Results 31 to 46 of 46
- Join Date
- Jul 2013
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the EmbersKingdom of Lhungho SaarRegion 221 – Troll Country
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.
Spoiler: GeographyOnce known as Surriv, now called Ljung Ghrakka Saar by its present lords, and known by most simply as ‘Troll Country’, the basin of the great river of Sur is a lush, fertile land, with numerous floodplains and wetlands among the many tributaries leading to the river proper. Stonehorn buffalo, knifehead boars, whitewater dogs, crownbreaker elephants and Surrivan lions all call these lands their home, hunting and foraging among the fens and grasses, while scattered trees turn to woodlands in the north as the climate warms, and seasonal monsoons bring life-nourishing rains.
The most iconic aspect of Troll Country, however, would be the river ecosystems themselves, and the hippopotami that dominate them. While the rivers define the landscape, flush with an incredible diversity of life, both wholly and partial aquatic, the hippos define the rivers, and have greatly contributed to the expansion of the wetlands across the landscape, as have the trolls who herd them.
Most riverbanks prone to flooding serve as home to villages of elves or dwarves, tending to seasonal grain farms, hunting or trapping smaller game, and fishing the rivers for enough to sustain themselves, all the while fearing their smiling overlords, whose appetites and power seem equally insurmountable.
Spoiler: PeopleThe lords of Troll Country are, as the name may imply, river trolls, who rule over the elves, men, and dwarves who make their homes on the riverbanks. The Dhraan, as the trolls refer to themselves, are massive, typically standing between 30 and 40 hands tall at the shoulders when fully upright, and commonly weigh between 60 and 175 stone. Colors range from bluish-green to reddish-brown and dappled gray – these colors can shift somewhat to be darker or lighter in response to environmental and social cues. Trolls are perhaps most notably characterized by large, long toothy snouts like that of a crocodile, with thick hides coated by a thin coat of permeable scales.
As trolls are prone to ‘turning to stone’ when out of the water for too long, their dress tends to reflect this – when they know they will be unable to submerge themselves for extended periods, trolls will dress in hides soaked with hippo fat, or failing that, river muck, clay, and mud. Most of the time, however, troll attire is rather more oriented towards the purposes of self-decoration, armor, or protecting injuries while a troll heals – though this rarely takes long unless the injury is a missing limb.
To outsiders, the two most infamous traits of trolls are intrinsically linked – their ravenous hunger, and their rapid regeneration. The trolls claim the latter as a sign of their goddess’s favor, and the former informs much of their culture. Combined with their understanding of medicinal herbs, a sufficiently well-fed troll can typically survive injuries that would be death sentences for other species – even impalement through the neck by a spear is but a handicap for particularly fat trolls, as their bodies can produce blood nearly as fast as it is lost, not to mention a rapid closing. This regeneration is taxing, however, and not without costs: tumorous growths are common among battle-hardened or elderly trolls, and their sheer body mass means many trolls are constantly hungry already – and without sufficient energy to heal, the stone-like hibernation that they may resort to is much like death.
The primary food source for trolls, beyond the tribute of their thralls, comes from herding the shovelsnout hippopotamus, which serves as the primary source of meat, hides, and bone tools for the river trolls - the banded hippopotami are still wild. In addition to the hippo bloats, there are at least two species of bird the trolls care for and use in daily life, the redwinged eagle, a large raptor which they use in hunting smaller prey on land and for sport; and the giant plover, a small wading bird kept as pets and to help pick leftover scraps from a troll's teeth.
The present lifestyle of the trolls can be maintained only through the labor of their thralls – the elves and dwarves which once lived along the riverbank ruled only by themselves, now working in order to provide their riverine lords with sufficient food to ensure their appetites remain focused elsewhere. Though precise counts are notoriously difficult, some have estimated that there may be even a dozen thralls for every civilized troll.
Spoiler: HistoryBefore the trolls, there were the dwarves. Gouging the land's flesh, prying out it's bones, sucking out the world's golden marrow in their sweltering little huts. So when the mountain fell, the dwarves fled, taking what splintered remnants of their home they could from the holes in the world's skin. They fled to the waters that bled from the wound of the earth, clean and pure as starlight on the mountain-tops, and they stopped by the great river, before it grew too great for what little they knew of the waters to bear them safely on. And with no marrow to drink, and no bones to shelter in, they might have despaired - but the earth heals itself as we do, and is never all aright, and so the dwarves could find the splinters of the world's bones, and these they knew well how to break for their desires. So they cut the sharp shards of the world's broken body, still reeling from that Frozen Light, and they made them into tidy fragments from which to build home and hearth. And they lived well, for a time.
But before the dwarves, were the elves. Reaping in the dark, basking in the love of the land, and recounting the stories of their youth so many centuries ago. When the Frozen Light shone, the elves say it burned them like nothing else before or since, and that when the earth cried out in pain, the seas heaved themselves up to overrun the great river's flanks, spilling a water that was as poison to all living thing, a Blight upon the world. When the fields would not bear fruit - when the river's tempestuous floods threatened to drown what little peace they found - when they could not bury their dead for fear that the roots of the trees that once loved them would snare the living too - then the elves were generous. The dwarves and their walls of carven bone would bring safety - the elves would bring sustenance, dragging home death from the dark, a bloody toil that gave meat by fallen hunters as oft as it did by fallen prey. And together, they lived as well as a peoples could manage, in the moons after the Frozen Light. But the elves grew bold - the dwarves grew brash. They had survived the river thus far, had they not? Why not claim both her sides, and further still their lot?
But before the elves, was the river. Mighty, winding, roaring in flood, a murmur in drought, but always, always the river flowed, from the cold mountain snows and the monsoons in the hills, the river widened, deepened. It thrashed on the surface of the world like a child's temper, wrinkling and smoothing all at once, until nothing near her path could call itself untouched. The river was as a great beast, wondrous, host to a thousand lesser creatures and more, but never, never to be underestimated. And with the Frozen Light so freshly piercing all, she was a wounded beast, cornered and desperate - and when the elves and the dwarves took to yoke her, she fought. Surging one moon to drain the next, upsetting the efforts of the peoples who lived on her shores, dependent on her gifts for so long, to claim her in such rude fashion. But the elves were patient, and arrogant - the dwarves crafty and stubborn. They devised a plan by which to pin the river, where she could not unmake their efforts. Take the shards and fractions of shattered femur and fragmented tibia, of worldspine and cave's tooth, gather them in the woven skin of young trees, still drinking in soil and rain, not yet callused by sun and burrow, and drive these like spears into the belly of the river. Atop these piled carcasses would their toil be safeguarded, a foundation from which their burdensome task could be completed. But these charnel-house pillars could not help but accomplish their heavyset task, and their masters drove them hard, piercing deep - too deep. They built with avarice in their hearts, legacy in their minds, and potential in their souls.
And in the river, they found us.
Troll families are typically called kin-circles, and will consist of anywhere from 3 to 8 adults and their children, often in similar numbers as the parents. These families are themselves part of larger kin-groups made up multiple kin-circles with familial ties to on another, and this sort of hierachical grouping continues to larger and larger groups of trolls. Internally, these families are dually hierarchical, with both male and female trolls establishing a dominance hierarchy amongst each other. This hierarchy is mutable as injuries and hunger fluctuate, although the familial bonds and loyalty usually predominate in terms of informing social interactions and relationship temperature. Hierarchies between different kin-circles and groups are likewise mutable, but this change is more frequently based on prestige and informed by violence.
Troll social structure is built around access to food, both prescriptively and descriptively. Higher status means more access to food, and more access to food means higher status. The unifying impulse for the Dhraan is hunger, and so their society has a somewhat unusual hierarchy of prestige. While the very highest position is occupied by the Troll-King and their kin-circle - currently King Haanhangandhal - just below them are the Eduuzhe, overseers of the Inghudhu, who occupy a position of rather precarious prominence in the kingdom, as it is they and their bloat-thralls who are responsible for guiding, breeding, and culling the hippo bloats that feed much of the Trollish Kingdom.
Similarly well-fed and similarly precarious, but less desirable than either Eduuzh or Inghudhu, are the various Unngthezhe and Ixhudhu who manage the populations of thralls and collect the thrall tax - the Ixhudhu are also called upon in times of war to gather hosts of thralls and fight for the kingdom. Collectively, the Unngthezhe and the Eduuzhe make up the bulk of the Trollmoot, who will meet in part or in full to argue over the finer and coarser elements of life - beyond art and contesting with other trolls, bickering appears to be among the chief occupations of the wealthy and well-fed in troll-society, though it might be noted that there is a level of satiety past which the frequency of said bickering begins to fall again, while the quality of the bickering itself rises.
Below the level of Edhuuzhe and Unngthezhe, the organization of Dhraan society begins to drop off rather precipitously - the various artisans, laborers, and craftsfolk of the kingdom are most often attached to other kin-circles of Edhuuzhe, Unngthezhe, Inghudhu, or, on occasion, the barge-trolls which travel between settlements along the rivers, surviving on hospitality and whatever acumen for trading they might scrape together.
It is not infrequent for such disreputable folk to take thralls with them, making use of their counsel for trading, using them as intermediaries with thrall settlements, and even treating them as though fellow trolls, in the most egregious cases. It is no wonder so many Ixhudhu are suspicious of unfamiliar barge-trolls - one can never be certain how the thralls will respond to the sight of such strange and unnatural relationships between thrall and troll. Likewise, Ixhudhu are more liable to rely on additional thrall-taxes than to keep kin near that neither aid in controlling the thralls nor provide food themselves.
Finally, there are the bands of disorganized, nearly feral trolls scattered throughout the country, hunting, foraging, and preying on travellers and passers-by, unable to see the merits of cooperation nor plan far enough ahead to easily grow past their half-starved state.
Spoiler: ResourceThough the spadesnout hippo is one of the most well-known elements of the region, their need for wetlands and the ravenous appetites of their river troll Inghudhu means few, if any, are made available to outsiders. The river’s gifts are many and varied, however, and so it the foremost export of the Trolls consist of a multitude of healing herbs. Over the decades, the high injury rate among trolls has led to a well-developed understanding of the restorative properties of local plantlife - but none are so greatly desired or widely useful as Mother's Milk.
The Wadingtooth flower, identifiable by it's cream-colored blossoms and colorful but prickly leaves, is a hardy plant readily found along the banks of rivers and marshes, where they appear to thrive, and from which Mother's Milk is drawn, in the form of a pale, thin, blue-ish sap or nectar. Mother's Milk is most remarkable for its capacity to enhance the regenerative abilities of most living creatures, but especially trolls, whose natural capacity for healing and regrowth is not only accelerated but eased - scar tissue, tumors, and the itch often associated with regeneration are all reduced in severity and duration when Mother's Milk is used, and thus it has become one of the most valued non-food commodities in the region.
Usually, one of three groups does the trading – the trolls themselves do most trading out of Silverstone Fords, while the markets of Lowtown host dwarven traders selling the product of nearby Wadingtooth fields and elf foraging parties travel out to meet foreigners by Five Brooks. Most of what they ask for in return consists of Food of some form – the appetites of trolls are endless, and without a steady supply of materails with which to fill their gullets, trouble may brew – whether from peckish trolls, or overburdened thralls.
Starting Tech: Animal Husbandry
Spoiler: FaithThe trolls give praise and thanks to Ghrakka Yonghalo, the River Mother, their patron deity of life, fertility, and healing. Though other deities may exist, it is Yonghalo that the trolls see as having birthed their race, which is first and most favored by her, though she is Mother to Many. Feasts and births are celebrated in equal measure, and her blessing is thought to be most abundant in the Lju-Nghutthi, the healer priests.
Lju-Nghutthi are often travelers, staying in no place overlong, performing the rituals, tending to the maimed, telling the stories, inciting the feasts and passing on the blessings of the waters, but it is not unknown for the most prestigious of trolls to have Lju-Nghutthi who elect to remain with them. Given the importance of feasts in Dhraan culture, it is no surprise that there is such demand for the healer priests, whose attendance at such a feast is said to bless it.
More broadly speaking, however, the act of consumption is one of paramount importance in the troll faith - if one is consumed, then they are not truly deceased - their being and selfhood becomes part of that which consumes them. This logic may explain why the offering of flesh (typically a finger joint) fills a role broadly similar to the offerings of bread and salt in cultures of smaller stature - though it is typically reserved for greeting strangers and very formal occasions - and in the cases of formalities, samples of the host's flesh are typically prepared well ahead of time and preserved, so as to be capable of continuing to perform the duties of host during the event.
Bellowing Bridge is the name given by thralls to the broken remnants of the dwarves’ construction site, where the trolls first awoke. It is now used as a forum of sorts for the more sated trolls to argue the finer things in life (thus the name), as well as the largest shrine recognized across all the meanders of Troll Country.
Last edited by Rolepgeek; 2020-08-03 at 12:13 AM.Sincerely,
Role P. Geek
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers
Starting Zone 113 (Tarandi)
Spoiler: SummaryLeader: The greatest of the Thanes, also called the Boss. The current Boss is Calder, Thane of the Stag, a man of average height bedecked with ropy muscle, cloths, and hides, with a great brown beard and long hair even into middle age. New Bosses are chosen as described under People.
Region: Star's End, A Mountain Region at the Southwest of Tarandi
Great [x] Hardwood
Good [ ] Hardwood
Poor [ ] Hardwood
Holy Center: Star's Landing
Other Trading Posts:
TP(1) from Region 116 (Safflower Oil)
TP(1) from Region 117 (Tundra Wolves)
Units: 7 (Land)
Starting Tech: Animal Husbandry (+1 to Opulence and Diplomacy Exploration)
Acquired Tech: Masonry (+1 to resist Raids and Sacks)
Acquired Tech: Writing (+1 Conversion Defense; +1 Conversion in regions that share your writing system)
Acquired Tech: Irrigation (+1 Stabilization)
Acquired Tech: Pottery (+1 Buyouts)
Acquired Tech: Sailing (Enables Exploration and Troop Transport over deep water)
Acquired Tech: Wolf Riding (+1 Battle)
Spoiler: GeographyThe homeland of Clann Solais is a rough and forested highland, and their territory covers a band of tundra to the north and extends up through the foothills and into the mountains, right to the point where they become impassible and seemingly reach the heavens - the Star's End from which the land gets its name. Conifers, scrub, and rock are plentiful, but there the land's generosity ends. Snow is a regular event for half the year and never completely clears during that time, from the light dustings of early spring and mid-autumn to the raging whiteout blizzards of the winter. The fauna is divided between fast creatures, small and easily missed creatures, and predators.
There are a few other noteworthy features. The great springs feed hot and clean water through the higher lands and splash in great and violent rapids down into the area below, feeding the massive lakes in three directions. These springs, which perfectly reflect the sky on any clear night, play a part in the local religion. They have been deemed sacred and neutral, unclaimable territory by all the clans of the Children, and fighting each other there is forbidden - outsiders are the exception.
There are many, many trees in the reaches of Star's End, but one stands above the rest - literally. The Red King was so named for its wood, its height, and its reign over lesser evergreens. In defiance of the highlanders' understanding of how trees work, it stands over five hundred feet tall and at a point higher than the elevation cutoff for similar trees. No storm has toppled in in all the rage of the False Dawn, and two ill-advised attempts to cut it down failed, both times with the perpetrating lumberjack claiming that the tree's bark repelled nearly all attempts to cut it and healed before their eyes when a mark was finally made. The Red King is a recognizable landmark through most of the highlands but too remote to play a big part in the local culture.
Finally, there is the Arch. No one remembers who built it or why, but it spans an impressive stretch between two mountain peaks, beyond the part where the Children have been able to venture. It gleams in sunlight and sparkles under the moon, but as it appears to do little else, it joins the Red King in being of only minor concern to the locals.
Clann Solais ("The Children of Light") is the term for the clans that collectively control the Star's End Mountains and a chunk of the flatland below it to the north. They are heavily tied to their faith and each clan is named for one of the great constellations in visible from the northern sky. These clans are too small to be truly specialized, but the areas they traditionally inhabit do lend themselves to minor differences in hunting, gathering, and construction techniques, as well as a few truly local holidays. Outsiders likely cannot tell one from the other without identifying each clan's symbol, but the differences are fairly obvious to those who have grown up among them.
Marriage is a complicated two-stage affair among the clans. Any two or more people can choose to become a Cear - something like Best Friends, but the actual relationship can be subdivided into Cearcall, Cearhan, and Ceardun, describing friendship, romance, or rivalry. These states are not exclusive. If the members of a Cear think it might become permanent, they form a Constellation and cement the relationship until death. This is considered a sacred and unbreakable connection (one that officially links two families, in fact) and does not have to involve the entire Cear (most are between just two people), though it can with little fanfare. Actual sworn enemies do not form a Cear, instead simply trying to kill each other and often dragging the rest of their families into it.
While this may sound laid back, human relationships are never so simple. The primary mode of entertainment among the Children of Light is storytelling, and that includes the eternal rumor mill, to say nothing of those who would spread stories for their own gains and agendas. While the Clans themselves avoid conflict, there are individual family squabbles that have been ongoing for generations, and that's on top of the infatuation, jealousy, incompatibility, and bungling that can afflict any prolonged interaction between two people.
In a land where resources are scarce and space is plentiful, taboos mostly center around waste and space. Those handling either improperly are punished with tasks typically assigned to children, the idea being that they need remedial training on growing up. There are other clan-specific quirks, which will remain unnamed for now.
The eight clans are, as mentioned, named after visible and identifiable constellations. Each clan is formally listed as "The Clan of the X," or "Clan X" for short.
The Wanderer: Depicted as either a man with a staff or an albatross. (Clan of the Wind)
The Trickster: Depicted as either a young woman with a silver bangle or a crow. (Clan of the Feather/Clan Silver)
The Warrior: Depicted as either a very large man with a bow or a mountain lion. (Clan of the Claw/Clan Arrow)
The Seer: Depicted only as a figure shrouded in a hooded cloak. (Clan of the Cloak/Clan Eye)
The Druid: Depicted in different ways - young, old, male, female, human, animal, or some combination thereof, but always with a pronounced set of antlers. (Clan of the Stag/Clan Deer)
The Priestess: Depicted traditionally as a woman with a clay pot. (Clan of the Fire/Clan Star)
The Beast: Depicted as an enormous creature, serpentine, cetacean, or ape-like mammalian, with a massive maw. (Clan of the Beast/Clan Hide)
The Craftsman: Depicted always as a human, usually with a little tower next to him or her. (Clan of the Tower/Clan Hammer)
The ability to make decisions that affect all the clans falls to the Boss. The Boss is the Thane of one of the clans and is decided whenever the previous boss dies at the Great Fire, a relatively massive event that involves gatherings of representatives from each clan at Star's Landing. There they mourn the previous boss, celebrate all that said boss accomplished that was good, and then hold competitions to see who the next boss should be. These competitions can involve everything from tests of strength and wit to debates, haggling, and even seduction. The Great Fire has only three rules: First, the big fire that is lit on the first day is not allowed to go out. Second, no one is allowed to kill anyone even if their families are currently feuding. Finally, no one gets to go home until a new boss is named. While fun at first, the process of keeping the fire going becomes increasingly arduous and the pressure on everyone to compromise and settle on someone increases until eventually a successor is named, usually amidst a deal that no one is happy about but that everyone can live with.
