However, they were not to be discouraged, they were too strong and when acting as one, could not be beaten.

    But they were also far, far too proud. And pride is one of the 7 and was their downfall, and the core of all evil. The Goddess came to the pure beings and asked "Who is the strongest? Who is the cleverest?" Each of the pure beings cried out that they were the cleverest. That they were the most adaptable. And so the pure beings fought one another, employing the cleverest methods they had, finding the best ways to adapt and overcome. While it greatly amused Amaryllis it also scared her, and so she took the moment, to find the weaknesses and was able to tear them apart. In body, in community and in spirit, separating their cleverness from their strength. And so the pure beings were no longer pure, one half marked by their sin and strife by having their feathers turn black, the other their forms twisted and ugly and lost their wings all together.

    The black feathered were ejected from their lands of comfort and magic and sent down to the ground to live with all the others. The mountains and trees providing the refuge of height that they desire. Some of the strength of will persevered and the black feathered half started to adapt to the change finding a new way to live.

    Yet Amaryllis still tormented the land and that was beyond any semblance of reproach. The newly named Hraban reached out the other half of themselves in the Uzii and with others were able to raise a great army from all of Mamut and together fought against Amaryllis. Many died in the fight but their souls continued to fight when their flesh failed. After a last ditch effort Amaryllis was finally torn asunder and her poisonous pieces were spread far and wide leaving behind flowers now called Amaryllis after her. These flowers are known to all to be poisonous and must be uprooted and burnt for the good of all.

    As for their ugly half, the Uzii haven't been heard from in quite some time, records don't show contact since before the great Chill; but the sight of them is disquieting, a harsh reminder of a better time. When the two meet, they are family…but families still fight, sometimes the greatest fights.

    Flag credit to Gengy
    Last edited by Electriccat; 2020-07-12 at 12:12 AM.


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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Nefarion Xid's Avatar

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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Clan Al-Ashir

    Spoiler: General Info
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    Leader: Malak-Amir Zidan il Kasima Al-Ashir (Prince and Master Zidan, son of Kasima, of the Ashir Clan)
    Stats: D 5 • M 3 • O 2 • F 1 • I 2

    Home Region: Vesparre (302)

    Trading Posts: Sierre Ranch [owned], Olan Ranch, Coria Ranch
    Resource: Ashirian Horses

    Holy Site: Wandering Stones

    Starting Tech: Animal Husbandry

    Spoiler: 302 - Vesparre
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    Spoiler: Region
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    https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachmen...ap-2-draft.png

    The Vesparre region is dominated by blistering sandy desert. What passes for civilization constitutes a handful of towns built around oases along a meandering underground river. Goatherds inhabit a less narrow band of sparse vegetation. The stronghold of Clan Al-Ashir, Al-Kazar (lit."The Fortress"), occupies a shadowy canyon where homes for thousands have been carved from the natural caves over the past two centuries.

    Horticulture is sparse and unadvanced. Lentils and chickpeas are the staple crops, while native figs, dates, and citrus fruits require little care to flourish.

    Spoiler: People & History
    Show
    The Al-Ashir are transplants to the region, one surviving branch of an ancient nomadic people that settled in the region prior to the devastation of the False Dawn. Though not completely insular, the Al-Ashiri tend to have green or amber eyes, contrasted with the native Vesparrese. Ashirian men wear their hair long and their beards short, if they have beards at all. Vesparrese often have long beards, but crop their curly hair and sideburns close.

    While entirely human, the Ashir have excellent night vision. Indeed, those without the trait are expelled as they reach adulthood so as not to pass on the deficiency to the next generation. The ability to ride and fight at night is not only advantageous, but the essence of what it means to be of the Ashir. The origin of their keen eyesight is of no particular importance to the Ashir themselves, but outsiders suspect the clan to have descended from snakes, or to have struck a deal with the jinn (the formless, often malevolent spirits of the desert winds).

    In the past, the Ashiri were raiders and thieves, exploiting the farming communities across the continent. The tribulations of the last two centuries have transformed their relationship with the other inhabitants of the region. Now, the martial abilities of the night riders are a welcome safeguard against the horrors of the Blight. The Ashir constitute the ruling and warrior ethnic caste of the region and the Vesparrese the artisans and farmers.

    They are typically encountered in ranging companies of two to three-hundred riders with spare horses and camels to carry supplies. Of the company, a third are essentially squires or grooms who watch and learn on the outskirts of battle and do grunt work around the campsite. While specialists do exist, all adults are expected to attain a level of competency in all matters of the Ashir: mostly riding horses, fighting while riding, haggling, sneaking, and not overcooking lentils. Each rider is armed with one spear with a broad stone head, at least five javelins with narrow flint points, a wicker shield suitable for deflecting slings, and a pair of stone knives. What passes for armor is generally braided camel wool, sometimes with the addition of slats or disks of palm wood tied across the the brow and chest.

    As no mores about marriage or monogamy exist within the Ashir culture, families are only identified by their mother since there is no real way of knowing who your father is. If identification beyond your given name is required, you provide your mother's name as well with the preposition "il". Your clan or hometown is presented joined to the article "Al-" if further identification is necessary, as in Al-Ashir, Al-Sierre, Al-Olan, etc. While all Al-Alshir are Al-Ashir, the Vesparrese have adopted this convention.

    The Ashir clan is not so much ruled as administered by a Master among Princes. A sort of royal bloodline offers a pool of princes and princesses from which the reigning Malak-Amir may designate a line of succession. All Amirs attend the Malak's court to provide counsel when not out with their company, collecting taxes or hunting.

    Spoiler: Religion
    Show
    Vesparrese Folklore is a wild assortment of myths and superstitions from both the Ashir and Vesparrese traditions. The Ashir believe the gods cursed all human tribes for disobedience and exiled them from paradise, but only their progenitor was smart enough to take a horse with her before she left. The Vesparrese suppose this must be true as they did not have horses before the arrival of the Ashir, but insist that the world was birthed from the egg of a particularly buxom crocodile goddess. As crocodiles do not actually live in the Vesparre region, the nature of crocodiles and how attractive they are is a mystery.

    Holy Site: Wandering Stones - Located somewhere on the dunes between the towns of Sierre and Olan, these seventy-two man-sized standing stones are carved with apparently meaningless and erratically drawn symbols. While the journey across the expanse of desert usually takes five days on horseback, it's impossible to guess on which day you'll pass within view of the stones, if at all. By all accounts, the location of the stones drift within a twenty mile radius.Travelers dare not camp within view of the stones, claiming that cruel things are whispered on the wind here -- the lamentations of the jinn.

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    Ashirian Horses - Introduced by the nomadic predecessors of the Ashiri, this breed of horse is well adapted to arid regions. They are known for their balance of speed and endurance. The breed presents some difficulties with training as their high intelligence and amiable nature. They think they're funny and are constantly delighted by their own antics.

    Required Resource: The Ashir desire peppercorns or other spice.

    Spoiler: 305 - Gharab
    Show
    Spoiler: Region
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    Literally "The West" in the language of the Ashir, this region has a confusing name in retrospect. For centuries this area has just been what the Ashir to consider their western border (despite this not being strictly true in a geographical sense) and the many tribes of the region have no encompassing term for their collective territories. Ironically, they all agree that what lies east of them is just "The Land of Horse Riders" in various languages.

    Like the Vesparre, the Gharab civilization and vegetation follows a predictable path along an underground river through an otherwise arid land. Unlike the Vesparre, it occassionally rains as moisture from the evaporating lake in the Sha region collides with cold front from the south. The elevation is higher here and the horizon is marked by the odd mesa. The people here live in adobe buildings stacked high onto the cool northern sides of these rocky tabletops.

    Spoiler: People & History
    Show
    The illiterate human tribes of the Gharab have lived here for untold centuries. Ethnographic similarities pin them as closest to the native Vesparrese. Their languages are not unintelligible to someone from the Vesparre, but disparate and pronounced isolation between has lead to enough linguistic quirks to frustrate the Ashir. For example, the horse is known colloquially as the "round faced dog", the "bald sheep", and the "deer with no antlers". The westernmost tribe has been shocked to learn that horses are separate animals at all and always understood the people of the distant east to be centaurs.

    There are eleven distinct tribes, each typically known by some feature of the closest and most prominent mesa. The most influential are the people of the Red Mesa, the White Mesa, the Black Mesa, the Two Mesas, and the people with No Mesa. The people with No Mesa are in possession of the longest stretch of oasis in the region, but this is overlooked by their rivals. The people of the Red Mesa have uniformly black hair and the people of the Black mesa have uniformly dark red hair.

    In recent history, Bolshur of the Black Mesa succeeded in uniting the lesser tribes of the Short Mesa and the Dog Mesa, having cunningly evoked the threat of the army of the Ashir. Once they agreed to form a confederacy, Bolshur arranged his marriage to Amira Zara and then cunningly evoked the favoritism of the Ashir to solidify his place as leader of the allied tribes. Secure in his newfound power, Bolshur then threatened the unaligned tribes with the obviously capricious Ashir, thus bringing them one by one into union, earning him the moniker Bolshur the Cunning, and buying him a place in Ashirian peerage with the newly minted title Sahib. In truth, this was all Zara's plan from the beginning.

    Spoiler: Religion
    Show
    The people of the Gharab have many gods, but all pray devoutly to some deity of rain and fertility whose sacred plant is agave. Wildly varying accounts of rain gods between tribes upsets no one because they happily believe there are thousands of mighty spirits who command the weather.

    Holy Site: The Mesa of the Rain Gods - The one agreed upon sacred place is the top of a mesa roughly in the middle of the Gharab where shamans from each tribe meet twice a year in unity to call upon the gods to bless the land with rain for another season.

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    Agave - A gift from the gods, agave is cultivated by every tribe in the region and used for medicine, food, and fibers. The sap is fermented by shamans into a weak and terribly bitter wine which is said to be the blood, milk or other fluids of the rain deities.

    Spoiler: 303 - Janeb
    Show
    Spoiler: Region
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    Another stretch of inhospitable terrain indistinguishable from the northern Vesparre, apart from the deviation of the underground river. Here, civilization relies on the existence of an aquifer. There are few natural oases, but anyone with the hands to chip away through ten meters of sandstone can have an inexhaustible well. It is more temperate here, so water on the surface evaporates slower. In the south, occasional rains give birth to scrub lands suitable for grazing. The Ashir had called this region "the South" for more than a century, and so unimaginatively continue refer to their newly conquered territories as Al-Janeb.

    Spoiler: People & History
    Show
    Until the invasion of the Ashir in Round 5, the region had been loosely under the rule of a number of semi-nomadic herdsman families in the south, each patriarch claiming some shared lineage tying them to a semi-mythical progenitor and law-giver by the name of Obrim. They rallied as a unified force to fend off the Ashir, and their champion slinger succeed in felling Jana Al-Zamira in an otherwise disastrous battle. When Amira Amala assumed command, she ordered that the retreating defenders be run down. As most every patriarch and their sons fought, the line of Obrim was all but extinguished and regional leadership decimated. Fearing what might become of anyone who presumed themselves to be an heir of Obrim, none have stepped forward in the years since. The region continues bereft of any central authority except for the Sultan himself, who cares little for the stewardship of the land and believes its only real use is to provide homesteads for his soldiers. Seasonal patrols attend the borders and root out bandits, but the people of Janeb are largely left to their own devices as long as each household pays their taxes.

    Spoiler: Religion
    Show
    Many of Al-Janeb have followed the Path of the True Dawn faithfully for years now. Their creation myths parallel the Ashir's and they share the superstition of the evil jinn, but ethnological similarities end there.

    Holy Site: Worship is typically a private affair among households, but what passes for a holy site is a bountiful natural spring the locals believe to be home to a benevolent (but fickle) spirit or minor goddess. Adventurous sorts will make the pilgrimage to the Fountain of Kimwei to cast offerings into the waters for her blessing. Until the advent of sun worship, the site had been under the protection by the Cult of the Triangle, who claimed Kimwei, and similar water dwelling spirits throughout Sikar, would point the way to a wish granting artifact created by the gods -- a golden triangle.

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    Al-Janeb is not a prosperous region. The only real things of value to be found here are the Desert Foxes, bred as companions and ratters by the natives. They are renowned for their intelligence, friendliness, and stylish pelts.

    Spoiler: 274 - Qamah
    Show
    Spoiler: Region
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    An agrarian paradise. Endless fertile fields, regular gentle rains, and a temperate climate. Durum wheat grows in abundance. A vast glacial lake separates this land from the Thunder People in the northeast where a dozen small fishing villages live an easy life. They are known to preserve their fish in clay pots with lye to trade their catches semolina flour. This gelatinous fish blob is also known to be completely unpalatable to foreigners. Groves of cottonwood trees dot the landscape where the soil is too rocky to farm.

    Spoiler: People & History
    Show
    Like much of the south, there was a time before the Ashir and after. Largely spared from the tribulations of the past age, Qamah peaked at the beginning of Zidan's reign, consolidating into three distinct kingdoms, each prosperous and defended by many well-fed warriors. As lost and distant lands began to reconnect and traders once more traveled freely, sickness struck the largest of the three and spread through their warriors like wildfire. Opportunism was just as swift. The middle kingdom seized upon the largest, and the least attacked the middle while their warriors campaigned elsewhere. Years of strife followed and the three kingdoms crumbled into their component clans. By the time Zidan marched his armies south, there were no leaders to stand against him and few warriors left to answer the call that never came.

    The names of the three lost kingdoms were of little interest to the Ashir who simply called the land Al-Qamah, The Wheat Fields. The old nobility remain, grumbling among themselves that one day, they will take their land back. None can agree who should lead such an effort and who would rule once their foreign masters were cast out.

    Like most human natives, they know each other by small variances in features and language from clan to clan. The Ashir judge them to be olive in complexion, with light brown eyes and hair that they find pleasing. As they live on a diet of bread and pasta, the Ashir find their physiques pleasing as well.

    The common language is superficially similar to Ashiric. It sounds nearly the same to an untrained foreigner as their vowel sounds match exactly, as do their strange Zs, Js and Qs. However, structure and vocabulary are vastly different.

    Spoiler: Religion
    Show
    The people of Qamah are united in their worship of a small patheon of gods, elements of nature and agriculture personified. They offer thanks to the goddess of the lake for her fish, to the goddess of the fields for her grain, the goddess of fire for blessing their hearths, and the goddess of cows for cow stuff.

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    Unsurprisingly, the vast wheat fields of Al-Qamah yield wheat in abundance. Semolina, the course middlings of duram, may be purchased by the camel-load.
    Last edited by Nefarion Xid; 2020-11-12 at 10:09 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Tentreto's Avatar

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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Sangar
    Region 136

    Spoiler: summary
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    Sangar: Ascetics who cherish music, and despise decadence and the blightspawn.
    Resource: Musical Instruments
    Starting Tech:Masonry
    TP1 (Sangar)
    TP2 (Open)
    TP3 (Open)

    Ruler: Keeper Lovati Polahi 4 3 2 1 2
    Dip 4
    Mil5
    Op 2
    Faith 2
    Int 1

    Holy Centre: The Den (The Chord)

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Geography:
    With vast plains and whistling winds, the Sangaran Wilds are cold and haunting, with little warmth. Although there are small pockets of trees, the only true forest lies in the west, forming a natural barrier to any who would invade. The rest of the land has only low plains, with only small changes in elevation, making life miserable for those unused to living there. In the south however, are a few underground streams, and secret brooks; not much, but enough to keep a wanderer alive.
    Such a wanderer might see a few huts out in the wilds, of a few hunters and trappers who have decided to make their livings in the places where no others go. The number increases as they wander south, with small hamlets, and cold villages. One might see a few claim to be towns, but none have anything of great extravagance, although all have an mound in the center. Finally, now they have travelled to where the air is slightly warmer, and no tribes threaten the holdings, they arrive at a great hold, as sombre as the surrounding landscape. This is Holan, the one truly large settlement of the Sangar.

    Further on in the city, at the centre lies a large earthen mound. Inside, on finds a grand hall, easily able to have a thousand inside, and in it, hung a thousand other instruments: one for each Sangaran. This is the great Den, from which the song is sung, on the birth and death of the moon.



    Spoiler: People
    Show
    People:
    The Sangar do not consider themselves true natives to Tarandi, knowing they travelled far, likely from the south, to seek lands free of strife. But after many generations, they certainly consider it their home, and would defend it to the death, especially against any southerner who might be the ones who had been the chiefs of the past.

    The Sangar are a tall people, as tall and graceful as the grain in the wind. They tend towards darker complexions, as well as the darker shades of hair. Most Sangarans wear woven reeds and furs, in simple colours, with little differentiation between men and women. Only a few leaders, such as the Maestro, wear any colours beyond hues of green or black, being small indulgences for their status.

    Traditionally, Sangaranss maintain themselves within their families, with a few friends. Therefore, the trappers have trapped for over a hundred years down the line, and so on. While these families trade, it is always through the head of the household, who barters with the other elders for what their family need. An elder is simply the eldest member of the family still able to play an instrument, and hold a conversation. They are not barred from work, but most at their age tend to be excused the worst of it.

    The Sangar have a great disdain for superfluous wealth. Precious ornaments of gold, or other useless materials are seen as taboo, and any who wear them are shunned, if not exiled. Only a few specific ornaments are allowed, and they have very strong cultural traditions behind them. Beads can be worn by any, but only one for every 10 years they have seen. Bracelets can be worn by those who have served in combat, or two by the Sworn, although gold is forbidden. Dye is only allowed in rare cases, and idols, or anything that is an ornament, is utterly disdained unless it also has a practical purpose.

    The Sangar however have a great love, bordering on the fanatical for music. Every child is taught to sing and whistle from a young age, their mothers holding their mouths in place until they can do it as easily as crawl. Under their tutelage, a Sangar crafts their own instrument to play, and which is the only one they may use (aside from their voice) until they come of age. Instruments are the one thing exempt from many of the taboos on excesses, so may are bright hues, or inlayed with stones or other precious things. It must still be useable as an instrument, and a bad quality instrument is a grand social stigma. In fact, stealing an instrument is almost as bad as murder in some eyes.
    Sangarans usually remain with what their family have traditionally done. Farmers farm, trappers trap and so on. While a child can test skills on other crafts, they require permission from both their own family, and a family of that profession to be trained. The only exception here are new or lacking professions, which require the permission of only the family, or walking the path of The Chord, which requires the approval of three Pledges, or the Maestro.
    The Sangar are built simply around a ruling clan family, who is known as the Keeper. The keeper has control over the Sworn (the professional Warriors), commands the Maestro, and full power over Holan outside the Den. All Sangars are sworn to uphold him. The family always has a designated heir, so that whoever is next in line can step in, no matter what. The ruling family gains small tithes from the other families in various goods and services, and acts as enforcement and arbitration over all Sangarans, as well as a delegator and leader in harsh times. The villages tend to have smaller Wards, who have similar duties over villages, but they almost always have their own profession as well.

    At the end of the False Dawn, the Ruling family was the Polahi, known for their ice white eyes, and harsh words. They are the third ruling clan, the Drioa being the first having stepped back due to plague ravaging them. The Second were the Fiy, who were exiled by the people, after they beheaded the Maestro for refusing to clean the dirt off their feet.

    The Maestro is the spiritual heart of the Sangar. While they have no true power outside the Den, the Maestro is the hero of the people, and of all who have the song in their hearts. The Maestro is in theory appointed by the Keeper, but there is a lot of tradition behind it. The Maestro must above all be an incredible musician, able to sing and play their instruments well enough to make a babe cry out in laughter. They must be able to defend themselves from three Sworn, using whatever means they will. Finally, they must have the peoples approval, as they must carry them to their appointment.
    What the Maestro actually does, is essentially act as a spiritual leader, in music, in battle, and in the everyday, for the people to aspire towards. They have utter control over the Den, so much so that not even the Keeper can overrule them there. Many Maestros are good friends of the Keeper, or act as advisors. There can be many candidates for Maestro, known as Pledges, but only one at a time. A Maestro is in position until a Pledge can unseat them, or they die. Usually, when a Maestro grows old, the Pledges will petition to take over.

    At the end of the False Dawn, there is no Maestro, as the last one died in her bed the eve before.


    Spoiler: An Oral History
    Show
    Listen well my children, for this is the story I tell only once, to those who must take up the mantle of adulthood. All have heard it, the Maestro, the Farmers, the Artisans, and it is my duty to tell it to you.

    An age ago, our ancestors lived in great houses of copper and gold. They lived their lives in silence, under chiefs who barked harsh words, and who forced them to toil, all to build their houses higher. For generations they lived, and worked, and died, as the chiefs grew fatter, and louder, and decadent. Yes, it was an age of peace, and prosperity. Yes, it was an age of gold.
    But gold means nothing. Gold cannot be eaten; it cannot be planted. Tools of gold are weak, and the people who wear it weaker. So although the age of gold looked like the age of wonders and hope, it was no better than the ice outside.
    The False Dawn showed us all that. The chiefs in their shining houses were blinded, the lustre of the world being their own death. Their warriors fought amongst themselves for each scrap of the house, yet they too fell when the cold came. The servents, and those who tried to keep their kingdoms up were shattered under a thousand blights, as the blightspawn came across the land.
    So the False Dawn showed that, for all the wealth and power the chiefs appeared to have, it was a falsehood. Our ancestors understood that, they knew. They took with them all they could of value, and left, to find lands untainted, far to the north. They travelled for a year and a day. They travelled to lands where none of the falsehoods remained, where we could have our own lands, and not squander them as the Golden Chiefs did.

    But what did we take with us you ask? First, we took our spirit. We kept our refusal to break before any foe or trial, and used that to go further afield than any had before.

    Second, we took our knowledge. We used that to pass a thousand challenges, and learn even more as we continued, so we could survive in this new land.

    Third, we took our power. We took with us our tools and cloaks, so that we would be able to overcome all who would oppose us. We used that so that we could hold our own destiny without the yoke of others.

    And finally, we took the music with us. The song of our people, that you have learned to sing since before you could talk. We play it on our drums, our pipes; we play it when we run in battle, and when we laugh at a birth. It is the song we all sing, and as long as it is sung, we will not forget where we have come from, and where we are heading.



    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Resource: Musical Instruments
    With their love for music, the Sangar have created many interesting ways of making sounds. These range from small drums made from tanned hide, to stringed guts and threads. The greatest prized are their horns however, with the great noise rolling across the Tundra. Holan is the great centre of this craft, although a few minor villages boast some skill that gives them their own trade.
    Trade Post 1: Holan (Sangar)
    Trade Post 2: Jikai (Open)
    Trade Post 3: Miauei (Open)


    Required Resource: Animals
    With their love for instruments, the Sangar have found that many animals can give great materials, or inspiration for creating more music. Wild beasts can only provide so much, therefore the Sangar set out to tame their own herds, or at least have another do it for them.

    Starting Tech: Masonry. The Sangar brough with them many tools and knowledge on their journey to the wilds. Part of that was their knowledge of working the earth, and the stone. That is part of why their halls and buildings are so grand, despite the plainness. These masons are highly valued, and have kept most of their tools and knowledge secret, although most of the Sangar know some tricks, due to the intermarriage between families.



    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    Faith
    The Chord
    Spoiler: A detached view of the Chord
    Show

    A detached account of the Chord

    The Chord bases itself around the belief that each thing that exists naturally has a story, which it tells through music. This music can be slow, fast, loud, or a hundred other things. By listening to this music, members of the Chord can learn about these natural things, how they act, and behave, and so use that to an advantage. This could be knowing how to outwit wild beasts, or which stones might be better in building. This also extends to families, clans, and races, so that each civilisation has their own story, and therefore song.

    What believers can also do is learn the music, and reproduce it in variations to emulate the stories of these things, such as being strong as stone or as quiet as a deer, as long as the memory of the music being played recently stays with them. Thus, by learning more about the world, the Chord can grow in strength and keep in harmony. In fact, truly great practitioners can create new music, based on others or not, and help create new things.

    However, if these songs and stories are recorded wrong, or performed terribly, by mistake or intent, the stories are thrown into discord, which can cause various ill effects, such as fatigue, opposite effects, or, as the Chord believes, horrors such as the False Dawn and Blightspawn. Indeed, the Blightspawn are viewed as being an anathema to stories and songs, and thus on all life. Therefore, the Chord acts to stop such discord, and ease the woes of any who have faced ill effects bringing them closer to discord.

    The Chord has some view over death, seeing it as passing on the stories and songs to those who come next. Within a civilisation, or those of the Chord, the dead remain alive through the stories and music passed down, and so are immortal, as long as the Chord survives.

    Naturally, music is incredibly important to the Chord, being central to ensuring things stay in Chord, and the songs can be remembered. All spiritual leaders must be proficient in one form of music, if not more, and help guide their congregations in many, many long songs.

    Currently, the holy centre for the Chord is the Den, a great earthen hall, in which many instruments are kept, and many songs are sung.


    Spoiler: The Chord in its own words
    Show
    The Faith of the Chord has one underlying principle, everything has its own music, and own story. The stones have their slow cracking and tumbling over the years. The grass of the plains sighs and whispers as we travel. The deer of the wood chitter, and the birds sing, all telling of their lives. And so do we, we sing, cry, and play, all for our music, and give off our experiences.

    You have felt this surely. The joy when a babe cries its first cry. The long howl of the wolf. They give off such emotions, feelings, that they have power. Power for strength, power for learning, and power for enjoying what life from the music has given us.

