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- Join Date
- Apr 2009
Explorers of the Great River (West Marches campaign setting)
I decided to work on a new campaign in the setting I've been using and tinkering for the last five years. Having fallen in love with Worlds Without Number, I now want to really give it a try running it as a West Marches campaign, which has a large group of players who get together in smaller parties to set out from a main town on smaller exploration adventures and then return with their treasures to share their discoveries. Such a game can easily grow to a size where having more than one GM becomes really useful, and I also want to put the focus on discovering a strange and wondrous setting, and the players cooperating on getting a better understanding of the environment and creatures that they are exploring. This means that a lot more details about the world need to be well established in the past, so that all GMs can reveal pieces of information that the players can actually put together into a bigger picture. Previously, my worldbuilding had been very focused on the large scale, establishing the general environmental, cultural, and magical conditions, and only creating specific stuff for whatever place the characters in my campaigns were currently passing through. For this campaign, the worldbuilding needs to be more about detailing specific villages, prominent local ruins, small factions like single gangs or clans, and various specific NPCs. Mostly I will be just dumping here whatever I just made, as putting it down into actual sentences always helps me a lot with deciding on smaller details. But any ideas about how I could expend the things I post with additional details, or new places I could put down in this world will be hugely welcome. I'm probably going to need large numbers of relatively small size, with just 5 to 10 rooms and three encounters or so each, so even if an idea doesn't quite work with what I have in mind, it could still be a great starting point for an additional size.
The Setting Concept
The setting for the Great River Campaign is the Mahnad River on the continent Kaendor, which is part of a planet covered almost entirely in forests and oceans and dominate by vast wilderness with only a few small places that have any kind of civilization. The setting takes great influences from Dark Sun and Xen'drik and is heavily inspires by Morrowind and Kenshi. So inspect lots of strange and big reptile and insect creatures, alien plant life, bronze armor, jungle ruins, and bargemen going down the river past rice fields in round straw hats. It's all supposed to be a little bit bonkers, but always with a sense of sincerity and wonder. It's meant to be fun, but not funny.
The Mahnad is one of several large rivers that run into the Inner Sea, whose coasts are the center of civilization in Kaendor. But even as a major waterway, the only the lowest 200 miles of the Mahnad are settled to any meaningful extent. Another 100 miles further upstream, one reaches the limits of where the river traders go in their ships, and what for most people is effectively the end of the known world. But the Great River extends much further than that. Only a small fraction of the giant river has ever been mapped, with the rest being a true wilderness where few people have ever tread.
Technologically, the current civilizations of Kaendor are at a quite advanced Bronze Age level, and culturally draw from India and Persia, but also Egypt and Greece. Except that this world is almost completely heavily forested and the populations are too small to form any great kingdoms or empires. Instead, their technology relies heavily on what the people found left behind in the ruins of previous inhuman civilizations that existed around the Inner Sea and beyond across many thousands of years. The last civilization was the Naga, who are still around and control much of the jungles further south, but abandoned their cities on the Inner Sea and the Mahnad several centuries ago when the climate in these more temperate regions became too cold for them. As people emerged from the deeper forest and mountains to explore the abandoned cities, they found enough to work out the basics of working bronze and growing rice, and eventually learned to decipher the ancient tablets and scrolls that held magic much more advanced than that of the early shamans. Most cities and large towns are still build in and around the ancient walls of earlier civilizations. But many more ruins still stand overgrown and undisturbed deeper in the forest, and while the magic of sorcerers and high priests can rival that of the ancients, the creation of new magical artifacts is still as slow and expensive as it always was, making the recovery of items hidden away in ancient vaults and tombs an extremely lucrative undertaking.
The Great River is based on the Mississippi and Yellow River, and while it's actually a good deal smaller than either of those, it's still a massive area. I assume that it would take many years for any PCs to reach the source of just one of the main branches, but should the campaign get to that point, I like to be prepared to have clues for what the players might encounter if they get there long before that. The main bulk of the material I am working on now is just for the Lower River, which makes up about a fifth of the entire total area that could be explored by characters traveling on the river.
The Campaign Concept
While this thread is really about the worldbuilding of the setting, I think the general idea of how the campaign is supposed to work out in practice might help a lot with putting many of the choices and decisions into context.