Spoiler: HistoryThe actual history of Clann Solais is distorted in the thousands of spoken iterations it has gone through, but the reality is that they survived the False Dawn due to a number of factors. There are traces of an older, possibly more advanced civilization in the area, but what lasted did so because the mountains formed a natural barricade to the worst of whatever wiped out so much else to the south while providing a defensible fallback against the beasts of the tundra and the other people who came from the north to take what the Children had, either from fear, desperation, or greed. This is not to say that the False Dawn didn't take a toll, though. More accurate or detailed records of their history are long gone, as is most of what they once were. They are faced with inhabited and resource-starved lands to the north and mountains that have remained impassible due to terrain to the south - and even if they could traverse the greatest peaks, there lurk the creatures that were not slain by heroes in ages past. Recent history, however, has seen new paths open up - around or perhaps even through the mountains. With enough effort and luck, perhaps the Children could start to explore their surroundings once more. The current Boss certainly seems to think so...
Spoiler: Religion: SiderealismSiderealism encompasses the mythology that replaced the history of Clann Solais. In an age of turbulence and a sky stained red, there were still tales of the stars, of lights in the sky that stood unwavering and returned year after year to serve as guides to the lost. It was said that the greatest of heroes stood among them, before the False Dawn, and that their beauty was unmatched, a standard of comparison to which all good things should be judged.
In particular, eight heroes were etched in the heavens above, each leaving their wisdom for the Children to follow when the time was right. That time is now. The stars have returned, the constellations clearly displayed once more and reflected in the sacred waters at Star's Landing. The teachings, instilled at a young age and never forgotten, now take on a special significance:
The Teaching of the Warrior - You will defend those weaker than yourself, for no one is strong at all times. Attempt at least one grand feat before you die.
The Teaching of the Wanderer - You will undertake at least one grand journey in your life, for the world cannot be seen from a single point, no matter how high.
The Teaching of the Craftsman - You will never cease learning or thinking. Always respect your teachers.
The Teaching of the Priestess - You will understand that hypothetical virtue is meaningless. Failure to err is not success. Keep faith with these teachings.
The Teaching of the Trickster - You will know that all is not as it seems, and seeming is not all there is. No one says what they mean, even if they mean what they say.
The Teaching of the Druid - You will command when at your best and follow for the rest. A worthy leader is worth a mountain of treasure.
The Teaching of the Beast - You will never forget that the only strength that matters is what is earned. A good thing that endures is better than a great thing that does not.
The Teaching of the Seer - The future is not decided by a roll of the dice. It is the product of conscious decisions and plans set in motion.
These things are always open to interpretation, of course, but never before have the Children started to think about them as applying to their entire society as they are now. What this means for the future is anyone's guess.
Spoiler: ResourcesStar's End has an abundance of Hardwood for use and trade.
The Highlanders need Oil for starting fires, preserving hides, religious ceremonies... they have many uses for it, but the animals of Star's End mostly lack the organs and fatty tissues needed to render it.
Spoiler: RulerRuler is Calder, Thane of the Stag
Turn 1: Military and Opulence +1
Turn 2: Diplomacy +2
Turn 3: Diplomacy and Military +1
Turn 4: Military and Opulence +1
Turn 5: Diplomacy and Military +1
Turn 6: Military and Opulence +1
Turn 7: Intrigue +2
Last edited by Jade_Tarem; 2020-10-19 at 07:42 PM.Amazing Zealot avatar by Elder Tsofu.
- Join Date
- Aug 2018
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers
The Sewune of Gehudu
People that fled underground when the disaster hit only emerged from their bunkers in recent times and were mostly unchanged apart from the growth of a sixth finger on each hand.
Region: Gehudu forest, ???
Ruler: "King" Yorick II
Resource: Sweet Droggen berries
Required Resource: Metal
Faith: Light of Elward
The Gehudu Forest was not always fertile land but it seems that even the most barren of lands can be cultivated given enough time and "fertiliser". What the Gehudu Forest once was people no longer really know but the stories tell of a place uninhabitable which made it so perfect for the shelters built below it. Surrounded by foothills on all sides only the passages in each cardinal direction are easy to traverse and make for natural choke points. The forest has a rich and diverse ecosystem that managed to flourish in peace with the protection of the natural boundaries the chain starts as always with the fresh grass, plants, berries and trees that are abundant in the area and makes it way up the food chain with boar, deer, pheasant and mice to the alpha predators that can be found in bears and cougars. The streams that flow down from the foothills provide clean(ish) drinking water with streams full of fish, frogs, mosquitoes and other small aquatic life. The people that settled in this region have a Capital in the centre surrounded by smaller settlements that have created farm lands and orchards.
When travelling up the foothills the weather quickly turns to snowstorms and most of the vegetation seen in the forest below disappears replaced by pine trees and small bushes providing only berries resistant to cold. The food chain turns simple up here the rabbits eat berries and the wolves eat rabbits known to travel all across the foothills the wolves own these lands never setting foot in the valley below making use of small rock outcroppings to traverse the natural passages in each cardinal direction. Standing on the top of the hills provide an excellent view of the surrounding regions and the valley below.
Beyond the hills lies only barren wasteland as far as the eye can see. Lone trade routes have formed fanning out to the four winds the routes cannot be called maintained but traces of frequent travel along them keeps them clear to follow. The environment is harsh so the wildlife here has adjusted to the environment, while not all species have been discovered travellers often have to deal with giant scorpions and snakes while coming to or from the forest. The few scrubs that grow here have no right to and would only provide the smallest amount of sustenance for any desperate enough to eat them.
The Sewune people are humans that now call the Gehudu Forest home they have been left relatively unchanged apart from a sixth finger growing on each hand. This extra digit sprouting beside the little finger is fully functional and as one might imagine makes some tasks easier and others harder. The Sewune people are an agricultural civilisation that pride themselves in trade, quick to make contact with other tribes to share in the bounty the forest provides in exchange for resources it does not. Most of the populace works the fields harvesting weeds and fruits, the Droggen berries are unique to the region these red berries the size of a child's fist are incredibly sweet and their crimson juice is used in many of the alcoholic beverages throughout the kingdom.
The country is led by "King" Yorick II. The people that live here have no taste for war and prefer to live out their lives in peace without the hassle of conflict. The king's family has been on the throne ever since the abandonment of the bunkers below and his current heir is his daughter Anivia who at the age of 16 already has the people's trust and admiration. The nobles that advise the king live spread throughout the forest representing the small settlements surrounding the capital of Edhonia. Below the nobles is the military while small in number it is their task to keep the peace and stand guard at the passages leading in and out of the valley a small company of soldiers patrols the foothills. Below the military are the common folk who live their lives tending fields or running shops; they have many professions as one would expect.
The official records show that the entrances to the bunkers were lost in landslides and other strange but believable incidents. The reality however is that in secret a shadow council remains within the bunkers controlling the king and his nobles and the choices they make from below the earth. This other side of the Sewune people is a hive of villainy and deceit that care not for the well-being of their fellow man and should another disaster hit they would close the doors to their safe bunkers and wait out another storm. The outside world does not know much about this underground civilisation if anything at all however if anyone paid close enough attention sometimes in a pub or random crossing in the streets they may hear people greet each other with "As below so above".
The ancestors to the Sewune people had the good sense to know a disaster would come eventually and spared no expense building bunkers in a remote location to make sure that they and their offspring could survive what was to come. Whether it was luck or wisdom it seemed they were proven right just not quite as early as they envisioned. When the bunkers were finally complete and stocked with provisions a small earthquake hit not enough to scare anyone really but the biggest contributors of the bunkers decided this was it and called for all that wanted refuge to come now or be sealed outside forever. Many responded to the call and while the population lost tracks of what happened outside their bunkers life within went on. Over the many years an hierarchy was established and a council ruled over the inhabitants. The rules established were simple: everyone had to work to maintain the bunkers, any criminal was given a choice exile or death and any dead were deposited above ground to be claimed by the wastes.
At some point disaster did strike and the world did change forever and while the people lived in the bunker for many many years slowly the dead deposited above ground created enough fertiliser for life to grow anew. This was discovered when for the first time in many years a group of criminals chose exile and as they were dumped in the lift to the surface and the doors opened they were greeted by a new forest and not the wasteland that were supposed to be here. This group quickly set up camp and their leader Elward made sure that defences were in place. Over the years the camp grew in size and any new exiles were welcomed to join their group. As time went on the people in the bunker learned about the outside world when a door malfunctioned and opened up to the
wastelandsforest. The council was against people leaving claiming it not to be safe however the people were tired of their underground lives and most of them choose to make a living above ground.
Over time the original camp became the Capital of Edhonia and Elward ruled as the king with his original group of exiles supporting him in the roles of nobles. With fair rule he established a country that was prosperous and peaceful and after having explored the entire valley he sent our scouts to the wastelands beyond to find trade routes. His family would take up the throne after him and rule for many years. As time progressed the people started hailing Elward as their saviour and a religious group grew revering him as a god.
In the bunker the council that one's rules with absolute authority did not care much for this change and worked their hardest to regain influence over the people. It took years of planning and scheming but they were able to convince the populace that the bunkers were sealed off and lost forever while they secretly continued to use them as their base. With small acts of deceit, a friend here and a casual meeting there the council managed to get the children of Elwad and his nobles on side. Strengthening their influence with each generation the descendants of the council gained more and more control over the Kings and his Nobles to the point where the council were considered the real rulers by anyone high enough in the country. While the general public remained blissfully ignorant the council set up secret tunnels and a spy network to rule over them in the shadows.
The Light of Elward is a religion that sprouted around the first king of the Gehudu forest. Its followers hail the king for guiding them out of the darkness and into the light of the sun. While worship is not enforced in any way many of the citizens follow this belief and leave tokens of gratitude to the forest and once a year celebrate with great bonfires so that the night can feel the light that Elward provides.
The council does not follow this belief for obvious reasons however they do celebrate the holidays in their own way. Having realised that the sought after fruit the Droggen berries only grows because of the bodies that were deposited over the years they make sure that fresh fertiliser is provided on a regular basis. They use the priests of the light of Elward to explain the disappearances in the night and so far the populace seems to accept the explanations given.
Holy Site: The doors of revelation. The doors that malfunctioned to reveal the outside world to the Sewune people have been converted into a holy site. While the entrance to the bunkers has long since been sealed off many pilgrims still gather here to honour the past and their guide to the light.
The forest has an abundance of fruits, vegetables and wildlife however unique to the region are the Droggen Berries. These berries are very popular due to their sweet taste and the fact they are excellent for creating alcoholic beverages.
TP 1: The royal Orchard owned by the Sewune people
TP 2: The western Orchard Open
TP 3: The eastern Orchard Open
Required resource: Metal
While the forest and foothills provide an abundance of natural resources it appears no metal can be found in the area. The Sewune people have to import this to create their tools and weapons.
Animal Husbandry: +1 to Opulence and Diplomacy exploration
Last edited by Moriko; 2020-07-13 at 08:26 AM.See that awesome avatar? This dude called Gengy made it.
- Join Date
- May 2015
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the EmbersThe Brayewen Tribes
Region 129, Braye
A small civilization of grey humans with a passion for arguments
Resource: Grousse Shark
Required Resource: Wood
Starting Tech: Pottery
Ruler: Thought King Kartoffel
Description: Kartoffel is of short stature with a rounder face than most Braywenese. He is plump and enjoys having friendly discussions with his subjects over a pint of mead.
Rerolled my second 1
The region of Braye is a Rocky tundra with large hills and deep ravines. The landscape is mostly rock with patches of moss and shrubs that can survive the harsh winters. Braye has a very cold landscape, however the humidity moderates the temperature and the mid summer weeks are warm enough for residents to go without sweaters or coats. Throughout the region evidence of a great civilization is visible. The capital, Kleng, sits upon the ruins of a large castle, the King still resides within the castle however the walls are broken down and would provide no military protection.
The capital, Kartoffel City sits on the ocean, right in the crevice between The Cliffs of Klammen. The Cliffs of Klammen are only 10 km apart near Kleng and the Ocean, however they expand to around 50 km in the center of the region allowing some farmland. An Aquifer runs between the cliffs of Klammen, allowing Kartoffel City and the main farming town, Baurenhaff, to get access to fresh water. Regions to the north and south use the fat from seals to heat water so it can be desalinated. Water is bought and sold at a premium in these regions which include all towns except Baurenhaff and Kartoffel City. The farmlands around Baurenhaff do not produce much grain, so the population lives off fish.
The towns from north to south are: Reesen, Fësch, Kartoffel City, Bauerenhaff, and Terade.
To the north of the region lay the broken paths. Once these paths were used by thousands, now they lay barren. Stabby stones rise out of the ground and the region is scattered with . If the region was once known, that knowledge is lost. Now only death himself walks these paths.
In Braye, merchants always caravan by the marked roads lest they stray across the Eruungo. The people talk of the spirit Eruungo, it speaks in a tongue lost to time. Travelers claim they see a man lying on the ground with a severe injury begging for help, most leave him alone. The travelers that do help him are said to join his spirit army as he prepares to take his revenge on the living. Truth or not, travelers always get the same advice: Stay on the road, and don't help anyone you don't know.
Map of Braye, Ignore the dark lines that go through the other territories and the orange dot
The people of Braye are human with gray skin and nearly white blonde hair. They glow faintly while communicating in any way, and presenting arguments causes them to glow like a small candle. Most of them have sharp pointed noses and faces. The common fashion is to keep their hair short and parted in the middle.
Their culture revolves around discussion and arguments. Haggling is expected and the Braywenese never take anything at face value. If new knowledge is described the expected response is "Why?". The only one above these cultural rules is the Thought King. Anything the Thought King says is regarded as absolutely true. He can change truth as he sees fit. Arguments among natives nearly always use proofs based on the thought king's sayings or messages received by a group of people from Fraiheeto(see religion).
The Thought King is picked from all children 6 years of age. Generally a backup is chosen when the next thought King is chosen and a true successor is picked only when the King reaches 50 years of age. The king is chosen by a round table of elders from every major city in the country(Reesen, Fësch, Kartoffel City, Bauerenhaff, Terade). The elders are mostly hereditary but the elder is basically whoever holds the most power in the city, the Thought King also has the ability to change elders to anyone else. Note that although King is used as title of the leader, the king is not always a man.
The Brayewen Tribes have been rebuilding since the False Dawn. The burns from the False Dawn seared the skin of all the Brayewen and large swaths of the population were culled. Houses caught fire, fishing nets were scorched and the already dwindling population turned on each other for food and shelter. During the chaos an earthquake ruptured the area now known as the Broken Paths, leading to even more calamity and devastation.
Around 100 years ago, Schuel, the first Thought King was said to have received instructions from Fraiheeto to begin the reformation of the people. He was also told that the calamity was over and a new age was beginning.
The next king was Fraen the bold. She was the daughter of Schuel. She established the council of elders based on Fraiheeto's instruction and allowed them to choose Kartoffel, the new king.
Spoiler: Religion: Fraiheetism
The Brayewen Tribes worship Fraiheeto as their God. She is the only one whose absolute truths transcend the truths from the Thought King. The Brayewen tribes claim that they hear her voice whisper truths and that upon receiving such a message it is the receiver's duty to share it with the tribe. There are small huts in the major towns where people will occasionally ask Fraiheeto for help by burning some vegetation in a clay bowl.
The people believe that everything has a form. The bushes, animals, the sharks. They all have an essence that guides who they are. The essence of peoples is more complex and the essences of objects are simple. Through discussion the true form of each of these things is revealed and can be shared with all. The people that see these forms say that it's like coming out of a deep dark cave, and into the light for the very first time. Devout followers of Fraiheeto search for her form.
Braye is in dire need of wood. Trees don't grow naturally in this region and the fishing business requires wood to make rafts for the fisherman.
The main resource of Braye is Grousse shark. These sharks swim frequently in the ocean near Braye, the fishers will use smaller fish as bait and nets to catch the Grousse shark. The shark skin absorbs light, and releases it over an extended period of time. The people of Braye will leave the skins outside during the day and bring them in for light at night. The shark is seen on the Brayewen Flag and it is also used for food.
Last edited by m9p909; 2020-09-07 at 12:52 PM.
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
- Avatar by Kasanip
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers
The Naherin Coalition
Spoiler: Ruler StatsDiplomacy: 1
Spoiler: SummaryA recently unified land, born of a bloody war. Whether it stands or burns, only time can say.
Spoiler: GeographyThe land held by the Naherin is surprisingly kind, for Sikar. Considering that the border to the south and west is dominated by a harsh desert primarily broken by springs of explosive liquid and deep rifts in the earth that show no sign of filling up no matter how much sand the land above pours down their gaping throats, this says something about what Sikar is like - though in the area's defense, that is the reason that their border lies where it does. This section does have its uses, though... Assuming that one can find workers to exploit them and keep enough of them alive to do so, anyway. Most notably, the great gorge surrounded by a network of bloodfire springs that is known as the Wound lies in the desert here, just near enough to more tolerable climes that a brave and prepared band can recover enough for small-scale use and have a bit left over for internal trading.
Unfortunately that quantity is more or less useless for anything else. As such, the new ruler has recently mounted an expedition into the desert in an attempt to set up a more permanent camp at the Wound - she has plans, and she needs something to trade for those plans to come to be. The fact that such a camp will need a constant influx of bodies and supplies is of little concern to her, for she has ample flesh throw into the desert's hungry maw, and her lands can afford to send the food, building materials, and most particularly water, that is required.
Fortunately for those dwelling here, however, those barren and torn lands do slowly give way to a broad and hilly grassland dotted with trees; here in the nameless heart of their lands, the better part of their population has lived since the False Dawn, communities forming around the springs and rivers. A few herds of wild horses roam these plains, but - while welcomed for the meat they provide, when they can be hunted - the clans here have never managed (or bothered) to tame them. The most notable landmark here is far more recent, however; the ruins of several towns surround a great open pit mine, where copper and stone alike are pulled from the ground and sent north.
The northeast, where that stone goes, is dominated by the coast. However, it also holds the only forests anywhere in the vicinity, even when taking into account what lies outside their borders; the trees that freckle the grassy plains grow denser as one moves towards the sea, melding together to form a dense band of jungle that is thickest around the lake, but covers more or less the entire coastline. It also holds the oldest settlements in the area, one of which is what would, in a later time, be considered the capital city, a place named Txalitya. Besides being notable as the seat of the self-proclaimed ruler, and the heart of her power, it also holds the best shipyard in the region (and one of the few in the entirety of Sikar).
Spoiler: PeopleThose who live in the region can be split into three main groups. The first, and most populous, are the Naherin themselves - mostly human in appearance, their skin ranges from a dull and ashen gray to a rich brown. Their features are not quite what one might expect from normal humans, however, tending towards a striking and faintly inhuman beauty - though sometimes more obvious features present themselves: a scattering of scales most often hidden beneath clothing, dead black eyes with no visible white, or pointed teeth. These features are particularly prominent near the coast, where they have had the least chance to mingle with others; the further inland one goes, the nearer to a normal human appearance they are likely to possess. The second - though this categorization is a formality - are the humans. Firmly Naherin culturally, no distinction is made by either group; it is not their fault that they arrived in the wake of the goddess's retreat and so did not share in her blessing - and besides, the two are rather heavily intermingled, to the point that it is impossible to tell the difference unless there are obviously unusual features to judge by, save that the far southeast shows some cultural influence from the Ashir.
The third group is the Night Elves. They, however, are more complicated.
Until ten years ago, the various Naherin settlements were largely peaceful - they were, however, also not in the least unified save by a common culture and did not consider themselves a single nation. Instead, each settlement was more or less a clan in itself (with a few more prosperous exceptions). This was when Xehra Tzkepte rose to power - and where her father had seen a pleasant status quo to be maintained, she saw opportunity. She gathered a few other clans as allies, bought with promises of power and wealth, and set out conquering; the fighting was long and bloody, especially after the initial surprise faded and other groups began to form their own alliances. Nevertheless, after the better part of six years (the first four having been spent solidifying her power and gathering those she needed to make her ambitions a reality), she had won - and now had to decide what to do with it.