    What happens if we listen to this music? We can learn from it, memorise it, and use it in our own music. The music of the stones will help when building our houses. The music of the grass helps speed us on our way. The music of the deer gives us swiftness and stealth in the forest, all in our hearts. If we can learn all the music of the world, we can be ready for anything.
    And if we create our own music? We can create new things, new ideas. It is said that the combining of the music of the earth with the grain gave us the food we eat. That the combining of the music heat and wood gave us fire.
    And yet, we must cultivate carefully, for a song is only as good as the one creating it, and can be no better than the singer. The blightspawn, they give of a discordant noise, no true song at all, as if created without life. To keep the world from such horrors destroying all the music, we must destroy them wherever we find them.

    Similarly, in ages past, those who made music became indulgent, and lazy. They did not bother to listen closely, or craft the music with care. That is what we believe caused the False Dawn. That is why we must teach all of the Chord, how to craft the music of life itself, into splendour, so that the world will continue it’s own story. As what is a story without an end? We must ensure such an end does not come for a long, long time.

    Our great place of holiness, from which our music flows, is the Den. Surely you have heard the many who sing within it?

    Holy Site: The Den (The Chord)




    Region 135: The Tillands

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Geography.

    The Tillands are a mostly flat grasslands, stretching cold and arid acroos much of the south-east of Tarandi. However, its southern edge has the river the locals know as 'Kalatar,' the warm growth. Within a mile of the river, the lands slope downwards, providing a valley which the river runs down, and some of the most fertile soil in the area. Moreover, Kalatar is a surprisingly warm river, that even babes might float in it without problem. In this the majority of settlements exist, farming the land in order to get themselves through the winter.

    Spoiler: People and Culture
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    People:

    The Tillians are short and stocky, at least compared to those of Sangar, usually standing under 5 5', but are certainly strong and hardy. They have fair skin and eyes, and usually brown hair, although some also have fair hair as well.
    Tillians usually wear woven dresses and robes, often combined with what furs they can find, often traded from the more northern trappers who they trade their crops with.

    Tillians are often centered around a stretch of the river, each of which has been tied to a family for generations. While all Tillians can farm these lands, all of them covet the warmest parts of the river, which can change as the years progress. Thus, the last few generations have been that of bloodshed, where families have killed each other over who should own what, with the victors often finding that their new land soon does not have the blessing of the river.

    Because of this, the Tillians have not had any centralised rule beyond a few families briefly claiming to have the blessing of the river for a time. What does tie them together however is a commonality in customs beliefs, as well as an ease to trade, especially on the river itself. More importantly, they share little in common with the Sangarans to the North-West, nor the Inebriati to the East.

    One of the most important customs of the Tillians is that of the guise of the river. It is often said that the spirit of Kalatar wanders across the banks, seeing to test those who would use his bounty. If a family allows him onto his lands, and allows him to plough the land for a day, or drink of the waters with them, it is said that they are likely to be given the rivers blessing, while they might be open to flooding, or worse, blightspawn if they anger him. However, as there is no agreement on what Kalatar looks like, or even gender, all strangers are given a degree of welcome, to help with one task of their choosing.



    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Resource:
    The Tillians have cultivated a crop almost unique in their lands, known as Spelt. This crop is both hardy and nutritious, being able to be eaten as is (though with difficulty) or ground up, and made into a dough which is incredibly filling. Of note, Spelt has been said to survive blizzards and frostbite with little concern, and has been keeping the Tillians fed and close to the river since any can remember.

    Spelt
    TP1: Open
    TP2: Open


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    Faith:
    With their belief in the spirit of the river known as Kalatar, many local rituals and beliefs focus around placating and honouring the river, to help ensue food for another year.
    Due to this locality however, Tillians have barely looked beyond the river itself for guidance, and thus see it as a Spirit vital to their own existence, but not much beyond mortal ken. Thus, each farm and family have their own beliefs, and traditions beyond that of the river, with some revering it as a great being, while others as part of the natural world, which they have domain to master.

    Holy Site: Open



    Region 132

    Bluestohe

    Spoiler: Terrain
    Show
    Sitting between the deep valleys of the Tillands and the open stretches of the Sangaran wilds, Bluestohe is blessed with minor hills and forests, enough to keep the winds mild and the land arable. Being comparatively close to the Ocean, it is also slightly warmer than many other places in Tarandi. Despite this, the land is not the most fertile, the soil being incredibly dry and rough. It is said that the only things that will grow are Einkorn and Lyre grass, a slightly teal grass that thrives in the soil.


    Spoiler: People and Government
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    People and Government.

    The Blust's (as they are called by outsiders) or the Blusthonians (as they refer to themselves) are a cultural mix of the surrounding regions, and thus have skins ranging from the dark to pale, although most do have dark hair. They are the result of many native clans and settlements being attacked by northerners seeking better lands in the south, and wandering tribes from the south who have settled here away from the horrors of the false dawn. This gives each individual tribe a very unique and strong identity that each hold dear.

    Traditionally, Blusthonians live by strict hierarchy. Each member of the tribe is will be told upon their coming of age where their value is in the tribe, in order of those others who are coming of age. Those chosen first are seen as great future leaders, whereas those at the end are seen as near useless, meaning they are unlikely to secure a marriage. By this, often the most hard working are those at the extremes. In the rare cases where only one comes of age, they are described as 'Gallajants,' the untested, and thus are often sent on tasks of great danger for their worth to be measured.

    It must be noted, it can sometimes be hard to tell where the surrounding regions begin and end, as to those out on the frontiers, they truly care for neither, and would usually pay lip service to both. Alas, that time is beginning to end. When Farantis of the Clawed Stones married Jia Polahi, he cemented his Tribe as the dominant power for years to come, and the frontier disappeared, especially with the sheer might of Sangar.

    The Blusthonian's are mostly united in that they pay homage to their individual tribe chief, and in turn the Great Chief which a tribe may only ever hold once, after which the tribe forfeits the right until five other tribes have held it. The Great Chief is chosen by many various priests, soldiers and a representative of the previous Great Chief, until they all come to an agreement. The Great Chief rules for life, although if they hold the position for less than a season, they need only wait a single Chief until they are allowed to aspire for it again.



    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Resource: Einkorn

    Einkorn is a cereal that is especially hardy. With such terrible soil, it is a blessing that the Einkorn grows so well even so. Throngs of the plant grow interspersed with Lyre grass, meaning wanderers can find food if they are careful, and most clans have begun to close off areas to allow for the plant to grow on its own acord, especially with the new irrigation techniques from the far north.

    TP 1: Open
    TP 2: Open



    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    Faith

    Quite recently, The Ancient Way has spread its wings over Bluestohe. Many take after Sangar and the way of song, seeing it as the way to keep the spirit of their tribe alive and its own story, under the greater song of Bluestohe as a whole, which Sangar heavily approves of. Quite a few however also take the other ways, with both Simrah and Thought being not uncommon. The few tribes who have sought the Way of Death are often feared, especially with the ideas still so fresh, however, many have taken this as a duty to do this when illness or injury come, so they can truly enact being a scavanger.

    Faith: The Ancient Ways



    Region 157 Rishka Plains

    Spoiler: Terrain
    Show
    Terrain

    With wide rolling plains, the land of Rishka is cold and surprisingly arid, with the soil being notoriously hard to grow in. The majority of settlements have sprung up among the river to the south, where ther are enough offshoots for some settlements to be small islands in the waters. A few settlements do survive in the north however, surviving as nomadic tribes, often briefly heading north to the Carrion Ward to have conflict with the Creatures there.


    Spoiler: People and Culture
    Show
    People and Culture.

    Riskans are humans, broad and strong, as many have spent their life either swimming or wrangling beasts, if not both. They tend towards darker complexions, although this is most occurrent among the nomadic northerners. It is likely they are from the same groups that migrated north at the False Dawn. The southerners tend to wearing little more than heavy shirts that can be easily thrown off, with thin garments to aid with swimming, although they are often caked in the oils and grease of animals to keep the cold out. Northerners also adopt the shirt, but wear long skirts of bright colours, to help denote their tribal affiliation.

    Rishkan society is barely stable, with each tribe and group having a very different idea of both worship and rulership. However, the Southern settlements tend towards fishing and some small agriculture to keep themselves fed, and towards a very communal style of leadership. Everyone is expected to be able to bring in a shark or fish if they see one in the water, and the size of beast they can bring in is where reputations, and power is built. In contrast, the nomads elect a leader for life to guide their group, who has ultimate control over law in the tribe, although only a fool would exert it to a high level. Therefore, the northerners tend to be very diverse in their trades. Many serve as specialist trader and artisans for the various southern settlement who they trade with for food and alliances. Many others serves as mercenaries, cementing a settlements political power until the leader declares it is time to move on.

    In the last 30 years, an alliance between a group of nomads and a southern settlement bloomed, as a tough winter forced the two to live together and fend of the horrors of the night. This led to a great deal of intermarriage, and eventually, the nomads became part of the settlement, albeit a more roving one. That the settlement was on a river island, and the nomads great warriors led to this becoming a central power base for the region. Therefore, Rishka, the name of the settlement, became the byword for the region, as the nomads spread it to the explorers from Sangar, who spread it to the rest of Tarandi. Jia Polahi would exploit this, intermarrying her family with Rishka in order to have enough control over the South, with Prenadi having impressed enough of the nomads for her prowess to earn the support of the north.



    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Resource:
    Rishka has a great supply of fish in the river, however, the majority of these are fairly horrible to eat, tasting bland at best, and while the nomads each individually have their specialities, none can support more than they can trade on an individual basis. However, their are a large amounts of river sharks in the region, which the southerners hunt to keep the other fish alive, and provide for them in multiple ways. The sharks taste far better than their prey, they can be harvested for teeth, for weapons, and their oil helps keep lanterns alight and people warm while swimming. Thus, the sharks have become the de facto trade good of Rishka, being something any settlement or tribe can use.

    River Sharks: Minor

    TP1 Open

    Spoiler: Religion
    Show
    Religion:

    Riska is notoriously eclectic in its beliefs, with followers of the Ancient Way and Eauden being present in a number of settlements. The Children of the Great Mother are also present in some of the west, and even some followers of the Great Song, quite similar to the Chorus is also present.

    This disparity means that most tribes and settlements are relatively tolerant of all Gods and Spirits, with reverence often being given to all spirits that exist in many ways, as after all, if you pay homage to all gods there may be, and all spirits, then none can surely be against you?

    Holy Centre: Open
    Last edited by Tentreto; 2020-11-13 at 01:59 PM.
    Avatar by the Incredible Gengy.
    King of Caligonia in Empire 3. Crusaded into the sunset

    Played as The Whitefeather Kingdom in Empire 4. Flew too close to the sun

    Played as the Duenem in Empire 5. Ordered a God to stand down, and kept a contingency ready...



  19. - Top - End - #19
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

    Join Date
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers


    Thanks for the banner, Gengy!

    Ixkarr
    Region 295
    Leader: High Chieftain Rakthuk

    Diplomacy: 5
    Military: 5
    Opulence: 3
    Faith: 3
    Intrigue: 2

    Cave-dwelling orcs obsessed with glory.

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    While the desert region of Ixkarr has several small to medium-sized oases, the most defining characteristic of the area are its plentiful caverns in the sides of the mountains that lay scattered around. Some of them merely provide shelter from the blistering heat of the sun during the day while others lead deep underground. More often than not when exploring one of the latter type one would eventually find some kind of body of water.

    These caverns provide homes for the orcs residing in the region. They tend to limit their activity outside to the mornings and evenings, when the heat is more tolerable. There are no large enough permanent settlements to be called towns, although each clan tends to concentrate around their oasis of choice. There they cultivate dates, peaches and some other plants.

    Spoiler: People
    Show

    Ixkarr is predominantly populated by a race of orcs that call themselves Koxrrit. They are about a head taller than a human, and slightly bulkier in build. Their skin is different shades of green, and some have small tusks protrude upwards from their mouth. Many Koxrrit fashion their black or brown hair into an intricate set of braids.

    The Koxrrit are organised into eleven different clans, each of which is ruled by a chieftain. For them, upholding and increasing their clan's glory is the highest priority: an individual's worth correlates with how much glory their actions bring to their clan. Overcoming almost any type of challenge can be thought of as glorious, if of sufficient difficulty. As such Koxrrit look for more and more difficult tasks within their occupation, which in turn hones their skill ever further. However, felling large beasts and winning battles against strong opponents is thought to be the most glorious way of life for males. Females have more freedom in choosing how they want to bring glory to their clan. While they are not expected to take up arms, female warriors are not totally unheard of.

    Spoiler: Recent Developments
    Show

    In the years that have passed the clans of Ixkarr have fought many a war against each other. However, as this was usually done for the glory of battle instead of a desire to conquer or destroy a rival, any grudges between clans tended to be soon forgotten. For the last two decades however there has been peace in Ixkarr. This is because of the efforts of Rakthuk, one of the most powerful chieftains. Through great effort he managed to convince the clans that more glory could be amassed by working together rather than against each other. Rakthuk was named High Chieftain, and has directed the united efforts of the clans ever since.

    The ensuing peace has caused economic development and an increase in the quality of life for the Koxrrit. For example, more concerted efforts at farming have begun around the oases, and the production of salt has grown exponentially. However, the warriors have tired of merely hunting blightspawn and other beasts and long for greater challenges. As such the orcs are beginning to look outside their borders for the first time since the False Dawn.

    Spoiler: Religion
    Show

    Koxrrit look to the starlit sky for guidance, as they believe stars to be the physical manifestations of the revered spirits guiding ther lives. Likeminded spirits form a constellation to better guide the faithful. The sign one is born under is believed to hold power in shaping what kind of life they will live. Each of the clans has a number of shamans to act as their religious leaders. The majority of them are female, due to the male tendency to focus on hunting and warfare.

    The most sacred site in Ixkarr is Gothakath, "The Open Mountain". The many twisting and turning tunnels leading within join in a large open area at the center, from which the night sky can be seen with perfect clarity. Each of the major constellations has a section of the mountain dedicated to them. When a shaman has a vision while dreaming under a certain constellation, they paint the specifics of it in the walls of the appropriate section. Pilgrims to the site usually study the visions related to the constellation they were born under for guidance.

    Koxrrit also belive in the transmigration of the soul, with very wide possibilities as to how an individual might be reborn. This is shaped by the person's actions and wishes. For example, a warrior killed in battle might be reborn as the very thing that kiled him. Another might become the very ground they'd trod upon, while yet another, particularly glorious individual might join the great spirits as a star in the sky.

    Holy Site: Gothakath (Koxrrit Shamanism)

    Spoiler: Resources and Technology
    Show

    Many of the springs in the caverns of Ixkarr have a high amount of salt in them. The Koxrrit use their skills in pottery to make bowls suitable for carrying large amounts of brine aboveground. It is then boiled in specially made kilns, leaving the orcs with large blocks of salt. As the production of salt isn't seen as particularly glorious it is usually the work of those that can't contribute to their clan in other ways, like the lame and crippled. Koxrrit believe that salt has magical properties in warding off curses and purifying items tainted by foul magic, and as such it is used in a number of their religious rituals.

    As a large part of the region's few trees are used for growing fruit, there's often a shortage of wood used for fueling the kilns and crafting bows and tools. Securing an outside source to import it from would fix this issue.

    Resource: Salt
    Required Resource: Wood
    Starting Technology: Pottery

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
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    Location
    Czechia, Europe

    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers


    Tribe of the Sons of Sirrvat [Sirrvadutr Flosut]
    Kiswa, Region 211 – Yatrhajidaat Gitj [Deathlurk Forest]

    Summary: Migrating elves that are maybe settling down. Stop judging us for our pyromaniacal ways, or we'll burn down your village!
    Demonym: Sirrvadut / Adjective: Sirrvadwat
    Leader: Chief "Tyrant" Uvarali
    Starting tech: Pottery


    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    The northern half of Deathlurk Forest, or Yatr, as it is colloquially known, is a nigh-impenetrable rainforest with swelteringly hot and humid summers, although the tree canopy fortunately provides almost ubiquitous shade. Even if it does not rain, the showy local flora is sustained by the great river Greh and its tributaries. There are numerous swamps in the forest, presenting a danger to the unwary traveler, along with the tigers, snakes, poisonous plants, diseases and flash floods. On the other hand, there is a cornucopia of food, and more than enough water and construction material to maintain a permanent settlement. The Sirrvadut have set up camp in the trees, with wooden ramps leading to small platforms among the branches, their living space.

    The rainforest slowly transitions into a still-fairly-hot but drier and less dense deciduous forest in the south, where a meadow has been transformed into the main camp, with log cabins and some earthwork fortifications. It is the only place in the region where the elven population is dense, and it is where most elders and young children live. This place is named Gutadagiti.

    The southernmost part of the region consists of the edge of a lush grassland where large herds of grazing animals appear, especially around lake Pata in the southeast, where the banks are soft with fertile soil and the waters are immaculate. Lake Pata is also the last stop before the sea for flocks of migratory birds in the winter, as river Greh is obscured by trees much of its length and sometimes there are teethed fish who feed on anything that approaches the water.


    Spoiler: Population
    Show
    The elves of the tribe that inhabits these lands, or Sirrvadut, as they call themselves, are very much human-like, at least in appearance. Their skin coloring consists of stripes of pinkish gray and brown, and their hair is usually a shade of brown or green. Appearances can be deceiving, however. Every single elf carries within them an overflowing font of energy far greater than that of a human. In the time it takes a human to run a thousand feet, an elven child would have covered half as much distance again. In battle, elves can catch the tip of an enemy’s spear, snap it off and beat them to a bloody pulp with it relatively easily. Woe betide the man who is forced into single combat with an elf! Although they are loath to admit it, however, the elves’ physical superiority is short-lived. They tire more quickly, and after several hours of physical activity, one elf is just as good as one human – and this is often to the elves’ disadvantage, considering their demographics.

    The elves tend to have fewer children, as rearing those children takes longer (yet another proof that elves are a superior species – they have more abilities, hence take more time to develop, like humans compared to animals), about 22 years, and fewer elves become disabled or die. In fact, the Sirrvadut themselves are not sure how long they can live for. While none among the Sirrvadut have lived long enough to have seen the False Dawn (see History), witnessing an elf die from natural causes is likewise a mythical event that most people have only heard rumors about. The vast majority adults in the tribe are younger than 130 years old, as wars, natural disasters, famines and so on slowly whittle down an age cohort over such a long amount of time. It is a common joke or myth that humans are the same species as elves, but elves just refuse to die while humans give up, though few believe this literally.

    Elves also generally have better eyesight, allowing them to hunt in the dense jungle even at night. One potential elven weakness would be silver, which they avoid like it is the plague, for it is possessed by the evil moon goddess, and touching it is enough to harm you. Since the elves do not have much in the way of metallurgy or chemistry, they avoid all silvery metals, believing that these are all some variations of the same metal.

    The Sirrvadut have a strong tribal identity. Anyone in the Sirrvadwat tribe can be addressed as a relative (brother, sister…) and must absolutely never be lied to, maintaining high levels of trust. Jokes and proverbs that are not literally true and irony have traditionally been forbidden as well, which has led to an unusual form of humor to be culturally favored – joking on the square, or making utterances that could be interpreted both as jokes and as literal statements. Other elves, while favored over non-elves, are still viewed with some amount of apprehension, considering the Sirrvadut were forced to roam the earth partially due to a heated disagreement with other elves in their homeland.

    There is little consistent tradition as to who should rule the Sirrvadut. Most would say that the most senior member of Sirrvat’s dynasty should be leader, just as the ancient elven-kings were chosen by birthright, but the two most recent leaders have not had this qualification, bringing the actual power of that bloodline into question. The leader does not have any limits to their power, though they might get overthrown if they are disliked a little too much. As a young nation, the Sirrvadut simply do not have many rigid laws, instead relying on trust within the community and their shared fear of the world controlled by the gods.

    The Sirrvadut do not hesitate to reach for their weapons when they are threatened, or to help bring about a final battle with the gods. One unit is made up of about 120 elven warriors, who carry all the weapons and supplies they need on themselves – camp followers would just slow them down.

    There was fairly recently a small, unorganized human population in the region, but those people have quickly disappeared upon the arrival of the elves, due to disagreements concerning the “overuse” of available food sources by the comparatively large elven host.

    Pronunciation of Sirrvadut names:
    Consonants: (pronounced as in English) p t k b d g s z v f

    Vowels and semivowels [pronunciation in IPA]:
    a [a] i [i] y [j] j [ʃ/ʒ] e [ɛ] q [ɰ] l [l] u [u] w [w] r [ɹ] o [o] h [x/ʔ] rr [r]

    Sounds q / w and r / rr may not be distinguished in modern elvish pronunciation
    Nasals (n, m, ng) are forbidden, even in foreign names


    Spoiler: History/Myth
    Show
    Once upon a time, about two hundred years ago, the world was a place of joy which immortals – the elves and gods – enjoyed in peace. An elven youth by the name of Sirrvat was not only courageous and famed for his many daring exploits, like climbing the mountain that connected the heaven and earth, he was also one of the most beautiful creatures to ever exist in this world. His arm could bulge with muscles one moment, and be gently petting a deer in the next; his locks of lime-colored hair swayed in the wind like blades of grass in a pristine meadow; he was even mocked a little for having skin soft like a newborn’s.

    Mani, the great goddess of the moon, watched him in his peaceful sleep, and could not but fall in love with him. However, Sirrvat wanted to be free as the wind, not tied down by a relationship, and categorically refused. The goddess said nothing, but she was secretly furious, and went and met with the other gods, with whom she pleaded to join her in her vengeance. Many gods had close friends among the elves, yet as Mani talked about the audacity of elves to consider themselves equal to gods, the gods grinned at the thought that they could rule the world, alone, and took up weapons against their elven brethren, in a betrayal that will never be forgiven. In the midst of the ensuing world-spanning battle, Mani cursed Sirrvat and all his kin to turn into trees. Sirrvat did not idly wait while his limbs transformed into branches, and ran up the highest mountain, stumbling but unwavering, faster than a falcon flies. He jumped into the sky, and he cut through the air with such speed that he burst into flames. To this day, he – or perhaps his burning corpse – moves through the heavens between the gods and the earth, preventing them from attacking the mortals directly.

    Meanwhile, Sirrvat’s sons hid in a forest, and managed to transfer their curse to the soil through a magic ritual. Instead of their bodies, the clay hardened, and became the first earthenware in the world. Knowing that Mani would eventually slip by their father at night or send a servant to attack them, they spoke to their people and tried to convince them to leave their homeland on a long, long journey to evade the gods and perhaps even eventually overthrow them. Many thought them fools, like Sirrvat, who should not have defied a god, liars who invented the whole conflict, or cared not for their cause. Still, around three myriad of largely fit, adventurous and irreverent elves chose to follow them, founding a new elven tribe.

    At this point, the mythical history starts to meld into memory. Kital, the elder brother, led the tribe for eighty years. Under his leadership, the elves passed through many lands, leaving behind a trail of signal towers to ward off the gods (see Faith section) and smaller groups that split off the main host, often fighting with and displacing or outright wiping out native populations, which were seen as divine spies or collaborators, or because they had resources the elves needed to beat the gods – including food, which the elves did not produce on their own. Most elves who left the homeland with the sons of Sirrvat were warriors and hunters, not berry gatherers or wise elders, and as a result, education of young elves in anything but warfare and knowledge of history, elven culture and the wider world declined. Humans and other peoples shunned the elves, for their strange beliefs, manners and bellicosity. Still, in this period, most were determined to avenge Sirrvat or at least become famous for killing the gods, and the tribe held together, families freely sharing food that was plundered from struggling remains of the ancient kingdoms or new communities founded to attempt their revival. It was then that it was decided that all elves in the tribe would be kin to each other, at least in their hearts, and the name “sons of Sirrvat” was adopted.

    The younger brother led the elves for merely thirty years, before he died under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind only daughters. The most prominent elven commanders elected a regent of sorts among them to rule the elves who married one of the daughters, while continuing to honor Sirrvat’s descendants as the true rulers of the Sirrvadut. Sirrvat’s granddaughters were popular with the people, although memory of Sirrvat himself was starting to fade, and they were indeed treated like royals and their advice was frequently sought, although the regent managed the day-to-day tasks of leading the army, managing supplies, scouting out lands to march to next and so on.

    The regent faced growing unrest and division among the elves. Some were no longer satisfied with a plain military life, constantly on the move, and wished to settle down, some split off from the main host to seek out a faster means of acquiring glory than this boneheaded campaign against the gods that was taking decades without visible progress, some gave up on traditional elven practices like cannibalism. He eventually resigned, and still there was no adult male among the descendants of Sirrvat. Again a council of elders was called to decide on the next ruler, when the warrior Uvarali and his companions interrupted the meeting, and Uvarali usurped leadership for himself on the basis that the Sirrvadut were always led an army led by the strongest elf around – and the few that dared to accept Uvarali’s challenge to duel were struck down.

    While Uvarali’s rule is largely respected, and he is reasonably fair – he continues to allow challengers to duel him – his selfish usurpation of power has further divided the Sirrvadut society. There is hardly a common purpose anymore, and the tribe has lately been wandering through lands that are plentiful enough to sustain it even without knowledge of agriculture, leading more elves than usual to announce they are splitting from the tribe to live in these lands. Furthermore, a son, Zarrkatl, was finally born into the family of Sirrvat. He will reach maturity soon and it is somewhat expected that he will challenge Uvarali for the leadership once he does. His sister, Dasrtali, while ineligible for leadership, is well liked among the people, who seek her advice often. No love is lost between her and Uvarali, whom she considers to be a low-class brute.


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Elves have been making elaborate pieces of glazed pottery from time immemorial, and the Sirrvadut took this one tradition with themselves when they left the homelands. Although sometimes material was scarce, in Yatrhajidaat Gitj they have found large deposits of what they call Tvila Clay, which readily absorbs and holds glazes, and other liquids as well, though the elves have not yet found a use for it outside pottery. The pottery is magnificent, of course. Notable events and myths are painted and etched onto amphoras by elders, and no household is lacking in earthenware. The elves have gotten very skilled at constructing temporary kilns on their journey.

    The Sirrvadut have, however, forgotten or foregone nearly all other elven traditions, including the most refined art of making day-to-day things like cutlery, drums, flutes, barrels, hoes or combs. There are only a few Sirrvadut who know how to make these, and for the last decades, a large portion of necessary household tools has been pillaged from the neighbors.


    TP1 – Clay pits in the jungle: Sirrvadut
    TP2 – Greh Riverbank: Open
    TP3 – Pata Lake: Open



    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The Solar Crusade [Zerwadkupi]: The Sirrvadut believe that the gods are out to get them. The moon goddess called Vadi, whose true name is so taboo that the consonants in it were banned from the entire language, sends evil whispers toward those who gaze up at night, corrupting their mind. She has many servants among the mortals, who will seek to tear apart and destroy the tribe, so due caution toward outsiders must be exercised. One way of identifying these servants is that they’re generally cowards. Other gods look down upon the earth in the form of stars; the god of rain tries every year to make the elves die from thirst or flooding, but he is impatient, and prone to switching strategies quickly, so he never quite manages to finish the job. In order to fuel his impatience, the Sirrvadut sprinkle water in the air to prove they have lots of it during times of drought, and drink only inside their (roof-covered) homes during floods to make it look like they are dying of thirst.

    The Sirrvadut believe that while this world is full of dangers and suffering, when one dies, their soul is collected by the god of death, who will inflict infinite torture upon it. The only way to avoid this fate is to burn the corpse – in honor of Sirrvat’s sacrifice – or eat it. Sirrvadut eat the (freshly deceased) corpses of elves and other humanoids, which is said to grant them kinship to the deceased and some of their wisdom and life force. They do not go out of their way to obtain corpses, nor does it constitute a regular food, it is more of a ritual, and if it is impossible to eat everyone, such as after a bloody battle with many friendly and enemy casualties, they may take only a symbolic piece of meat from every corpse and burn the rest.

    To banish the gods from the land forever and fortify their side for the future final battle, the Sirrvadut construct signal towers, tall wooden structures with a fire being maintained inside of them, at regular intervals. The gods cannot visit a place encircled by signal towers even at night, so many cultural rules meant to deter the gods do not apply in Sirrvadut camps which always are surrounded by a perimeter of torches if not signal towers.

    The red spot on the sky visible after the False Dawn was believed to be the blood shed in the war between the gods and elves, and for two centuries it reminded the elves of the gods’ treachery. Now, however, the elders can’t point to the sky while telling children the sad tales of the lives lost in the war. Nobody is quite sure how to interpret this – have the elves perhaps lighted enough fires around the earth for the gods to call for a truce?

    Since the elves migrate often, there is no permanent holy site per se, however if one wanted to spread their faith, they should visit Gutadagiti, where a large part of the populace lives.
    Last edited by Corona; 2020-07-12 at 02:46 AM.

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Faranandūll
    Henanda Kingdom
    Region 193
    Spoiler: Summary
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    Region No. 193
    Name: Faranandūll
    Ruler: King Odilon
    Resource: Avocados
    Required resource: Domesticable animals
    • TP1: Imālca (Dreamspeakers)
    • TP2: Faradonālcūll (Open)
    • TP3: Faribālcā (Open)

    Holy Site: Grove of the Hapēzi (Hozhīsa)
    Technologies:
    • Irrigation
    • Animal Husbandry
    • Writing (Veramondi Script)


    Spoiler: Ruler and Family
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    High Chief Odilon (m) (49)
    D2
    M5
    O2
    F4
    I3

    Family: https://www.familyecho.com/?p=START&...49365770255672

    Spoiler: Language
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    Stone and Water
    Spoiler: Geography
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    faridad ūlcricad el tish izītli - end hedundang tish dhazālushīs

    Faranandūll is a small region, where the lush green rainforest carpets the land from the banks of the great river Erapira in the south to the highlands in the east. In the north and west, any sense of a border is lost in the trackless jungle, but the extent of the region is essentially defined by the areas the tribes can control, and few venture more than a couple of miles westwards beyond Repima.

    Within the forest and particularly in the east are various crags and rocky outcrops with caves where the Bannanda have historically made their homes. Around each of these the land is more cultivated, with crops of fruit grown, but the jungle continues to encroach on these areas and the people are obliged to keep hacking it back. The east and south of the region, near the hills and river, have been tamed to a greater extent than the north and west, and it is in the south-east that the highest proliferation of avocado and banana groves are to be found.

    The banks of the river itself are varied in their foliage. Along most of its length the vegetation crowds the shore, making the forest all but impenetrable. In some places, however, the Bannanda have stripped back the trees entirely to create fields, which through management of the river are periodically flooded to provide ground for cereal crops. Nevertheless the vast majority of the region is jungle, beyond the reasonable control of man.

    In the oldest areas of the forest, the tallest trees - kapoks and palms - keep the ground in shade, with lesser vegetation somewhat stunted. This gives the impression of open spaces and clearings through which one can safely travel, and in some cases this is true. In others, however, these clearings are home to venomous snakes who conceal themselves within the leaf carpet, or favoured hunting grounds of the large cats and bears that still prey on the unwary traveller.


    The Living and the Dead
    Spoiler: People
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    all ergūrē an farūd el ēyon
    all vepehūll azāluyoth
    all bannanda an faradundyūd el cārēyon


    The Bannanda are a tall, strong, dark-skinned people, relatively isolated from the outside world. As a completely non-literate society, their history is traceable only through oral tradition and the paintings of old left behind in the caves that were once their home. At one time, the land was populated by giants - whether the Bannanda themselves or another people with whom they interbred - but at some point, perhaps in response to the fearsome predators which terrorised and devoured the people, they took refuge in grottoes and caves. There they naturally diminished in size, attaining more normal human proportions.

    Most settlements are still located near caves, and most are inhabited by banozhisyi, where they commune with the spirits of the ancestors.

    Advances in Bannanda society are attributed to a series of heroes:
    Alibenon, who led the people out of the caves and built the first artificial dwellings.
    Ibongnon, the beastslayer, who slew the jagupards and aardbears and made the land safe for the people.
    Ontasosis, who taught the people to turn the earth and grow crops.
    Urrunnon, who imparted to the people the secret of metallurgy.

    And others in a similar vein. Some of these heroes are said to have travelled beyond the bounds of the known world and returned, presumably bringing the knowledge with them, but they are exceptions. Apart from the occasional wanderer, the Bannanda have very little contact with other peoples.

    As a people, they value intelligence and prefer to solve problems through cunning rather than brute strength, but when roused they are fierce warriors.

    The largest settlements are no bigger than a small town, with the village being the principal unit of community. While some town chiefs may hold sway over a number of villages, in general each village operates largely independently, with the chief (or onōa) governing in conjunction with advice from the local onozhis. The Bannanda do however recognise a high chief (onēcis banōec) who nominally holds sway over all the chiefs in the area. This authority is exercised rarely and usually only in times of emergency when region-wide coordination is needed.

    The Bannanda do recognise a number of distinct sub-peoples or tribes for want of a better description, of which the most significant are the Hengala, the Hilelmē, the Hūena, the Esāla, the Hapēzi, and the Azipāra.

    The high chiefdom has for several generations been associated with the town of Limdimon, the largest town of the Esāla in the highlands. Some way north, as the foothills give way to the flatter valley floor, is the smaller town of Imdundīs.

    The largest market town is Imālca, in the lands of the Esāla tribe in the foothills at a point where the Eripara can still be crossed without significant danger. Further downstream, in the largest cleared area of woodland along the river’s bank, is Īellimon, the biggest town in the region, where most of the Bannanda’s corn is grown, and the local Hūen tribe supplement their diet with fish.

    Deeper into the jungle north of Īellimon is Repimā, considered the last outpost of Bannanda civilisation.

    Light and Shadow
    Spoiler: Resources and Technology
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    bapi! yomyīg eradonēc tharmalibyūll mecifēn, ū erapeng tizh nemēm ēāt tharapelmyūng dhābesōm

    The Bannanda have cleared areas around their settlements for raising crops and through a combination of carefully managed irrigation, and the frequent rains, ensure that even the thirstiest crops are well-watered. When the Erapira bursts its banks and floods, this helps permit growth of cereal crops in some of the cleared areas along its length, but the people have always relied heavily on fruits from the forest, and these still form major parts of their diet.

    Walnuts, cacao and bananas are all widely grown, but the groves most precious and valued are those of the avocado trees. The importance of it to Bannanda society is reflected in common expressions, for instance the phrase “an ladōnūg gitatē”, meaning “cutting the avocado”, i.e. to put something to the test.

    The largest trading station and market town is Imālca, but there are two significant further trading points. Some way outside the stockade of Īellimon is a smaller waystation, Faradonālcūll, which has become a major market for fruit from the forest. Meanwhile in the forest itself, some way northeast of Repīma, is Faribalcā, a meeting-place for traders from the hills and forest to exchange goods.

    In addition to the popular avocados, another valued resource of the region is rubber, recently discovered and fascinating to the Bannanda. So far the latex bled from the trees is used entirely recreationally for toys and the like or just as a luxury item for barter, but experiments are beginning into what other uses it might possess.

    The region does not lack for fauna, as the forest is replete not only with dangerous predators and the reclusive eriljerra, the men of the forest, but with brightly-coloured birds and frogs, snakes and fish.
    But none of these animals has been successfully tamed. The only animals the Bannanda have brought into their settlements are dogs and a small species of donkey used for hauling loads and ploughs.

    The region therefore requires domesticable animals in order to develop to its full potential.

    Hozhīsa
    Spoiler: Faith
    Show

    The Bannanda are a spiritual people, who believe firmly in the everyday presence of the supernatural in their lives. Their belief system could be named Hozhīsa.

    They consider the gods to be distant and unapproachable for mortals, and so their principal interaction with the supernatural world is through shūvāchē. These are spiritual beings which inhabit virtually every part of the world. They vary from ancient shūvāchē who were created at the same time as the world, to recently deceased mortals who have retained a spiritual presence in the world. Some travel across the whole world, while others confine themselves to a particular location, object or person.

    Their powers vary significantly and may be called on for a variety of purposes. They may for instance offer advice, answer questions, bestow blessings or curses, change the weather, or grant (or refuse) safe passage across their domain. They may be kindly and protective, or capricious and cruel.

    Although they are aware of the material world, they are supernatural beings and beyond the reach of most people. Laypeople can only try to win the favour of a sūwācha by making offerings or sacrifices and hoping that they notice and take a favourable interest. In order to make specific requests, or to receive advice, they will need to do so via an intermediary, an onozhis.

    Banozhisyi, or shamen, are people who can perceive aspects of the supernatural world and communicate directly with the shūvāchē. This is dangerous, as many shūvāchē are sensitive and unpredictable, and may be easily angered, so banozhisyi must undergo extensive training in order to learn about the shūvāchē and how to control them. They do this by a mixture of quasi-formalised group study in certain locations, and by apprenticeship to senior banozhisyi. Which “school” an onozhis attends and who they apprentice under will have an impact on their later specialisms and practice.

    It is generally considered to take a minimum of ten years before a onozhis is “safe” to practise on their own, although they will say that their education is really lifelong. Because of their extensive education and ability to call on shūvāchē they are valued for their wisdom and experience even for their own sake.

    Most communities will have an onozhis, and sometimes two (especially if that onozhis has an apprentice). Some banozhisyi live alone, and people make pilgrimages of sorts to visit them, and there are also banozhisyi who have no fixed home and wander offering their services to those who they encounter. Most banozhisyi wear or display symbols or colours indicating which shūvāchē they have most facility with and therefore the type of services that they can offer.

    There is an annual gathering of banozhisyi in the sacred grove of the Hapēzi where they meet to discuss events over the last year, changes in the supernatural (or physical) world and any updates necessary to their teachings and philosophy. Any onozhis may attend.


    Elements

    The powers of a sūwācha will depend on which element they are associated with. Some very powerful or old shūvāchē might be associated with more than one, but this is relatively rare.

    In general representation there are six main elements with which a sūwācha might be associated. These are commonly shown on a hexagram, with complementary elements bordering each other and opposing their opposite. They are each represented by a colour and a gemstone, which is often worn or displayed by banozhisyi. Offerings of that colour are considered particularly favoured.

    The Living is bordered by Light and Stone, and opposed by the Dead. It represents impulse, vitality, and progeneration. shūvāchē of the Living are often associated with fertility and are requested to assist with crop planting, animal rearing, or conception. They may also have some healing power, and are sometimes called on to help make decisions of the heart.

    Shūvāchē of the Living are represented by the gemstone peridot, although jade is often substituted. Their colour is green.

    The Dead is bordered by Water and Shadow, and opposed by The Living. It represents permanence, wisdom, and inevitability. The majority of ancestors who have become shūvāchē are associated with the Dead, and they are among the shūvāchē most commonly summoned to guard, advise or bless their surviving family members or descendants.

    Banozhisyi who are proficient in summoning shūvāchē of the Dead wear moonstones, and purple (more usually blue) clothes.

    Light is bordered by Water and the Living, and is opposed by Shadow. It represents hope, truth, and prosperity. shūvāchē associated with Light are called on to help with melancholia or to uncover hidden truths, including both those concealed by others, and unknown ailments such as disease.

    Banozhisyi proficient in summoning Light shūvāchē wear sunstones, or the colour white.

    Shadow is bordered by Stone and the Dead, and opposed by Light. It represents secrecy, calm and critical thought. Shadow shūvāchē are called on to soothe addled minds and help the sleepless, or to assist in concealing that which people would rather were not discovered. Many shadow shūvāchē are intelligent or cunning and can be called on to help solve tricky problems.

    They are represented by the colour grey, and their gemstone is obsidian.

    Stone is bordered by the Living and Shadow, and opposed by Water. It represents safety, creativity and domesticity. Artisans and builders will often call on Stone shūvāchē to assist them in their work. They are also requested to protect houses and settlements, making their walls impenetrable to those who would harm the inhabitants.

    Banozhisyi proficient in summoning Stone shūvāchē wear topaz, or yellow clothes.

    Water is bordered by Light and the Dead, and is opposed by Stone. It represents destruction, renewal, and chaos. It is perhaps the most powerful element but also the most dangerous and difficult to control. Water shūvāchē can bring rain to a parched field, or a flood which will sweep away a village. They may provide a spring to give clean water to a settlement, or pull an unwary person to a death by drowning. They can give life, but if not propitiated the same water may turn to poison. Water shūvāchē are generally treated with reverence but rarely called upon.

    Few banozhisyi are proficient in summoning Water shūvāchē. They are represented by the gemstone lapis lazuli and the colour light blue.


    Most experienced banozhisyi are capable of summoning shūvāchē of two elements; three is rare. It is almost unheard of for banozhisyi to be capable of reliably summoning shūvāchē of opposing elements, so those who can manage four are essentially mythical. Cautionary tales abound of banozhisyi who overreached themselves and were destroyed by the sūwācha they tried to summon.

    Families

    Families are groups of related shūvāchē, which overlap with the elemental classification and are often easier for laypeople to understand. They can include shūvāchē of multiple elements, although only the largest families tend to include shūvāchē from opposing elements.

    The main relevance for banozhisyi is that each family has a “gatekeeper” sūwācha who must be spoken to first, and who may call up other members of their family on request. banozhisyi tend to build relationships with particular gatekeepers to make the summoning process easier, and will display symbols representing these gatekeepers so that those requiring their assistance can tell who that onozhis can call upon..

    Trying to summon shūvāchē directly rather than through a gatekeeper, or by using the wrong gatekeeper, may cause offence, and therefore unpleasant results. Sometimes and where there is no other option, an onozhis might request a known gatekeeper with whom they have an established relationship to call on a sūwācha from a different, but friendly family, It is therefore important for banozhisyi to know which family a sūwācha belongs to, and what the relationship between families is, before they call on them.

    It is rare, but not unheard of, for shūvāchē to change families, if they have a falling-out with their existing one.




    Farilpūll
    Region 192

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Ilcerapirūll, or Farilpūll as it is also (and more commonly) known, is a tract of forested area to the south of the Erapira. In its forested stretch it is almost a mirror image of Faranandūll to the north, but it lacks the highland area in the east, remaining if not flat then at least lowland for its whole stretch. Dense woodland covers its whole area: where it starts to thin in the south and give way to scrub and bush marks the effective border of the region.

    The region’s boundaries are defined by the two small lakes in the south: the Topa Kanoho in the west and the Topa Gnoho in the east. Drawing a line north from the Topa Kanoho to the Erapira forms the western border of the region, while tracing between the two, following the treeline, marks the southern border. The eastern border follows a similar pattern, tracing from the Topa Gnoho up to the headwaters of the Erapira, with a slight spur to the east (known as the Gnoho Betep).

    The forest is even wilder than to the north and more sparsely populated. There are only settlements of any size: is Bete Ozdik, little more than a large village, in the Gnoho Betep, and Topee Tibu, on the Erapira itself, some way upstream from the larger Bannanda port of Īellimon.

    Lacking any knowledge of irrigation, the people of the region have been unable to control water, and this has led to large marshy areas and swampland along the tributaries of the Erapira, while the waters of the river sprawl further on its southern bank than they do on the north. The forest itself is also largely unmanaged and primeval, the habitat of beasts and the mysterious carelijerrē.

    Spoiler: People
    Show

    The people of the region are called the Banatūla by the Bannanda but they refer to themselves as the Ashihi. They are typical of the native Kiswan population, being dark-skinned humans with dark eyes and hair.

    It seems that although the Banatūlē suffered as a result of the False Dawn the region was never particularly cultivated even previously. While they have knowledge of the plough, they have little in the way of draft livestock to pull them, with no oxen or horses. they had no understanding of principles of irrigation or water management, so even the land which has been cleared of trees is generally poor for farming and prone to flooding. As a result their settlements are - save for the two exceptions noted above - very small, and even the larger two barely qualify as towns.

    As a society they live in small groups under local chiefs, with some allegiance to a wider tribe and an associated tribal chief. There are dozens of such tribes, none of them being more than a few thousand in size. Although there is some recognition of a common identity in opposition to some neighbouring peoples, there is no real sense of unity beyond the tribes themselves, and battles between tribes are frequent. Despite this, the Banatūlē do not seem by nature to be an unusually bellicose people, and some have remarked on their relative timidity compared to some of the more aggressive Kiswan peoples.

    Some of the most prominent tribes include the Apitatri, Otobok, Atabil, Egatopi, Odiduk, Kuatrugal, Papotak, Abikol, Apritel, Keopak, Adrukal, Eplegeo, Udokeap, Otebrek, Akrapel, Egupra, Odiblik, and the Obatook.

    Spoiler: Resources and Technology
    Show

    There are no technologies unique to the region, with the people being both entirely illiterate and ignorant of many of the refinements of more advanced areas. There is no understanding of irrigation, animal husbandry, or advanced building techniques, and pottery is limited in its use. As a result, the resources of the region are underdeveloped.

    The principal resource available is therefore Timber, of which the region has a plentiful supply, being so heavily forested. Besides palms, the most noteworthy - and useful - trees are the Kapok trees for which the people are named, but rubber, bulletwood, teak and ebony are also all found here, as they are further north.

    Spoiler: Religion
    Show
    The Banatūla have historically given tribute to a disparate range of forest spirits, with each tribe having its own. The most prominent site in the region, where the largest collection of spirits is believed to gather, is Embra Kagmuk.

    At the same time as soldiers from Henanda moved into the region, so too did banozhisyī who educated the locals in the ways of the shūvachē and how to identify the local forest spirits with them. Embra Kagmuk has now become the home of an onozhīs who will assist any visitors in making contact with the spirits there.
    Last edited by Aedilred; 2020-10-01 at 07:14 AM.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    We do not speak for the trees. We are the trees.



    The 9th Sacrosanct Conclave
    Dip: 5
    Mil: 4
    Opu: 4
    Fai: 2
    Int: 4

    Spoiler: Summary
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    Region Name: Bhaile-Koma (come-to-home)
    Brief Description: Vast woodlands populated with woodland animals, shepherded by walking, talking trees.
    People: Deru.
    Resource: Living Wood / Bodies


    Region 37: Bhaile-Koma
    Spoiler: Terrain
    Show
    The Deru dwell around the Sannha, the sacred spring at the centre of their lives. The centre of the Sannha is pierced by an island of stone pillars and carved reliefs. A ring of the forest tamed by the Sannha’s waters forms Widhu, where trees are sparse and wildlife docile. The traer groves lie along the banks of the Sannha, where Deru and living wood grows. As the Sannha’s waters flow farther, their influence is lessened, and the forest becomes Fiodh, wild and cruel, trees close and twisted, the undergrowth thick and damp. The Straumr river to the north breaks its banks often, leaving the banks marshy while the waters are low. The Ea, the waters to the south, are forbidding and wide, and mark the reaches of the Deru’s experience. To the west the forest grows ever more twisted and inhospitable as it nears the mountains, and to the east peters out, becoming marshland as it nears the Straumr’s delta.

    Spoiler: Inhabitants & Culture
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    In the beginning, the land was parched and dry. All was desert, all was sand and dust. No life there was on this world, no sound but the wind. All was without purpose. And then the Sannha came. From the sacred spring, water poured. All the water in the world poured from this spring, an unending stream of life-giving sustenance. All was well. The Deru were the first trees, the guardians of all plants and animals that lived, the natural world's stalwart protectors. Then the oceans filled. The Sannha lessened, the waters receded. Fiodh and Widhu shrunk slowly, until they covered only from mountain to ocean. Then the False Dawn came. The Silini tells the tales of the 5th High Councillor, Coir-Dhearg Stigali (Red-Bark Stalwart), a Kastania, who led the fight against the first blightspawn, shepherded the beasts of Widhu through the Ashen Skies, and began the lining of the rivers with barriers of wood. During the Ashen Skies, Widhu contracted further, and as the waters of the Sannha receded, whole generations of saplings were lost as the traer groves died. The Deru were nearly wiped out. Eventually, the waters stabilised. The Deru fled the recession of the damp no longer, and certain their new home was where they belonged, they came to refer to what damp land remained as 'Bhaile-Koma' - the home-coming. The Sannha was smaller now, so such that their number went from tens of thousands before the Dawn to less than 300. In the next two centuries they slowly grew, reaching their current numbers around 1100, and starting to agitate at the food shortage. There is a delicate balance to be struck, as the Deru do need to eat, and while most commonly they subsist on the bodies of dead animals, the population is growing larger than the herds can long-term support.

    Now, while a multitude of beasts and plants inhabit Bhaile-Koma, the Deru are the protectors and custodians of all within. The Deru are treefolk, given thought and mind, motion and movement, vigour and speech by the waters of the Sannha. They abide in small family groups called groves, facets of the 8 branches, the species of Deru. These branches each have their own traditional roles, and while there are those that leave the branch of their birth and seek to join another, these are exceptionally rare. Slow to grow, the Deru are typically awake and aware for about a century before they take root, although it varies between branches, and slowly lose their awareness, becoming part of the woods.

    Spoiler: The 8 Branches of the Deru
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    The Fuinn, of the Askr tree, are tall, spry hardwoods, elastic an strong. They grow up to 60ft tall before taking root, and are aggressive protectors, crashing through the twisted trees to snatch any trespasser coming from the western reaches, cracking their spine and tossing them to feed the undergrowth. In times of danger they are grown in great numbers, in the most potent traer groves, but otherwise are a relatively low priority branch, as the spawn from the west are not overly troublesome, and few enough that the whole of the branch can usually come together to meet a significant threat.

    The Fea, of the Beyki tree, are high-branching, smooth silver-grey barked Deru, hardwoods but less so than the Fuinn. They protect the southern Ea coastline from dangers, the spawn that crawl infrequently from the waters. Their family groups are smaller than the Fuinn, as each grove covers more territory than their larger kin. They typically reach around 55ft before taking root. As the threats from the seaboard have declined steadily since the last High Councillor returned to the lake, so too have the Fea, as the need for their number wanes.

    The Castain, of the Kastania tree, are shepherds and herders of the wildlife of Widhu, stooping and broad, reddish-brown barked and gentle. They reach around 25ft before taking root, but spread their canopy wide, as they traverse the sparsely-wooded Widhu. In peace they care for the animals within, and in conflict they direct these charges against invaders bold enough to pierce through the twisted copses of Fiodh.