This brings us back to the Night Elves. Previously so rare as permanent residents as to be dismissed entirely, Xehra bought the services of an entire clan, employing them as raiders and assassins to take advantage of their ability to operate in the dark.... And she seems to have no intention of dismissing them, either, leading to whispered questions about what she continues to need their services for. They have not yet been employed since the end of the war (at least not in any way that has been noticed) - but recent construction indicates they may be rather more of a permanent fixture than her other allies thought.
Societally, the Naherin are currently undergoing a massive upheaval as they shift from small communities to a single centralized government. The transition is not smoothed by the massive bloating of the slave class, which previously existed, but was primarily used after minor skirmishes where prisoners were taken. Those slaves were usually traded for, and in many cases they were never put to work because negotiations began immediately. This new form, however, offers both little recourse and a massive expansion of the numbers both proportionately and in terms of the raw number of people enslaved, with some entire settlements having been claimed as a punishment for particularly fierce resistance. As for whether or not this can be recovered from... That remains to be seen.
Spoiler: Resources and technologyThe most important export of the Naherin is a strange, viscous, red liquid that they call bloodfire. Supposedly the blood of their goddess, its origin is less important than the effects of it - violently explosive in its raw form, it can be refined into a shockingly efficient fuel, hot-burning and capable of fueling large fires for much longer than should be possible. Until recently it has been largely unexploited, used in small quantities as fuel and in certain religious rites, but the new ruler means to change this - whether or not any of it makes it past the borders.
Required resource: The Naherin's lands unfortunately have little in the way of pure trade goods - or decorations appropriate to the tastes of their more ostentatious nobility. While they are clever workers of bone, stone, copper, and wood, such things simply are not suitable for some uses, and they are currently seeking a source of precious metals.
Starting technology: Sailing. (Enables exploration and troop transport over deep water.)
Spoiler: FaithThe faith of the Naherin is a fractured thing, no two groups agreeing on the details of it. The broad strokes, however, are fairly universal - they were shaped of flame and metal by a great goddess (who is called by a variety of names), scaled and winged, who served as their protector for many generations. Here is where stories begin to diverge, however; while most agree that she was wounded at the time of the False Dawn by another god and forced to retreat lest she be struck down after the surprise attack, the reason for her accompanying them to this land is... Less than clear, considering they fiercely maintain that they are not from the area. The two most common theories are that they were setting out to avenge some forgotten wrong (though none can say against who, given the way that the False Dawn blew all astray) or that a large portion of their people fled a nameless danger, perhaps even some foreknowledge of the False Dawn itself. Regardless, they believe that her blessing is the reason that they made it here as unharmed as they did, and while she has not appeared in physical form in living memory, they hold that their rites have as much power as ever.
The branch practiced by Xehra Tzkepte and those who follow her is a particularly bloody one, fond of elaborate (if to now infrequent) sacrifices of one sort or another. Of course, only time can tell if her views will spread, or if she will instead be forced to moderate them to maintain her rule - and if she will do so if presented with that choice, for she is a devout believer in her particular form of worship. Whatever the case may be, however, she currently serves as the foremost religious authority as well as the ruler, though some are beginning to mutter darkly that she ought to give up one mantle or another.
Holy Site: Txalitya Temple
Xehra's rule is too recent for her to have built a great temple, yet; she is still handling more pressing practical concerns. As such, she conducts her rites in the same large stone building that her clan has used for generations, albeit somewhat expanded with additional side-buildings and a few extra rooms to account for the glut of resources her recent conquest has granted her.
- Join Date
- Dec 2016
- Back home
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers
The Anbroch Houses
Spoiler: Kincany- Region 198A fertile Jungle region controlled by Dwarven migrants at the mouth of the great Kiswan rivers.
Spoiler: GeographyThe western border of Kincany was defined by the mouth of the mighty Sur river and the sea, while its southern border lay on the Erapira river. The northern part of this country was also the beach of the peninsula, while the eastern border was constantly shifting as skirmishes with peoples inland went well or poorly.
The rock of the Kincany inland was young, rough and porous. Tunnels snaked their way under the ground in a massive maze, and large bats and other monsters inhabited them. The Anbroch dwarves settled around the entrances to these tunnels, forming village communities that connected to their holdings underground.
On the surface, Kincany was a veritable paradise of food for those who knew where to look. Among many other fruits Coconuts, Tomatoes, and Figs were all common fare. Old Luthrail gardens and young Anbroch ones could be found by wandering meandering paths through the jungle, and due to the lack of winter some fruits could be harvested all year long.
Spoiler: PeopleThe Anbroch Dwarves of Kincany stood far shorter than the average human, typically between 3 and 4 feet in height. However, they weighed about the same amount, and could usually exceed their taller counterparts in brute strength. They were hairy, and their women could grow beards to rival those of their men, though both men and women preferred to remain clean shaven as a mark of their adulthood.
The Anbroch’s eyes glowed when illuminated in a dark area, and they possessed exceptional vision in Darkness, preferring to work during the night and sleep during the day. This was one of their greatest advantages against the Luthrail people in their home region, who had difficulty defending themselves against Anbroch raids in the deep dark of the Jungle night.
The Anbroch were dominated by noble families which called upon the loyalties of their “partisans” for labor. A dwarf born a partisan was bound to the family that they served, and these loyalties survived long after the dwarves fled the mythical mountains of the south. Through service, particularly in battle, a skilled partisan could hope to earn membership in the Family, though this was a privilege rarely granted among the Ambroch. The noble families were each led by a Matriarch and a Patriarch, passed on through the male line, and the children of partisans were bound to the same family as their parent of the same gender. All the Ambroch were expected to wear the pattern of their noble house somewhere on their body, though shortages of cloth often led to solutions via face and body paint. Typical Anbroch surface garb was adopted from the Luthrails and included a grass or coconut fiber skirt, with a shawl or fur poncho on the upper body to deflect rain and protect against biting insects.
Anbroch society followed strict but shifting gender roles. According to the old tales, the male Anbroch had always had the responsibility of mining, while the women’s duty was trading the profits to provide food for their family. In Kincany this meant that the men were usually away from the surface for days or weeks at a time, fighting with each other and exploring for rich tunnels to harvest Guano, Copper, and Obsidian from. Male children were taken into the tunnels at an early age to be trained for life in the tunnels, and men and women met seldom, usually at dances and other festivals, where marriages might be arranged.
While the products of the mens’ labours were valuable trading goods, their wives and daughters on the surface contributed far more to their people’s survival. The only representatives of the dwarves on the surface, they traded, warred, and learned how to farm the Jungle from the Luthrails. Noblewomen on the surface took up new titles borrowed from the men such as Warlady and Battlemistress and conducted raids and small wars on still independent Luthrail bands and each other, while partisan women and slaves grew the tomatoes, bought the fish, and trapped the game that fed the men in the tunnels.
Spoiler: Historyhe Anbroch dwarves always claimed to have come from somewhere in the mountains to the south, though the civil war that drove them from the mountains and down the Sur river was not so fresh in their memory as what happened to them in Troll Country. They claimed that upon arrival in Surriv, as is was then known, they were welcomed by the elves there and though times were lean worked together to scrape enough food from the river and the wilds. The only price that the elves asked for this was a bridge built to the opposite side of the Sur. The Dwarven storytellers tended to trail on for a bit in this section, detailing the elves’ piteous requests and many compliments they paid to the Dwarves’ architectural genius. Regardless, their ancestors acquiesced, and began building a mighty bridge to cross the raging Sur river, at that time much more furious than it is today. It is to the construction of this bridge the dwarves attribute the awakening of the Trolls that Troll Country is known for today. The trolls emerged from the water, eating Dwarves, elves, and all else that got in their way. Terrified of these second new arrivals, the elves betrayed their friends and offered the dwarves in their villages as livestock for the monsters’ feast. Only the bravest and strongest Dwarves fought their way out of their betrayers’ villages and past the marauding monsters to continue their journey north on land. Anbroch storytellers also tended to go into exquisite detail upon which of their ancestors was among this bunch, and their deeds of valor and retribution in the flight. Eventually, losses to the heat and disease of the jungle forced the survivors to settle on the patch of jungle and coastline they called Kincany.
Kincany was of course not uninhabited either. The local Luthrail people tended not to be particularly pleased at warbands of ragged dwarves setting up in their territory. Though some accommodations were reached, most of the Anbroch families had to earn their place in Kincany by fighting the Luthrails for pieces of the jungle. Over time, the Dwarves tended to take the high ground and tunnel access points, while the Luthrails were pushed northwards to the coast. As time went on, a moderately stable trade interspersed with occasional bouts of violence developed, the Luthrails supplying the Anbroch with fish and goods from the ocean in exchange for guano and tools.
Spoiler: ResourceResource: Guano
Required Resource: Dye
Guano, the dung of bats and other cave monsters, was the primary surplus resource produced by the Anbroch in Kincany. The Anbroch believed that giving it to their crops made them produce more fruit, and that it had certain medicinal properties as well.
The Anbroch had a large demand for dye, since both partisans and nobles were expected to wear the signature pattern of their noble family.
Holy Site: The long path. Religion: Loren Worship
A particularly dangerous and winding route through the lava tunnels under Kincany, the long path went from the banks of the Erapira to the sea in the north. It was loosely marked by statues of the god Loren, and earnest pilgrims were expected to walk it while trading gossip with miners in the tunnels as a way of earning Loren's favor. Those who completed the journey were generally considered blessed, and may be called upon by their noble family as an advisor. Men would often be called to serve on the surface, and women below ground, as experts on the affairs of the other portion of Kincany.
The patron deity of the Anbroch, Loren, was worshipped by nearly all of the dwarves, and some of the Luthrails as well. A bearded figure, none of the dwarves were quite sure what Loren’s gender was, and most sculptures and idols were made so as to leave some abiguity. Loren was a god of rumors and gossip, and rumors were considered to have a life of their own as Loren’s servants in the world. An Anbroch who conducted their holy rites properly and appeased Loren was said to be blessed by gossip about their good virtue, could smite their enemies with devastatingly embarrassing rumors, and would always be up to date on the latest news both from the tunnels and the surface.
- Join Date
- May 2015
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the EmbersThe Sands of Shá
Region 307, Sikar
Hot. Dry. Parched and dying. The weak perish under the gaze of the sun. Yet the strong prevail. Life is harsh among the desert sands that sweep the land of Shá burying all that is untended in their endless grains. Yet where life perseveres, where strength overcomes weakness in unity and fortitude, the sands are kept at bay. Within Shá the epicenter of this defiance of the desert lies at Dzah a mighty town of warriors and merchants guided by the wizened minds of Rvered Elders sun-touched with the knowledge of the earthly and heavenly realms.
Dzah is the only permanent settlement in Shá an assemblage of stone and bones erected in defiance of the cleansing desert sands. At the center of Dzah lays a carefully constructed and well maintained temple, the Solstice Solarium, used to track the astrological movements of the sky. An elaborate calendar system updated regularly within acts as record keeper for the major tribal accomplishments of the past as well as font of prophecy for the future. Only the three oldest Revered Elders reside permanently in the Solarium with adults of decreasing age living further from the city center.
Aside from the city of Dzah and the shifting sands there exists one other major feature of the region, the Shining Foothills from which great deposits of gold are extracted for trade and barter within and without the Sands. No particular individual or tribe holds absolute dominion over the Foothills themselves and inter-regional conflict often extends from disputes over the mining claims of rival factions. Still, the hills are rich in their abundance and so far it has remained possible for rival groups to find enough sites to extract the metal.
History & Government
It is said that in ancient times, before the False Dawn, Dzah was one of many such towns within the Red Sands. Impressive but of no great importance to the ancient inhabitants of the desert lands. Yet even before the Red Years scoured the earthly realm it played host to those who recognized divinity in the True Sun even as others squabbled over worship of the lunar feylord or ascription of ancestors to the nighttime stars. When the False Dawn came it scoured these heresies and destroyed many towns and ancient cities yet Dzah persevered. This perseverance was attributed to the Revered Elders and their devotion to worship of the Sun as supreme Godhead of the Heavens even when the False Dawn threatened to smother the Sun beneath its red haze.
Dzah and therefore the Sands of Shá more widely is led by a Council of Revered Elders, a multi-tiered gerontrocracy headed by the three eldest Revered Elders who make the major decisions for the tribe. In times of crisis past the Council has invested its authority in a singular non-Elder, often a warrior of great renown, as a temporary measure intended to allow more rapid response to pressing issues that cannot afford to be contemplated at length. However the appointment of a Solardictus is seen as an option of last resort and not to endure overlong. The eldest of the Council of the Revered Elders acts as Mouthpiece of the Council and given the frailties of old age this can often mean relatively brief tenures among Mouthpieces and entire Councils can be reshaped in a decade with only the youngest member from a decade prior enduring to act as Mouthpiece meaning attempts to ingratiate oneself with the Council can be difficult to maintain.
The people of the Sands of Shá are red-skinned humans although their skin is truly and not hyperbolically red. Varying in shades from hot pink to cherry red there is a possibility the tribes of Shá have mixed heritage outside mainstream humanity but for all intents and purposes they appear to be human. The people of Shá dress in white loose fitting short open chested tunics leaving their legs, arms, and torso to be exposed to the holy sun. Sunburn is unknown to the tribes of Shá, a quirk of their dermatological mutation, although reddening of the skin in the form of tanning does occur. Tribal members who roam the foothills often dress more practically for work with longer robes intended to protect them from the hazards of the wastes. Less clothing and more jewelry of gold are signs of opulence and the Council of Revered Elders are often naked or wear nothing more than loin cloths accompanied by golden necklaces, earrings, headbands, and other forms of opulent jewelry.
The people, or tribe, or Shá divide themselves by familial bonds into Clans. A society that values age above all things there is no strict division based on patriarchy or matriarchy but rather based on seniority. The elder partner in a relationship absorbs the younger into their clan. This often does result in male dominated clans but it is not always so. The clans tend to flourish more rapidly in Dzah itself though a small number of clans have chosen to remain isolated from the affairs of the city retaining some level of greater independence in their hamlets among the sand.
Gold - Valued for both its beauty and religious significance as repository of sunlight gold is harvested extensively from the Shining Foothills. Conflicting claims pepper the region's deposits but among them three clans stand supreme.
Y'ta Ashdla - One of the largest clans in Shá and Dzah itself the Y'ta Ashdla have long paid homage to the city of Dzah in the form of gold tributes and have been rewarded with a near constant presence among the upper echelons of society. (SHA)
Y'ta Hastiin - Second only to Y'ta Ashdla in size of their clan Y'ta Hastiin has never been as comfortable with the political patronage to Dzah and maintains a looser hold in the capital. Still, their influence can be felt among the smaller villages and roaming traders who know and respect their clan for fair dealing even outside officially legal channels. (Open)
Y'ta Tó - In truth a recent amalgamation of two more minor clans Y'ta Tó is quickly proving itself an ambitious clan in the arena of gold mining. While willing to bow their heads and praise the Sun members of this clan are more interested in expanding trade opportunities beyond the insulation of Dzah-ruled Shá than they are in merely joining the internal struggle for power within the region. (Open)
The dry sands provide enough sustenance for Dzah and the roaming tribes but little exists naturally in the way of herds or large animals. The desire to import beasts of burden to lighten the load and provide more meat is near universal among the people of Shá and the provision of such beasts would elevate the status of leadership who provided such creatures to an idolized state.
Path of the True Dawn - The Revered Elders of Dzah believe the Sun is a physical representation of the primary deity invested in the health and survival of righteous and strong peoples. While the Sun was a harsh judge and disciplinarian it is equally a valiant warrior who fights on behalf of it's adherents in the struggles of the heavens above. While not infallible the Sun seeks to administer justice and build strength through adversity for not only itself as Godhead but also for those who follow its tenets. Often portrayed as a warrior or emperor-judge with a head of fire the Sun acts as a seal of power and authority with its iconography limited in endowment to those who have proven themselves righteous and valiant leaders capable of just and fair rule. It is believed the Sun bestows fractions of its godly knowledge to mortals in two ways: One through time and exposure, with elders exposed to the Sun's light gaining prestige with age and the tanning of their skin, and the other through prophesied and unpredictable acts empowering mighty heroes with divine power.
It is believed the False Dawn was an incursion by a rival malicious god seeking to destroy the Sun and all it had grown through careful cultivation on heaven and earth. While the False Dawn, also refereed to as the Red Star, won many battles against the Sun in the end it was the Sun who emerged victorious in its war casting out the false light and reclaiming its imperial throne in the heavens. The day the False Dawn ended is celebrated as a holiday throughout the Sands of Shá.
While the Path of the True Dawn worships the Sun as the imperial Godhead of the universe it is not strictly monotheistic recognizing both the Red Star of the False Dawn as a malicious competitor to the Sun as well as recognizing the Moon as a god-like being albeit one of far lesser power and far less interest in defending or treating fairly with the mortal realm. The Moon is seen as a trickster being, fading in an out of its heavenly role to serve other ends in faraway realms unknown to mortals. Occasionally portrayed as both lover and sibling to the Sun the Moon is believed to pursue inscrutable ends and while treatise with the Moon is not portrayed as vicious betrayal of the Sun as consorting with the Red Star might be it is common in tales of Moon worship that the mortal who engages with the flighty lunar body often is tricked or deceived in some way through their interaction with the night sky's protector. It is possible other gods could be found in the heavens but none would be likely to usurp the central place of the Sun for the followers of the True Dawn.
The other stars observed at night are believed to be fractured pieces of the Sun itself scattered across the Heavens to engage in war against the Red Star and its allies as well as to harvest of heavenly mana from the far places. Astronomy remains rudimentary although some observations have prompted the discussion of possible minor gods represented in non-star heavenly bodies, though whether benevolent, malevolent, or neutral remains unsettled.
Pottery +1 Buyouts
- Join Date
- Oct 2006
- Austin Tx
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the EmbersThe
Geography: Sikar #275 "Thundermark"Spoiler
At the southeastern edge of Sikar lies a hunted ruin which the golden lions seem to forsake. Once the opulent capital of a mighty seafaring kingdom, its old name is now forgotten, and its glorious remnants crumble and rot in the unnatural fog that roils in from the blighted sea.
Half shattered temples and statues to forgotten kings and heroes litter the landscape, fading echoes of the Before Times. At the heart of the territory, those ruins give way to eerie new monuments. Towers of unworked stone, bound in a crude mortar, and decorated in arcane patterns with the bones and hide of blightspawn.
There is no immediate sign of habitation, save the figures skulking at the edges of your vision, watching you. You can hear the faint sound of drums, growing louder.
People:SpoilerBang the war drum to begin the hunt! Bang the festival drum to begin the harvest! Bang the mourning drum to subdue the hungry dead! Thunderpeople flourish in the blight-time, because the earth can hear our pulse, and the sky fears us!
Thunderpeople, powder your body with corpse ash so no wicked thing leeches into your skin. Thunderpeople, put on your spidersilk robe, honor the tender care of its making. Thunderpeople, put on your blightspawn hide and bone, for it is armor and signs of honor, earned in The Hunt.
Thunderpeople, do not defy your warchief in times of hunting and crisis, for the sky drives man and beast to madness, and we must move as one at the sound of the warchief’s drum.
Thunderpeople, do not defy your mosschief in matters of bed and ration, for thunder people live below the ground. Thunderpeople, eat of your farmed mushrooms and crawling things, and see by the glow of moss light. Thunderpeople, spurn a badly dug hall, for they collapse, slaying tribes, and adding to the hungry dead.