    The Nysas, of the Syrti, are custodians of the trees of Fiodh, sharing their role with the Seiceamain. They are the least sentient of the Deru, barely above the trees they protect. Their bark is gnarled and often peeling, gray-brown, and their voices barely more distinguishable than the groan of aged trees. They reach around 30ft before taking root, and do so around 120 years old.

    The Leamhain, of the Almtret, know the secrets of the living wood, growing both this wood and the saplings of young Deru in the traer groves of the Sannha, and working the wood into whatever the Deru have need of. Rarely this takes the form of decoration, but more commonly reinforcements of the mechanisms to save what forest can be saved from the perennial flooding of the Straumr. They are golden-brown hardwoods, smooth-barked, and reach around 60ft tall before taking root around 140 years of age.

    The Seiceamain, of the Platanlonn, are custodians of the trees, sharing their responsibilities with the Nysas. Where the Nysas are the guardians of the trees of Fiodh, the Seiceamain nurture Widhu, the non-sentient plant-life within at least. They keep the border between Fiodh and Widhu clear, gently guiding the plants along the edge to stark contrast. As a result, the change from sparsity to choking brush is stark. They reach around 45ft before taking root, and have grey-brown, pale and knotted bark, close kin to the trees they nurture, although slightly less so than the Nysas. They take root after around 90 years.

    The Wattlea, of the Vattur, are the keepers of Pillar Isle, at the centre of the Sannha, curators of the Deru’s oral history, responsible for calling the Sacrosanct Conclave in times of great peril, and longest-lived before root of all the Deru, the last of whom to live through the False Dawn taking root only a decade ago. While the history is already becoming mythic, it features alongside the exploits of the High Councillors in the ballads of the Silini. They are squat, small golden-leaved Deru, thin-branched and reedy-voiced. They can reach up to 20ft before taking root.

    The Silini, of the Kinsubr, are bards and conductors, singers and poets, the touters of the Deru’s oral histories, alongside ballads of love, loss, tragedy and valour. They are very few, generally less than 20 at any one time, flowering white through red, green-brown barked soft-woods. They bear small stoned fruit, feeding the bird choruses that form their supporting performance. Their singing is low, haunting, echoing through the woods, the voice of the earth itself. They reach a mere 15ft in height before taking root at around 80 years old.



    Spoiler: Government
    Show
    Each branch of the Deru decides matters pertaining to all their groves in councils of elders, councils of 8 in deference to the number of the Sacrosanct Conclave. This council of the eldest of each branch meets only in times of threat to the whole of the Deru, usually to elect a High Councillor, a dictatorial figure empowered to act as they see fit to destroy the threat, and ensure the Deru are ready for the next. These figures, of which there have been 6, are titans of myth, the most revered individuals in Deru culture. The ninth Sacrosanct Conclave has just been called, to address sightings of several hostile and potentially dangerous sentient figures along the Straumr, from north, east and west. The Leamhain bring a new idea to the table - surely Living Wood can be used to traverse the waters?


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    They revere both the Sannha as their life-giver and their ancestral leaders, the High Councillors, most of whom are now semi-mythical heroes. Most of the ballads of the Silini revolve around the tenures of these High Councillors, or the time before the False Dawn. While they revere the Sannha, they do not believe it sentient, nor know what caused it to be. It has always been, and so it will always be. This is known. As such, there is not a concrete faith the Deru follow. Most natural phenomena and the environment they dwell in are explained as the creations of children of the Sannha, their term for deities and beings of a higher power. None of these are revered by the Deru, as they believe they were born of the Sannha's waters, nothing more nor less.

    Pillar Isle is the holiest place within the twin river valley. Here the Sacrosant Conclave gathers, and the Wattlea that keep the knowledge of the Deru's past on stone tablets conduct ritual reverence of the spirit of the Sannha, believed to perpetuate the cycle of rebirth and death that sustains the existence of the Deru.

    Holy Site: Pillar Isle [Open]


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Living Wood; saplings planted near the Sannha in traer groves, uprooted after three years of growth, before the mind develops, but still enough to permit moulding and sculpting by the crafters of the Creathach. This wood, as long as it is kept damp, can be very slowly moulded and sculpted practically indefinitely, and solidifies in a week if left unwatered.

    Trading Post #1: Deru
    Trading Post #2: Open
    Trading Post #3: Open

    At present though, the Deru are facing an impending food shortage. Their herding is insufficient to feed the resurgent population, so the forest requires once-living beings - either recently-dead or still living - to feed upon.

    Starting Tech: Animal Husbandry
    "Into the Jaws of Death, into the Mouth of Hell;" (Tennyson)
    So shall you tread, once you pass the precipice of villainy.

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Swampum
    The Uzii Ancestral Snorts

    Region 39
    Spoiler: Swampum
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    Spoiler: Summary
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    Region Name: Swampum
    Brief Description: A vast swamp full of life, including boar people riding upon giant toads.
    People: Uzii (Pronouced: Ooo-zee / uː:zi)
    Resource: Battle Toads / Metal
    Faith: Ancestral Spirits (Soul Honor)

    Leader: Referred to as The Homage, the leader (at the start of the game) is Homage Death-grasp Mudmore, of Snort Mudmore
    Full title: The Strongest, Most Honorable Uzii, the Homage to the Ancestors, The Tip of the Tusk, the Snortsmoot Champion, the Closest to the Mud.
    Diplomacy: 4
    Military: 4
    Opulence: 3
    Faith: 3
    Intrigue: 2



    Spoiler: Geography and Ecology
    Show
    The region of Swampum – more formally known as Swamp Home – is one of earthy colors of blues, browns, and greens. As the name implies, it is a vast swampy area, with many meandering rivers and pools of water. In the waters are enormous lily pads and other greenery that thrives within the high humidity area. The water is broken up by twisted and bendy blue-green trees growing out from vast and fertile island chains that offer succor from the otherwise dangerous waters. Large edible mushrooms often grow under these trees and along their rotating roots. Small animals feed off the mushrooms, and in turn, larger creatures feed off the smaller animals, like the Dire Flies that can buzz and swarm around small birds and even some fish. A single Dire Fly is an annoyance, and feed larger beats most days; a swarm is dangerous, as they can nip larger creatures to death.

    Some reptilian creatures referred to by the natives as ‘Sharpteeth’ live within the shallow waters of Swampum, but they are not the premier hunters of the region. There are the ‘Swamp Cats’ – whose pelts are a dusky blue and earthy brown – that can take down the Sharpteeth and drag them to the tops of the trees where the Swamp Cat makes its home; yet they too are not the apex predators of the region. That distinction, for the animal kingdom at least, goes to the Bloat Toad. An amphibious creature, a single Bloat Toad can grow to be almost seven feet across and six and a half feet tall, from their toes to the tips of their eye-ridge horns. Their slick thick skin is impossible for even a Sharptooth to bite through, and their leg strength allows them to jump over the gnarly and bent trees that Swamp Cats live in. It is their tongues, however, that are themselves impressive: able to stretch out to over six feet, it’s a common sight to see a Bloat Toad leap up high, flick out their large tongues, and snag a Dire Fly from the air before falling into the swamp water with nary a ripple. The noises a Bloat Toad makes in mating season are cacophonous, as it stretches its big mouth to make a deep creaking sound even as it’s face bloats; giving it its name.

    Yet… within Swampum, even a Bloat Toad has something to fear… Within the depths of Swamp Home, the Uzii reign supreme.

    Apex predators of the region, the Uzii only struggle against each other and the rare Blightspawn. The boar people of the region deeply love living within and under the roots of the twisted trees, and that is where they make their Dens. They love the warm waters of the swamps, and treasure the rare clear hot springs that help keep a Clan clean. Often a Clan will rise in power if they find a new hot spring, even to the point of getting the Sounder Alpha to consider sending a Daughter to set up a Den to be with the Clan. Even if a Clan cannot find a hot spring, they can make a warm mud pit which is almost as relaxing to an Uzii.


    Spoiler: People
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    Spoiler: Concept Art
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    In Swampum, the Uzii are the apex creatures. Sharpteeth teeth are pulled for their spears and arrows. Swamp Cat pelts make their clothes. Meat from both make their meals. Bloat Toads are hunted for sport or domesticated and raised into fiercer versions called Battle Toads.

    The Uzii – the boar people of Swampum – have done all of this. Uzii males are roughly 4'5" to 5'1" tall when full grown, but stand a bit wider than the average humans. Their bodies appear top heavy, but they have very strong legs that allow them to run at high speeds on flat ground; though changing directions once charging is often an issue for an Uzii male whom is not thinking once their head is down and their tusks are moving. Which is almost all of them. It is a rare Uzii male that does not become excited to put a spear in their bulky arms and immediately stab at something. They often train to charge, strike at a low angle, and keep moving forward so that their battle brothers can follow up with their own spears or tusks. If the prey is of a small enough size or weight, the lead Uzii warrior will get very low, and try and toss it up so that subsequent Uzii can deal damage with their thick skulls and continue to 'juggle' the target to the next in what is often referred to as an Uzii barrage. Male Uzii are excellent hunters and gatherers.

    Uzii females grow to be much larger and more bulky then their brothers. Often reaching 6'0" if not 6'6", the dimorphism and the way that a litter is birthed makes the females much more rotund in nature. They also seem to be quite a bit smarter, as the female Uzii are often the crafters and the source of knowledge for many. They still share the same brown or grey hides as their male counterparts, but their tusks and arms are often proportionally smaller, while their legs are not so thin-looking. Their litters spawn quickly when needed, and a young boarling, regardless of gender, can be ready to fight for their Clan in as little as four years, though only reach full maturity at twice that age. They fight for their survival, and love every danger they come across, as it’s a new challenge to face.

    Each Den Mother raises a litter that numbers from 4 to 12 new boarlings. Females are rare, and while the Uzii respect strength and honor above all, there is a great honor in being a Den Mother that has strong sons. In the times of need – such as a Clan War, when more bodies are required – a Den Mother can have a new litter once every five years, with only one in ten of the litter being a new female of the Brood. More commonly, a Den Mother will refrain and only raise new boarlings once every decade or so, as a way to cut down on the number of mouths to feed in her home.

    A female Uzii will grow to be smart, remember all the important things, and try to teach the male Uzii how to craft weapons, start campfires, raise Battle Toads, or make armor. A male Uzii will struggle to learn some of these things, but find it easy to learn how to fight, how to run, how to gore things with their strong tusks, and about the importance of honor.

    Living to maturity, however, is a fight. Disease is one thing, and most of the native Swampum diseases are something that an Uzii shrugs off, but there’s no cure for stupid. And there’s a lot of stupid in the average Uzii male. Part of it is a low rate for mating seasons, plus a low female to male ratio, plus a desire to prove you are the best around. So, while young female Uzii are often protected, respected, and treasured, young male Uzii aren’t as cherished. They are, in fact, encouraged to be adventurous. Often, this bold spirit ends in a scolding by a Den Daughter, but sometimes it ends in death. While outsiders may see it as harsh, there are no funeral rites for young adult Uzii; only the strong survive to maturity, and only after reaching that maturity does an Uzii earn a ‘name’ and a ‘self’.


    Spoiler: History
    Show
    Some god took our beautiful wings and cursed our forms, but we showed them! These forms are great! We don't miss flying at all! Birds are dumb anyways! Stupid beautiful birds, with their stupid beautiful wings!

    - A Uzii Historian's Summation of Historical Events

    White feathered pure beings once flew the skies of Mamut, bringing peace and harmony to all. An age of utopia was upon the land, under the guidance of the Goddess. However, the Goddess became bored with the perfection of the land, so began to cause death and mischief for her own enjoyment. She caused storms and summoned horrible beasts. Many within Mamut begged for the pure beings to aid them, and they did. They saved who they could, and brought joy back to the land where possible. This angered the Goddess, who struggled to effect the pure beings and became angered when they spoiled her fun. They were too strong, so could not be beaten, and too clever, so they could not be tricked.

    But they were also proud. And it was their pride that was their downfall. The Goddess came to the white feathered pure beings as one of them, and asked: "Who is the strongest? Who is the cleverest?" Each of the pure beings said that they were the strongest. They were the wisest. And none would back down from that insistence. So they fought. And they fought. And they fought. Never killing the others, but always struggling, much to the Goddess's amusement. It finally allowed her to rip them apart, separating their strength from their cleverness. The pure beings became not so pure; one half of their souls' white feathers turned black, and the other half became twisted and ugly and had no wings at all.

    The ugly half was even more ugly because it had most of the pride that was their downfall. As they no longer had their beauty and their wings, they were cast down to the ground below, falling into the swamps, and being reborn in the hot springs as the Uzii. Shamed at losing their forms, the first Uzii became angry and could barely look upon each other, so they spread out to all corners of their new swamp home.

    Yet the Goddess still tormented the land. And that could not be tolerated. The Uzii still had their pride. They still had their strength. What remained of their cleverness was used to reach out to their black feathered other halves, and together, they raised a great army from all of Mamut that fought back against the Goddess. Many died, but their combined ancestral souls fought on, ripping the Goddess apart and spreading her poisonous pieces across the land. These pieces grew into flowers, which must be guarded against, for they are poisonous to eat.

    To this day, the Uzii hunt and destroy any flowers that bare the name of the hated Goddess: Amaryllis. As for their black feathered brethren, the Uzii grew apart from them and have only heard whispers of them; but the sight of them is disquieting, for it is a reminder of their lost forms. When the two meet, they are family... but families still fight.


    Spoiler: Government and Culture
    Show
    Government
    In summary, a family lives in a Den.
    Multiple Dens make a village group called a Clan.
    Multiple Clans make a surrounding county group called a Sounder.
    Multiple Sounders make a district zone called a Snort.
    All eight Snorts make up the region of Swampum.
    Swampum is reigned over by the strongest, most honorable Uzii, the Homage to the Ancestors, The Tip of the Tusk, the Snortsmoot Champion, the Closest to the Mud. That's a lot for everyone to remember, though. Even for them! Most refer to them only as 'The Homage'.

    A Den Mother leads a ‘Den’. A Den can have anywhere from ten to fifty Uzii inside it, though the larger the Den, the more often it will separate into other Dens. Each Den Mother will designate one of her daughters as the heir, and any other daughters she has will be traded to another Den if needed, or given the rights to make her own Den. Those who set out to make their own Den are given five brothers to protect her and must find a strong mate to start their own Dens.

    A ‘Clan’ is often five to ten Dens; the average number of Uzii in a Clan is roughly one hundred fifty. The strongest Male – usually a mate to one of the Den Mothers – is the Clan Leader.

    Within her home, a Den Mother reigns supreme, even over the words of a Clan Leader. A Den Mother’s mate could be the Homage himself, but in her den, the law of the Homage is nothing. That said… Outside her home, a Den Mother is just another Uzii.

    This creates an unusual local government. Den Mothers are obeyed in their dens, making them the adjudicators for small crimes, like theft or being caught cheating at duels. For larger crimes, such as murder, rape, or god worship, a Den Mother will call upon a Clan Council. These Clan Councils are made up of all the Den Mothers of the Clan, led by the Clan Chief, and advised by the Clan Shaman (of which there is one or many, but never none). The Clan Council also is called upon if a Den Mother commits a crime.

    If the Clan Chief or Clan Shaman commits a crime, this is reason enough to call upon the Sounder Alpha. Leader of over a thousand and a half Uzii, the Sounder Alpha has been proven to be the strongest among ten Clans, and often is thought to be inhabited by an Ancestral Spirit. If a Sounder Alpha has committed a crime, either another Sounder Alpha or the Snort Tusker will be called upon. The Snort Tusker leads all the Sounders in one of the eight districts of Swampum, and it is from these Snorts that the Homage is selected. Sounder Alphas gather together under their Snort Tusker, and meet for a Snortsmoot once every twenty years. The strongest of the Snort Tuskers, proven through honorable combat, then becomes the Homage to the Ancestors, and leads until they grow too weak. Their title of Snort Tusker is passed on to one of their sons, who would also become Homage in the event the reigning Champion dies an early death; though the son of an Homage must then prove themselves strong by visiting each of the Snort Tuskers and challenging them to battle.




    Culture
    Strength of Arms, Strength of Conviction, Strength of Family.

    Honor for the Ancestors, Honor for the Clan, Honor for the Self.

    A true Hero embodies one or more of these.


    Uzii care for strength and honor. Male Uzii struggle to survive in the wilderness of the Swamp, but also struggle against each other; first as brothers growing up, then as Clan hunting together, and finally as members of their Sounds and Snort. Most will never receive the honor to fight without a Snortsmoot, but every Uzii dreams that they will have the power to do so. It is this hope that keeps them moving, keeps their grips on their spears, and pushes them to face dangers. They revel in the challenge, and will fight almost anything. Once a male Uzii reaches 8 years old (maturity), they are tasked with finding and slaying a local beast. Many Sharpteeth die, and a newly named Uzii joins the Den able to gain glory for their ancestors. However, the skillful hunter will find and defeat a Swamp Cat on their own. Those that succeed are celebrated, and the pelt is used to create their clothing. Every so often, though, the rarest of Uzii will hunt a Bloat Toad; a task that is possible as a Den or a Clan, but by oneself? Very difficult! A Den Mother herself will reward the successful hunter with praise and craft armor from the tough toad skin. These are the promising heroes of the Clan, and many Uzii who try, fail and die.

    There are rumors that an Uzii male can even face off against a Blightspawn by themselves, but Den Daughters, Den Mothers, and Clan Shaman are very quick to smack an Uzii that says this is possible. A Blightspawn is a hunt for a whole Sounder, at least. Yet... the stories say the brave and true can do great things, and bring glory to their Snort!

    Uzii male are not dim witted, but they do seem to choose a passion and only excel at one thing. All Uzii male can hunt, but only some choose to be Hunters that work as part of the Clan to obtain meat or deal with dangerous local beasts. Some are good at finding mushrooms and other wild vegetables that grow in Swampum; where others will eat their fill, these gatherers are smart enough to leave enough vegetables alone for another season. Then there are those who do well in the warrior path; be they fighting other Clans over a hot spring or mud bath, or trying to train a Battle Toad, warrior Uzii are the elite of a Clan. Culturally, all Uzii aspire to be warriors, but listen to the needs of the Clan Chief and Sounder Alpha... or fight an Uzii warrior and take their spot.

    Uzii female are large but slow to move, yet contain wisdom beyond their years. It is through them and the Clan Shaman that the Uzii remember their history. Uzii females excel as crafters, story tellers, and raise the young Battle Toads with the secrets of the Animal Husbandry methods that make it possible to give their Snort's warriors the edge they need in any conflicts. Uzii female serve as judges, as builders, and act as council members for any large decisions for the Clan or the Sounder. Decisions made by multiple Sounders are made with the Sounder Alphas' Den Mothers meetings called Judgments. These are rare occurrences, and often are cause for the Snort Tusker to be notified if they do not attend themselves. Common reasons for Judgement are the breaking of one's sworn vow to one outside the Sounder, or the conclusion of a Clan War that neither side is willing to concede upon.

    Uzii as a whole both love and hate birds. They love them for their beautiful feathers, but hate them because they can fly, and the Uzii cannot. Many Clan Shaman are known to weep tears of frustration at the sight of a large bird in flight.




    The Eight Snorts of Swampum
    • Snort Mudmore: living in the northwest, Snort Mudmore has the best mud baths in the entire region. Snort Mudmore's Sounders are proud of this fact, and Tusker Hate-grip Mudmore will fight anyone who says they have better mud!
    • Snort Toadgrow: living in the west, Snort Toadgrow has the biggest Battle Toads in all of Swampum. Snort Toadgrow are among the best trainers, and Tusker Crack-back Toadgrow will fight anyone who says they can raise Battle Toads better!
    • Snort Rocktusk: living in the southwest, Snort Rocktusk is the only Snort to use large stone hammers instead of the more common spears. Rocktusk warriors can bring down a Swamp Cat in a single swing, and Tusker Proud-laugh will fight anyone who thinks they can do it faster!
    • Snort Clearfang: living in the south, Snort Clearfang has the most hot springs, and the much coveted Sweet Rock. Snort Clearfang loves the way Sweet Rock looks like a large white fang in the middle of a bunch of hot springs, and Tusker Pull-claw Clearfang will fight anyone who says it looks dumb!
    • Snort Swiftspear: living in the southeast, Snort Swiftspear have the fastest spearboars in the region! Snort Swiftspear warriors can stick several Sharpteeth in a single stab, and Tusker Far-kick Swiftspear will fight anyone who calls that a lie!
    • Snort Groundpound: living in the east, Snort Groundpound has the toughest tossers in the swamps! Snort Groundpound has perfected the Uzii Barrage ability, and can juggle Bloat Toads! Tusker Face-Smash Goundpound will fight anyone who thinks they can gore better!
    • Snort Jumpgood: living in the northeast, Snort Jumpgood has the most athletic Battle Toads. Snort Jumpgood trains their Battle Toad warriors to leap from the sky with their spears pointed at their enemies, and Tusker Rage-win Jumpgood will fight anyone who doubts their bravery!
    • Snort Thumpstrong: living in the north, Snort Thumpstrong has the best Clan Shaman. Snort Thumpstrong gets more Shaman than any other in the region, and Tusker Wise-weep Thumpstrong refuses to fight anyone.



    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    Starting Tech: Animal Husbandry

    [Battle Toads] - Large amphibious creatures, the wild versions (called Bloat Toads) prefer to be alone, near swamps and mires where they can hunt fish, bugs, and Swamp Cats. When angered, a Battle Toad can leap very high into the air, or use their long sticky tongues as whips. With time and dedication, they can be domesticated and trained as mounts. A Battle Toad rider goes through many frustrations, and often a broken bone or two, before they finally pair well with their mount. Battle Toads have been trained to be comfortable with their leather strap harnesses that can hold one and sometimes two Uzii during travel, and are directed by way of pulling on the straps attached to a Battle Toad's horns, making serviceable reins.

    [Metal] - Uzii like shiny things, but they love shiny hard metal that can be made into good weapons. Sadly, that is very rare in Swampum.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    When a Male Uzii is birthed with the intelligence of a Female Uzii, they are said to be touched by the Ancestors. There is much rejoicing in an Uzii Clan, when this happens, as the chosen Uzii grows to learn the ways of the Shaman. Always, there is at least one Clan Shaman, though there are sometimes more, such as within Snort Thumpstrong. The additional wisdom that a Shaman possesses usually means that they are more physically frail, and not as prone to combat like their brothers, but occasionally a wise Shaman will maintain their strength and rise up to be both a Shaman and a Clan Chief, Sounder Alpha, or even a Tusker.

    Holy Site - Within Snort Thumpstrong lands, near the center of the region, is the Ancestral Baths. This large open air hot-spring is one of the few in the region that contains almost perfectly clear water, and is said to be the rebirth place of the first Uzii. It is a place of realization of shames, but learning of new strengths and wisdom. The rumors state that a taking bath from within these waters allows the soul to be cleansed of impurities.

    Spoiler: Soul Honor
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    Soul Honor, sometimes referred to as Melding, is the primary religion of the Uzi. This process is one where an Ancestor Spirit visits the soul of a Clan Shaman, and provides wisdom and knowledge to the selected Uzii male.

    The Ancestor Spirit infuses their host with additional strength in times of need, and it's rumored that well studied Shaman can even perform minor magics if the Ancestor Spirit is strong enough. Ancestor Spirits gain strength through acts of honor and glory from their living descendants; even something as simple as honoring one's family through devotion to one's duties is enough to honor the Ancestor Spirit. Being a strong warrior brings honor. Bring a smart hunter brings honor. Being a clever gatherer brings honor. Birthing many strong sons and raising them well brings honor.

    Clan Shaman and Den Mothers instruct Uzii how to gain honor, tell stories of the ancient histories of Swamp Home, and teach Uzii against the taboos:

    1. Do not be tricked by the gods.
    2. Do not practice blood magic.
    3. Do not cause lasting harm to the land.



    Rodrak (Rhödödendräk)
    Homeland of Farming Stones

    Region 40
    Spoiler: Rhödödendräk
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    Spoiler: Summary
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    Region Name: Rhödödendräk (Rodrak)
    Brief Description: A diverse landscape of farming, fishing, and cheese.
    People: Uzii / Humans
    Resource: Cheese (Great)
    Faith: Ivenism

    Local Leader: The Cheese Viz


    Spoiler: Geography
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    Rhödödendräk – which means Homeland of Farming Stones – is a place of diverse geography. To the northeast is the vast Iven Delta, which is a place of fertile waters for fishing both fresh water and saltwater fish. To the west are great pools of what starts briefly as a small swamp, but develops into shallow lakes that feed lush forests. These forests are densest in the northwest, but as Rhödödendräk spans further towards the south and east, getting closer and closer to the Great She Koso – a local name for the ocean - the land becomes more and more open. The shallow lakes break into small streams that are perfect for the many sparse farming villages that sprawl throughout the region.

    The green farmlands are broken up only by the occasional groupings of trees which aren’t quite large enough to be called forests, and natural quarries of flat grey slate rocks. The locals call these rocks graystone and build the floors of their homes from them. The rest of the houses that dot the land are made from thatch and the dried mud that can be scraped from the stones after a long rain.

    Most of the farms in Rhödödendräk have several goats and are very protective of them. The land itself is wild with the species, and the Dendräkki see even the wild goats as important animals.


    Spoiler: People
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    The people of Rhödödendräk are the Dendräkki, and to hear them tell the story, they were outcasts from two different lands. A Sounder Alpha from a now defeated and forgotten Uzii Snort to the west of the region brought his whole Sounder to Rhödödendräk and took up residence in the shallow lakes. Humans who claim to have come from the north, after being chased out by the seafaring Sọ́kǎu, were already living in the farmlands. When the Red Dawn occurred, the two races banded together to survive… and thrive. The Uzii took the duties of protecting the peace, helping with hunting in the forests, and were surprised to learn they liked living in homes made of mud and thatch. The Humans build things, tend farms, and go fishing, delighting in teaching the Uzii of the region that being patient for a fish dinner only makes it taste better.

    At this point, after many generations of working together, the two races are one people. Neither considers their ancestral homes as important as their current home; the place they fought for during the time of red skies. Their ancestors aren’t from distant lands but are what made Rhödödendräk a home. They are the Dendräkki – the ground stones – and they are proud of it.


    Spoiler: Government
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    There are a large number of villages throughout the land of the Dendräkki, and while each village differs in many different ways, the local headsman of each village is almost always a human. This is not because of their great wisdom or strength, but because the humans tend the farms, and the contest to win the right to make decisions in a village is always based on whomever makes the best cheese.

    To become a Cheese Head, these valuable individuals toil the land, and the Uzii of the village – almost always led by the local Den Mothers – see to it that every five years no one tries to cheat when making cheese. Everyone has to use whatever they make from their own lands and bartering for something not of your lands is strictly frowned upon during the competition times. Judges comes from neighboring villages, to ensure as much impartiality as possible.

    Every twelve years, any Cheese Head that wishes to do so may partake in a realm-wide competition to be named the Cheese Viz; this individual leads the Rhödödendräk council and helps settle disputes between villages should they arise. The Cheese Viz (short for Cheese Vizier) is aided by a council consisting of a veteran shipwright, an Ivenism Uzii Shaman, a long lived Uzii Hunter, and a female family member of the previous Cheese Viz.

    Recently, this council made the decision that they could not combat an entire trained Fight Throng from Swampum, and decided that – even those most of the new Uzii could not pronounce their country’s name – they would allow the Homage to have chiefdom over them. There is some grumbling that the newer Uzii have started to call their home Rodrak, but having their own boar-men, the Dendräkki are familiar that it takes time for the more focused (and sometimes simple) minds to learn new things.

    Other than an influx of more Uzii in the region – curious to find boar-men that don’t live like them – not much has changed… yet.


    Spoiler: Resources
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    [Cheese] (Great)

    The Dendräkki are quite proud of the variety of cheeses that they can make and are more than happy to share samples with visitors and travelers. However, if a traveler wants more than a few slices, the Dendräkki require bartering of some kind. Be it treasures, exotic items, or what have you, the Dendräkki are happy to make a deal… but are zealously guarded towards giving away their cheese for free. After all, they need some of their own for their various Cheese Head and Cheese Viz competitions!

    Most of the cheese produced are of a flaky white and yellow variety, and Rhödödendräk cheeses can generally be identified by their sharp, slight earthy flavor, as well as the block like shape they are sold in to non-Dendräkki due to the roughly hewn, square, wooden crates used to help transport them in goat drawn carts.


    Spoiler: Faith
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    Ivenism was the primary faith of the region, celebrating the life and teachings of one of the first humans to have said to have settled in the area. According to ancient traditions, Iven was a simple man, who enjoyed simple things. Farming, helping neighbors, raising goats, and making cheese. The Uzii whom came to Rhödödendräk see Iven as the regional ancestor spirit. The humans see Iven as an ancient wise man, with lots of good teachings for being humble.

    Either way, the region generally followed these traditions for many years, until the Hraban convinced everyone that Melding was a stronger faith, and could perhaps allow the Shaman of the region to connect with Iven himself.


    Cow Place (Cäuplakai)
    The Blue Hills

    Region 42
    Spoiler: Cäuplakai
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    Spoiler: Summary
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    Region Name: Cäuplakai (Cow Place)
    Brief Description: Blue colored grass hills and plateaus, with nomadic oxen followed by deer horned humans.
    People: Cäu (Pronounced: /kou/)
    Resource: Cattle (Minor)
    Faith: Ancestral Worship

    Leader: Council of Elder Cäu


    Spoiler: Geography
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    Cäuplakai – literally meaning The Blue Hills – is a place filled with many hills and valleys, separated by large flat plains. The grass of the area is a mix between greens and blues, and in the spring, with the wind blowing just right, it looks like an ocean on land. The people whom live their call themselves the Cäu, and they are nomadic. The various tribes of Cäu travel between the out cropping of hills, taking only what they need from the land as they go.

    There are large groups of wild oxen that the Cäu follow behind and help protect in times of trouble, but the tribes do not lay claim to the cattle. They need the herds to eat, to clothe themselves, to make simple tools of bone, and spears for their own hunting. Trees in Cäuplakai are sparse, and usually signs of a lake or watering hole in the area. Near to the western and south western rivers are the most popular locations to winter in, as an easy source of water. To the southeast, however, are unpopular wintering spots, as the water is often dirtier from the swamps beyond where the Cäu do not go.

    Cäuplakai has a diverse wildlife, with many hawks and eagles hunting the various lizards and hares that live in the blue hills. The most dangerous beast is the Hill Cat, a large green-blue-furred predator that tends to hunt the sick and weakly oxen. A Hill Cat normally hunts alone, and only comes close to another Hill Cat if it is mating season. After which, the two genders tend to separate, and the mother raises the young cub until they can hunt on their own. Hill Cats prefer living on the tops of the tallest hills they can find, and when not hunting, sun themselves from within the blue and green grass. Cäu warn travelers as best they can to stay away from any holes in the hill tops, as those are dens that a Hill Cat has dug for itself.


    Spoiler: People
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    The people of Cäuplakai are the Cäu. Sun tanned humans, standing at an average height of five and a half feet tall, the major difference between a regular human and a Cäu are the small, deer-like horns that grow from the foreheads of the Cäuplakai natives. These horns grow more with age, but even the oldest Cäu do not have horns bigger than the size of their own hands. Male Cäu have horns ending in sharp points, while female Cäu have horns ending in rounded tips; the few female warriors sharpen their horns for battle. There is no difference in size between genders.

    Cäu are nomadic and stay together in tribes that can get up to almost a thousand nomads, but often no more than that. Too much more, and the tribe cannot sustain itself. When this starts to happen, a Cäu Elder – marked by their larger horns – will often gather half of the tribe and split into a new tribe, heading far away from their former family.

    Cäu culture is to live at peace with the land, and hunt only as needed to survive. They occasionally war with other tribes, and while these battles are often fierce, they are short, and usually caused by one tribe wanting something the other has; be it rights to a wintering spot, be it a particular herd of oxen to follow, or perhaps it is a particularly fetching female Cäu that a young hunter wants as a wife. Cäu are not known to hold grudges. They deal with their emotions swiftly, and get it over with so that they may move on with their day.

    The nomads prefer to eat from the cattle they follow sparingly, as each of the wild oxen is seen as a former member of the Cäu. When needed, however, their ancestors will provide them with an aging ox to help the currently living Cäuplakai natives survive; each time is a party for the whole tribe. So the stories go, the spirit of the ingested elder ox then goes on to help the Cäu celebrate with many new children being born, some nine months later.

    To kill a young ox is seen as taboo and is the only known way to get more than one tribe to band together to chase a single traveler. To eat that young ox is, to the Cäu, the same as cannibalism; it is like eating the recently reborn spirit of a Cäu Elders.

    The Cäuplakai nomads respect strength. Travelers are warned that they may be challenged to combat if they come too close to a wild oxen herd or the birthing tents of the Cäu tribe that follows that herd. Those that win in these small skirmish duels are given great respect among the tribe, and given leave to hunt near their current lands, so long as the oxen herd is left alone.

    It is for this reason that, when the two large armies from the northwest and southeast came to duel in the Blue Hills, the strongest army was given deference and rights to command and hunt in the lands. Though the Cäu do struggle to understand the pig-people clans without help from the Dream Speakers. Yet, the Uzii are slowly introducing the Cäu Elders to Hraban Runes, making things a bit easier every year. Most of the tribes seem amused by their new friends being mostly unable to pronounce the name of their land, and figure that 'Cow Place' is close enough for the strong but simple minded boar-men.


    Spoiler: Government
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    Each tribe is ruled over by a Chief. This is the strongest Cäu in the tribe. A Chief wears a Hill Cat leather tunic; the smell of which scares away other Hill Cats and even some prey. This is to make things more difficult for the tribe Chief, so they may continue to prove they are the best, even under harsh conditions.

    When a Chief becomes too old, they become the tribe Elder. These Elders are the ambassadors between the various Cäuplakai natives, and during winters, the Council of Elder Cäu meet to help decide how the next four seasons are meant to go.

    A tribe Chief makes all day to day decisions, but it is the wisdom of the tribe Elder that help set the plans for the future. The Council will also settle disputes, and make lasting decisions for the tribes as a whole, should such things be needed.


    Spoiler: Resources
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    [Cattle] (Minor)

    The Cäuplakai nomads have one punishment for criminals: death, followed by their spirits joining the exiled herds. These large three herds of oxen have no Cäu that follow them, and when a tribe encounters one of these three herds, they are free to hunt from them. The exiled herds are wilder and fiercer and present a challenge to the Cäu that mean that hunters often won’t bother. The exiled souls are not worth their effort…

    …unless someone incentivizes them. Payments of shiny things, treasures, or other bartering systems will often get the hunters of the various Cäu tribes to go searching for the exiled herds.

    At the moment, the rough location of only one such herd is known for sure. The Cäuplakai nomads keep track of it, but they do know of two other exiled herds that they could hunt from, if they had reason to go looking.


    Spoiler: Faith
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    Ancestor Worship is the primary form of praise and faith among the Cäu. They reverse their ancestors, and see the oxen herds they follow as the living embodiments of the next life; the next step into the spirit world is as a member of the wild herd.

    More recently, however, the Cäuplakai natives have been instructed by Hraban Guides in the ways of Melding; Soul Honor is very similar to what the Cäu already do for their own rites, so it is accepted easily within the area.


    { Additional Uzii Lands Post # 1 2 }
    Last edited by Gengy; 2020-11-12 at 09:05 AM.
    Spoiler
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    BladeofObliviom said:
    I've only seen a character at anything resembling this level of absurdity thrive exactly once, and he/she/what-the-jongo had the advantage of being written by Gengy, who I look up to as a writer.

    "What-the-Jongo?"
    Before you insult someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
    That way, you'll be a mile away, and have their shoes!

    Got my Master's Degree for games (yay!). Still busy (boo!).
    ~avatar by myself

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Behind you
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    The Bel-Dan Armada



    Spoiler: Rulers
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    Current Reren: Ren-Nor-Baj, Fifth Reren of the Bel-Dan-Ub
    Diplomacy: 2
    Military: 5
    Opulence: 4
    Intrigue: 2
    Faith: 1

    Current Heir: Ren-Num-Har

    Ren-Nor-Baj has been Reren for thirty of his sixty-two years, and is nearing the end of his life. His son, Ren-Num-Har, is a Ren in his own right and considered an able successor to the old Reren, though some are skeptical of his greed.


    * * *

    Region 195
    Ten-Fuj-Sa-Cos, the Place of the Last Refuge

    Spoiler: Terrain
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    Viewed from the sea, Ten-Fuj-Sa-Cos is a land of gentle rolling sand dunes, stretching up to greet the inland forests. Fish dart in the clear waters, birdsong drifts across the sand, and from time to time a great beast of the jungle reveals itself, emerging from the trees briefly to soak in the sun. As one continues inland, it becomes a place of dense forests and bramble, filled with thorns and grasping undergrowth, but also brilliant flowers and many-colored birds. The smooth, triangle-rooted Pandanus trees press close together, thinning out in places only to be replaced in turn by shrubs, ferns, and berries. Notable among the flora is the indigo plant, or Nal, which is used to dye fabrics (especially sails) a bright blue. Monkeys swing through the trees, jaguars stalk the undergrowth, and birds, snakes, frogs, and insects of all different colors dart among the leaves. Small piles of smoothed stones peer out from the foliage or rise up from the sands, leftover monuments from an earlier age. The coastline bends east and inward as it runs south, approaching ever more closely to the great eastern hills, the Mej-Luo-Daně. No Bel-Dan has ever passed their peaks.

    A column of smoke on the horizon reveals itself to be a village; a cluster of rectangular wooden huts, each home to ten or fifteen humans, surrounding a central bonfire. Wooden poles poke out of the sand, marking a path leading to a rock near the shore. Fishermen have drawn up their canoes behind it, resting them on the sand to clean and repair them, while others are out on the sea, eyes alert and spear ready. Children play on the sands or help their parents stitch clothes and prepare food, and men and women alike venture into the jungle in search of berries and fruits.


    Spoiler: People
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    The original inhabitants of Ten-Fuj-Sa-Cos seem to have been humans or very humanlike, but were wiped out around the time of the False Dawn. By the time of the Bel-Dan-Ub's arrival, only a few roaming bands remained, and they were quickly enslaved, hunted in the woods, or driven from the region. The regions population is thus now Bel-Dan: The Sea People.

    Relatively short, averaging about five feet as adults, their deep brown eyes and generally well-defined facial features are set in olive skin and flanked by flowing black hair, worn long by both men and women. The average lifespan of those who reach adulthood (sixteen years of age) is about sixty-five years. Men sail and row the great seas in fleets of outrigger canoes, fishing, exploring, plundering, and winning glory, while women gather food, raise children, and administer villages. The Bel-Dan-Ub universally wear loose garments of animal skin around the waist; in addition, women usually wear broad-brimmed straw hats and loose jackets, while men typically wear colorful sashes or bandoliers across their chests. The most distinguished Ren-Ub wear large black hats, set with the feathers of tropical birds, each feather commemorating a victory. Warriors wield stone axes and spears, with skilled slingers being prized and rare and swords almost unheard-of.

    The Bel-Dan-Ub build their canoes from strong jungle wood. Most fishing boats are dugouts, made from the trunks of straight trees, and often have small outriggers of wooden planks bound together with vines or fibers, but the greatest ships are the double-hulled canoes of the voyagers and raiders: two canoes attached to each other by a wooden deck in the middle, with great sails of Pandanus leaves dyed indigo, several times the height of a man. These double-hulled canoes, called Bel-Fě-Ub, are capable of long journeys, though usually they ply the coasts seeking plunder.

    Bel-Dan marriage is monogamous, though captive concubines and consorts are not unheard-of. Marriage ceremonies are long, and involve the singing of several songs reserved for the event, the recitation by sages of a story from Bel-Dan mythohistory, and the presentation of a dowry from the husband's family to the wife's. Funerals are likewise large affairs when the deceased died of age or illness, with a procession bearing them to certain sacred areas of shoreline, where they are laid under the waves and sent out to sea. However, deaths in lands less well-known to the Bel-Dan are usually unceremonious, as simply dumping the deceased into the water will likely just wash them back up on shore; the body may be burned or simply left behind, with a memento sent into the sea in place of the body.

    Bel-Dan music follows a ten-note scale, similar to the Western melodic minor in that both sixths and sevenths are present. The common instruments are drums and the human voice; other instruments, especially wind instruments of any kind, are fairly rare. Singing is not done casually, however; drum beats and song might mark time for rowers, but on land, births, funerals, and the anniversary of the first landing in "Chesma" are the only events fitting for song. Bel-Dan singing is fast and polyrhythmic, with multiple voices weaving in and out, and strictly syllabic, with each syllable getting only one note. Ceremonial "land" music is mostly stepwise, while sailing music has much greater freedom to leap between pitches.


    Spoiler: History and Government
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    The sun rose in the night
    Spilling blood across the sky
    The Ice rose to meet it
    Eagerly rushing forward
    Crushing all before it
    Crushing mountains
    Crushing forests
    Crushing us


    Following the False Dawn, the far northern home of the Bel-Dan-Ub was overrun by fast-moving glaciers and lethal winters. Habitable land dwindled year by year as the great Ice moved towards the southern sea; whole villages might disappear in a single night as the Ice cut off roads and smothered buildings. The Bel-Dan-Ub retreated to the southern coast, where they eked out an existence among the seals and snow, but the Ice followed them still. Three generations after the Dawn, there was nowhere left to flee but the waters. With no other option, the Bel-Dan-Ub cut down the few remaining trees, building fleets of canoes in which they sailed ever southward. Many obstacles rose against them, but each they overcame in turn, until finally they arrived in the land the natives called “Chesma,” at a place they named Ten-Fuj-Sa-Cos: the Place of the Last Refuge.

    At the place of their first landing they raised the Ye-Sheb-Sha, a monument to the Great Sea, their savior, and built houses for the sages who retell the lessons of the Exodus:

    Take from the land as the water takes from you.
    The strong weather the winter.
    Let each help their equals, destroy their lessers, and be destroyed by their betters.
    The Ice comes.


    Bel-Dan-Ub society is hierarchical but porous, with slaves and prisoners at the bottom, the common Bel-Dan-Ub (farmers, fishers, merchants, etc.) above them, the Ra-Ub (villagemasters) above them, and finally the Ren-Ub (“Captains”) at the top. Slaves can buy their freedom or be freed by their masters, becoming commoners, and Ra-Ub and Ren-Ub are promoted from among the commoners. Ra-Ub tend to come from locally-distinguished families, some of whom have held their position since before the Exodus, and they administer self-sufficient villages of 10 to 30 families, averaging around 10 people per family.

    The position of Ren is essentially awarded by consensus to those deemed “worthy,” whether through self-sacrifice, glorious victory, or dedication to one's neighbors. Both sexes are equally as likely to become a Ren, though the title exemplifies two very different sets of accomplishments; success in raids or strong stores of fruits and nuts, plunder and loot or well-housed families. The Ren-Ub hold sway over the "tribes" of the Bel-Dan-Ub, though "warbands" or "armadas" might be a better word, since most Ren-Ub command followers and allies, not subjects. The Ren select a Reren or "Great Ren" from among themselves, who mediates among them.


    Spoiler: Resources
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    Ten-Fuj-Sa-Cos is densely forested, providing vast reserves of Timber for the canoes of the Bel-Dan-Ub. However, these primeval groves are as much a curse as a blessing, as their deep roots and sprawling brambles make any attempts at large-scale agriculture impractical. Food is thus often in scarce supply, and rare is the year in which no village is under famine.


    Spoiler: Faith
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    The Bel-Dan-Ub believe in the natural order of the world. Land rises to be swallowed by water, fish swim, birds fly, and humans create and destroy; these things simply are. The shared Lessons of the Exodus serve as a uniting faith among them, defined by a belief in "might makes right," respect for equals, and resistance to the inevitable futility of the world. The Bel-Dan-Ub generally see each other as equals, with captured slaves as lessers and nature as their betters, and have a strong communal mindset.

    The Ye-Sheb-Sha, the Pillar of Landing, is a stone obelisk rising some 75 feet into the air. A place of pilgrimage and the only established Holy Site in Ten-Fuj-Sa-Cos, devoted Bel-Dan travel down the coast to the place where their ancestors first set foot on "Chesma," hoping to gain insight and wisdom from the sages who dwell nearby.

    Take from the land as the water takes from you.
    The strong weather the winter.
    Let each help their equals, destroy their lessers, and be destroyed by their betters.
    The Ice comes.


    * * *

    Region 194
    Dozgasil, the Ancient Marsh

    Spoiler: Terrain
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    Dozgasil is an enormous region of tidal marsh, stretching inland all the way to the hills. At high tide, the omnipresent grasses barely manage to poke the tips of their blades out of the water, swarms of fish flit in and out of sight, and the larger hills resemble flower-covered islands in the sea. When the water recedes, though, the grass stands taller than a man and the muddy ground hides pitfalls and snares for unwary walkers. Corroded and tarnished swords, armor, and trinkets, relics of an earlier age, occasionally turn up buried in the mud.

    Many types of fish swim in the flooded high tide and the leftover tidal pools of Dozgasil, ferrets and rats burrow in higher ground, and many colorful birds nest in the grasses or the groves of bald cypress trees. The sheep and cattle of the Dozgach are common sights too, grazing on the abundant marsh grass.


    Spoiler: People
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    The Dozgach humans are a fading people. Though they still survive in the marsh, their numbers have been dwindling ever since the False Dawn. Diseases are rampant and claim many children and elders, and a careless person can be trapped in the muddy ground until the tide comes back in and drowns them, for which reason hunters and fishers always travel in groups of at least three. They have dark skin, brown or olive eyes, and black hair, which is customarily cut short by both men and women. Men stand about 5’8” on average and typically wear a leather tunic, thick leather pants and boots, and a woolen turban. Women are generally about two or three inches shorter than men and tend to wear ankle-length dresses and tall leather boots.

    The Dozgach, being pastoralist, generally live in easily-movable tents, which they set up on hilltops. A handful of permanent villages have sprung up, mostly in the south; houses are made from wood and supported on tall stilts that raise the floor above the high tide. Fishermen extensively use small coracles to travel and fish at high tide, but few larger boats exist.

    Marriage is monogamous and only requires the consent of the bride and groom, and not of their family. Funerals are very private, with only direct relations of the deceased being invited. In the north this sometimes even excludes surviving spouses and children. The deceased is usually buried in a hilltop grave, though some in the south have begun searching for caves to bury their dead since their contact with the Bannanda some years prior.


    Spoiler: History and Government
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    The Dozgach claim that, in the ancient times before the False Dawn, theirs was a mighty and strong civilization. It spread along the coast from what is now Ten-Fuj-Sa-Cos as far as what is now Kilcany, and inland beyond the Blight-infested hills, ruled from a capital city built on the highest hill of all. Its warriors were armed and armored in shining golden metal, and it exacted tribute from the southern Kiswans and many strange easterners. When the bloodstain of the False Dawn filled the sky, though, men who were once held wise became mad, and the mighty kingdom tore itself apart in civil war. Cooling weather caused crops to fail, and the presence of several armies meant that what little there was tended to belong to whoever could take it by force. The ancient capital was utterly abandoned, and the Dozgach lost all contact with anyone beyond the borders of their marshlands. Whether any of this history is actually true or not is unclear, but bronze and brass relics (usually tarnished swords or coins) do occasionally turn up buried in the mud, lending it credence.

    In the two centuries since, the Dozgach have dwindled. Dozgasil is unfriendly to many crops, and the scourges of widespread famine and disease have swept the region repeatedly. Few outsiders stayed long in the region, and those who did generally dismissed the Dozgach as “marsh-men.” Not until the Comet cleared the sky did any foreigners take a true interest in the region. First came the Dream Speakers, who charted the land and its peoples; next, the Bannanda from the south, who showed the Dozgach how to placate and deal with the spirits; finally, the Bel-Dan-Ub, who invaded Dozgasil and conquered it.

    Ren-Num-Har believed that his wife, Tes-Rus, had fled to the marshes, and demanded that the chief of the Þirlia help him find her. When the chief refused, the Ren returned with an army of axe-wielding pirates and stormed across the swamp, their canoes enabling them to keep moving even at high tide when the Dozgach had to stop on a hill. When the Reren discovered that his wife was not in Dozgasil, he took his rage out on the Dozgach, giving his warriors free rein to sack and plunder several tribes, starting with the Þirlia, who were almost completely exterminated. He then sent messengers to the other tribes to tell them that, unless they acknowledged him as their overlord, they would be next, and the vast majority agreed.

    The Dozgach are divided into multiple tribes, each ruled by a single chief (usually a man) who settles disputes between members and leads battles against other tribes. The majority of the tribes are semi-nomadic, with at least a small orchard or hilltop farm but most members following their pigs and cattle. In the south, some tribes have become entirely sedentary following the introduction of irrigation techniques by the Bannanda, but they are still in the minority. The most important nomadic tribes include the Þirlia (of whom only a handful survive), the Ziriorua, the Gofsiþelli, and the Vazkoyasar, all of whom tend to wander in the north of the region, while the most important sedentary tribes are the Three Villages of Golchayan, Þalior, and Chaþirior in the south.


    Spoiler: Resources
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    Dozgasil is home to an enormous number and variety of Tropical Birds, including parrots, toucans, lovebirds, gallinules, and hummingbirds, among others. Although they are sometimes hunted for feathers or meat, the Dozgach prefer to keep them as pets; being able to hire a dedicated caretaker for one’s birds is a sign of wealth and status.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The Dozgach had little faith beyond a handful of general superstitions; they seem to have rejected the religion of their predecessors and forgotten it. However, in recent years, several banozhisyi have traveled to Dozgasil from Faranandūll to the south, spreading their Hozhīsa faith. Most Dozgach have taken to their teachings, and many tribes now have a shaman (onozhis) for communication with the shūvāchē of the marsh. The ability to commune with the spirits is believed to be hereditary, and a shaman with no children who can follow in their footsteps is disgraced; conversely, a non-shaman whose child studies under a shaman in Golchayan, Þalior, or Chaþirior gains a great deal of respect.

    Holy Site: The Stilt-Towns (Hozhīsa)


    * * *

    Region 196
    Melis, the Eternal Hive

    Spoiler: Terrain
    Show
    Melis is a land of dense forest and rolling hills. In the south, tall vine-covered trees grow dense and close together, fed by heavy rain, but as one moves north, the rainfall lessens, and the trees lose their leaves in the dry winter. Peccaries rummage through the foliage that covers the ground while lone bees scout the forest for dangers to their hives. Most settlements in Melis are small villages on the unforested coast, as the dense jungle and forest makes agriculture difficult; however, individual priests and groups of hunters often camp in the wilds for months or even years, gaining a deep knowledge of the woodlands.