Chiefs of the Thunderpeople, do not defy your Highchief, lest the bonds that bind the tribes be broken, and all the world falls to despair.
Resource: Blightspawn Trophies
SpoilerThe Thunderpeople are avid blightspawn hunters and trappers. Their region is rife with blightspawn, and the local culture is obsessed with tracking, studying, and dismantling them. The practice of wearing and trading blightspawn trinkets is so ubiquitous blightspawn bone is practically the local currency.
TP1 [Thunderpeople]: Red Spiral Tribe
The Mosschief of the Red Spirals once did a terrible mischief to the current Highchief’s grandfather. The mischief must never be spoken of, but the penance is eternal. The Red Spirals offer blight tribute only to the High Chief now.
TP2 [Unowned]: Yellow Square Tribe
TP3 [Unowned]: Green Fang Tribe
Required Resource: Foodstuffs
Faith: Red Sky Hunting
Holysite: The Highchieftain's Hall
At the time of the red stain first fading from the sky, the spiritual beliefs of the Thunderpeople were simply a loose collection of superstitions. The most consistent of which being…
The Hungry Dead:
It is believed that should someone die an ‘unworthy’ death, their unsatisfied spirit becomes trapped in the mortal world, craving a fulfillment they can never achieve. This craving, without fail, drives them to wickedness. Almost all forms of disease and bad fortune are blamed on the hungry dead. Some shamen even insist that blightspawn themselves are ancient hungry dead, who’s pain and wickedness have congealed over time into a new physical form.
The Thunderpeople always cremate corpses as soon as possible, for fear that the body will soon rise again, possessed by a hungry dead longing to return to a physical form.
Worthiness and The Hunt:
There is one sure way to escape the unworthiness that leads to becoming one of the hungry dead. Only hunting blightspawn brings worthiness. One does not need to participate directly in The Hunt to earn worthiness. When you provide care and good tools to a hunter, they go out into the sky-touched world carrying your spirit with them.
Wearing armor and trinkets from slain blightspawn shows your worthiness, for you must have hunted a blight spawn, or received it in gratitude from a mighty hunter who benefited from your care.
The disappearance of the red stain from the sky has been regarded as a sign of ill portent by the Thunderpeope’s shamans. The Thunderpeople have proven themselves mighty under the red stain sky, so the shamans say. The blightspawn are plentiful, and so the hunts mighty. The Thunderpeople have proven strong and worthy under the red sky, what is to become of them now that the Mighty Dawn has expired? Will there be no more blightspawn? Will the Thunderpeople no longer be worthy?
Is it the task of the Thunderpeople to bring about a second Mighty Dawn? Or do the Thunderpeople have some new destiny, yet unimagined?
Starting Technology: [Masonry: +1 to resist Raids and Sacks]
Spoiler: First Ruler
"HE IS WORTHY! HE IS WORTHY! In his right hand, a spear of Blightbone, held above you! In his left hand, a cup of root wine, extended graciously. He is life! He is death! Upon his back is the pelt of Once Immortal Blood Maw, the blight that slew many hunters before meeting with Orgo's spear! HE IS WORTHY! ai ai HE IS WORTHY!"
Last edited by DoomHat; 2020-08-06 at 04:48 AM....with a vengeance!
- Join Date
- Sep 2018
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the EmbersThe Fffolkkk
The Sand Reefs
A barren land bordered by high mountains and the sea, its people spend their days trading valuable food for even more valuable minerals and fresh water.
Resource: Kelp Olive (oil)
Required Resource: Corrosion-resistant metals (copper)
Starting Tech: masonry
The sand reefs is a region wedged between the sea to the south and impassible obstacles to the east (The Halls of Dawn mountains) and west (the Swift Channel). Because of its orientation, most of the rainfall is blocked by the mountains. The numerous small streams pouring down from the snowcapped peaks carve and wind their way through a small region of canyons before evaporating on the sandy plains before reaching the ocean. The ocean beyond the plains is shallow for a great distance, and dotted with numerous reefs, rocky outcroppings, and larger islands capped with ruins. Cutting through the reefs are deep, steep, drop-offs through which strong, cold ocean currents stream through.
The Maze, as it is called, contains a fair amount of scrub, trees, and small animals and birds. But the sandy desolation between the Maze and is devoid of both water and food. In the ocean, the reefs are packed with a massive variety of ocean life, and the deep troughs are lined with kelp-olive.
Weather on the sand reefs is hot and dry during the day, and cool-almost cold at night. The sands do little to store heat, and actually reflect it up onto anything crossing the barren lands. Rain is almost non-existent.
At first, signs of habitation seem almost absent as well. Travelers through the Maze will find caves with stores of wood and pots of oil, rock walls turning outcroppings into small dwellings, and the occasional small dam to create pools of clean water. Along the coast, rafts can be spotted in great numbers. At night, their owners congregate and tie up to the outcroppings or along the shores. Each day, they set out to a new place, so permanent villages are not found.
In between the Maze and the sea, on the desolate sand reefs, the inhabitants build large, stacked-stone round forts, open to the sky. Inside are sheltered areas for sleeping and food storage, and a large firepit. Many of these seem to be abandoned, others strongly guarded by a pair of the land’s inhabitants. In addition to these temporary places, however, 3 cities exist- Krooonla, Terrrlotlotlot, EEEyup, and Qu. Intricate stonework, held together without binder, rise from the sandy ground high enough to hold back the wind-blown sand. Inside, the stone has been carved deep into the ground, with numerous stairwells and landings, in an inverted pyramid shape. At the bottom, a pool of cool, clean water is to be found. These stepwells, carved over generations, host the only permanent settlements.
The natives of the Sand Reefs call themselves simply the Fffolkkk. They are a race of bipedal turtle-folk. Some outlanders believe there are 2 “species” of Fffolkkk, and they are content to let them believe it. Both are bipedal turtles standing between 6-8 feet tall, weighing between 4-600 lbs. They have no hair, and eye color from lightest yellow to darkest brown. Their voices naturally are pitched so low normal humans would struggle to hear it. They can speak the common trade language only by forcibly pitching their voices into a falsetto. They wear no clothing, but favor woven harnesses and belts with numerous pouches and sacks. The harnesses are adorned with numerous soapstone cameos, as discussed below. They also have a passion for both wide-brimmed hats and mother-of-pearl jewelry. But beyond that, there are two very different “species”.
One “species” is largely gray / brown in color, with large trunk-like 3 toed feet, wide-domed shells, and gnarled clawed hands with 3 mutually opposable digits. This group spend their days traversing the desert between the mountains and the shore. They can keep pace with walking human, but have no ability to run. Oddly, they can travel for days on end, entering a trance-like state equivalent to sleeping while plodding along. One strange quick is that they are able to drink vast amounts of water and store it, then excrete it through special protrusions of their shell.
The other “species” are tinged blue/gray/green in various colors, with sleek, longer arms with webbing between their fingers. Their legs are longer and flatter, and their shells more streamlined. Not as well versed to land, they are slower and more ungainly when walking. They spend most of their time in the sea, farming and fishing. Air breathing, they can hold breath for nearly an hour. They also seem to sense ocean currents, and drift along them in a similar state to their land-born versions.
But the truth is even stranger. These are actually the female and male version of their sexually di-morphic species. The males taking to the water and females to the land. The women travel back and forth, bringing fresh water, fruits, and wood down to shore. Men catch fish, and tend kelp-olive forests. They meet in the cities to exchange goods, then return to their native lands.
The Fffolkkk identify each other by a first name, and the unique patterns in the shells on their backs. No two patterns are identical. Each Fffolkkk use soapstones from the mountains to carve images of their shell markings. Each child receives one from mom and dad, and they trade with their siblings. More are created and traded throughout their lives. The exchange of the cameos is an important sign of trust and friendship, and not done casually. They wear the marks of their friends proudly on their harnesses. It is said that you can know someone by their friends, and that is never truer than with the Fffolkkk.
Mating is done once, and it is a ten-year process. Fffolkkk meet, agree to mate, and travel out into the sands to build and provision a home. Once their home is built, they pair will never again leave it, even for a single day. So, such homes are jealously guarded and heavily provisioned. In their home, they have a clutch of eggs and protect them as they develop over a 6-month period. After the children hatch, they spend the next four to six years teaching their children the basics of life. By six, the children are ready to face the world, and the parents are exhausted. Typically, it is the death of the parents that cause the children to leave. The homes are abandoned, often to be scavenged by another family later. This means that they typically only live only live 40-50 years. Some Fffolkkk were told by their parents that, ages past, some of them lived several centuries. But that is just folklore.
Fffolkkk tend to have no permanent residence, considering their shell their true home. All else is temporary- from their rafts, to their mountain shelters, to the stalls on the landings of the stairwells where they trade their wares. Ownership is a largely foreign idea, though possession is understood. Their cameos are used to determine possession- tied to rafts and hung in doorways to show that someone is currently using that resource. With lack of home and family, all the Fffolkkk can truly rely on is their name. Etched on their shells, they strive to be honorable and trustworthy. They literally carry their weight of their name into the world, so they would never dishonor it.
Their first leader created their government:
A Guides for Shaylles to the Draw of the Fffolkkk, as Transcribed by TruthSeer Benedine.
As a preliminary note, the Fffolkkk can be very particular about their pronunciations. Insufficient emphasis on certain sounds can change the entire meaning of a word or phrase. I will document those peculiarities I noticed at a later time. For purposes of brevity, I will simply note a base pronunciation for each term
Secondary note: They refer to all non-folk, regardless of origin, as Shaylles, which derives from shell-less in pronunciation, and in how they view other creatures.
Up until just a few years ago, the Folk had virtually no formal government to speak of. Each turtle-person acted independently of each other, with a few small trading centers built up around sources of fresh water. The government they described to me was almost wholly the invention of the leader known as Nopppa and a few close associates.
Their government is called The Draw. The name itself stems from the geographical term they use for the small, steep, dry creek channels that make up the Maze. Their whole mindset seems to revolve around expending valuable resources to find the best paths through the unknown.
The Draw is made up of 6 Wayfinders, or Waifs. These 6 Waifs select another folk to be their leader. This leader doesn’t have a title, and their purpose is to provide vision and settle disputes between the Waifs. It takes a vote of 5 of 6 to select a new leader, should the need arise.
Tertiary note: The need for 5 of 6 to vote out the current leader does seem to be a construction designed only to keep Nopppa in power.
The purpose of these Waifs are not to create laws. Instead, their job is to best represent ideals of what the folk want to work together to achieve. They are, as best I can tell:
The Wayfinder For Living believes that gathering food from the sea and water out of the maze can be difficult. More Folk need to be encouraged to take up harvesting.
Wayfinder For Creation believes the current levels of kelp-olive, soapstone, and building-rock harvesting is sufficient. What is needed is a better way to store the oil for long lengths of time.
Wayfinder of Civility believes that the folk need to build up reserves of treasures that the Shaylles can respect, so that they will be willing to accept the rules of fair trade. In addition, the need to find and restrict those that do not follow the fair trade rules needs to be increased.
Wayfinder of the Incivility believes that the outside world is a greater threat than within, and continues to press for more maze-runners, and better leaders. However, she recognizes that the current system of labor-bounties for wrongdoers is not working.
Wayfinder of Truth believes that the better educated the future clutchlings are, the better folk they will be. He believes that getting one common set of facts and histories together to be shared is the best way to do that.
Wayfinder of the Currents believes that the world has indeed fundamentally changed since the last great event. The winds and tides are changing, and that can be frightening. However, the folk are solid on their feet and unflinching. She is promoting periods of meditation and reflection each day for everyone.
Every eight years, the entire folk gather to cast votes. Each folk gets 2 votes, represented by 2 of their soapstone cameos. They cast their votes for the Waif they feel best represents their beliefs. They can cast 1 vote for 2 candidates, or 2 for 1 if they feel very strongly. The tally of these votes effectively determines both how well the Draw represents the Folk, and where improvement is needed.
The Waifs that received the lowest two totals now have to act. They have 1 year in which to put out a proposal to change their views and list specific actions they will take. During that year, anyone may offer up a formal challenge, with their views and actions. Individual folk then offer their labor, in the form of 10-day increments, in support of the action plan they want to see followed.
At the end of the year, the proposal with the most labor behind it is implemented. If the challenger’s proposal wins, the Waif must step down. The folk who supported the plan then are used to implement it. Those who supported the opposing plan are still required to fullfill their labor commitment. These labor-commitments are ‘sold’ to those that supported the winning plan, to help offset the labor-costs.
One very interesting point is that all of this is done openly, and on a weekly basis. So everyone interested can see how the betting is progressing.
Currently, the fffolkk do not believe the Wayfinder of the Currents is doing enough to improve the spirits of the fffolkkk. So Sttimmi has proposed building bell-poles across the land. To toll each day at sunset, to remind the fffolkkk to stop work and reflect for the day. An opposing plan, put forth by Thickick, is suggesting the Draw hire village criers to announce reflection time each day. She believes this will be less costly than bells. Sttimmi has countered that those in the Maze and away from the villages, could not hear town criers, but could hear bells. Both have promised that the losing side's labor bets will be used to support the bell-ringer / town criers lost work time. Currently Sttimmi has received 5000 hours of support, but is losing to Thickick. He has 6550 hours of support for his project.
Most of what the Fffolkkk know of their history comes from the stories passed down from their parents. The Sand Reefs are not as they once were. The winds have changed, and once water flowed from the snow-capped peaks to the sea. Forests covered the Maze. Numerous large villages of stone dotted the shoreline and straddled the deep valleys of cold seawater. These villages were filled with related families. But the Red Veil, as they called it, changed the weather. The rain stopped, and the flow of sweet water ended. The seas rose, bringing the salt and killing the plains. The Flood, as they call it, moved the shoreline hundreds of miles towards the mountains. Ruins of these ancient villages can be found submerged in the sea, or rising as ruins atop rocky outcroppings on the edges of the horizon.
The Fffolkkk were nearly wiped out. For the last 200 years, the focus has been on gathering enough resources to have clutchlings. Most adults don’t live past 30, preferring to have large clutches of children to growing old. Those older than 50 are seen as not doing their duty, in the false belief that clutch size decreases with age.
Spoiler: Faith: The Wind and Tide
Holy Site: The Great Link.
The Fffolkkk have a simple belief set. They believe that the world has a natural ebb and flow. Like the wind and the tide, there are forces around them that move an individual from place to place and event to event in their lives. When you are in harmony with these forces, your life can be pleasant. When not, it is a struggle. That is not to say they are simple-minded. The Fffolkkk understand that adversity is a component of growth. The true life is found at the edges of the currents, the wind blowing through a portion of the Maze unexplored, or a hard swim to an unvisited island. It is the attempt that is important. The Winds and Tides will only give you what you can endure.
Just outside the city of Qu lies a small fortification around a deep, narrow stairwell. Dangling down the center of the well is a miraculous soapstone carving. It is a meticulously detail representation of a rope, with knots at equal distance down its length. 2000 individual knots from top to bottom of the stepwell. At the base, other carvings, of ocean depths and rafts, of oil lamps and ocean passes, of baskets and rafts, surround the pool of water. The Fffolkkk have no record of who created the place, or why. But the drawings are the basis for their entire measurement system- length, weight, and volume, all summarized in eternal pictures. They call it the Great Link, and see it as proof of the unified harmonious nature of the world.
Resource: Kelp Olive (oil)
Required Resource: Corrosion-resistant metals (copper)
Along the borders between the shallow-water reefs and the deep-sea canyons, a species of kelp grows in great abundance. It can tower from great depths up to the surface. This kelp is used by the Fffolkkk to make ropes, their personal harnesses, woven to make roofs and baskets, and a hundred other uses. But by far the most valuable is the kelp-olive. These fist-sized green masses grow along the surface of the kelp. Eventually, they break off and float away on the currents. Over several days, they slowly become waterlogged and sink, wedging themselves in the jagged rocks of the sea-floor and walls. There, they take root and grow a new kelp plant.
The Fffolkkk have learned how to farm the seeds to grow new beds. But the majority of them are taken, cut open, and squeezed for their oils. This KO oil can be used for cooking, as fuel for simple lamps, and as a base for many traditional medicines. It is their most pried and abundant commodity.
Beyond the kelp-olive, they prize soapstone, as mentioned above.
The region is in need of corrosion-resistant metals, like copper. The sea salt corrodes away fittings on rafts, and the wind-blown sand etches even the simplest mechanical items.
Diplomacy 5 [4+1]
Opulence 5 [4+1]
Nopppa is a medium sized fffolkkk, about 7 feet tall and only 500 lbs. Mottled in grays and browns, she is a tough, young, female. Her face and shell are streaked with a vibrant red/brown, which has become part of her name-mark. Her eyes are a bright yellow, almost amber color. She favors wide-brimmed hats decorated with sea-bird feathers and small shells. Her name-mark has 2 ovals at the bottom, with a vertical central line. At even intervals along line, matched pairs of curving lines arc out, getting narrower as they approach the top.
She came out of a clutch of 11, 6 girls and 5 boys. Her parents couldn’t have been prouder of the size, but it stretched their resources considerably. It seemed an omen that the comet came during the mourning period for their parents. With the fresh dawn, the siblings parted ways.
Her mother told her of an excellent soapstone quarry deep in the Maze. She made a name for herself quarrying and selling the stones for cameos, even carving some herself. Nopppa seems to have more single-mindedness than the average turtlefolk, focusing on one activity instead of subsistence resource gathering. She developed a network of contacts and friends, sporting dozens of cameos on her harness, belt, and hat. It seemed as if she was always dealing with someone who knew someone who spoke well of her.
A dry, dusty land of canyons and plateaus, its turtlefolk denizens jealously guard their fortified homes.
Resource: Mountain goats
Required Resource: Cooking / heating fuel
The Redoubt has the Swift Channel to the west and the Hall of Dawn mountains to the east. To the south, the land further rises into a maze of canyons, natural tunnels, and steep paths called the Maze. The rest of the land, to the north and up to the waterline, are tall plateaus with broad winding arroyos between them. The Maze contains a fair amount of scrub, trees, and small animals and birds. These increase in variety the farther north it goes. Along the canyons, the main tree is a form of large, spreading fig tree. It’s wood is hardy and oily, yet it does not burn well and its smoke is quite irritating. Still, the figs are tasty. The small seeds are spread far and wide by the birds. And any small crack or depression that can hold some soil and water is enough for the fig trees to sprout. Fig trees can be seen growing impossibly out of the sides of the sheer canyon walls, seemingly defying gravity.
Weather is hot and dry during the day, and cool-almost cold at night. The sands and rocks do little to store heat, and actually reflect it up onto anything crossing the barren lands. Rain is almost non-existent in the mountains, but gradually increases as you move north.
The land does seem abandoned at first. But deep in the canyons, built high up in the canyon walls, are long, narrow, fortified towns. Each of these towns usually only has one route to it, exposed to the view of the city for a great distance. Each town also has some form of a stepwell within, ensuring a permanent water source. Inside the city, the air is tempered by the rock around it- warmer at night and cooler in the day. It can be quite pleasant.
A particular species of mountain goat is home to the north side of the maze and the canyons beyond. They are small, social, highly agile, and very aggressive. They seemingly can scale sheer walls, finding the tiniest of cracks and protrusions to balance upon. When threatened, they will work as a group to surround their foes and batter them with their horns until they are knocked down. They seem to understand the idea of dislodging a foe off of a cliff face. The Fffolkkk of the Redoubt keep them as pets and beasts of burden.