    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The people of Melis, the Melxab, strike a powerful contrast with the Bel-Dan-Ub to their immediate south, resembling the Bannanda or Ashihi most of all. They are tall, with dark skin, black hair, and green eyes. Melxab society is structured and hierarchical; most Melxab are peasants (Itzab), who farm and hunt for their living. Above them are the nobles (Sarkab), who enforce the laws of the Royal Queen, and the priests (Renab), who petition the ancestors for blessings on the land and in battle and perform burial rites. The priests spend most of their time caring for stingless bees, which they keep in log hives. The honey they produce is made into mead, an important ritual drink; a noble is expected to distribute mead to his or her peasants on holidays (though the nobles themselves are generally able to drink it whenever they want).

    Melxab clothing is divided more by class than by gender; peasant men and women wear tall, loose-fitting tops with long, wide sleeves and knee-length skirts, both usually made of undyed animal skin, and shoes or sandals made from wood. Priests dress similarly to peasants, but are marked by large feathered headdresses and tops with loops at the waist to hold their beekeeping tools. In contrast, the nobility wear tight-fitting sleeveless tops and pants dyed with complex yellow or red patterns and often go barefoot unless traveling.


    Spoiler: History and Government
    Show
    The Melxab are ruled by the Royal Queen, a title which passes to the eldest female relative of the previous Queen. In theory, she holds total power over every Melxab, but in practice her importance is mostly ritual, with local Sarkab holding the majority of political power. The Sarkab are backed by the Dream Speakers, whose tavern on the northwest coast of Melis serves as a legal sanctuary and neutral ground for resolving disputes and who have significant stakes in local mead manufacturing. The Speakers claim they taught the Melxab how to ferment honey and collect tithes each year; while some would prefer to see them driven out, their support of the nobility against the Royal Queen has kept them entrenched so far.

    The Melxab were largely isolated for two decades after the Phoenix comet, until the Bel-Dan-Ub to the south began sailing north and exploring the coast. Skirmishing and border conflict followed soon after and continued for over a decade; major battles in 24 and 28 were significant defeats for the pirates, but the greater numbers of the Bel-Dan-Ub (and an alliance with the Sirrvadut elves) saw a decisive defeat for the Mexlab and the Royal Queen. The mysterious pirate Ben-Udula claimed rulership over the whole of Melis, and as the last Royal Queen perished in the Battle of the Ford, no opposing claimants came forward, though unrest continued.


    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    Peccaries – wild, feral hogs – are a common sight throughout Melis and are hunted viciously by the Melxab, who believe them to be the reincarnations of evil ancestors driven to attack their crops and bees. Oral tradition holds that they first appeared about a century after the False Dawn, and the reigning Queen at that time was killed by one. Some believe the peccaries were unleashed by the Bel-Dan-Ub, while others claim they merely migrated from the south or east, but all agree they are a pest best hunted for skin and meat.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The Melxab follow a tradition of Ancestor Worship in which all humans are reincarnated into the world depending on their deeds in life. Compassionate and industrious ancestors are reincarnated forever as bees, in which form they provide for their descendants, and are taken care of by the living. However, selfish and lazy ancestors are reincarnated forever as peccaries, which ruin crops and attack the bees out of jealousy. Proper burial rites are critical to proper reincarnation, and an ancestor who is improperly buried may be reincarnated as a fearsome monster that attacks villages until it is placated by the priests.
    Last edited by Minescratcher; 2020-11-12 at 10:10 AM. Reason: Melis

  25. - Top - End - #25
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Clan Alqar (ALQ)




    The Blessed Vale
    Region #32, Mamut

    Summary: Displaced lunar peasants

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Called the Blessed Vale for a reason, the land is first and foremost distinguished by its fortunate position between two rivers and under the protection of great mountains behind it. Existing mostly as plains with light forest scattered throughout, it is known to be fertile and rich in both life and wealth in the way of animals to hunt and natural gems found in the rivers and along the mountain. These great landmarks with a vast and flat stretch of land between them have come to foster small settlements around them, with farming villages around both rivers practicing irrigation techniques, united under a clan that rules from the base of the mountain between them.

    Lacking in masonry, the people have set up settlements using tepees and crude construction techniques with local animal hides, wood, and stone. A common village would be a small collection of these 'buildings' set up together around communal fires, and often with wooden walls along the edges to prevent beasts from wandering in to steal food (or blightspawn from injuring folks). The region has a very light blightspawn presence, but enough to occasionally cause some trouble and require chasing off or hunting for the safety of the people.

    The ruling clan is called Clan Alqar, and their settlement under the mountains is called 'Renjin', after the man who founded it. It is the largest settlement in the region.
    The river along the northern edge of the Vale is called 'The Northern River' or 'The Sparkling River', for the gems that are found within it.
    The river along the southern edge of the Vale is called 'The Southern River' or 'Ar-Konish', for the family that claimed the most area around it.
    The northern farmland goes by 'New Ra' in commemoration of the homeland that so many left behind.
    The southern farmland goes by the same name as the river, 'Ar-Konish', and is the smallest of the three settlements.

    The southern river does not have many good crossings, and so the people rely on a natural stone bridge to go from one side to the other. Vast in size but perilous should one fall from it, it follows along the mountain that the river comes from and is known as 'High Pass.' Many who fear the heights refuse to pass through them, which has left the lands past the river unvisited by the native humans except in small numbers. The northern river, by contrast, is much easier to cross and bears several shallow pieces that people travel over. The waters are most often calm, and frequently crossed or searched through for gems.

    Most of the farms that the people work on produce crops like corn and wheat, but not in such great numbers that they have exports - mostly because the people working the regions prefer the higher standard of living that comes with moving to Renjin to work the simple mines for stone and sometimes gems that give them status among other villagers. In addition to this, leaving the farms brings them closer to the temple of the moon, which many consider to be a desirable location to settle.

    As far as natural fauna goes, there are wild Timber Wolf, Black Bear, Moose, Woodland Caribou, Mule Deer, Elk, and Beaver, all common creatures found in the plains. Flora is similarly typical of its real life equivalent as well.


    Spoiler: People
    Show
    Humans inhabit the Vale, claiming to be descended from a lost civilization in the north during the false dawn. They bear soft brown skin tones, tend to dress in primitive cotton clothes, and place great value on opulence through the possession of jewelry for both men and women. (Though their ability to work the gems into fine material is limited at best, they still attach them on necklaces and bracelets and such.) Through their history they have seen great defeat at the hands of the blightspawn both from their original homeland and in this new terrain, making up for their past lack of an organized army through overcompensation of trained men and women in the present day. Their ancestors may have been caught helpless against the false dawn, but they intend to never repeat such mistakes. Because of this, most men and willing women are trained in spear-throwing to defend their homes. Hunting blightspawn, something that only confident hunters attempt, is seen as a glorious task that results in payment in gems from the clan leader when done successfully, to scale with the amount of danger the spawn possessed to the clan overall.

    Men and women play equal roles in society, though military service, something expected of men, is not enforced on women. Lunar shamans play an elite and coveted role in society, receiving some of the only education that the clan has in the way of learning herbs, decryption of omens, and fundamental concepts of leadership so that they may guide the clan to safety. The shamans serve the leader of the clan, who appoints a head shaman to take his place as leader if anything happens to them until the majority of shamans vote on the next leader. Each leader functionally serves as a dictator, which has not yet caused any major issues for the people despite many generations having passed...

    Starting Tech: Irrigation - +1 Stabilization


    Spoiler: History
    Show
    Clan Alqar's story begins far in the north in lands lost to the False Dawn, in which a prosperous kingdom once lay known as Arrakh-Rah. With more developed cultures, constructs to protect and build, and a prospering society, it has become legend among the current population that has mostly forgotten its past glory. The false dawn ensured that it would not last, with creatures of blight and wickedness descending upon the greater civilization of old and slaughtering thousands, forcing the people of Clan Alqar - then farmers, slaves, and peasants on the southern border of the kingdom - to retreat from their lands and delve into the unknown and far-away lands to ensure that none of the sinister creatures would follow them. They went far enough, and then further still, terrified of what would happen if they were ever followed among their poor and defenseless population.

    A shaman at the head of the migration named 'Rikoz' bid them follow the stars, leading the people through foreign lands until they settled against a mountain in Mamut between two rivers. Halted by the holy power of an eclipse, the most potent of omens, Rikoz declared that this would be the lands in which their people would settle, a fertile vale with which their farmers could re-grow their crops and spur new generations. Though the many arts of their homeland were lost, at least this pocket of poor had survived.

    When Rikoz died, his apprentice declared a new leader. With each generation, a new leader was chosen by the shamans and a predictable pattern emerged - those from the line of Alqar were always chosen. Descended from slaves like the rest, but now one of the most prominent families in the region, the Alqar had settled between the two rivers and against the base of the mountains behind them, known for their possession of many gems essential for reading spiritual divination and claiming one of the largest centers of trade between the two rivers (within the region). Weather chosen due to the shaman's dependence on their support to make the readings at all or because they are blessed by the stars, none can say, but if a ruler from outside their line was chosen now it would cause quite a change of pace.

    Yet even during these times of recovery and life, men and women whisper of a monster from their homeland so great in size that it could crush a mountain; leading an army of countless blight-spawn stewing in the north, waiting until the sky goes dark to swoop in and have them join their ancestors in brutal death.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The people of the Blessed Vale practice Lunar Mysticism, which they have brought with them as part of their traditions after losing their homes in the north to the False Dawn. It entails worship and reverence of the moon, and a belief in omens that can help predict the future. The night-time is regarded as a mystical phenomenon; naturally dark and dangerous that the stars and moon are used to guide all intelligent life through. Popular superstitions decree that the night of full moon is the best night for luck, while the night of no moon is when trouble brews the most. And though there are not many traditions to work upon for eclipses, they are regarded as magnificent and powerful events that can change the fates of many clans.

    The sun, the Moon's opposite is seen as an equal to the moon, more prominent but without any friends in the sky to support its light. Where the moon suggests power together, the sun suggests power individually. Both provide light in different ways, and to be without light is to die. When the people of Arrakh-Rah departed from their lands to seek safety, their number did not include a sun shaman to guide them in the other half of their spiritual faith. Though once decried as out of balance, the people have dedicated themselves to lunar teachings in full, with little to no memory that they ever had another piece of their faith to begin with.

    Currently the only lunar temple is called "Akhull's Remnant" after the shaman that founded it and resides beside the house Alqar, solidifying their position as the predestined leaders of the clan that has been so named in their image.


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    So named for its natural bounty, the Blessed Vale allows a comfortable standard of living for most within its borders. For a rich few, this standard of living is heightened through the abundance of gems found within the mountains from which the twin rivers flow. Sometimes, these gems can even be panned from the upper riverbeds. Used by the shamans for rituals and the people for decor and jewelry, the great farming potential of the region is often pushed aside in favor of prioritizing these rare and precious materials. Thus, despite having historically possessed very organized farming knowledge, the supply of food remains only moderate for the locals.

    However, the region lacks in natural sources of labor. Weather accomplished through servants, beasts of burden, or another mystical method, they are required for trade and construction on any decent scale that can result in stagnancy and unrest when lacking. The people of the Vale have a history as servants and workers for a greater leader who they claim cared little for them and would be duly upset if they had to resume these toils themselves.



    Region 31 - Dek’varro

    Spoiler: Terrain
    Show
    The plains between the Sparkling River to the south and the Nerraki Split to the north are a sparsely forested stretch of hills that contain natural pillars of white marble stone that jet up through the region. Rumbling earthquakes are common, though not typically destructive, and result in new pillars spiking up through the earth into what is usually just an open field, but sometimes disrupting a tree, challenging the foundation of a building, or rarely striking into a sleeping creature with deadly effect. Shamans of old claimed that the very earth was angry and vengeful, but the Hraelen make their homes well above the earth in trees and planned forests that they visit where the earth cannot strike them. As nomads, they have populated much of the land with woods that have grown over generations to form small forests.

    Beneath the surface Dek’varro contains a vast network of caves that are only barely explored. Known for being treacherous and deep, the Hraelen have avoided them and the recent human conquerors barely know that they exist.

    Seasons in Dek’varro stretch from hot summers to snowy winters, during which the native people used to move south to the Upper Vale before coming back again for the summer. Now that the humans would have them settle in one place, the first permanent villages are being set up (on the ground, it is too difficult to build in trees) in the area with the intent to survive the cold winters. Many still follow their traditions and head south, but their visits are discouraged as unproductive faffing about as they haven’t much wealth to bring and end up competing with the locals for hunting grounds.


    Spoiler: People
    Show
    Hraelen (image ref link) are a race of avian humanoids, likely very closely related to the Hraban that inhabit the west of the Blessed Vale in the aptly named Hraban Confederacy. Their height and build mimics those of typical humans, but unlike their raven-feathered cousins they take after peacocks instead. From impressively decorated and distinct tails that seem to be unique to each member of their species to head-crests and blighty colored feathers all across their bodies, Hraelen are anything but hard to spot among a crowd.

    Their feathers are commonly a royal blue dashed with white and crimson red across it, which are unfortunately not adequate for flight but still plenty nice to admire. There are myths of a golden feathered Hraelen hero that can be found in the faith section. Beauty is very important to the people of Dek’varro, but they would not abandon another merely for their appearance. Believing in the saving and healing of ugly things to be of paramount virtue, they have historically helped many lost and dying creatures (sentient or not) before sending them on their way with what tools they need to recover and survive.

    Hraelen take names with two parts, typically an adjective followed by an improper noun to form a single word. Names along the lines of ‘Serene-River’, ‘Jade-Tarem’, and ‘Potato-Priest’ are all equally valid names that typically shift and change for an individual as they grow into a full person or make a major life-long accomplishment.


    Spoiler: History
    Show
    Those who once inhabited the Vale were pushed out into other lands when the humans came from Arrakh-Rah several generations ago, fearing their greater numbers and the desperation that they carried with them. Nomads themselves, the Hraelen simply migrated to different territories that they keep to this day in Dek’varro.

    Their society had a good grasp of writing Hraban runes and a speciality with creating fine art through pottery before they were conquered and advanced alongside Alqar. Their foremost leader and warlord named Slaughter-Fang was a capable warrior who saw the world adapting around him and began to adopt other innovations of the time via agriculture, irrigation, and masonry, but their adaptations did not come fast enough and their army’s strength was not sufficient to repel the humans a second time - resulting in the conquest of their newly settled villages and subjugation of their people.

    Their human overlords harbor no particular malice towards them, and the two have reached an uneasy peace in the days after the conquest. Tensions rise between the aggressive humans and the ‘primitive’ Hraelen when the two mix, where human workers are typically preferred and given better deals by the rest of the clan. The natives have contemplated contacting the Hraban Confederacy to aid in enhancing their position and striking back against their conquerors, but it is not their way to start wars, as it creates so much ugliness and loss. With a reasonable enough outrage, however, rebellion is certainly possible.


    Spoiler: Trade (Marble: Minor)
    Show
    So preoccupied with beauty that they continued to inhabit the treacherous region for its native white marble, most of their buildings and statues in the land are made with this precious white stone. Their society is still young, and thus the collection and construction methods are not efficient enough for any sort of major exports.


    Spoiler: Faith (Trinity of Light)
    Show
    There are legends that a blessed Hraelen with golden feathers will one day deliver them from a great evil that used to be part of their faith before the Trinity of Light arrived in their lands. The hero (who would be named ‘The Blight-Breaker’ in their folk-lore) was said to carry the light of the sun with them into battle, meaning that such myths were easily adapted into their new pantheon as one blessed by the sun.




    Region 43 - The Upper Vale

    Spoiler: Terrain
    Show
    The plains following the Sparkling River are flush with life and relatively safe from harm. Sparse but immense trees dot the landscape, covering the area in a thick canopy despite the lack of regular trees. The branches of these magnificently huge blue-leafed trees (called stone-roots) hold fruits rumored to have any number of mysterious and magical qualities… But those foolish enough to climb them tend to wind up falling from the heights due to the lack of branches until very far up, or the flying beasts that guard their upper reaches.

    The area closest to the river lacks the same canopy, and happens to have excellent soil for farming. The flat, moist earth takes naturally to all sorts of cereals that either grew naturally (like wheat) or those that were brought from further out (rice and corn). This is also where most people settled in the area, due to the ease of access to food and the capacity to hunt buffalo that roam under the trees further in.

    One of these stoneroot trees that died and then fell down over time is a major landmark in the region, colloquially called ‘The Barrier’ that stretches north to south through the middle of the plains. Due to the sheer size of the trunk now rotting into the ground, the local ecosystem around it is richer than anything else in the local area and provides an interesting strategic position for the purposes of war in the area. Parts of the barrier are large, hollowed out ‘caverns’ but they prove to be very dangerous to traverse, especially in large numbers.


    Spoiler: People
    Show
    Cäu (Pronounced: /kou/) live in the area as the native inhabitants, a hunter-gathered race of near-humans that traditionally emphasize living in harmony with the world.


    (More on traditional Cäu culture can be found in the writeup for Cäuplakai! [42])

    The Cäu in the region live alongside humans that migrated from the Blessed Vale outside of the reaches of clan Alqar. Where the Cäu lived in small nomadic groups when the humans arrived some generations ago, the two races ended up cooperating in the formation of a dozen small farming villages - with each nomadic group settling under one of the Stoneroot Trees and claiming all that which lay under its branches as their territory.

    Intermingling between the two races had lead to plenty of interracial couples throughout the clans, but those relationships tend to simply result in the child adopting the race of the mother.

    Cäu and humans both respect strength, and so feuds tend to be solved with short but non-lethal competitions of might or deferral to the elders. Temperatures in the region encourage only light clothing or protection against foes, as most of the year the climate is moderate to warm.


    Spoiler: History
    Show
    So existed six clans, who each hunted under the territory of a single tree. Life was simple and peaceful, hunting and gathering as needed without any need for complex societies or warfare. That is, until the humans came and built their village on the coast of the sparkling river. They practiced building and irrigation, gladly sharing it with the locals for some of their resources. Soon enough the area had modernized, but this came with a slew of new issues. The oldest clan wished to assert authority over the others, and told the rest that they would be in charge in case more strangers come to their lands with less than friendly intentions.

    Most were not content with this arrangement, but one particularly bold clan openly defied them and competed for the position. They clashed three times, and upon the third the leader of the first clan was killed. A major blow was dealt to the first clan, who in their grief called upon the spirits to curse their foes. This miracle worked, and the tree that they had built their whole society around began to decay from within until it collapsed, uprooting the village and killing dozens as it fell and crushed the better part of their now two generations of building and crafting. With fury, those that remained rose without any land or territory to call their own, and began the conquest of the region by force. Their directive was simple, submit and pay tribute or be killed. Warlord Ãwanri was known far and wide as the scourge of the Vale, driven by vengeance, until he met his match against Kalm Alqar in single combat - defeating his band of warriors and bringing relative peace to the area with Clan Alqar taking all others under its wings.


    Spoiler: Trade (Cereals: Good)
    Show
    The villages across the Upper Vale all produce various cereals, be they Corn, Wheat, or Rice. Some of these seeds were brought from afar by the humans (rice and corn) but they have also adapted to those that grow locally (wheat). A literal ‘bread-basket’ for the local region, the simple baked goods are well sought after and those who live in its borders may never know of starvation despite that illness that creeps in towards Mamut from the far north.


    Spoiler: Faith (Open)
    Show
    With a reverence towards nature and oxen, the native people tend to believe in spirits of the world that each have their own domains. Some great spirits might control the entire sky, while other lessers might guard a single cornfield. Offerings and celebrations related to good harvests are common, but there are few to no organized practices, prayers, or true magic to speak of with the exception of the curse that rotted the tree some time ago. Some say that the beast which granted that vengeful wish was no spirit, but a blightspawn intent on sewing madness and hurt in the area.
    Last edited by Zayuz; 2020-11-12 at 09:10 AM.
    "What is to give light must endure burning."

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Soreni (SOR)
    Region 308 - the Sor Dunes



    Silver only highlights the greatness of the Soreni.
    - Vasrik I

    Spoiler: Summary
    Show

    Region: Sor Dunes
    People: Soreni (soh-ren-ee)
    Faith: Soreni Traditional Beliefs (Philosophy (or not necessarily theistic)+Rituals)
    Resource: Silver / Art
    Leader: Empeor Vasrik (I)


    Spoiler: Leader and Govt.
    Show

    First emperor: Vasrik (I) of the Ixisk family.
    This is where the stats will be.
    There are a few noble families that control the civilization.
    Usually the ruling family stays in power for a long time, the role of emperor is typically passed down to an heir.
    When a ruler dies, other families may try to take power.


    Spoiler: Region and Geograpy
    Show

    The region is called the Sor Dunes.
    I don't have a specific place would like one of the cooler regions in Sikar, but that still gets warm.
    some plants grow here, but not good food producing ones.
    There is decent water in the ground.
    There are deposits of silver.
    Marks of Civilization
    Soreni tend to build large towns and villages, as opposed to smaller ones.
    Many are close to mines, and also water sources.
    These are typically split into multiple sections, for different purposes.


    Spoiler: People
    Show
    Spoiler: Biology
    Show

    The Soreni are Saurians, a reptilian race.
    Saurians are not new to the world. They are an ancient species, and they won't let it go. They challenge other species claims frequently.
    Appearance
    Saurians have greenish scales, they have clawed hands and fanged maws.
    They have feathers which can come in many colors.
    They stand on two feet and are on average a little more than two meters tall.
    They have tails.
    Diet and Physiology
    Saurians are primarily carnivores, but are capable of eating other foods.
    Soreni tend to look down on cannibalism.
    Most wouldn't eat any intelligent life. There is always that one weird guy every now and then.
    They have low metabolisms.
    They are cold blooded.
    Gender and Reproduction
    Wouldn't you like to know. Just kidding. Google it. Ask me later.
    There is some sexual dimorphism in the Soreni, but mostly it is in feathers, as males may have more prominent feathers.
    Females are slightly taller on average than males.
    While the Soreni understand male and female, they don't necessarily have masculine and feminine the same way other species might.
    Soreni could might seem to act completely opposite of what others expect from someone of their gender.
    In fact, gender determines very little in Soreni culture. Outside of reproduction, most tasks can be done by both males and females.
    How this will play out with other cultures that have different ideas? We will see.


    Spoiler: Culture
    Show

    Aesthetics
    Soreni have a strong understanding of beauty, natural, and artistic.
    Soreni don't wear clothes commonly, but will for politeness with those who do.
    They enjoy the beauty of nature and incorporate it into the art they make.
    Debated Ideas
    Some Soreni are open to outsiders, but others are pretty speciest.
    There are some Soreni who think that the ideas of Soreni faith don't apply to outsiders.
    The Soreni will attempt to be peaceful in most scenarios. Depending on what groups are in charge, this behavior could change.
    Family
    The Soreni are not raised by their direct parents, but by the family elders.
    They grow up and become independent when they are adults.
    They can choose to stay in the family, or leave to join another.
    Soreni don't necessarily need to marry into a new family to join it.
    This is less common in nobility, due to internal politics and intrigue.
    Marriage does exist, and it is almost entirely as an expression of love.
    Marriages are not arranged in Soreni culture for this reason.


    Spoiler: Resource
    Show
    Soreni land is rich with a precious metal called silver.
    They use it in trade.
    They love imports of foreign art objects.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show

    Soreni religion is complicated:
    The religion is not specifically theistic, and certain groups may worship deities, and others may choose not to.
    It has many symbolic rituals.
    The rituals vary between followers but are for things such as:
    • Entering a position of religious or political power.
    • Honoring the deceased.
    • Before battle.

    Many of the teachings of the faith preach to be kind to one another, and not to be motivated by spite or greed.
    If you read the previous section, you would know that not all Soreni apply these ideas to outsiders.
    The religion isn't named officially, but is known as Soreni Traditional Beliefs, or something to that effect.
    Other
    Soreni don't believe in luck as something supernatural.
    Soreni acknowledge the existence of souls, but they don't meddle with them for a number of reasons.


    Spoiler: Tech
    Show

    Writing
    The Soreni write on clay tablets, with special styli. This writing system is known as Runic Sor or Sorun.
    The language itself is just called Soreni, after the speakers.
    Tablets are usually small, and are taken good care of in libraries.
    Last edited by D&D_Fan; 2020-07-13 at 11:02 AM.
    Empire!6
    Check it out. It's fun.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    Ta Seti

    A kingdom of herders hot as the burning sand, and just as rough.

    Spoiler: Geography
    Show
    Ta Seti is a land of extremes. The northern stretch of the region is bound by the mighty lake Meroe. Surrounding area is a patchwork of savanna and tropical marshland bounding the lake's southern shore. Further southward the savanna tappers off into a mixture of desert and hot steppe kept alive mainly by oases and seasonal streams. The tropical grasslands, woodlands, and steppes are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Among them are Sikarian Mammoths, antelope, hippos, gomphotheres, buffalo, aurochs, large saber-tooth cats, and other smaller carnivores.

    The climate is hot year-round with distinct wet and dry seasons. The pattern of wet and dry seasons can determine the wandering patterns of the Alodite herders and natural fauna. Farmers typically plant seeds in the parched red soil at the dry seasons end before migrating onward to wetter areas, only to return to where the seeds were originally planted at the dry seasons start.

    Aside from lake Meore, other notable locations include Nbotia woodland, a small forest on the southern shores of lake Meroe, and the Rock of Ages, an Obsidian spire that stretches 200 feet high west of Lake Meroe.




    Spoiler: People
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    Alodites are an elven ethnic group that migrated to Sikar in the days before the false dawn. Elves are morphologically similar to most other hominids with a few key exceptions. Elves on average are taller, more gracile, and stronger than the average human, however, their physiology is more adapted to quick bursts of energy more than sustained activity. Their fangs, night vision and other elements of their physiology make them adept nighttime ambush predators. Long ago, the Alodite elves aged like obsidian and bent the burning sands like water. However, in the wake of the false dawn, the elves' connection to the ancestral Stele was broken, stripping them of the memories and abilities of the ancestral spirits. Currently the only way an elf can briefly connect to the ancestral Stele is to devour the remains of an elf within their bloodline. No elf in Ta Seti since the false dawn has lived over 100 as the harsh conditions of the Sikarian desert, war, and famine cause the young to devour the old.

    Alodite elves congregate in semi-nomadic family groups of between 20-40 elves accompanied by herds of cattle and slaves. Typically the wealth of any individual family is measured by how many heads of cattle they possess. The least important families are typically stuck eking out a living in the few fertile spaces within the region with no cattle while the most important families are accompanied by hundreds of buffalo and slaves. Clans typically meet up to trade and intermingle in small tightly planned towns that serve as places of ceremony and trade. Each town consists of warehouses that store food, adobe meeting halls, and an altar to the ancestral Stele at the town's center. Popular ceremonies include sacrifices to the ancestral Stele, the ceremony of succession, and the marriage ceremony. Elves frequently tattoo themselves with chalk-white hieroglyphs that contrast with their naturally dark skin in tribute to their bloodline. Typically they wear loose flowing robes with fine trades fabrics, though sometimes these robes are supplemented with various buffalo hide and bone accessories. Jewelry made from bones, quartz, and obsidian are fairly common among the common folk while jade and more precious metals are reserved for the higher classes.




    Spoiler: History
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    The Alodites consider themselves among the first people to set foot upon this beautiful world. Legend has it the first elves were shaped from the burning sands. But as they tried and tried to grasp onto the earth with their particulate hands their bodies shattered into ghosts of fairy wind Powerful enough to shape the burning sands, yet too ephemeral to feel a summer breeze, that was their destiny. Perhaps they’d have remained desert spirits unified in thought and purpose until one daylight from the sky hardened their sandy bodies into the glass, and glass into flesh. Now they had bodies but their spiritual connection to the earth had been severed.

    Alodite Griots claim that the elves were the first to tame the mighty buffalo, the first to chart the stars, and the first to move the earth. Of course, this paradise was ruined once the lesser races began leaving their mark across the landscapes. How true these tales are depending on what you believe of the teller.

    All that can be certain is that after the false dawn the scattered elf peoples migrated into northern Sikar where the monsoon winds deposited rain into the Seti basins numerous lakes and oases. Here they domesticated water buffalo, creating rock art of the region's numerous wildlife and began harvesting the sorghum and millet that pervade the basin. Frequently the Alodite wanderers would seasonally plant and migrate from lake to lake to feed their herds. Eventually, the great herding families united under the banner of Piye I, conquering the land of Ta Seti and uniting the Alodites against an incursion of blightspawn.

    The government of Ta Seti is an elective monarchy were the families who own the most cattle and slaves convene at the Rock of Ages. Here at the ancestral Stele, the families vote for the next monarch. The land is recognized as a communal resource for herders and farmers respectively. Traditionally the monarch assigns plots to the herding clans every year, while the families deliver tribute in the form of cattle, slaves, precious metals, and stones. The monarch has no permanent residence rather they wander from territory to territory over the course of the year.



    Spoiler: Resource
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    Domestic Water buffalo are the lifeblood of the Alodites, providing a source of meat, milk, and hides. Buffalo, serves as a unit of currency and status between the various Alodite clans. Foreign merchants from all over Sikar travel to trade luxury goods for access to the various products derived from the buffalo.

    Aldoites require Spices
    in order to properly preserve the meat they hunt.


    Spoiler: Faith
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    The Alodites worship their connection to the ancestral spirits of sand. The most common way elven families practice reverence by erecting a stone Stele marked with all the names from a family's bloodline. A connection to the ancestral Stele is believed to represent the gestalt conscious of all elven kind. The largest Stele in the region, made of obsidian carved from the Rock of Ages is supposedly marked with the names of all elven kind, though the hieroglyphs on it are indecipherable.

    Examples of key rituals include the ritual of succession, where the head of the family is sacrificed and ritually devoured by the heirs. This way a fraction of the elder's memories is spread among the community. Many elves interpret this as joining the Ancestral Stele. Once the elder is fully devoured a stele is erected in their honor at one of the traditional elven meeting grounds.

    Another important practice is the ritual of naming, a coming of age ritual where an elf teenager is tattooed and sent on a pilgrimage to another elven clan. Any deeds or successes on this trip lead to the child gaining a last name. Multiple last names can accused over a given lifetime. Eventually, the deeds an initiate well be recorded on their own stele to join their ancestors.

    The ritual of hunting is a popular sport where an initiate must hunt and consume non elf humanoid. The strength and skill required to succeed in this ritual is needed to join the ranks of the warrior caste.


    Spoiler: Leader
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    Aspelta Oases Seeker

    Stats
    Dip 4 (+1)
    Op 3
    Mil 4 (+1)
    Faith 1
    Int 1




    Region 290 Shilluk

    Spoiler: Geography
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    South of Ta Seti Shilluk is dominated by hot steppe, savanna, and marshlands fed by seasonal streams. The climate is dominated by the ever-changing balance between the dry season and the rainy season. When the rains come from the east the region gets inundated, turning it into a swampy abyss making it near impossible to trek across the region during hot summers. During the dry season the soil becomes parched, and dry wiry grasses begin to dominate the landscape. The terrain of Shilluk is ideal for the growing of cereal crops like maize and millet leading to the development of far more agricultural cultures. Notable fauna include browsing gomphotheres, sikarian elephants, buffalo, gazelles, antelopes, tall walking birds, wild horses, and saber tooth cats.



    Spoiler: People
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    Shilluk is inhabited by a mix of elf and human peoples. The most common ethnic group among the native elfs are the Makurians. Makurians are physically very similar Alodites, both bearing gaunt frames and russet skin tones. However, Makurians are on average 3-4 inches shorter on average, and have more rounded teeth, making them more optimal for consuming a more plant based diet. While the Makurians are rumored to have rejected the eating of meat, most families make do with eating the occasional wild caught game. Most animals owned, are ritually sacrificed to the local lord of the harvest Uash, only to then have their entrails spread among the fields. The same fate befalls those who violate the series of ritual taboos that define Makurian culture. In order to maintain the blessing of Uash the Makurians have a strict social system that demands politeness, curtness, aestheticism and respect for elders. Due to the more lush nature of the region, the Makurians wear a much wider variety of colored dyes, gathered from native fruits and nuts.

    The other large group of people in the region is a group of human hunter gatherers known as the Mirahi. The Mirahi are Very dark skinned hunter gatherers who roam the plains hunting game and feasting on the native plan life. Whle they are frequently hunted and underestimated by the elves the Mirahi's unique land management is important to limiting the impact of droughts and fires.


    Spoiler: History
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    Shillluk has been a populous but fairly isolated region due to its marshy geography. Civilization within the region exists in a series of decentralized farming village communities within the region. Occasionally petty kings rose and fell within the post dawn region, one notable kingdom belonging to Fashoda the Unyielding, who united nearly the entire region before her untimely death.




    Spoiler: Resource
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    The main resource of Shilluk is maize, a crop uniquely suited to growing within the tropical climates. Maize remains the main staple crop of the region, granting it a fairly high population relative to neighboring regions. Maize is used in a wide variety of dishes combined with the local variety of fruits and vegetables. Corn husks are used both as a building and textile like material. The town of Blue Sennar is a major trading center as farmers from across the region come here to mill their corn and process their corn husks into a more usable state.



    Spoiler: Faith
    Show


    While the Dollod have converted the people of this region to Yemnellenmey, worship of the harves lord Uash remains common. Legend has it that the regions fertility is due to the sacrifice of the harvest titan Uash. Every month a living being, a human or animal must be sacrificed in honor of Uash in order to keep the farm land fertile. Unfortunately the Mirah, and the local goat population are frequent offerings.
    Last edited by Lleban; 2020-09-22 at 08:32 PM.
    Beautiful Avatar thanks to Gengy


    Hangs out on the World building forums

    Giantitp projects: Caligoven the toxic seas, Baalbek Empire!3, Coatl Empire!4, Short and sweet world building
    Personal stuff: World of Tieg, Nexus: City of the Multiverse, Forgotten Planet Lost Between 2 stars, World of the 9 gates
    Spoiler: The gift that keeps on giving
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    Spoiler: and giving
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    Spoiler: Metric tons of giving
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  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    The Dannu-Gaon Tribes
    Region 96

    “Beware the River-Smiths, for no blade can turn away a flood.”

    Spoiler: Summary
    Show

    Resource: Living Stone [Great]
    1. [self]
    2. [vacant]
    3. [vacant]
    Holy Site: The Deep Lake [Native Unorganized]


    Spoiler: Geography
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    The peaks of the Seven Maidens rise to the southwest of the Dannu-Gaon, a region named simply for the people who inhabit it. The highlands are awash with the rivers Tuor, Nanne, Yvaon, and their many tributaries, and the spruces dot the landscape generously. A warm spot in Tarandi in the summer months, the riverlands are plentiful with fruit and beasts, though the blightspawn always present a threat. The winters are harsher, with only what little can be preserved and reindeer to sustain life as the riversprings up the mountains freeze, forcing reliance only on underground trickles for water. Many aquifers, active and otherwise, flow through the region and the surface gives way to a complex series of tunnels below, if one knows where to look.


    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The Dannu-Gao – the River-Smiths – are a crafty people. Human, dark-haired and paler than their cousins to the east from generations living in caves and the mountain-shadow, they primarily inhabit the tunnel systems underneath the Gaon, building fortifications of sprucewood and stone slabs to secure villages against blightspawn and to dam the rivers upstream, directing their paths to more desirable locations. What may not be obvious at first glance to travelers is that the plenty above is the result of strategic damming and digging, to direct the rivers and tributaries of the Gaon to irrigate the desired ritual sites and fertile fields. The bounty is not the result of nature alone, but a farm. In addition to horticulture, the river-smiths are skilled woodworkers and trap game for protein, when they don’t hunt reindeer or other local fauna.

    The Dannu-Gao are a highly egalitarian people with near-complete gender parity. Community Leaders are not single chiefs but married pairs, with a chieftain traditionally holding primacy in matters of warfare, hunting, and trade leading alongside a chieftess concerned with maintaining order at home, harvest and labor concerns, stability, and spiritual matters. Succession passes through the female line, typically to the eldest daughter and her spouse; if one member of a ruling couple passes, it is conventional for the other to abdicate if a suitable heir is available, though may maintain a short “regency” if the eldest daughter remains unmarried. In the event of the untimely death of one of the pair, it is conventional – should such unmarried individuals exist – for a sister or brother of the deceased to marry the bereaved and rule in their sibling’s place.

    Culturally, the Dannu-Gao are richly communal and more areas are common than private in their villages. In spite of this, they’re quite insular, and secrets are taken quite seriously.


    Spoiler: Faith
    Show
    The Stone-spirits watch from their shells, many gentle and nurturing, others wrathful and angry. A wrathful stone spirit is most dangerous, and the elders have many rhymes and melodies to soothe those whose anger has yet to be awakened. But truly, most of them sleep. They have no love for the brightness of day, and yearn to be one with the gentle light of the moon, kept wet by the tides. They feel no pain but remember shapes after their long sleep, shapes they begin to assume when they are sated. Gentle pleased spirits grant luck and plenty, but some spirits are angry and ungrateful. It is important to take care when awakening spirits.

    The Deep Lake is an important site, a small underground lake with a skylight connected to the surface through which the River Tuar feeds it. Though accessible by tunnel, some choose to dive in a leap of faith. The lake is shallow in places and deep in others, and many who attempt this dash their skulls upon the rocks.


    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    Starting Technology: Irrigation.

    Living Stones are pulled from the depths, shells for the stone-spirits. In the depths it takes a keen eye to discern the stones that live from the empty ones, but when drawn to the surface these vessels remember their shape. Under the moonlight and running water, they grow and mold and fill space to the shape they remember, until the shape is achieved or the flow is stemmed. Some elders claim to know the secrets to speak to the stone-spirits, to teach them new shapes for their vessels, and living-stones with useful shapes for tools or structures are prized indeed. Of course, some stones remember shapes of great beasts and walk again if reminded too keenly, and angered stone-spirits are most terrible foes.

    Preservatives, on the other hand, are prized for more mundane reasons. Though the summer seasons when the rivers flow are full of plenty, food spoils and the winters are not so kind.
    Spoiler
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  29. - Top - End - #29
    Orc in the Playground
     
    GreenSorcererElf

    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    The Sọ́kǎu Tribes

    Spoiler: Rulers
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    (for lack of a better option at the moment, dates of birth and death are in years since the False Dawn...which isn't known IC. I should probably just switch to years before/after the Blue Comet, but that would require making things more complicated and I'm lazy)

    Sọ́gẹ Yúkró khùw Tšrãák (210-)

    Attribute Roll (8) 9 10 Current
    Diplomacy 2+2 +1 +1 +1 7
    Military 3+2 +1 +1 +1 8
    Opulence 1+1 - +1 +1 4
    Intrigue 2+0 - - - 2
    Faith 1+0 - - - 1
    Spoiler: Special Actions
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    Sọ́gẹ Ákskhè khùw Yúkró (167-231)

    Attribute Roll 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Final
    Diplomacy 3+1 - - +1 +1 +1 +2 +1 (+1) 10
    Military 4+0 +1 +1 +1 +1 +1 - +1 (+1) 10
    Opulence 4+1 +1 +1 - - - - - (-) 7
    Intrigue 2+0 - - - - - - - (-) 2
    Faith 1+0 - - - - - - - (-) 1


    Spoiler: Region 41: Jù Fǎihlè
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    Jù Fǎihlè
    Region 41
    Spoiler: Terrain
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    Given the name Jù Fǎihlè ("Red Fields") by the Sọ́kǎu playing a leading role in the resettlement and colonization, the name "red" came originally from the association of that color with the south in Sọ́kǎu culture and the region's location south of the river. However, the name was considered apt and became popular due to the reddish tint often seen in the soil across the region, and the importance of a common red wildflower to the old nomadic inhabitants.

    The land along the river that forms the northern border is much like its counterpart on the far side: green, wet, fertile and marshy. Similarly, the southern border with Swampum and Rhödödendräk is mostly swampy forest, though the ground does become firmer and drier towards the east (at least until reaching the river delta).

    But both wetland regions form only narrow borders around a broad and flat-ish plateau rising up in the center of the region. Flat, open grasslands dominate the plateau, broken up in places by occasional clusters of low, rolling hills and patches of forest. The recent colonists have found the land excellent for farming, though the old nomads did little if any farming of their own, prefering to follow their wandering herds of cattle.

    Having never bothered to build many permanent structures, the nomads have left little obvious sign of their previous inhabitation. This is now changing with the introduction of farming communities and permanent colonies. Though the ease of finding fertile land means the farmers are only slowly spreading south and are mostly still close to the river.

    Spoiler: People
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    Jù Fǎihlè was historically inhabited by nomadic cattle herders, who call themselves the Wákhẹn. Living in family groups only loosely tied to larger clans and tribes, they wandered the plateau grasslands with their herds. Closely related to the Ẹtúniú of Héokalón, they reject the sedentary lifestyle of their cousins, considering them fools who traded the freedom of a wandering, nomadic life for the illusion of safety and comfort in their cities and farming villages.

    The recent recolonization has brought the Ẹtúniú and their ways to Jù Fǎihlè. The new cities and farmlands in the north resemble Héokalón more than anything. The Sọ́kǎu play a more significant role, though, having been the major driving force behind the expansion and colonization. Many of the cities have Sọ́kǎu rulers, but even so they generally rely heavily on the much greater experience of the Ẹtúniú in dealing with and organizing the mix of extensive farmlands surrounding urbanized centers.

    In any case, the cities and farmlands have yet to spread very deep into the region, and most of the land is populated by wandering Wákhẹn, who have returned to their old way of life almost as if it had never been disrupted at all.

    Spoiler: History
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    Life among the Wákhẹn continued much the same for decades or centuries, with the first serious disruption coming with the Amaryllis. Many of the rich and powerful became addicted to the flower wine, withdrawing more and more from the world and its responsibilities. The war between the Uzii and Sọ́kǎu brought more uncertainty; Rẹ̌tšrìj and her fellow Sọ̌kǎu proved instrumental in holding off the Uzii, even more so than the traditionally powerful chiefs and elders.

    Further disasters with the Amaryllis and the mysterious Storm Bird drove many Wákhẹn to abandon their ancestral homes. A few blamed the Sọ́kǎu, insisting life would have been better if the Uzii had won. Many more headed north, hoping to find less uncertain circumstances among their cousins and the Sọ́kǎu in Héokalón.

    Initially frustrated to find her efforts to secure control over the south banks of the river frustrated by the abandonment of the region, Rẹ̌tšrìj eventually discovers she has, if anything, more influence over the Wákhẹn after their flight north. The flow of migrants then reversed, with the Sọ́kǎu hero leading anybody and everybody she could find willing to follow her south to settle Jù Fǎihlè.

    Spoiler: Resources
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    The Wákhẹn nomads of Jù Fǎihlè kept herds of cattle. Somewhat smaller than the wild aurochs more common across the river to the north, they are much less ill-tempered. Providing milk and meat for food, hides for clothing and shelter, and bones and other parts for a variety of other uses, cattle herds were central to life for the nomads.

    Spoiler: Religion
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    The nomads generally recognized many of the same gods as their cousins in Héokalón. However, many of the richest and most respected clans followed a particular set of teachings that revered the Dreamflower. The faith is based on a loose collection of myths about Nhẹsụ́thaw, a god of dreams, music and artistic inspiration. He is said to have been mortally wounded by a jealous rival and forced to resort to entering into a magical sleep to delay his death. His followers in Jù Fǎihlè claim his blood was scattered across the grasslands of the region and wherever it fell a blood-red flower grew. The legends are associated with a red wildflower that still grows across the region and is considered a symbol of love and creativity. An herbal tea made from the petals and leaves of the flower is very popular and believed to bless drinkers with the sleeping Nhẹsụ́thaw's favor.

    The scattering of Wákhẹn after the wars and disasters, followed by the influx of foreigners during the resettlement of the region has seen the teachings of the Dreamflower lose its place as the most important faith in Jù Fǎihlè. It does remain, however, and many of its ideas are slowing spreading among the colonists and even among the neighbors of refugees in the north.

    Spoiler: Region 44: Máklè Phyõ
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    Máklè Phyõ
    Region 44
    Spoiler: Terrain
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    Located between the two major tributaries of the great river, Máklè Phyõ is mostly rocky and hilly forest. Along the rivers, swamps and marshes alternate unpredictably with rocky cliffs. While further from the river, the terrain is a crazy mix of steep hills and sudden gorges. The pockets of unforested land generally suffer from thin and not very fertile soil, which has long discouraged serious agriculture. The forests themselves tend to have rocky ground, making them also unpromising, even if they were to be cleared for farming.

    Several relatively broad river valleys flowing down to the border rivers serve as the most promising sites for settlment. They offer both rare good soil and the protection of difficult approach through the surrounding hills. Most of the rest of the region has still remained wild and untouched.

    Spoiler: People
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    The people of Máklè Phyõ are a mix of all the cultures and ethnicities gathered under Sọ́kǎu rule. The Ẹtúniú of Héokalón are the most numerous overall, though the north has been settled by colonists from Wēkache instead and it is possible to find Sọ́kǎu and Wákhẹn scattered around throughout the region. The mix of different cultures, and the fact that it takes a certain type of person to leave behind everything they know to move into empy and unsettled land and make a new life, means a new, distinct culture and identity is begining to develop.

    Spoiler: History
    Show
    The region has long been the subject of deep superstitions among the Ẹtúniú living to the east. All sorts of fantastical stories can be heard around Héokalón, changing dramatically from one place to another and even one teller to another. Many claim the land between the rivers was once populated by diminutive race of people known as the Mákle. Appearing like no more than children, but clever and skilled with their hands, many folktales in Héokalón credit the Mákle with teaching the Ẹtúniú the craft of spinning yarn and weaving cloth. There is considerable disagreement over whether the Mákle were all killed by blight during or shortly after the False Dawn or managed to survive and go into hiding.

    Other storytellers insist that the name "Mákle" actually comes from two old gods Má and Kle, whose forbidden love affair brought about the False Dawn in some way or another. Often the current stoney and infertile state of the region is stated to be the result of a curse, punishing the land for being the site of the divine lovers' meetings.

    Whatever the case, old stories in Héokalón claim that decades ago there was semi-regular trade across the river. Scattered communities were said to mine amber, which was highly prized as a status symbol in Héokalón. Contact had slowed down to almost nothing in recent memory, but it had been believed that the old inhabitants were still there. Until the excitment for colonization turned west and the first settlers found nobody. The eerie emptiness disturbed many colonists, and it never become as popular a destination as Jù Fǎihlè to the south. But the promise of abundant amber, and the growing confidence that there is not a secret horde of flowerspawn hiding around the next rocky hill or canyon, does still draw enough.

    Spoiler: Resources
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    Máklè Phyõ is famous for its amber. Even before it was colonized, treasure-seekers would sometimes brave the dangers (real and imagined) of the wetlands to fish out the beautiful yellow, orange and red stones, and it was also possible to find old amber said to have been mined in the rocky hills and traded across the river long ago. Now collection has picked up, and the amber has spread much more widely across Sọ́kǎu territory, triggering a craze.

    Spoiler: Religion
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    The mix of different peoples and cultures making up the colonization of Máklè Phyõ has kept any one faith from establishing dominance in the region.

    Spoiler: Region 45: Héokalón
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    Héokalón
    Region 45
    Spoiler: Terrain
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    Bordered on the west and south by the great rivers and on the north and northeast by hills and highlands, the majority of Héokalón is a broad, flat expanse of farmland and wild grasslands. Small pockets of forest are also common, especially in the east, and the land along the river is wet and frequently marshy. The hills of western Wēkache and northwestern Džíu Phè Hwǔ continue into the northeast corner of Héokalón, and in the southwest a cluster of hills forces the western river to curve back and meet the Great River further west.

    Scattered across the plains are major settlements, towns and small cities, surrounded by farmland and smaller villages. The historical lack of unity in the region has left the grasslands and marshes between the settled farmlands largely untouched. The numerous herds of wild aurochs are respected as sacred animals of the gods, and also hunted as important sources of meat, leather and other useful products. The bears, wolves and other predators are less highly regarded.

    Spoiler: People
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    The lowlands are populated by humans calling themselves the Ẹtúniú. Living in farming communities, they grow a variety of crops but have no domesticated animals and are reliant on hunting and fishing for meat. The largest communities have grown into small cities, and the fertile farmlands are speckled with towns and city-states. The Ẹtúniú themselves are short and stocky, with fair skin and hair. Though they will use spears and other weapons when hunting, or when the occasional wars break out, they consider wrestling to be the truest test of strength and skill.

    Women are expected to manage household matters, and so generally have control over wealth and property. Consequently, inheritance passes to daughters (and their husbands) rather than sons, and after marriage a man will join his bride's family making matrilineal descent generally held to be more important than patrilineal. While the rulers of the city-states and smaller communities are men, the sons of rulers are not eligible heirs. Instead, rulership passes to the sons of a former ruler's sisters, to retain power within a matrilineal dynasty.

    The people living in the northern hills are related to the hill tribes of Wēkache, and have more in common with them than the Ẹtúniú. Conflict between the two groups is not uncommon. Bands of highlanders will come down from the hills from time to time to raid. Attempts by the Ẹtúniú to push back and invade the hills rarely find any success. The highlanders are too much more familiar with their hilly homes than the lowlanders and can harry and harass invaders while avoiding decisive battles.

    Spoiler: History
    Show
    Decades before the appearance of the blue comet, Héokalón was unified by Sọlmhẹ́thu, a charismatic local leader and warlord from the city of Seánatha. Early in his rule, he was able to conquer several neighbors and become one of the most powerful rulers in the region. Ruthless but charismatic, he was able to gather a large and loyal following while crushing those who opposed him, eventually uniting all of Héokalón by conquest. Hoping to establish a long-lived new dynasty, he aggressively enacted economic and administrative reforms, while also purging many of the old powerful families and anyone he thought would threaten his new order. Skilled enough to manage his new kingdom and charismatic enough to limit open opposition, Sọlmhẹ́thu was able to hold things together while he lived. But after his death the kingdom quickly fell apart. A succession dispute between his nephews turned into a civil war, which turned into a prolonged stalemate. Preoccupied with fighting each other, and unable to match their uncle's abilities anyway, the would-be kings steadily lost control over more and more of the region. Héokalón is again a patchwork of independent cities-states and small farming communities, with the short period of unification a fading memory.