The natives of the redoubt are another group of the FFfolkkk. They dress similarly, they speak similarly, and they have the same sexual dimorphism as their souther
Where they differ from the Reefers (as they are starting to call them) is in their reproductive habits. For some odd reason, females outnumber males nearly 20 to 1. It has been a strange circumstance of birth since the great calamity. As such, they are solidly in charge of the society. Male Fffolkkk are held in high regard and protected. The name of the area, Redoubt, is because each town is run by a collection of related females and is their permanent home for raising generations of their family.
Males understand that they are key to the survival of the redoubt Fffolkkk. When they come of age, their elders will host a grand celebration, and other redoubts will send prospective mates to be selected. The male will assist in raising several clutches at the same time. When the young are of age, the females return to their redoubt.
However, not all females are chosen to have clutches. These female Fffolkkk assist in raising the young and running the individual town. Some of them claim to be well over 100 years old. It is the belief of the ‘Doubters (as the Reefers are starting to refer to them) that Fffolkkk can live for many centuries. It is the stress of producing and raising offspring that leads to their mortality. This has caused much distress among their southern cousins.
When Nopppa’s brother arrived in the area to explore, he was a sensation. A free adult male Fffolkkk! He travelled to every single town in the Redoubt, and before long had a large following of available females vying for his affections. Being young, this proved far too distracting. Years later, when Nopppa arrived with an armed escort, she found her brother happily in familial bliss, raising several clutches of children.
What the ‘Reefers call The Flood the ‘Doubters call the Rising. Their oral histories tell of great slimy, tentacled beasts coming up out of the waters to the west and ravaging across the entirety of the land. These creatures were led by a gigantic version of a male Fffolkkk, with far too many tentacles for arms and legs, and three heads that spewed a paralyzing fog. It was called Sleeeperkkinn. The creatures and their leader sought out male fffolkkk, dragging them back into the waters, or consuming them on the spot. Clutches were raided, and their female defenders slaughtered.
Those that survived fortified their towns, and protected the few males that survived. Maybe the Sleeeperekkinn cursed them, or maybe it was something in the Rising. But only 1 in 20 eggs had a male fffolkkk.
Spoiler: Faith: The Wind and Tide
Holy Site: Unclaimed
These Fffolkkk follow a similar belief set as their southern cousins. But it is far more fatalistic. They see the best they can do is survive. Following the winds and tides will only keep you safe for a time. Rip tides and tornados will come. The best you can do is plan and hope. There is an ancient temple of some sort, high on a bluff overlooking the Swift Channel. But it has been abandoned for more than a century. Some claim the victims of the Rising still haunt the place.
Resource: Mountain goats
Required Resource: cooking fuel (oil or trees)
Numerous groups of wild mountain goats live in the Gates of Dawn. The ‘Doubters have domesticated them and use them in a wide variety of ways. There are at least three villages that produce them in enough abundance to export:
The fig trees in the area produce an acrid smoke when burned. It irritates the eyes and nose, and taints any food cooked with it with a bitter, greasy taste. They need a source of clean fuel for cooking, either good wood or oil.
Last edited by Lt-Murgen; 2020-10-15 at 12:18 PM.
- Join Date
- Jun 2020
- USA Texas
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the EmbersShandolé
Trí’Meloá – Skies of Color
Tarandi Region #140 – Land of the Skyclad Dancers
On Shore of Glitter at the Ocean of Kings
Skyclad Dancers laugh in spring.
At the Forest of the Wind and Skies of Color
Skyclad Dancers sing all summer.
In the Caves of Thunder and the Nesting Halls
Skyclad Dancers prepare for fall.
Below the Mountains of Wrath and the Cliffs of White
Skyclad Dancers wait through winter’s night.
The forest, shores and cliffs west of the pass through the Santícemnáh Mountains is inhabited by a shapeshifting avian race known as Skyclad Dancers. It’s a hauntingly beautiful country, rich in game and lumber. However, the most beautiful and entrancing aspect of all is probably its native population.
Region: Trí’Maloa, #140 – Tarandi
Native Race: Skyclad Dancers (Shapeshifting Harpies)
Leader: The Winter Council
Holy Site: Cult of Freedom & Hope
Resource: Skyclad Dancers (Good- TP#1 & TP#2 are both open)
Most of the northern and central parts of the region are covered in hardwood forests with the rocky cliffs of the mountains and their evergreen skirts rising in the east and the cliffs and beaches and of the ocean in the west. The eastern cliffs get ever steeper and more spectacular, until the point where Serpent Pass cuts wide and bold through the Santícemnáhs, like an enormous plow furrow. In the west the beaches are made of pale sand that sparkle with bright quartzes in the sunshine. The water here is quite cold, but also a dark sapphire blue with rolling crashing waves. High in nurturance and close to strong transcontinental currents, the marine life of these waters is robust and diverse. South of Serpent Pass the region’s woodlands thin out some into rolling hills and dales, smaller scrub brush and pockets of scraggly forests among emerald meadows. Thunderstorms and rain often roll off the ocean and gather against the mountains showering the region with regular precipitation, as thunder echo off the mountains. Many creeks and waterfalls lace their way through the land, running from the mountains into the sea. During the winter, snowfalls are deep, locking down the country under a white weight and making any travel through the region very difficult.
Spoiler: Places of Note
Places of Note
Glická’Shól – Shore of Glitter
There is a cove along the southern shoreline, where the beaches are especially wide and fine and a number of caves open out of the nearby hills to overlook the smooth waters protected by the cove. It’s a favored nesting and gathering place.
Lynd’Dinhí – Ocean of Kings
Ocean of Kings is what the Skyclad Dancers call the Lyndicalah Sea. They believe the royal gods live across the waters and sent them the Blue Commit from beyond its waters.
Pash’Á’Moriah – Forest of the Wind
The Pash’Á’Moriah is a hardwood forest that covers the northern half of the region. It has numerous ash, elm, oak, maple, sycamore and hickory trees and is home to elk, deer, black bears, grizzly bears, foxes, rabbits and many other animals. It also has plenty of berry bushes and is overall a very abundant region, where many of the native population make their nests.
Á’Trí’Meloá Zandi – The Skies of Color Overlook (Holy Sight)
On a mountain ledge, overlooking the norther forests, there is the ancient twisted remains of a bristlecone pine, leaning out over a rocky point. The ledge has a vast view over much of the Pash’Á’Moriah and the wide western skies above. The northern lights can often be seen here in all their splendor, flowing and rippling above the rustling forests. On the night of the Blue Commit a luminary dancer hatched under the flashing colors of that sky. He grew to become Tlanextli a great leader who drew manu the flocks into his Cult of Freedom & Hope. He named his birthplace a holy place, naming the ledge a scared sight to all Dancers. When the Region was concurred by the Shándole he fled to Á’Trí’Meloá Zandi and killed himself rather than surrender.
Thêruí’Baru – Caves of Thunder
At the base of the mountains in the southern parts of the region are many cliffs pocketed by caves and hollows. Many large flocks of Skyclad Dancers live in and around these caves, forming the closest thing to a town the region has. Deeper within the caves are a number of protected caverns referred to as the Nesting Halls, where many young dancers first hatch.
Santí’Varik – Mountains of Wrath
Mountains of Wrath is what the Skyclad Dancers call the Santícemnáh Mountains, which rise high jagged and snowcapped to the east. Shining glaciers hold their lock upon the high peaks all the year round and these glaciers are referred to as the “Cliffs of White” by the dancers.
Dollátuluva - Serpent Pass
Cutting a wide way through the high mountains is a single low pass, connecting the western coast of Tarandi with the rest of the eastern tundra. It’s high altitude and snowy vales make it difficult at any time and practically impossible to trek in winter, but it’s clear and smooth enough to afford even large numbers a rout to the west. However, travelers should be wary of the dangers and mysteries that might lurk just below the surface of the crystal snow.
The Skyclad Dancers are a mystical avian race with short but vibrant lives. With abilities to shapeshift, flying dances and enchanting voices they are memorable people. Recently unified and driven by a renewed zealotry in religion and culture from the Blue Commit, they shouldn’t be underestimated dispute their small size and vivacious beauty.
In their primary form, Skyclad Dancers are an avian race similar in appearance to harpies, with taloned bird like legs, tail feathers and feathered bodies, but with a torso, arms and heads more similar to humanoids in basic form. Though their arms are adorned with large feather and their fingers quite long, they cannot fly in this form. The best they can manage is to glide short distances and slow any falls from great heights in order to achieve a gentle landing.
Most Dancers grow to be around 4’6” to 5’4” tall, with slim bodies, comparable in size and strength to a teenaged human. Their bones are hollow, making them a rather fragile race, especially to bludgeoning damage, but they are remarkably nimble and athletic. Most only live twelve to fifteen years, reaching maturity around age five. Females will lay clutches of three to six eggs every three years, though their final clutch is always only a single egg.
The last egg hatches into a male of superior size and strength, known as a luminary dancer. Luminaries have a life span that is nearly twice as long as normal dancers and they almost always become leaders of their flocks. They will either forcefully drive away any other luminaries born into the flock, or else send their sons off with a group of lesser Dancers to begin a new flock somewhere else. Only in their elder years will they select a luminary to raise as their heir, taking them under their wing and teaching them all they know. Unfortunately, after a female dancer has laid her luminary egg, she usually quickly declines in health and often dies before the egg hatches, leaving her final child to be raised by their father and the rest of the flock.
Almost all Dancers have brilliantly colors feathers, with multi-color patterns of glistening feathers. Vivid blues, verdant greens, violets, pinks and canary yellows are often seen in various colorations across the race. They are very proud of their colors and feathers, often grooming and showing them off. Those few Dancers born monochromatic and especially those born all white or all black often get shunned and driven away, while Dancers with especially vivacious and dramatic feathers are lauded and celebrated as being the most desirable and beautiful of their flocks.
Dancer flocks range in size, but usually will be between 30 and 70 dancers. Occasionally, several flocks will gather together in once place, like the Caves of Thunder, but they often maintain their own order and hierarchy, even within a larger community. It is uncommon for a single luminary to be able to lead more than 75 dancers at once and even then it takes great skill and charisma. Flocks will often send younger luminaries away with splinter groups, once they have reached around 50 in number.
Traditionally Skyclad Dancers are mostly monogamous, choosing mates for life, but a good deal of cheating and sneaking around does happen behind the scenes and the primary exception to the rule of monogamy are luminary dancers, who will often take many wives, mating with whomever they desire.
Homes are built in elevated places, like tall trees or cliffs and are simple “nests” of mud, straw and sticks, lined with feathers, leaves and dry grass for warmth.
With feathers to keep them warm and to showoff, they were very little clothing, usually only a mask. Their masks are highly decorative and symbolic and are personally made and designed when they come of age. The form and colors of the mask will usually reflect the dancer’s roll in the society and their personality.
They use tools made of stone and bone and carry slings and then either short spears or flint-edged wooden clubs as weapons and hunting tools.
When Dancers mature around the age of five, they become capable of transforming into their “Sky Form.” Sky forms are feather serpentines, smaller than their primary form, but with larger wings, a long supple body and a head like a dragon, with dangerous teeth. Their feathers in this form are often the same colors and patterns as in their primary form, but they also become bioluminescent, glowing slightly in the dark. Most importantly, in this form they can fly, though not with much speed or altitude and it’s with this form that they do their ritual dancing.
Dancing is an important part of all their social and cultural customs and spiritual practices. There are dances for all kinds of occasions, ranging from small intimate affairs between two dancers, to synchronized dances involving whole flocks together. They dance in the air, using their flight and the flexibility of their sky forms. The music they use is mostly made from drums, xylophones, woodwinds and vocals. They love dancing and consider it the art that elevates them above the animals and through which they express their souls.
While their dancing is their preeminent artform, its worth noting that dancers also have very beautiful voices and can sing with an almost enchanting sweetness. With song and dance combined they can be downright enchanting, especially at night when they shine with bio-iridescences.
For the Skyclad Dancers flying is seldomly the most efficient means of getting around and is mostly only used for dancing and for special scouting missions, or in order to reach specific locations they couldn’t get to otherwise. It takes a lot of energy and doesn’t propel them very quickly, though they can hover in one place pretty easily.
It is best to think of flying for the Dancers in the same way you would think of swimming for normal humans. It’s possible and enjoyable and the mostly skilled and athletic of their kind can cover some good distance and reach some impressive altitudes, but it’s not easy and most dancers can’t fly in high altitudes, nor go very far without having to stop and rest. They cannot fly over the mountains, as the air even in the pass grows too thin too quickly and will tired them out quickly.
However, they are able to ungulate, in place, using a serpentine flowing pattern that lets them hover or move slowly through the air, without expending nearly as much energy. It’d be comparable to treading water. Weather in place or in a direction, whenever they fly they are extremely graceful and beautiful to look at, even if they won’t be winning any races with the eagles.
Historically the dancers haven’t been able to gather in large enough organized numbers to form a particularly effective military, but the the leader Tlanextli managed to unite hundreds of flocks under his cult and so formed the first dancer army of the region. It numbed nearly 500 troops with several more along as family and scavengers. Tlanextli used it to bring even more flocks under his rule but also considered himself prepared to defend the lands from invasion. The dancer army relied heavily on slings, clubs and short spears and carry light woven shields. Most preferred to fight in their primary form, as it is larger, tougher, faster and can carry and use weapons. However, some have trained to fight in Sky Form making use of the teeth and talons of the flying form. Against the Shándole Tlanextli recklassly order many other to attack in Sky Form, hoping the aerial attack would win his victory, despite its fragilities. Unfortunalty most were not trained in this style and were quickly shot down by stones and arrow, falling to become crushed under the hooves of the invaders' horses.
Unfortunately, despite his charisma and zealousness, Tlanextli wasn't very organized, because the army was several flocks joined together, they tended to struggle with coordination and strategy. Even under Tlanextli there is a lot of miscommunication, disagreement and internal resentment. Not everyone is was enthusiastic about Tlanextli’s rise to power and the Cult of Freedom and Hope as others.
Finally, they just lack the strength, size and endurance to easily go up against larger tougher races one vs one. Their primary forms seldom weight more than 90 lbs and their flying forms usually weight between 15 and 20 lbs. Their hollow bones make them light, but also fragile and most can only muster strength to match a human child. Even with some flying and good reflexes and agility, they mostly had to rely on number to overwhelm humanoid enemies, but the Shándole came in large numbers.
Story of Tlanextli The Blue Prince
Leader Score: 7
Before the Shándole conquest, Trí’Meloá was mostly united by the Cult leader Tlanextli. Even after his death, his presence remains a large part of the Skyclad Dancer's recent heritage and legend.
Tlanextli The Blue Prince
On the night of the Blue Commit a luminary was born in a small and remote flock in on the cliffs of the norther mountains. Tlanextli was born with feathers in many shades of radiant blue with silver highlights, an embodied reflection of the fresh night sky. He was blessed with great strength and charisma and managed to overthrow his flocks previous luminary as a very young age. He believed he was an avatar of the Blue Commit and the kings of old. The spirit of a price that had escaped the prison of Lost Stars and then banished the False Dawn. He took credit for the freedom of the skies and sang about leading the Dancers into a new era of Freedom and Hope.
His flock rallied around him and began to worship him. They set out to convert other flocks, convincing many and dominating by force those they could not convince, killing older luminaries and replacing them with younger luminaries, who were eager to follow Tlanextli into this new era. Soon all the flocks of the Forest of the Wind proclaimed Tlanextli as the spirit of the commit and the returned prince of stars.
The flocks of the south and the Caves of Thunder resisted and tried to organize against Tlanextli, but inner squabbling and backstabbing kept them from being able to fully unit under one luminary. Instead an uneasy alliance of a dozen luminaries agreed to try to cooperate in the moment. They rallied all the flocks and retreated into the Caves of Thunder to hold off Tlanextli’s army. It was a highly defensible position and were well supplied with food and water. Despite their internal conflict, the luminaries were certain they could outlast Tlanextli and that winter would break his grip over his army.
However, a traitor helped Tlanextli disguise himself and his and his most faithful warriors and they snuck into the depths of the caves and waited for the right moment. It came when the luminaries broke into a squabble once more in plain sight of the many huddled flocks. Tlanextli revealed himself and shouted, his voice breaking like lightning over the conflict and demanding all attention. He challenged the luminaries, daring them to fight him and prove their worthiness. One agreed and charged, but Tlanextli killed him with a single powerful blow to the skull, using his stone edged club. The duel was over in less than ten seconds. After this none of the others dared step forward and Tlanextli turned to the flocks, denouncing the cowards who had convinced them to hide in prisons of stone, away from the sky and the stars, who would tell them to fight when they themselves were to terrified to raise their heads above their shoulders.
He called on the warriors to fight for what really mattered, for freedom, for the skies and the hope of the new dawn. His speech convinced the flocks and they turned against their luminaries, killing them and proclaiming Tlanextli the Prince of Stars, the Blue Commit and the king over all the Skyclad Dancers.
However, after unifying all major flocks of the dancers, Tlanextli struggled to maintain his power and focused heavily on the religion and portraying himself as the semi-divine and the embodiment of the Blue Commit. Though many younger dancers become radically devoted, Tlanextli still lived in paranoia that new luminary will arise to challenge him. Rumors of young unindoctrinated flocks with charismatic luminaries living in the mountains or the deeper depths of the forest haunted him, as he imagined another like himself coming from the fringes of Skyclad society to overthrow him. He has begun hunting down the furthest flocks, leading bands into the higher mountains to make sure all dancers are brought under his reign. It troubled many, who were fearful he would anger the mountains or that his desire to control all the dancers in the name of “Freedom” was actually a madness. However, they dared not speak out against him.
The historical traditions and myths of the dancers is rich with oral stories and lore. They recognize a celestial pantheon based on the sun, moon and planets and believe in an afterlife, where souls join the gods as stars in the heaven. They also believe reincarnation is possible and that many souls will eventually either choose to return to the world of the living or else get cast down, so as to make room for new souls, creating an eternal cycle between life and afterlife.
They also see a strong divide between good and evil, with the world and heavens ac serving as a battle ground for warring forces across time. Wind, fire, the stars and all the bodies of the sky are seen as forces of creation and goodness, while deep waters, deep stone and earth are seen as forces of destruction and evil. Souls are not the only thing in the balance the very essence of the world and existence is at stake.
Through dancing, sacrifice and good deeds the dancers can align themselves with the forces of good, strengthen the Sun and his allies against the darkness of the Depths and saving their souls, helping the dead find their way safely to the stars of heaven.
These beliefs and traditions were coopeted by The Cult of Freedom and Hope in the decade following the Blue Commit when Tlanextli claimed to be the avatar of the Blue Prince, one of the celestial planets, and responsible for banishing the False Dawn. In the years after twisted the religion to center more and more around him, gathering power and rulership over all the skyclad dancers, until he died in the Shándole conquest.
Spoiler: The Vortex of Heaven & the Journey of the Dead
The Vortex of Heaven & the Journey of the Dead
The dancers believe that the stars are the souls of the free dead ascended, that the planets are Great Princes and the Sun and the Moon are the king luminary and his queen, who made the world and now rule the souls of the dead and watch over the living. They believe you can eventually reach heaven and the land of the dead by crossing over the ocean to an island that has spinning vortex that leads to the skies. The souls of those who die wander in the winds, until they find their way over the sea and to the Vortex of Heaven, where they can finally ascend. The norther lights are the wondering souls on their journey toward heaven, still finding their way. When the winds blow hard you can hear their voices. Most souls find their way eventually, but it can be a dangerous and long journey and dark forces seek entrap them along the way.