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    The lowlands of Héokalón are home to herds of aurochs. Undomesticated and untamed, they are large and powerful and can be aggressive if bothered. Hunting them is dangerous but important to the people living in the lowlands, and is a valued way for young warriors to prove themselves. In fact, it is one of the few feats of strength that are considered to be nearly as prestigious as wrestling. The aurochs are also important to the local religion. Most of the more powerful and important gods and goddesses have been associated with them at some point.

    Spoiler: Religion
    Show
    The Ẹtúniú were traditionally polytheistic. Each tribe and town or city had its own patron, and often its own specific rituals and teachings, but they all followed more or less the same faith. Sọlmhẹ́thu was a devout follower of the sky god Isẹ́tú, patron of his home city. He enthusiastically spread worship of his god, and minimized worship of other gods, considering them to be inferiors who served the great Isẹ́tú. Later in life, he even claimed to be the descendant and chosen representative of Isẹ́tú in the mortal world. The official royal cult of the sky god became powerful under his rule, and established itself throughout the kingdom. After his death, the royal cult deified Sọlmhẹ́thu, but also suffered from the collapse in centralized, royal authority. Isẹ́tú declined in importance, as most people returned to their old patrons. But the royal cult did survive, and claimed that Isẹ́tú and Sọlmhẹ́thu would soon send a sign to their faithful. The appearance of the blue comet was interpreted by many as fulfilling a prophecy that had been spread by the Cult of the Sky, which has enjoyed dramatically increased popularity since then.

    The Cult of the Sky believes Isẹ́tú to be the father of the gods. Sometimes anthropomorphized, especially in the past, he is usually presented as literally being the sky. The sun and moon are his eyes, and the stars (which have recently become visible again with the clearing of the red sky) are the souls of the faithful who have been taken up into the sky for eternity. The official explanation of the blue comet is that it was the soul of Sọlmhẹ́thu, and that the changes it brought were the sign of a new age. A small splinter group insists that the red sky was the true form of Isẹ́tú, and the blue comet and it the changes in its wake were instead a sign of his displeasure with people for abandoning Sọlmhẹ́thu's legacy.

    Owing much of its influence and popularity to Sọlmhẹ́thu and his unification, the Cult continues to claim that no ruler of Héokalón can claim legitimacy without its blessing. During the collapse of the short-lived unified kingdom, the Cult was able to collect most of the physical symbols of royal power and authority either introduced by Sọlmhẹ́thu or adopted by him from earlier local rulers. The combination of respect and fear still afforded to the old king means that even those who do not follow the Cult's teachings would pay close attention if it were to give its support to a would-be re-unifier.

    Spoiler: Region 46: Džíu Phè Hwǔ (Capital)
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    Spoiler: Terrain
    Show
    Hugging the long coastline running north from the Kọ̀p Hlẹ̀sọ́ river, Džíu Phè Hwǔ is dominated by temperate rainforest. The human population is concentrated along the coast and in the broad river delta in the south where the forest is less dense and large open areas more common. Further inland, and away from the river, are vast stretches of untouched old-growth forest. Considered mysterious and dangerous by the native humans, the deep forest is believed to be haunted by spirits and any number of strange and overworldly creatures. The land also rises towards the northwest, becoming hilly and eventually breaking out into a series of low mountains in the corner of the region.

    Away from the deep forest, scattered plots of farmland cluster erratically, as farmers rely on slash-and-burn farming and periodically move on to new fields. Once the soil is depleated, farmers abandon the land to lie fallow and eventually regrow as new forest. Long-term, continous settlement in the same place exists along the coast, where fishing villages prefer to remain close to reliable waters, and has developed more recently in the fertile delta. But most people still have little attachment to the land, and are quick to move on if they feel the time is right.

    The three largest and most significant towns are Pthǎi Èu, Tšrìj Ṭhù and Ró Nùk. Located on the coast, about a third of the way down from the northern border, Pthǎi Èu is the oldest of the three. Controlled by the powerful Lọ̀plẹ̀ and Gãk tribes, themselves locked in a fierce but simmering rivalry that only rarely breaks out into open war, it is considered the traditional center of power in the region. Tšrìj Ṭhù is further south on the coast, at the northern fringe of the delta. Founded originally by the Thwøyǐj tribe, it was adopted as the home of the powerful Sọ́gẹ chieftains and remains the closest thing Džíu Phè Hwǔ has to a capital. Much further upriver, near the border, is Ró Nùk. The smallest and youngest of the three, it is controlled by the Zbãyúik: one of the few tribes interested in expansion upriver and inland.

    Spoiler: People
    Show
    The Sọ́kǎu are seafarers. They claim to have always been such, though the question of whether they are native to Džíu Phè Hwǔ or originally came from across the sea is one they have no answer to, nor any real interest in. Considering the wide Kọ̀p Hlẹ̀sọ́ to be a mostly acceptable substitute for the real waters of the ocean, they have lived along the coast and riverbank for many long years, and have only slowly begun to take more of an interest in what lies further inland.

    The Sọ́kǎu are tall, with fair to light brown skin that more readily tans than burns despite its light color. Brown hair is the most common, though blond and red are far from truly rare, and their eyes are a variety of light colors with brown being quite rare. Though apparently typical humans, they claim to have mixed ancestry, with a small amount of elvish blood from long ago.

    Though they do engage in some farming, to supplement the food collected from the sea and river, they have generally little attachment to the land. Control over productive fishing areas and knowledge of currents and winds out in the ocean are highly prized. On the other hand, control and ownership of land is seen as having little value.

    The Sọ́kǎu are tribal, passing down extensive oral memory of long geneologies and placing a great deal of importance on tribal membership and blood relations, no matter how distant. A common sentiment is that while one may fight with their family, they must defend their family against another member of their tribe, and that other tribemate against someone from another tribe. Relations between tribes, however, are extremely fluid. Only a small number of feuds persist for long, and it is common for two tribes to spend a year or two fighting only to join together against a third and quickly become close allies.

    Skill in battle is highly regarded, as is cleverness and ability to enrich oneself through trade. Extravagent shows of riches and luxury are seen as proof of one's ability, and extreme generosity is seen as a way to show off one's wealth by acting as though the impressively rich gifts are insignificant. People will gather around leaders who are able to make themselves and their followers wealthy. The greatest leaders are seen as those who are especially generous with the riches they accumulate, either as spoils of war or more legitimate trade. The Sọ́kǎu are therefore noted for greedily pursuing any means to enrich themselves, while at the same time generously giving away their wealth.

    In war they strictly adhere to an unwritten code of honor. Honor is gained by proving oneself in battle through acts of courage and by defeating worthy enemies. Loot and spoils of war are seen as the rightful reward of victorious fighters, but anything left behind and not taken as loot should be left alone and not damaged since there is no honor in wanton destruction. Likewise, noncombatants are to be left alone, since honor comes from defeating worthy enemies not unworthy ones. However, the expectation is that all men learn to fight, and so any adult male is generally considered a combatant. The only major exception being shamans.

    Spoiler: Government
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    Recognition of power and authority among the Sọ́kǎu is highly personal, and most people respect two overlapping spheres of authority. Loyalty to one's tribe is considered essential, and the words of tribal elders and members of distinguished bloodlines within the tribe are given a great deal of weight. But people who have proved themselves skilled and honorable are also highly esteemed, regardless of tribe. It is far from uncommon for a particularly skilled warrior to gather a following from a variety of different tribes. Ultimately, power rests in the hands of those who are capable of keeping hold of it by convincing others that they should have it.

    Currently, the Sọ́gẹ tribe is recognized as the most powerful, and is able to enforce a loose hegemony over the others. But the tribes cannot be said to be unified in any real sense, and the hegemons' power depends on mastering the delicate balance of knowing when to pressure the other tribes into following orders and when to back off and let them pursue their own agendas.

    Issues of law are handled by unwritten, and sometimes vague, codes of honor. When a dispute cannot be easily resolved, and the parties do not want to resort to more extreme solutions, tribal elders are called upon to judge based on their long experience of observing previous judgements and precedents.

    Spoiler: Resources
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    The extensive forests are an excellent source of wood.

    The cultural obsession with enriching oneself as much as possible while simultaneously giving lavish and extravagent gifts leaves the Sọ́kǎu in constant need of luxury goods

    Spoiler: Religion
    Show
    The Sọ́kǎu follow a collection of mystical, animist and shamanist traditions, collectively known as Tšhlèi. All things in the world are believed to have a spirit, which resides in a spirit world separate from and parallel to the human world. These spirits and their world are strange and inscrutable. Contact with them, especially prolonged contact, is dangerous. Extensive training is required to learn to safely contact the spirit world, and even more is required to learn to understand the strangeness of that world well enough to gain anything valuable from the experience.

    The spirit world is said to mirror the living world. But the spirit world is an inverted image: the spirits of inanimate objects are conscious, while the spirit forms of living and animate beings are normally unliving and unthinking. When sleeping, people become less conscious and aware, and thus their spirit forms become closer to awareness. Dreams are said to come from vague glimses of the spirit world by the dreamer's partially awakened spirit. It is only after death that most people's spirits awakens fully; the exception being shamans, who learn to wake their spirits and become aware of both worlds. Shamans are therefore said to be both alive and dead, and though they are highly respected they are also feared as no longer entirely natural.

    The main role of the shamans is to act as intermediaries between the two worlds for their people. Though strange, dangerous and not always trustworthy, the spirits have knowledge of many things that people cannot. Seeking knowledge or advice from the spirits requires passing over into the spirit world, which requires an awakened spirit, rituals involving entheogenic drugs and repetative, droning and trance-inducing music, and enough experience to safely navigate the spirit world, deal with the spirits there and find your way back. After all that, the messages are usually as strange and difficult to understand as the spirits themselves and require a good deal of interpretation by the shaman.

    In addition to crossing over into the spirit world, shamans are important for dealing with spirits that cross over the other way. While some are harmless, others are potentially dangerous. Some are merely tricksters, and simply have a mischevious desire to cause petty trouble. Some are more malevolent and seek to cause pain and suffering. The most dangerous, however, are corrupted spirits who desire to experience the living world and to truly belong in it. They inevitably spread their corruption and madness in the living world in their desperation to have what they cannot. These various types of wayward spirits are held to be the cause of disease and misfortune, and so shamans are healers in addition to their other duties. Knowledge of herbal medicines and drugs are an important part of shaman training, and curing a disease and driving out bad spirits are seen as inseparable parts of the same action.

    Holy Center:

    One of the more important locations, known to the Sọ́kǎu as the Hidden Grove, is a small collection of trees believed to have particularly active spirits. Located only a short journey into an arm of the deep forest that reaches south towards the river, it's combination of spiritual importance and relative ease of access makes it a popular destination for Tšhlèi shamans and those seeking their help.

    Spoiler: Region 47: Wēkache
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    Wēkache
    Region 47
    Spoiler: Terrain
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    The eastern half of Wēkache is covered by dense, mostly coniferous temperate rainforest. The majority of the forest is inhabited only by small bands of elves, who prefer to leave as little evidence of their presence as possible. The forests are green, wet, and filled with life. Deer and elk are plentiful, as are boars, bears, cougars and lynx. The Sọ́kǎu have established a small settlement on the short coastline. A good natural harbor protected on the land side by a rocky hill, the site had been used for decades as a hideout for raiders. Only recently has a more permanent settlement been established, and has been given the unofficial name of Tšhíj Gọ̀u.

    Further west into the center of the region, the land rises into hills and low mountains. The hilly highlands stretch westward, eventually dropping quickly as they approaches the river. The rocky hills and higlands are much less densely forested, especially further west. But what the hills lack in forests, they make up for in goats and goatherders. Small farming villages can also be found scattered around in valleys, but it is ubiquitous goats that life for the hill tribes revolve around.

    In the southwest, there is a narrow fringe of lowland running along the river. The fertile soil is heavily farmed by cousins of the goatherding hill people. Productive and prosperous, it is the most densely populated region of Wēkache.

    Spoiler: People
    Show
    Elves
    The dense forest in the east is populated by small bands of elves. Patient and stealthy hunters, they are more adept at sudden and overwhelming bursts of energy than prolonged exertion and tire quickly if forced into a long, sustained effort. When hunting or fighting they prefer to use ambush and poison, usually delived by blowgun darts. Their vision is better than humans' in dim or dark conditions, and they prefer to do most of their hunting around twilight, disliking bright daylight.

    The elves believe all animals have spirits, and reject the idea that there is any meaningful difference between people and animals. They also believe that when an animal is eaten, its spirit passes into those who ate it. Eating the dead is seen as a way to allow their spirit to live on, while also allowing their power to pass on to their eaters. They claim that in the past they were even able to gain the memories of the dead this way. But the ability to do so was itself gained by eating someone with the power, and was lost to the elves several decades after the False Dawn. Nevertheless, they continue to eat their dead, and if given the opportunity will eat dead members of other bands, and even outsiders, in order to capture their spirit and strength. Refusing to eat a dead animal is a serious insult, and ensuring that nobody can eat it is an extreme act, as it prevents the spirit from living on and causes it to die a true death. Unlike animals, plants are considered to not have spirits. While the elves will eat plants, they consider them less worthy food due to the lack of spirit, and meat should always be the centerpiece of a proper meal.

    Though the elves can live for hundreds of years, there are currently no known to be a century and a half old. In the decades after the False Dawn, a strange disease spread among the elves. It first appeared as a muscle tremors and difficulty with control of fine movements, including speech. As the disease progressed, the infected became weaker and weaker. After a year they would become unable to move, and eventually die. Those who ate dead victims of the disease reported that their memories of the later stages of the disease were strange and disturbing. A rare meeting of leaders from all the bands concluded that everyone alive at the time of the False Dawn had been corrupted. In order to prevent the corruption from spreading and continuing, they had no choice but to break the chain of memories and ban all those who had been alive during the Dawn, or carried their memories, from being eaten. Over the next several decades, everyone who had the memories of the Dawn eventually succumbed to the disease. But the ban succeeded, and the disease has disappeared, along with the ability to pass on memories.

    Humans
    The highlands in the west and center of the region are populated by tribes of humans, related to the humans of the far north of Héokalón ([Region 45]). Semi-nomadic pastoralist goat herders, they periodically travel between summer grazing areas higher in the hills and winter dwellings in valleys. The rugged terrain makes travel through much of the hilly region difficult, and many of the tribes and villages are significantly isolated, even from their closest neighbors. Isolation has cultivated a great variety of culture and language; different groups often find communication difficult, and tend to be distrustful of each other. Generally, though, they are hardy and resilient, and all the tribes prize endurance and dogged determination.

    Relatives of some of the hill tribes also live in the lowlands along the river. More sedentary than in the hills, they rely more on agriculture than goats for food. Though both of the two groups recognize the close relation between them, they also look down on each other. The highlanders see the lowlanders as soft, unable to handle proper life in the hills, while the lowlanders consider the hill tribes to be uncultured.

    Spoiler: Resources
    Show
    Goats are common in the hilly and mountainous central and western parts of Wēkache. The hill tribes rely heavily on domesticated goats for food and clothes. The people of the western lowlands also keep goats, though they are much less reliant on them.

    Spoiler: Religion
    Show
    There is little organized religion in the region. The elves emphasize the spirits of animals, denying that non-animals possess spirits. The spirits of the dead pass into those who eat them, and are able to live on through them. Carnivores are respected and revered, since they have accumulated the spirits and strength of those they have killed and eaten. While on the other hand herbivores are looked down on as weak, only containing their own, original spirit. Dying without being eaten dooms the soul to a true death and is considered to be a terrifying prospect. The most important rituals relate to hunting and death. As a rite of passage in order to become an adult, a young elf must leave their band and survive alone in the forest for a time. In their time alone, the new adult decides on a particular predatory animal to adopt as a totem, and eventually returns with an impressive kill to share with the band. Popular choices for totem animal include: bears, cougars, lynx, birds of prey such as eagles, owls, hawks and falcons, and a large, venomous viper native to the region.

    The humans follow animist ideas, and believe that all things, both clearly living and seemingly non-living, possess spirits and are animate. All of nature and natural phenomenon are caused or controlled by some spirit or other. Appeasing powerful spirits is important in order to ensure good fortune and avoid disasters. The exact details of the relevant rituals tend to vary from tribe to tribe, but all rely on shamans to assist in communing with spirits. Small shrines can commonly be found in the hills, raised to some local spirit and with small offerings left by travelers. A handful of major shrines, with dedicated priests and settlements growing around them, have developed over the years as well.

    Holy Center: Native Animism

    The highest peak in the region, called by the nearby hill tribes Ākāro, is highly regarded by both humans and elves. Distant but visible in the eastern forests, the elves claim the summit is the roost of a massive and ancient owl. A deadly predator with a voracious appetite, it is also seen as a protector: hunting blightspawn and other twisted, corrupted things. There is ongoing debate regarding whether the blue comet was the Great Owl purging the skies of the last remnants of corruption, or the Owl leaving and thus a sign of worse things to come. The human tribes worship the spirit of the mountain, which also holds power over the sky and weather, though some more distant tribes downplay its importance. The mountain is home to the largest and most significant shrine in the region: one of the few to attract attention and pilgrimage from all tribes.
    Last edited by Aventine; 2020-11-30 at 06:36 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Limbo, I guess

    Default Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers

    The Dolod of Nellen

    Spoiler: FLAG
    Show


    Spoiler: Summary
    Show
    The Dolod: Beings with perfect recall and hereditary memories seek to add all possible experiences to their peoples' memories.

    Leader(s): The Quluq, a mind-melded group of seven Dolod.

    Capital: Nellen
    Holy Center: The Urelleru [Yemnellenmey, worship of the sun, moon, and memory itself]

    Resource: Desert Bell seeds (spices)
    Need: Clay
    Starting Tech: Pottery


    Spoiler: Geography of Nellen
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    The sands and stone of Nellen are harsh, unforgiving, and, most of all, unchanging. Oh yes, the dunes shift, the rocks crumble, the winds blow. But the shape of the land does not. Dry, hot days and cold, desolate nights are all but guaranteed, while the moving sands promise new sights daily. Small burrowing reptiles and mammals, most commonly the hairless desert marmots, hunt for scarce roots and even scarcer insects.

    If one is particularly unlucky, one might stumble across one of the so-called roving pits. Impossible to find intentionally but improbable to avoid for long stretches, these pits are deep quicksand traps that are covered and revealed by the shifting dunes. More often than not, though, they leave one stranded in a massive labyrinth of caverns and tunnel twisting beneath the sands, home to untold horrors and known as the Snarled Stone. Or so the rumors go; few who find one of these pits return home to speak of it.

    The one constant in this desolate hellscape, though, is the roving Blightspawn. The heat, dry air, sand traps, and lack of vegetation are nothing compared to the true horrors of Nellen. The less said about these abominations, the better.

    Nellen has one bright spot, though. A vast cave system near its border, accessible by an easy climb down a canyon, has the region’s easiest access to fresh water. A spring floods the lower reaches of the caverns, providing nourishment and shade for those who seek it. Some larger caves near the top of the canyon have spent centuries collecting sediment blown by the winds of Nellen and are now home to some surprisingly fertile plant life. The caves are even somewhat safe, at least comparatively; only the lowest and most inaccessible cracks in the canyon connect to the Snarled Stone.

    This system is home to the only permanent settlement in Nellen, Gilig. Structures, mostly consisting of rough, stacked stone walls at one end of a cave, are dotted throughout the canyon and in the cave system contained within. A handful of free standing structures can be found at the base of the canyon, typically constructed of mud or baked sand. The Forum, a pit dug near the lip of the canyon and lined with stone seats, overlooks much of Gilig and serves as the settlement’s meeting area and seat of the Quluq.


    Spoiler: The People of Nellen; the Dolod
    Show
    The Dolod are short, thick, and hardy bipedal creatures. Their flesh has taken on the color and texture of old leather from their generations in the sun and wind of Nellen. They have an almost childlike quality to them as their heads are nearly the size of their torsos, with flat eyes covered in a protective film, a human-like nose, and a small mouth lined with two rows of teeth. They have two sets of arms. One ends in large hands with three thick fingers, while the other set ends in six small, dextrous digits.

    Owing to their lack of visible sex organs (or any dimorphism at all) and protective flesh, the Dolod only wear clothing for very formal occasions or to keep outsiders from being uncomfortable in their presence.

    The Dolod eat an omnivorous diet consisting mostly of the plants found in and around Gilig, their capital. They hunt marmots, insects, and the various reptiles of Nellen as well, though these are considered delicacies.

    The Dolod are a people with no past. That is not to say that they are a new civilization, but rather that they have no concept of the past. They have perfect memories and little to no control over these experiences. To a Dolod, their first taste of the sweet onions that grow near Gilig is constantly occurring. The Dolod language has no past tense - their minds process their present and past as all part of one constant event. A Dolod is born with the memories of all three parents, as well, thus giving the youngest offspring a place of privilege and honor since they will be carrying on the most memory. To a Dolod, death is unfortunate but only truly tragic if the lost individual had yet to pass on their knowledge.

    Dolods find joy in pottery. They craft pitchers for transporting water, bowls for serving food, and simple shapes for decoration, all with images of their memories transcribed onto them. Studying an elder’s collection of art is considered a great joy and honor, as it gives a glimpse into the mind of one with so much to share.

    Much of a Dolod’s life is spent cultivating the plants of the canyon, wandering the desert in search of new and exciting things to add to their memories, and in carrying out the orders of the Quluq. Dolods live for survival, but see the possibility of experiencing more of the world as incredibly exciting. They have a biological imperative to add memories to the community.

    Dolod are incredibly community-oriented. The memories are all that matter, thus the young are considered nearly sacrosanct as they carry the most memories and have the most capacity for more.

    Dolod live for approximately fifteen years, with some notable elders living for two centuries or more. Dolod are born fully mentally mature and physically mature within three years. Mating is done in triplets, and triplets typically mate but one time, the better to ensure offspring with diverse memories.


    Spoiler: Government of the Dolod; The Quluq
    Show
    The Dolod are currently led by the Quluq, a council that oversees Dolod development. It plans adventures for adults to find new experiences, dictates interaction with other peoples, and oversees resources allocation to ensure all Dolod are cared for.

    The Quluq is made up of seven Dolod who serve for life. Because Dolod experience such short lifetimes, this typically means a relatively rapid turnover. The Quluq, though, engages in a Sunsearing with each new member. In short, this unites the seven into one mind, sharing memories and experiences. When there is risk to the people, though, the entire Quluq can be replaced at once without a Sunsearing to inject bold new ideas into the leadership. This drastic action is also taken if a member of the Quluq dies without Moonbathing (the process by which a member is removed from the shared mind), as such a loss irrevocably damages the minds of those still Seared to the lost individual.

    [In short, the Quluq changes rapidly through, effectively, hereditary means. If the leadership is killed or abdicates, the replacement is, effectively, “adopted.”]

    The current Quluq is:

    Diadaid - Master of Speech, Overseer of Culture, Mouth of the Quluq.
    Helmleh - Master of the Militia, Overseer of the Wall, Fist of the Quluq.
    Ullu - Master of Pottery, Overseer of Crafts, Fingers of the Quluq.
    Selmles - Master of Memory, Overseer of the Urelleru, Mind of the Quluq.
    Gegeg - Master of Travel, Overseer of Intrigue, Eyes of the Quluq.
    Qoolilooq - Master of Peace, Overseer of Trade, Hand of the Quluq.
    Disdsid - Master of Joy, Overseer of Festivals, Face of the Quluq.

    With stats: 1,2,3,3,4
    DIP - 4
    MIL - 2
    OPU - 5
    FAI - 3
    INT - 1



    Spoiler: Resources of Nellen
    Show
    The Dolod flavor much of their food with the dried seeds of a fruit that grows in Nellen. These Desert Bells are flavorful and, when powdered, act as a mild preservative. They are the Dolod’s primary export.

    With their heavy reliance on pottery for cultural practices, the Dolod are in constant need of clay imports.

    Starting Tech: Pottery.

    Trading Posts:
    [Owned by Dolod] - The Upper Caves of Gilig
    [Vacant] - Lower Caves of Gilig
    [Vacant] - The Distant Oasis


    Spoiler: Faith; Yemnellenmey
    Show
    The Dolod worship the sun and moon as the dual eyes of the spirit of the world’s memory, called the Emnellenme. They witness all that transpires and provide the inspiration for the Dolod to do the same. It is from this worship that the Dolod have pottery. By laying out soft clay images for the sun to see, the images become fixed and unchangeable, forever implanted in the mind of the Emnellenme and recorded to share with other Dolod.

    The sun is the perfected eye of the Emnellenme, whereas the moon serves as its competitor in many myths. For this reason, the moon is known to, on some occasions, destroy memories. If one wishes a deed to be kept secret, it is done in the night. Some Dolod are born without memories. These moon-touched are sent on quests into the depths of the Nellen to seek the sun’s blessing. Few return.

    The Holy site in Nellen is the Urelleru, a great stone surface a day’s journey from Gilig. Pottery, from the pitchers for water to flat slabs used as decoration, is sacred to Emnellenme and thus to all Dolod. The Urelleru functions as a massive open-air kiln.
    Last edited by JBarca; 2020-07-12 at 11:02 PM.

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