To make the journey as simple as possible, dancers try to deliver the souls of their dead on the winds flying westward, by building tall sky planforms on top of the cliffs and mountains and laying their dead upon them. They always make sure to crack the skulls of their dead, for they believe souls can become trapped in a skull. Dancers would never bury their dead nor seal them in coffin or crypts, as this might keep the soul from freedom.
Spoiler: The Depths & the False Dawn
The Depths & the False Dawn
It is a dark and forbidden magic to chop off a head and then seal the skull with clay, imprisoning the soul and forcing the ghost of the departed to do your will. Imprisoned souls can grant great power, but ultimately to do so is a betrayal of freedom and will give the evil forces of the Depths a way to catch your own soul once you die.
In the Depths of Stone and Sea are malignant forces seeking to overturn the rule of the Sun and the Moon and burry the world in blood and darkness. In many eras they have succeeded, drowning the world in floods, tearing it part by wars, or choking the skies with smoke. However, every time the Sun and the forces of good have been able to renew the world back to life.
In the False Dawn the Depths nearly succeeded once again. They unleashed the Blightspawn and struck the sky, reversing the Vortex and drawing all the stars and planets down into the earth, imprisoning them. They then cast blood over the sky, obscuring the sight of the Sun and the Moon, so they could not protect the dancers from the blightspawn.
Without the heavens to guard them, the dancers had to save themselves, but for all their courage and determination only a few flocks managed to survive, and they struggled through winters and monsters, hiding in caves and forests in constant fear of Blighspawn.
Blightspawn are twisted souls that during their lives chose to use dark magic. Many of them were once dancers or other people, but by compromising their souls with dark magic, they themselves were easily trapped by the Depths after their death. The torture that the Depths used against them resulted in the twisted forms and tainted souls of Blightspawn. For many centuries the Depths built up a secret army in the deeps of the world. Those who use dark magic now will also eventually join those ranks and even virtuous souls, who have the misfortune of getting lost, might become enslaved by the Depths. Without the Vortex of Heaven, no soul was safe and had to continually fight and flee, contending with the forces of evil even after death, because the way to heaven was lost. That is until the Vortex was restored, and the prison of the Depths broken by the Blue Prince.
Spoiler: The Blue Prince
The Blue Prince
All the stars and the planet princes were imprisoned after the False Dawn, locked under the Island of Lost Stars further west even than the Island of the Vortex. Buried deep in a hell they could not escape, for many years they endured torture. The Depths hoped to twist even them into their blighted armies, planning a final crusade against heaven and the end the world. But the strength of the stars was great, and they resisted, remaining pure and loyal to the Sun. In particular, one planet prince the Blue Prince, never stopped fighting. His faith in freedom and heaven was so strong he eventually overthrew the prison of the Depths, breaking the Island of Lost Stars and releasing all the stars and his fellow planets. They surged upward restoring the vortex and soaring back over the skies. The Blue Prince led the charge, clearing the mask of blood and flying over the ocean and over the lands and the Mountains of Wrath, declaring freedom and hope to all the dancers.
His spirit was reborn that night as Tlanextli self-proclaimed "greatest luminary to ever live". He mostly united the Skyclad Dancers and promised to make them safe from Blightspawn, before he dies and returns to heaven at last. But instead killed himself in the shame of defeat, leaving many Dancers bewildered and uncertain in their faith.
Spoiler: Dance & Fire
Dance & Fire
In practice dancers celebrate the freedom of the stars and the hope of the future through dance and song. Gifts and adornments are collected and offered to the Sun, Moon all the planets and the stars as shines and temples.
Tlanextli was also given gifts and celebrated as a god among the dancers. He claimed he gathered his armies to fight the blightspawn and one day the Depths themselves and many warriors gladly gave their lives for his cause. Females were honored to be chosen as his mates and carry his eggs and young luminaries hoped they might one day become worthy enough to be chosen as his heir. His death shell-skocked the most ardent followers of the cult.
Songs and dances of prayer for good winds and protection are often carried out in accordance with the heavenly calendar. The solar patters and the paths of the planets and the starts are carefully observed and holidays and festivals are held on auspicious astral dates.
Along with song and dancing worshipers will burn sacrifices. Burring consumes a soul and essence forever, but adds its strength to the power of the Sun. It is an ultimate sacrifice. Animals are burned on the winter solstice to help strengthen the Sun and hasten the coming of spring. In the worst of times and the coldest of winters sometimes dancers will offer their own souls to burning, ending their existence in this life and all others to strengthen the Sun and the forces of good.
Shortly before his demise, Tlanextli started spreading word that burning can also strength the planet princes. That there are many colors in fire. Orange fire is dominant and strengthens the Sun, but when you see white, blue, red or other colors in the fire, that is for the strength of the princes. Blue fire supposedly strengthened him. This caused a greater interest in fire and burning and the ways the fire can shift colors, depending on the fuel. One Tlanextli’s wives, a priestesses named Eztli, found a way to make a dust that turns fire blue. She traveled around the flocks, challenging dancers to make an ultimate show of loyalty and gratitude by sacrificing themselves in a blue bonfire. Eztil alone bore witness of Tlanextli’s suicide and told of how his burned himself at Á’Trí’Meloá Zandi. Since then she has begun preaching retribution and vengeance, claiming that the Dancer's lack of faith and sacrifice led to their defeat at the hands of invaders. She claims declares that Tlanextli will be reborn stronger than ever before, but only if the Dancers prove themselves. She has begun regularly burning Dancers alive in blue bondfire, as well as any shan or other traveler unfortunate enough to fall into her clutches.
Myths & Stories - WIP
Spoiler: The Lost Flock
The Lost Flock
Story is by Mystic
There is a story in Trí’Maloa that mothers tell their young after they catch them playing under the sky during a storm. They take their brood beneath their feathers and whisper to them of the Lost Flock. The Lost Flock were the best dancers in Trí’Maloa, they would twist in the wind and create elaborate shapes that only now other Skyclad Dancers were rediscovering. They were gorgeous and beautiful, but they were proud and that pride was their undoing.
Once during a great storm, with rain and lightning arcing in the sky the Lost Flock raced into the heavens to put on the most daring dance ever danced. They contorted their serpentine bodies in the sky as thunder provided the beat. The entire flock created shadows in the storm and as the rest of Trí’Maloa watched in awe the storm suddenly shifted. A great gusting wind beat the flock in the air and, as their dance lost structure, they were left flying against the great gust that now carried not only rain but stones and sticks. They fought against nature as much as their hollow bones could bear, but they and all of Trí’Maloa knew that it was too late. The wind carried them off beyond the mountains and they never returned. The young whimper beneath their mother’s feathers and think twice to dance in the rain.
The Pale Prince
Forest of Skulls
The Wrath of the Mountains
The Planet Princes and the Flooding of the World
The Thunder Bird
Last edited by Laura; 2020-09-07 at 03:33 PM.
- Join Date
- Jun 2020
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the EmbersEleftheria
Tarandi Region 133 (Thade, The Distant Shore)
Spoiler: SummaryRegion Name: Thade, The Distant Shore
Required Resource: Art Objects
People: Ambisexual Humans, though some smaller populations of other peoples exist
Starting Tech: Sailing
Leader: Nel Sorgen
A reluctant yet wise leader, Nel has been at the head of the Sorgen family ever since the previous family head passed away ten years ago. They are 47, with dark wavy hair, simple brown eyes and a round, soothing face. An accomplished playwrite and navigator, Nel tries to use their position to amicably settle disputes among eleftherians and keep local politics civil. Lately however, Nel finds themselves more and more taking advantage of the weight of their words. For twice as long as they have been the head of the family, Nel has kept dawn with Lear Syndanos, a fierce night-seashell carver.
Spoiler: GeographyNearly the entire shoreline to the north of Thade is a cliffed coast, a massive edged granite shelf that drops dangerously down into the waiting waves of the Night-Sea below. In the water below, a casual observer would notice many teetering spires made of twisting, gleaming night-seashell. Occasionally drifting with the tide or crawling along the ocean floor, huge night-sea snails roam the waters below the granite cliff. Only one section to the east crumbles and eases to allow for a proper beachhead and harbor. A sliver of shrouded taiga forest sits at the cliff’s edge, building up from nothing into great, old trees that abruptly end at the ocean. known by eleftherians as the Fallen Forest, its roots twist down the cliff, reinforcing it against the endless call of the Night-Sea. Though only dipping south a couple miles into the mainland, the Fallen Forest peters out where a stretch of bleak tundra begins. With very thin soil atop bedrock, Thade is not kind to its inhabitants. Tough grass, shrubs, moss, lichen, and the occasional berry make up the majority of Thade’s flora. The Fallen Forest contains some spruce, fir, and pine, as well as a smattering of ferns and softer grasses. Aside from night-sea snails, fauna in Thade includes bears, vole, badger, fox, hare, deer, as well as a multitude of birds and fish. Some eleftherians even claim to have spotted an elusive Viridissimum Elk, a hulking behemoth with all manner of moss growing on its rocky antlers.
Spoiler: PeopleMost of the population of Eleftheria are ambisexual humans who use the pronouns they, them, and their. Usually eleftherians are sexually latent androgynes (this time & state is called tideset), but for a couple of days at the end of each lunar cycle they experience lunar dawning, a temporary state of elevated sexual receptiveness and fertility. During this time, they become sexually male or female. Dawning occurs for the first time near age 16, around the same age that other humans might experience puberty. Eventually, elder eleftherians reach tidelock (when sexual activity is no longer possible). There is usually no predisposition towards the sex developed in dawning, but it can be affected by context and relationships. The children eleftherians sire and give birth to are always ambisexual. Though the original ambisexual population comes from the lost island Azumaba, they have been at Thade for many generations, and as a result these features have begun to spread among the few outsiders who have since joined Eleftheria. Eleftherians form long lasting bonds, love-pledges, known as “keeping dawn”. Some people keep dawn in pairs, while others pledge with multiple people, forming many different types of familial structures. Children are raised in communal homes, called hearths, where the burden and privilege of raising children is shared among the adults of Eleftheria.
Eleftheria is a loose commune of villages, a people with a shared history, culture, and goals. Eleftheria is "ruled" by the Sorgen family, one of the oldest and most powerful families in Thade. They are the only ones who know how to build, maintain, and sail night-seaworthy ships, as they are descended from the scholars who first developed these methods many years ago on Azumaba. By virtue of controlling the ships, the Sorgen family controls the fishing. By virtue of controlling the fishing, the Sorgen family controls the main supply of food in Thade. Eleftherian culture demands adherence to a code of conduct called besklock, or shadow. Prominent people cast longer, deeper social shadows, and besklock is their ability to maintain equality in any relationship by respecting the person of the other.
Theater, dance, and song are regularly staged in Eleftheria. These forms of media are used to pass down stories and knowledge, such as that of The Crossing of the Night-Sea. Yearly performances of The Crossing carry on the collective memory of Eleftheria, and it is added to with each new notable event whenever it is performed. Other performances comment and reflect on the all sorts of different aspects of life such as love, politics, the nature of art and beauty, and more. Some recent favorites include "Two or Three Days" (a comedy), and "Astrathaen" (a tragedy). Eleftherian trends in performance change drastically with time, as new ideas and tropes are introduced, inverted, subverted, and evolved. Eleftherians also use stages for public debates, announcements, and celebrations. The most significant stage in Thade is The Auditorium, a large open-air theater carved into the cliff edge, wreathed by towering trees and overlooking the vast Night-Sea in the direction of Azumaba. Besides performances, Eleftherians also celebrate individuals first-dawning with special ceremonies in a dawninghouse and throw parties for people when they enter tidelock.
Eleftherian fashion features large poncho-like cloaks that reach from neck to ankle, blossoming out to form round cones, or flowing down to catch the wind. Patterns dance along the bottom edge, exploring upwards cautiously. These overcloaks are all a range of shades from black to gray to white but are never colored. Underneath, clothes are much more vibrant. Wide mono-color shirts cut short to expose the midriff to varying degrees are the current trend, and sometimes one or two separate arm sleeves are worn to deal with the cold. Pants are form fitting or baggy with a poof at the bottom of each leg. Basic jewelry is made from shards of night-seashells and precious stones.
Spoiler: HistoryEleftherians originally came from an island across the Night-Sea, known only in stories as Azumaba. They fled from Azumaba when they were betrayed by god, and long to return. The people of Eleftheria survived their betrayal and were able to escape across the Night-Sea due to the ingenuity of a group of scholars who built their first sailboats.
Betrayed by god, the people of Eleftheria believe only in themselves. They believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and together an individual plurality is capable of feats even greater than traversing the Night-Sea. Travelers who approach Eleftheria with proof of the divine and intentions of conversion are met with suspicion and ridicule.
Holy Site: The Auditorium
Spoiler: ResourceThade’s waters are inhabited by gigantic night-sea snails. Their shells can be more than 50 feet long, though are rarely less than 20 at adulthood. These shells glow softly in the moonlight and are incredibly light and durable. Eleftherians hunt these behemoths and harvest their shells and meat, making tools, weapons, armor, jewelry, small buildings, and more. Eleftherians need art objects to fuel their culture and facilitate the constant need for growth and progress in performances like The Crossing.
TP 1: Eleftheria
TP 2: Open
TP 3: Open
Required Resource: Art Objects
- Join Date
- Jun 2020
- USA Texas
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the EmbersShandolé
Dól’Shilo – Valley of Smoke
Tarandi, Region #114 – Land of Diamonds & Ash
“The young an’ the wise.
Under ashen skies
Ride boldly ride
Warriors side by side.
See fire in the skies
Fear an’ courage in our eyes
The Ember Bats to assail
Ye an’ me in Shilo Vale
By shadows pass
Into a great crevasse
Through smoke an’ night
We find the lair o’ flame & blight
Diamond mounds & fleshy stone
Sleeping ‘spawn of obsidian bone
Strike the walls that bleed with fire
Turn this mountain into their pyre.
See fire in the skies
Fear an’ courage in our eyes
The Ember Bats to assail
Ye an’ me in Shilo Vale
Ye an’ me in Shilo Vale”
“Quench the Skies” as sung by Edge.
Region: Dól’Shilo, #114 – Tarandi
People: Shaní (Elves), Sangar, Dannu & Wýnro (Humans)
Leader: The Winter Council of Shandolé
Religions: The Ancient Ways, Way of Eauden & Secrets of Wýnro (Open Holy Sight)
Resource: Diamonds (Great)
Shilo Vale is a craggy wild country still recovering from the devastation of a volcanic eruption. The Santíshilo Mountains dominate much of the region and are made from a combination of ancient grey schist and newly formed black basalt. Fissures and cliffs crisscross the landscape and there many caves and hot springs, as well as some explosive geysers, spewing boiling water and minerals. Rivers run down from the mountains cutting their way through fissures and jagged hills toward the coast. The Jómahlyn River in particular cuts through a deep gash in the land, with tall cliffs rising to either side. It flows directly down from the volcano and diamonds can be found washed down its stream. Rugged forests struggle to survive both the fiery wrath of the volcano and the harsh freezing winters. Lower in the valley there are hardwoods and growing higher up on the mountain slopes are evergreen forests, including redwoods and bristlecone pines. A number of islands rise from the waves of the Lýndícalah Sea near the volcano, but they are mostly baren and rocky turf. In the south the mountains are close to the coast of rocky cliffs and crags of Cemndíclâggen’Cahnîg separate it from Shandolýn. Mammoths, wolves, reindeer and elk live in the Vale, along with many other creatures, though the frightful history of the Ember Bats and the eruption of the volcano has caused them to be sparce and skittish. The coast is more obviously thriving, with large pods of seals, orcas and walruses and hunting sperm whales amid a flourishing verity of fish and sea birds.
Spoiler: Places of Note
Places of Note
Santishilo – Smoky Mountains
While not as tall and glaciered as the Santicemnahs just south of them, the Santishilos arche from the south east all the way across to the northwest, forming both the eastern and northern boarders of the region. Mostly made of schist and basalt in a mix of igneous and metamorphic rocks, they’re deep and old with many caves and secrets to hide.
Antcíroont’Sandí – Batblight Mountain
The great volcano that was the flesh-stone lair of the Ember Bats is still feared and avoided. Though its rumored that mounds of diamonds are buried within, most people prefer to search the rivers and outer base. Smoke and ash still issue forth now and then and the caldron is considered unstable, liable to boil forth lava at any time. Along its slopes many igneous rocks can be found, including valuable black obsidian, which can be used for weapons and to make mirrors.
Jòmahlyn – Ember River
Jómahlyn runs north to south from the norther mountains to the Lýndicalah, cutting a deep canyon along the way. Much of the runoff & erosion from Antcíroont’Sandí is washed down the Jómahlyn, making it an excellent place to pan for diamonds and obsidian. Its course is rough and rocky, with many rapids and dangerous eddies, making it nearly impossible to navigate by boat. Right before reaching the ocean, it cascades over a high waterfall at Tól’Thaláurên’Cahnîg – Town of Craggy Falls.
Tûftlyn – Ash River
Tûftlyn runs east to west from the Kinfûlýn’Momûndískor - Mammoth Skull Geysers – flowing through the forests and down to the Lyndicahal at Tól’Thaláurên’Cahnîg – Town of Craggy Falls, where it cascades to the shore. Like the Jómahlyn, it has several impressive waterfalls and steep rapids. The water tends to be a little mirky, carrying a lot of greyish slit and mud and giving it an ashy look. The hot water springs near its source and the rapidity of its current usually helps it flow all winter long, even through the high snows and ice.
Cemncílyn – Frost River
Running south to north, the Cemncílyn joins the Tûftlyn about halfway through its course above some impressive waterfalls. Starting up in the high barren regions of the Cemndíclâggen’Cahnîg - Ice Worm Ridge, its waters are cold and clear compared to the waters of the Tûftlyn. In wintertime it tends to freeze over more often and is generally not as swift and deep as the other rivers in the region.
Claráglemní’Canzi – Diamond Fissure
A deep canyon cut by the Jómahlyn, Claráglemní’Canzi shows the many layers of igneous rocks spewed out by Antcíroont’Sandí over the millennia. Deeper down it also has the warped and jagged layers of metamorphic schist from the mountains’ core. Heavy with the ash and mud and stone washing down from the recent eruption, the river waters are dark and murky and its banks are rough with hardened lava flows and huge craggy boulders. Much of the vegetation around the canyon is still burned and ruined by the eruption, though new growth is beginning to show. Despite its bleak and scared appearance, the canyon is a great source of wealth as broken and valuable bits of obsidian, as well as predacious diamonds often get washed through it by the river to be dropped near its southern end, allowing people to gather these riches without needing to journey into the remote and dangerous regions directly under Antcíroont’Sandí’s shadow.
Kinfûlýn’Momûndískor - Mammoth Skull Geysers (Holy Site)
In the eastern mountains are a set of geysers and boiling hot mineral pools. The violent and frequent eruptions of hot water and steam are impressive, even frightening to observe, but the scene is macabre because of the enormous mammoth skull abandoned near the pools. Several times larger than a normal mammoth skull ever should be, it rises nearly 20 feet into the air and its tusks curve over the pools like two huge boughs of some great bone tree. A shaní could stand at full height in the skull’s eyes socket and the hollow space inside isn’t much smaller than the space inside a typical wigwam. Water is considered the holy element and the violent and dangerous expression of water at the geysers, as well as the huge skull overlooking it all quickly inspired a sense of sacred awe around the place. A simple stone alter and some pained totems and wooden icons were set up between the Mammoths tusks and the site became known as a holy place.
Thûrú’Fûthlyn - Caves of Steam
Not too far from Kinfûlýn’Momûndískor, further north along the mountain chain, are several caves lining a steep mountain valley. Steam can often be seen rising from them and filling the area with fog. Venturing into the caves, it doesn’t take long to discover several saunas of underground pools and springs of hot water. Through communal bathing and saunas isn’t a traditional means of relaxation for the Shaní the Dannu have an appreciation for its healing and meditative properties. The area is remote, but nonetheless has become a sought-after destination point. A number of camps often settle in the valley during the summer months when the place is more accessible.
Therûglemní - Crystal Cave (Cursed)
From Thûrú’Fûthlyn, if you follow the mountain chain even further north there is another large cave system that has been discovered. Some camps settled in the area, hoping to discover some rich mines, but almost immediately the settlers began experiencing terrible misfortunes. People went missing regularly and others went mad attacking their friends and family without explanation or trying to bind them and drag them into the depths of the caves. Other unsettling phenomena such as sightings of phantoms, animals going rogue and terrifying dreams or trance visions plagued the camps as well. Daimons, crystal and other gems were discovered in the area, but despite this wealth, the camps were quickly abandoned and word spread that the place was cursed.
Cemndíclâggen’Cahnîg - Ice Worm Ridge
Rocky step and mesas rise on the southern rim of the region and the mountain glaciers 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 area separates Shilo Vale from Shandolýn, but it difficult and dangerous to traverse, so most people prefer to travel between the region by means of boat, especially since the place is known for the enormous Cemndíclâggen (Ice Worms) it’s named after. These ice-burrowing beasts usually hibernate, but when they waken, they will eat everything in their paths, swallowing whole herds, swathes of forest and could easily devour a whole caravan.
Nenaí’Antcíjomah - Ember Bat Islands
At the base of Antcíroont’Sandí this chain of islands are mostly rocky and barren affairs with burned forests and gritty black beaches. However, there are often hundreds of seals, walruses and sea birds that take harbor up on the beaches and boulders of the islands and the ocean around them is teaming with fish and whales, making it an excellent destination for fishermen and hunters. However, the looming presence of the volcano gives the whole coastal area an unsettling and cursed atmosphere, so no permanent settlements have been established yet and those that visit don’t stay for long.
Nenaí’Cahnîg – Crag Islands
There is only one accessible deep harbor bay in the region and situated a way off that coast from it are two large islands. They’re rocky with sharp shores of jagged rocks, but the rolling green hills are suitable for grazing and raising sheep, goats or even a few mammoths. The islands also make excellent lookout points with views over the harbor and along the coastline both north and south.
Tól’Thaláurên’Cahnîg – Town of Craggy Falls
The deep-water harbor along the region’s coast has shores of gritty black sand and all around are high cliffs cupping the bay. Both the Jómahlyn and the Tûftlyn cascade in great waterfalls down to the shore and a port town has been built between the two waterfalls. With wharfs and some buildings build down at the shore, a steep hitch-back road rises up the cliffs with houses built tight along the sides. At the top are towers and fortification overlooking the road and the harbor and protected on two sides by the rivers. Most of the trade and travel in and out of the region goes through Tól’Thaláurên’Cahnîg and it is the largest of the frontier towns that have been established so far. With farming difficult and hunting sparce, the village provides much of the region’s food via fishing and there are often many fishing boats to be seen on the waters when the weather is good. Tól’Thaláurên’Cahnîg has a mix of both shaní and human and there is a lively and adventurous atmosphere to the place with many people coming and going on there way deeper into the region, or returning with wealth and stories.
Tól’Tri’Claráglemní – Town of Diamond Sky
Established at the southern end of the Claráglemní’Canzi – Diamond Fissure, Tól’Tri’Claráglemní is the largest and most successful mining town in the region. Both shaní and humans can be seen panning the waters and sifting the mud and a number of mines and quarries have been established nearby. Diamonds are the glamourous resource most seek after, but obsidian, flint and sturdy construction stone of grey schist are also mined and exported from the place. Its location is where the high walls of the canyon fallaway to the open plains and rocky hills and the sky above can be a beautiful sight to behold, whether it be a spread of stars, the vivid reds and oranges of a sunset, the flashing northern lights, or the billowing of smoke and ash clouds from the volcano’s distant grumblings. There is little comfort to be found at Tól’Tri’Claráglemní, but it’s hard not to feel a sense of grandeur and adventure around the place, where any day you might strike it rich, or be consumed in the sudden eruption and wrath of Antcíroont’Sandí.
Tól’Zaní’Cemncí – Town of Frost View
Tól’Zaní’Cemncí is the smallest frontier town established so far, but also has made the most progress in cultivating the forests and land. What little food is grown in the region is grown here and the forests around the town are the most untouched by the volcano’s burning wrath and so has the best game and vegetation available. So far, the area has mostly been settled by shaní though a few Sangar families have also moved in. It’s located on a high cliff overlooking the Tûftlyn river with grassy fields and forest stretching behind it toward the mountains.
Shilo Vale is a rugged and dangerous county, only recently freed from blightspawn and with an active volcano looming over it all. Yet, beside these ominous threats, the country offers great wealth, adventure and opportunity for new beginnings. Those drawn to such a frontier may come from different races and nationalities, but they all have a common sense of daring and hope. While many shaní answered the Call of the Vale, including the hero Edge himself, the shaní population has never been large and their presence alone would hardly have been enough to colonize the wild country, so the Winter Council reached out to some of their allies around Tarandi. A number of human nationalities joined the shaní, swearing allegiance to the Winter Council in exchange for the chance of a new life, wealth and freedom in Shilo Vale.
Spoiler: The Call of the Vale
The Call of the Vale
Shaní – River Elves
When the Winter Council decided to colonize the region, a whole tribe of the shaní agreed together to relocate north. They call themselves the Wind Dash tribe and many had been growing discontent with the rising level of sedentary life in Shandolýn, seeking to return to a more transitory and adventurous lifestyle. Along with the Wind Dash Tribe a good number of other shaní decided to venture north for riches and new horizons, including Edge himself, who battled the Ember Bats beside Hinarah the Rider of Sangar. Though his various quests, adventures and his duties to the Winter Council cause him to travel all around Tarandi, the heroes relocated much of his livelihood into the new country and takes an active role in its leadership and in the various local adventures when he isn’t busy abroad.
The shaní brought with them their language, culture and ways of government. For the most part these have dominated in the region, though the influence of the various human cultures has had a strong affect. For example, the language of the Wýnro is the bases of the western trade language that many people across Tarandi can use and understand. The shándole language is commonly spoken, but most people also speak the Wýnro and it is most often used between cultures. The traditions of Elder rule have also been adjusted and adapted to fit a more cosmopolitan community, where not everyone is ageless and lives numerous centuries. Human family structure and blood kinship has also been given more emphasis as well as the roll of parents raising children in society.
Wýnro - Distant Tradesmen
An enigmatic and reserved race of unknown origins, the Wýnro were trading up and down the western coast and through the mountain passes before the era of the Blue Commit. Often seen traveling in caravans or flocks of canoes they’re excellent barters and have connections all over western Tarandi and supposedly over the sea on shores unknown. They seldom settle into towns nor venture around in especially large groups, but are a common and often welcome sight, as they tend to be peaceful and wealthy.
Short and stalky of stature, they seldomly grow taller than 5 and a half feet. Their skin is pale, with very dark almond eyes set wide apart and smooth dark hair. They typically dress in seal skin coasts and bear furs and are very at home on the cold waters and coasts. Their religion is important to them and every wýnro wares a shell neckless and whispers of various superstitions and spirits, but they will never share any details of what they believe and secrecy seems to be a prime aspect of their faith. Just as little is said about their home of origin and cultural history.
Those that agreed to settle in Shilo Vale and swear loyalty to the Winter Council seem to have been part of a religious schism that splintered off the main culture and there is a level of animosity and tension that exist between them and the other Wýnro, but the story isn’t told to outsiders. Nonetheless, despite their secrets, they seem to get along with whomever else they meet on the frontier, easily adapting and adjusting to the culture around them in all ways save religion. They have no interest in practicing or even hearing about any religion except their own.
Dannû – Opportunistic Frontiersmen
A number of ambitious and adventurous people from The Dannu Gaon Tribes agreed to join Shandolé, seeking the opportunities of new homes and wealth in Shilo Vale. Most of them were those without a clan, or smaller sects that had their ambitions eclipsed by the rise of Clan Mak, finding themselves out of favor with the powerful Nocter and Noctrix.
They’re mostly commercially driven, with several flocking to the diamond mines or panning the rivers for riches. Others take bold risks, exploring the mountains and ruins for treasures and hidden wealth, often being the first frontiersmen to establish camps in new locations.
Sangar – Disenfranchised Families Looking for New Beginnings
In the wake of their civil war and the defeat of Keeper Milah Polahi, a number of Sangar humans found themselves disenfranchised, out of favor and with little political or economic prospects in their native lands. With the blessings of Hinarah, Jia and Perandi, several of these human families agreed to swear allegiance to the Winter Council and relocate to the western coast to seek wealth and a new beginning in Shilo Vale. They are perhaps the most sedentary of the new colonist, playing key roles in establishing and building the new towns and organizing religious and governing centers. Many of them are craftsmen or warriors and have become foundations of new industry and militia in their communities. With strong work ethics and deep religious values, Sangar work to compose a song to mark the start of settlement in the Shio Vale, hoping to pass it down to the generations to follow and are determined to make the most of their fresh start in a new land.
While the Winter Council in Shandolýn technically governs over the whole of the region, most decisions are actually made on a more local level by town or camp Elders. Rule by Elders as practiced by the Shándole is the officially recognized means of local governance and is practiced in most communities, but some adjustments have been made and a few human traditions of law and order has been incorporated in a areas. Meanwhile, on some of the further frontier camps, very little law and order has been established at all.
Spoiler: Notes on Frontier Governance
Notes on Frontier Governance
By Shándole tradition an Elder is defined as someone four hundred years or older. However, as settlements made of mixed human and shándole populations got established, the Winter Council held a long debate on whether or not they should redefine “Elder” in such a way that humans can participate in the local councils and governance of a region. A good number of shaní spoke out against such changes, arguing that relative life spans is irrelevant, and it is unreasonable to judge a mere 60 or 70 years as equal to 4 four centuries in wisdom and experience, regardless of race. However, in the end, the Winter Council did pass a resolution qualifying humans of the age of 60 or older as Elders and giving such individuals the rights and authority granted all Elders within their communities. Nonetheless, its likely a number Shándole Elders shall only burgeoningly accept human Elders as their equals and, while technically this qualifies human to be appointed to the Winter Council, it is unlikely that any humans will be granted such a seat any time this century.
In many camps and smaller settlements officially organized Elder Councils don’t exist. It may be that no Elders are living in the community at all, or simply that such law and order is not getting enforced. Renegade gangs have risen in places, mostly made of younger individuals competent in warfare and charismatic enough to enforce their own authority. These gangs may lead for either good or ill and mostly remain very localized, though a few gangs have taken to roving.
In Shandolýn and on the Winter Council Edge has never been especially popular as a leader and his criminal history has led several Shándole to mistrust him. However, in Shilo Vale most people are much more willing to dismiss past sins and mistakes and the story of Edge’s quest against the Ember Bats has made be quite popular and celebrated. This, along with the fact that there are fewer Elders in general who chose to migrate to the Vale, has caused Edge to be very influential in the region and looked up to by many. He seldom has the will or even the opportunity to leverage this influence, but if he wished, he could probably convince much of the population in Shilo Vale to follow him. Other Elders of Shandolýn and the Winter Council, who have noticed this, are not pleased, as Edge’s more violent and non-traditional policies are not viewed very favorably there.
History & Mysteries
Spoiler: Lost Ruins
Across Shilo Vale a number of old stone ruins can be found, both on the surface and within underground caverns. Such things exist in Shandolýn as well, but the Vale seems to have many more. The true origin of the ruins is unknown, but it’s thought that they belonged to a lost civilization of Shándole that existed in an era prior to the False Dawn and that it had a much larger in population than the current shaní tribes. No decipherable writing has been discovered, but the emblem of a thorny rose seems to be a common motif among these ruins and the level of stonework and masonry suggests a somewhat more advanced understanding of engineering and architecture, as well as better tools. What other secrets and magics might have belonged to these ancestral people remains a mystery.
Shaman and lore-masters speculate heavily upon these ruins and their implications, but shaní memory of this era is completely erased and trance visions regarding it are very few and hard to interpret. However, it seems clear that the center of this civilization was not in Shandolýn and the Ka River, but in Shilo Vale and that the chaos and Blightspawn of the False Dawn completely destroyed the civilization in this region, leaving only the southern outskirts of fringe tribes and refugees to carry on into the present.
Spoiler: When Edge and Hinarah Quenched the Skies
When Edge and Hinarah Quenched the Skies
Shortly after the coming of the Blue Commit, the Dream Speakers explored the region of Shilo Vale and discovered it was blighted by the Ember Bats.
“The Ember Bats are terrible opponents, horse-sized chiropteran creatures composed entirely of fiery flesh and obsidian bone. Alighting on the stormy air around their nest, no conventional force has a hope of prevailing.”
~ M’Ká’acindi’tonyóndersan of the Dream Speakers
For several years no one dared to travel north to face these creatures, but eventually, M’Eld’Quêth’Dóah – I Face the Edge of Darkness – took up the challenge. At his side rode Hinarah of Sangar, whose youth and stature belied his stout heart. Passing beyond the edge of Shandolé’s territory, it was not long before they felt the biting kiss of ashfall from the mountains. Storm clouds wreathed the horizon, lit from within by the baleful light of the blightspawn and given eternal life by the noxious fumes of their nest. The first attack came two weeks into their expedition, a lone Ember Bat descending like a comet from the night sky in search of easy prey. It died disappointed, skull crushed by a sling stone launched by ancient hand, and the two heroes hurried on their way as its body disintegrated into burning putrescence. Thus, began their long struggle towards the bats’ nest, assailed day and night by hunters trailing a pyroclastic fume in their wake. As hours of battle turn to days, then weeks, Edge and Hinarah slowed their pace, fatigue stalking at their back even as the Ember Bats grow more numerous. Eventually, staggering beneath a layer of soot that clots their wounds, the two stood atop a ridge overlooking the smoking caldera.
An eternal fire red as blood lights their path from then on, passing from shadow to shadow beneath the notice of dozens of Ember Bats as they sought the smoking crevasses that led to the heart of the volcano. Down they climbed, further and further still into the beating heart of the mountains, until from darkness they emerged into caverns drawn from the nightmares of a madman. The stone of the Ember Bats’ lair had twisted into strangely organic formations, at once reminiscent of their fading dreams of home and deeply repugnant. Had either man been blessed with a full belly, they might have lost it passing through those bloated arcades, but the righteousness of their task guided them on. Here and there they found pockets of Ember Bats clinging to the ceiling, the walls, twitching in a deathly sleep. They rarely wake alive, and in the scattered bones and cinders of their nests the heroes discovered mounds of unpolished crystal hard as a Sentinel’s rod - diamond.
This discovery proved the end of the Ember Bats, for as Edge and Hinarah skulked through their domain they took the sharpest of the gems to the pillars and walls, carving great bleeding gouges in stone that proved near as soft as flesh. Charting a path around the fiery pit of the volcano, they eventually succeed in preparing their trap. With a mighty roar, they roused the full horde of the Ember Bats from their rest, and in their alarm the Blightspawn do the work of a hundred miners. Walls collapsed beneath flailing wings, stalactites fell like the hammers of the gods, and as more and more Ember Bats rebounded to die in the boiling magma the earth itself heaved. Spending the last of their strength, the heroes retreated, even as the earth itself joined their fight. By some miracle, Edge and Hinarah reached their pinnacle overlook just as the volcano finally exploded, a blast that sends them to the ground with bone-crushing force and consumed the last of the Ember Bats in a fiery embrace.
Spoiler: The Crystal Cave Camps & The Ka Snatchers
The Crystal Cave Camps & The Ka Snatchers (Evil Spirits)
At a cave in the NE mountains of the region, prospectors found ruins and several large crystals, both diamonds and amethysts. Some raw, but also many already cut, presumably by the people who had created the ruins. The cave system is large and deep and has yet to be fully explored, though it seems to have been a site of a significant underground settlement at one point, with crumbled constructions of stone and old houses carved from the very sides of the cavern walls.
News of the ruins and especially of the large crystals drew a good number of prospectors, even out to these remote edges of the region, but they began encountering troubles almost right away. People and animals went missing, disturbing reports of phantom sights and sounds circulated and then the murders began happening. Without any seeming motive or forewarning a number of people began killing others. Most victims were human and their bodies were discovered desecrated with their throats cut inside the cavern. Eventually, some perpetrators were caught, but most denied it, claiming to have no memory the horrific events and confessing only to “blackouts” in their memories. Those few who confessed, however, shed light on a disturbing phenomenon. When cornered, one murder laughed maliciously and spoke in a strange dialect. It was Shándole, but odd with archaic words and an unfamiliar accent. She confessed to killing the “filthy humans” and proclaimed, “Thou art all ignorant beyond measure and kin nary where ye stand, nor the power of those who reside here still!”
Some further questioning and investigations was done and people soon concluded that the caves were haunted by evil spirits able to possess the bodies of others. How this was happening and how many people had already become possessed was unknown, but it set off a panic in the camps with no one certain who could be trusted. Shaman directed people to ware name chips close their own skin, for a symbolic strong tie to their own identity in the hopes that it will keep the spirits from being able to take over. They also advised loudly repeating the full name of someone you know and are close to three times over to help them fight off possession and cast the spirits out. But primarily shaman recommended that people leave the area. This advice was promptly followed, and the camps were abandoned for the time being.
However, rumors of the spirits, the caves and the large crystals to be found there continue to be told. It is also possible that a number of people who were there, may still be possessed and not be whom they appear to be. The true nature and motives of these spirits is a mystery.
Spoiler: Seaswathed Singers
Seaswathed Singers (Magical Creature)
Found off the coasts particularly in the northern waters around the Nenaí’Antcíjomah – Ember Bat Islands, are some strange creatures. From a distance they appear very beautiful, with an upper torso appearing like young men or women with bioluminescent wings of blues, greens, opal and black at their hips and simmering fish tales. They sing with beautiful voices hauntingly alluring melodies, as they sit on rocks and crags, or circle slowly in the air a few feet above the water.
However, once someone gets closer their forms shimmer and change, like a dissolving mirage and the creatures are revealed to be emaciated, haggard things with large mouths containing wickedly sharp teeth, clawed hands and slimy skin the colors of putrid greys, whites and blacks. They show neither mercy nor sentience, attacking in droves, clawing, biting and trying to drag people into the water to be devoured.
A resemblance to the Skyclad Dancers has been noted, as they are of similar size and the abilities to fly, shapeshift and sing in beautiful voices are all things they hold in common. However, these creatures aren’t awakened to the higher level of intelligence the Dancers have and seem driven by an unending hunger and malicious craving for flesh and blood. It’s been considered that these “Seaswathed Singers” are some kind of cursed flock of aquatic dancers, possibly similar to the twisted spirits of the Banished found in Shandolýn (cursed elven spirits).
Fishermen and sailors are warned to never approach these creatures and to turn around if they hear their singing, but the haunting beauty and allure of those voices, still draw many foolish souls to their death in the northern waters.
Spoiler: Shanánîar’Athân - Hooded-Lady-Seal
Shanánîar’Athân - Hooded-Lady-Seal (Magical Spirit)
A shané fishman called Zaní’Glicka’Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi - Watching Reflections of the Moon on the Ocean – was one of the first frontiersmen to settle in Shilo Vale. He made a home on the Nenaí’Cahnîg – Crag Islands, where he kept a watchtower and a fishing boat. Seals often came to the beach near his tower and he watched them with growing interest and amusement, getting to know the pod and appreciating the company for what it was worth. For he was quite lonely on the island. Then one day he noticed a shaná walking on the beach among the seals, dressed only in a long sealskin cloak with a large hood.
Concerned that she was the victim of a shipwreck, he went to help her. She spoke with difficulty in faltering Shándole and seemed confused. She said her name was Shanánîar’Athân – Lady-seal in a Hood –, but couldn’t answer any other questions he put to her. Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi did what he could to help her, providing some food, more clothing and speaking to her about casual things, for, though she had difficulty speaking, she seemed to understand him well and be comforted by his voice.
He promised to help her find her way home and she took his hand and squeezed it gratefully, large brown eyes filling with tears, but a soft smile on her lips. That night he gave her a place to trance and departed to his own meditations. However, when he’d finished and went to check on her, Shanánîar was gone. Frightened for her safety, he searched his tower and the surrounding shores, but could find no sign of her, only the unseal pod of seals sleeping on the beach and playing in the waves. Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi was greatly distressed and determined to search the whole of the island come sunrise, preparing his traveling pack. For two days he walked all over the island and found it barren. There was no one but him on all its shores. Finally, he could only conclude that Shanánîar must have wandered off in the dark and drown and returned to his tower very disheartened. To his surprise, however, Shanánîar was standing on the beach near his door and smiled to see him returning home. He asked her where she’d been and what had happened and she could not explain. All she said was “I missed ye, so a’here I am.” He didn’t understand, but his heart was filled with peace and happiness when she smiled, so he did not press her further.
He made her a meal and they spoke long into the night, struggling with a language barrier but finding the company easy nonetheless, laughing and smiling together. The next day, Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi took her to the mainland and asked at Tól’Thaláurên’Cahnîg – Town of Craggy Falls – if anyone knew her or knew about a recent shipwreck. No one did and they said no boats had come nor been expected in several moons. Shanánîar quickly grew exhausted walking around the town and asked that they go back to the island. Not knowing where else to take her, Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi brought her back home to his tower, all the more confused and uncertain about her nature.
She drew close to him that night, running her hand through his hair and he wrapped his arms about her shoulders, his heart filling with a fondness that was deeper than he’d ever known. And yet there was something sad and anxious wavering just beyond his understanding; something that told him things wouldn’t be alright. Yet, still, he knew that he loved her.
She disappeared after that night. This time Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi was less surprised and watched the shores and waves, going about his work in silence and anxiety. A couple days later, he came out of his tower in the morning to find her standing by, greeting him with a smile. She could not say where she’d been.
This continued on, with Shanánîar appearing on the shore, staying a few days and then vanishing for a few days. Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi could not fathom where she disappeared too, but begin to resent it more and more, wanting to be with her always. Finally, he watched her carefully and saw her one night, as the moon was rising. She stepped to the shore and pulled her hooded cloak up and about her and, as she did, she changed, turning into one of the seals. He realized then that she was a calah, a spirit of the ocean bound to the seals and the waves. He did not tell her of his discovery, but held it in his heart, considering. His love was deep, but it was also jealous. He witnessed her transformations several more times and a plan formed in his ka. One day, while she was meditating, he took her cloak and hid it away in the chimney of his fireplace.
When Shanánîar came out of trance she missed it immediately and search everywhere, asking Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi where it was, but he said he didn’t know and even helped her search, but in vain. Shanánîar wept, though she said she didn’t understand why. She was confused and shaken and Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi comforted her.
As he’d hoped, she did not return to the ocean. Without her cloak she remained in shaní form and with him at his tower. But there was a sadness about her, a wistful confusion. Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi felt some pang of guilt and considered that maybe he should tell her the truth and return her cloak to her, but was frightened she would be so angry she would leave for good. Then Shanánîar became pregnant and a son was born and Á’Lafá’Á’Lyndi knew he would never tell Shanánîar the truth. She was too precious and the family they’d made too important to him. He’d love her for a thousand years and keep her as his own forever, even if it meant keeping her very Ka his captive.
They named their son, M’Clâggen’Híahní – I Stepped from the Waves.
Spoiler: Klicé’Nichí’Á’Melôdí - Wolf Racing the Lights
Klicé’Nichí’Á’Melôdí - Wolf Racing the Lights (Magical Spirit)
Frost wolves are malicious creatures feared throughout Shandolé, but, as frontiersmen settled in Shilo Vale, rumors of a peculiar frost wolf began to spread. Like others of her kind, she was very large and snowy white with frosty blue eyes, but she didn’t lead a savage pack and neither did she descend with hatful freezing breath upon any two-leg in her territory.
Seen running in the distance under the northern lights, she once frightened a camp of prospectors, howling at a distance and threatening them so much they packed up and moved to the shelter of some caves a distance off. That very night an avalanche shook the mountain and the place where the prospectors had been camped was completely buried. Moving camps had most assuredly saved their lives.
Another time a family of Sangar got lost in a blizzard. Freezing and exhausted they were ready to give up and accept their fate, but the huge snowy wolf appeared, her fur shining as if reflecting the auroras, even though the sky was completely blanked out by snow. Her howls sent spikes of terror through them and they fled before her, despite their exhaustion, only to stumble right into a nearby camp. One they never would have found on their own through the blizzard. When the snows died down and the family were warm in safe in the care of the camp, they again saw the frost wolf in the distance, looking down from a ridge, the auroras above her flashing in silent approval. The family knew if she hadn’t chased them, they’d be frozen corpses buried in the cold mountains. The Sangar mother composed a song that night in gratitude.
Other stories of lost travelers being chased or led to safety were told, as well as stories of the wolf bringing warnings or fending off evil spirits. In all of them the strange frost wolf remained at a distance, seen running under the northern lights or standing poised in the freezing winds, her coat reflecting colorful lights that weren’t there. The people of Shilo Vale started calling her Klicé’Nichí’Á’Melôdí - Wolf Racing the Lights. Some claim she is a guardian servant of Eauden. Others say she is a can’calah in her own right, a magical spirit dedicated to protecting people from the dangers of the cruel winter.
- Join Date
- Feb 2015
- Constantly Roaming
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers
Phoenix is retired, so I am moving his region writeup to the lands thread.
Scions of the Thalaz'ir (SoT)
Region #30, Mamut
Summary: Displaced solar nobles
Spoiler: GeographyNa'karat is a strange land of dying grass giving way to scorched wastes just north of it creating a symbolic pathway from their supposed ancestral home to the north, abandoned during the false dawn. Littering Na'karat are craters of varying sizes ranging from no bigger than a few feet to some that may span the width of a house or larger. In the infancy of Na'karat, these craters were infested with small groups of blightspawn who have since been cleared out by the Scions.
The Scions themselves have erected many buildings made of stone in which to eke out their new existence, as well as several small monuments, altars to the sun (and a few to the moon) at which they leave offerings for their divines.
The south of Na'karat is touched by a river which they call Shar-Rakza, from which the Scions get most of their drinking water, as well as the water for their rather simplistic 'farms'.
Spoiler: PeopleThe people of Na'karat are descended from the nobility of their former empire, and so did not take kindly to their sudden change of lifestyle. Almost universally loud, the tall and lean-built humans of Na'karat settle their differences and grievances with violent outbursts usually stopped by the intervention of the sun priests. Judged before them, the one determined to be in the wrong for instigating the violence is taken to the sun temple at Na'karat's heart.
Dark skin, typically brown or green eyes, and dark hair are all telltale characteristics of men and women of the Scions when combined with their tall stature. Some individuals of Na'karat have been born with orange eyes, an omen that the sun priests are very eager to investigate, often claiming the newborn to be raised among the temple instead of with their parents, ensuring that they always have an ample number of faithful to carry on the ancient traditions of the sun.
Starting Tech: Masonry: +1 to resist Raids and Sacks
Spoiler: HistoryThe history of the Scions of the Thalaz'ir is tumultuous, having been the former ruling caste of the great empire of Arrakh-Rah before the false dawn, the men and women who would become the Scions were decadent, lavish, and foolish. Though all true historical records of their once-great nation were lost, those who survived speak of dark magics and vile perversions that led to their empire's fall, blaming the entirety of the false dawn on themselves for angering the gods with their 'corruption'.
Before the false dawn, the empire of Arrakh-Rah was ruled by the Thalaz'ir (God King), who's blood it was said ran gold like the warm sun, and whose eyes were shimmering silver like the full moon. This Thalaz'ir was supposedly reincarnated several times, with each new incarnation being born during a solstice. Over the generations, as the kingdom grew in prosperity, so too did the arrogance of the Thalaz'ir, who became seduced by darker temptations, and if the sun priests are to be believed, dark whispers.
When the false dawn came, the people of Arrakh-Rah were scattered, with the lower class escaping the crumbling empire much faster than the nobility. Some say that most of the upper caste remained behind, too engrossed in their own depravities and corruption to escape with their kin, though these are merely rumours. Of those that did survive, many were sun priests who led their people to safety in the plains of Na'karat.
19 years ago, a new Thalaz'ir was born, and the Scions are in the midst of turmoil to decide whether to crown and follow the reincarnation of the man who once led them to ruin, or to cast him out into the blighted wastes alone.
Spoiler: FaithThe people of Na'karat practice Solar 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 sun, and a belief that it is a living deity who moves through the sky each day, enriching and nourishing the land with his warmth. The Scions believe that without a sacrifice of precious stones each month the sun will refuse to move through the sky and will leave the world out of balance as his twin, the moon, remains.
The moon, the Sun's opposite is seen as an equal to the sun, less bright than the sun but with stars all around it to support it's brilliance. Where the sun suggests power individually, the moon suggests power together. Both provide light in different ways, and to be without light is to die. When these people of Arrakh-Rah departed from their lands to seek safety, their number did not include a moon shaman to guide them in the other half of their spiritual faith. The scions seek to recover the lost pieces of their faith and culture as their numbers increase once again.
Though secretive, a third sect of their mystic faith exists, one fascinated with death and all of its depictions...
Currently the only solar temple is called the "Atrium of Plenitude", which resides at the heart of Na'karat, surrounded by fields of simple crops gently blowing in the wind.
Spoiler: ResourceNa'karat is one of few places where the strange resource of Comet Stone can be found in abundance, typically buried in or beneath the craters that fill Na'karat. Comet Stone is a deep blue rock of similar texture to obsidian or other glassy rocks, though notably much harder to break. Comet Stone is of great religious import to the Scions, whose sun priests decorate their staves with it. Part of the solar faith dictates that the people leave tribute of Comet Stone for their deity. The sun priests collect it each night while the populace sleeps, but where they bring it is unknown, the common folk believing it to have been taken up by the sun.
However, the region lacks in natural sources of labor. Whether 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 Na'karat are a descended from true nobility who never toiled for anything, relying on the common folk to do it for them."What is to give light must endure burning."
- Join Date
- Sep 2017
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the EmbersSpoiler: Region 109 - UldraA snow-covered kingdom bordered by lakes, the Arrok are fiercely protective of their lands, their wolves, and their northern allies.
Spoiler: GeographyUldra is a rocky, snow covered tundra region full of sloping hills and jutting crags of rock. Intermittent pools and small lakes are often covered in ice but host fish that can be gathered for sustenance. Vegetation is scarce and relegated to stubborn shrubs, lichens, and grasses, with fruit and herb bushes emerging in the warmer months. This vegetation sustains both traveling groups of people as well as migrating herds.
Cities and buildings are constructed out of bones, stone, and dried mud bricks collected in warmer weather and covered in treated hides and packed snow. Mother’s Crown lies in the central north of Uldra, built around a scattered system of natural hot springs and rock outcrops, and is the largest of the two permanent settlements and acts as the primary center for trade, celebrations, and animal rearing (namely herbivores for prey and direwolves bought from Nordgen traders). Mother’s Heart is the second permanent settlement, built at the mouth of the cave to Aratak Falls, an underground river leading to a triple-forked waterfall. This settlement lies just a half-day north of Mother’s Crown and is the home of the Elders, mystics, and the center of all rituals and religious celebrations of the Uldra.
Spoiler: PeopleThe sole sapient race in Uldra are the Arrok – humans who are dark of skin and hair, short and stocky in stature, and more stubborn and territorial than an ice-bear over her nest. The Arrok are a matriarchal society governed by a voting group of Elders who oversee affairs and, if needed, will appoint War Chiefs or Hunters to rally forces or explore new lands. Any person of sufficient age may be an Elder, though only a handful each decade survive the frozen wilds long enough. Though the population in general has a say and sway in decisions, the Elders are the ones who take the final vote and ultimately decide issues. Clothing consists of treated hides collected from hunted animals that are cut, sewn, layered, and decorated with bone, stone, and gems to tell of a person’s standing and accomplishments. The Arrok are semi-nomadic, with most ‘villages’ traveling around Uldra in temporary settlements to follow the hunting. The main permanent settlements are occupied by a full 30% of the Arrok population, with most living at Mother’s Crown and a smaller population at Mother’s Heart. Families are based around the mother's line, with no concept of biological fatherhood. Multiple partners through life are common, as are multiple partners at once. Should Arrok wish to be monogamous to another (or others), a Binding ceremony is performed by the Oracle. Unbound males generally help to care for the children of their mothers, sisters, or cousins, or other women they have a close connection to in their 'village.'
Spoiler: ResourcesResource: Salt is harvested in abundance from the frozen lakes surrounding Uldra and is used for food preservation and rituals
Required Resource: Northern Husky Dogs – used for transportation, hunting, protection, and general companionship.
Spoiler: FaithArrok had worshiped flowing, unfrozen water and the wolves from the north as key elements of life for generations before meeting the Nordgen Seekers, and quickly bonded over shared beliefs before integrating the more organized faith of the Way of Eauden.
Arrok rituals are based around the Aratak Falls, a subterranean cave system containing a river flowing to a triple-forked waterfall plunging far into the abyss. The water glows with a soft brilliant blue light and its magic can be felt as soon as one enters the cave entrance. The water leaps and flows as if it had a mind of its own with no regard for gravity, leading to the belief that the water of this Fall is blessed by the Moon Spirit. The stories of Aratak Falls led to the joining and alliance between the Arrok and the Nordgen when their Seekers came in search of the Falls. Seekers of the Arrok and the Nordgen often train and learn together, and have frequent journeys between the holy sites to share knowledge and worship at each location.
Spoiler: Region 130 - Falo
Region 130 has been discovered by the Arrok! It has a Minor resource of Horses, a Holy Site dedicated to the Endless Horizon and 2 units of native defenders!
Spoiler: GeographyFalo is characterized by rugged, rolling hills and plateaus, covered in wind-blown snow for most of the year and tall grasses for the rest. Snow and icemelt feed rivers and springs that run-off north. The rolling land is broken only by shrublands and sparse forests of short, wiry trees. The Kano river cuts a slim but persistent line through the land, joining untold numbers of unnamed springs, creeks, and streams. The sharpest bend in Kano is around the Saddle, two large hills creating a sloping valley in between, wherein is nestled Dokra, the breeding grounds and primary pastures for the Faloan horses. Dokra acts also as the center of permanent life for the Faloan people, and is filled with large oval dome residences.
Spoiler: PeopleThe Faloans are taller than the average Arrok but still a short, stocky people. Their reflexes and grace on horseback make them appear not quite fully human, nor does their keen hearing and eyesight, though any Faloan would laugh and just cite good horsesense. Their hair is grown long and braided, with the normal dark colors often dyed by the various berries and grasses on the plains. Most dye their hair pale yellow or white to match their horse's manes. Practically raised on horseback, Faloans are masterful horseriders and warriors, and are just as inclined to start a brawl as they are to comment on the weather. Clans, typically made of extended family, are led by a Fen, with the High Fen residing in Dokra and reigning over Falo.
Spoiler: ResourceFalo has a Minor resource of Horses. These horses are dun to black, with white manes and shaggy fur. Shaped more like a barrel with legs, Faloan horses have stamina unmatched by any other mammal known to Tarandi, and delight in discovering new fruits and grasses to feed on.
Spoiler: FaithSo too as the stars dance in the night sky, so do the souls of the Falo and their horses when their time is past. The border of life and death is as clean as the line between sky and land. It is only at the transition times - dawn and dusk when souls that have been severed from the land can pass into the sky and join their ancestors in the Rider's Eye, a fixed formation of stars surrounded by everlasting cloud.
- Join Date
- Jan 2013
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the EmbersCrow's Tribe - Highnest
Resource: Shattered Runestones [Great]
Holy Site: Crow's Talons [Native Unorganized]
Spoiler: GeographyLike most of Sikar, Highnest is hot and dry, but it's most notable features are a series canyons and multi-hued rock formations formed by forgotten rivers that dried up long before the False Dawn. Ancient villages and crumbling fortifications dot the cliff sides, carved right into the stone, but their original owners have long since moved on or died. The most impressive of these collapsing, ancient cities exists on a massive plateau rising from the desert at the north east end of the canyons. This is where Crow's Tribe made their home.
The northernmost reaches of Highnest are unbroken desert, but as you move south the desert yields to shrubland. The canyons are dry most the year, but some rivers form in the rainy season and flow north east towards the distant coast line. Trees are fairly uncommon for most the span of Highnest and the ones that survive there tend to be short and twisted, barely differentiable from the shrubs. In the rainy season these vast fields are vibrant and green. Despite how desolate the terrain may seem to an outsider, it is brimming with life, most of it small or nocturnal. Wild sheep are the largest herbivores in the region and coyotes are among the largest carnivores. The rest of the native fauna tends to be small mammals and reptiles. Vibrantly colored lizards and snakes are common, as are fields of rodent tunnels.
Spoiler: PeopleThe crows of Highnest are several species of blackbird, though true crows and ravens make up the vast majority. They traveled to the desert from distant lands and made the ancient ruins of Highnest their own. They are a people destined for greatness by their own description. They view themselves as superior to all other species, but are collectively covetous of many humanoid creations. In their homeland, far to the north, they had a disagreement with the other animals over the morality of adopting human technologies, like farming and tools.
Individual crows can be quite eloquent and insightful, but in groups they are prone to mob mentality, and are very distrustful of outsiders. Few outside their lands are even aware the birds can speak, let alone that they actually rule Highnest.
Spoiler: FaithFrom the perspective of Crow's Tribe:
Long ago animals and humans lived in harmony, but this was not enough for Man. He sought to tame the wilds and subjugate the beasts to labor for him.
Crow saw the bounty Man harvested. He was impressed and wished to join him, but Man was greedy. Man tried to kill Crow and chased him away.
From high on a mountaintop Crow watched over Man's crops and hatched a plan. Without the sun, nothing would grow. He would teach man a lesson.
So Crow flew as high as his wings could carry him and snatched the Sun from the Sky.
Nothing grew. Man's crops failed. Man suffered and disappeared.
Vulture feasted, but grew jealous of Crow's cleverness.
Vulture rallied the other animals against Crow and they demanded he return the Sun to the Sky.
But the Sun was rightfully Crow's. No one else had helped him. They had not braved the heights to steal it.
So he took it with him across the world, and hung it low over his kingdom.
Spoiler: ResourcesStarting Technology: Writing
Shattered Runestones are artifacts collected from the abandoned cliff cities of Highnest. The crows don't know who made them or what they're for, but they seem important, and some of them are very shiny.
Food is, unfortunately, never in great supply. Crows don't farm.
- Join Date
- Sep 2020
Re: Empire 6 - The Lands of the Embers
Reserving space for future regions and a current need of links.
Last edited by Torv; 2020-10-15 at 09:50 AM.