The game system I am going with is Worlds Without Number, which is primarily based on the 1981 Basic and Expert rules of Dungeons & Dragons, but has been extensively modified and expanded in ways that I've seen many people any myself give the impression of being greatly inspired by 3rd edition. It has both skill points and feats, which work similar but slightly different, and the familiar combat system of Standard Actions, Move Actions, Instant Actions, and Reactions. But it also has much simpler character customization, much fewer modifier to rolls, much smaller attribute modifiers, only three classes, and a much overhauled magic system, which all make still feel very much like an oldschool retro-clone. This is significant in that it makes not just combat much faster, but also allows for creating a character in under five minutes. It's also a system that makes it possible to learn the game as you go without knowing any of the rules in advance.
As a West Marches campaign, the overall premise is that there is no fixed party of player characters. Instead there is a larger number of players who don't all play at the same time, and will form parties for just a single adventure as it fits everyone's time. With the way I am planning the campaign, adventures for more higher level parties to more distant places will get increasingly longer and not get completed in just one day. But for lower level characters, who explore closer to the starting towns, adventures are intended to be completed from start to finish in three or four hours. If there's still unfinished business and unclaimed treasures at a site, some of the characters can go on another adventure to that place, likely with a party of different companions. The idea is that any player can simply join an adventure that has still room fore players, make a character in five minutes, and play for a single game just to see how it is. If it remains at that, there's no issues for the other players or the campaign, as the adventure should have been completed and the party disbanded anyway. It's easy to join a game spontaneously without need for lengthy preparation, and players don't have to commit to any future adventures at a fixed schedule. This is where the ability to easily make new characters on the spot becomes very useful. A party going on an adventure that spans three or four days can consists of both players who play only once or twice a week, and players who like to play twice a week. The players playing more often don't have to wait on the players playing less frequently, since they can play with another character in other adventures in the meantime.
This approach of having multiple characters in different adventures requires a certain approach to the relationship players have with the characters and the campaign as a whole. This is a campaign style in which each PC has to be treated as somewhat interchangeable. This is not a type of game that lends itself to great personal character stories or character relationships. Having a system with limited character customization helps with that, as less time and effort goes into constructing these characters. An expectation of a significant level of lethality and real chance of character death should also contribute to that end, though the actual degree of danger does not have to be that particularly high. It just needs to be clear to the players that the chance is very much not zero.
A certain detachment from the PCs means that engagement and investment in the game has to come from somewhere else. I'm not good with exciting puzzles or challenging tactical combat as the main thing to carry a campaign, so my approach is to put the focus on exploration. My goal is to make the players excited about discovering the world they are moving into, and to provide rewards for studying the civilizations that build the ruins and the creatures that inhabit it by enabling them to get around certain types of common challenges more easily. My hope and gamble is that the characters making these discoveries can fade more into the background, and the discoveries themselves become the center of the campaign. This idea is very much inspired by the way worldbuilding is used in The Elder Scrolls and Dark Souls. But to make that work and be genuinely interesting to players, the worldbuilding has to be really solid and imaginative.
In regard to mechanical incentives, I have decided to stick with the oldschool D&D approach and tie experience primarily to treasure. The party gets 1 XP for every silver piece of treasure that they bring back from an adventure, and the amount of treasure that can be found in any place is between three or four times the XP that would be gained from engaging all the potentially dangerous creatures in that site. These treasures are primarily in vaults and caches, not carried around by creatures. This means that getting the treasure without having to face the guardians, and keeping the amount of random encounters as low as possible, becomes the safest way to gain good amounts of XP with the lowest risk of being killed in the process. While the focus of the campaign is not on getting rich, spreading the treasure out evenly through sites can make it somewhat of a measure of how well the site was explored by the players.
An additional resource in Worlds Without Number is renown. Renown primarily allows characters to get favors of assistance from rulers and populations. These favors could for example take the form of helping construct new outposts deeper in the wilderness, and convince traders to make the extra trip when they are doing their regular rounds to keep those outposts supplied, which shortens the travel time to more distant ruins. Characters automatically get a point of renown each time they are played, but as an additional source players can write play reports of the things they discovered in each game. These reports represent tales that the characters share with other explorers in taverns along the river, gaining both acclaim for themselves, and contributing to the shared knowledge of what lies deeper in the wilderness. These reports can include information that can be very useful to other players on their adventures, expanding the campaign as a whole beyond the active play time, and connecting players to characters of players that haven't played with much. Having read the tales of other characters' adventures might contribute to other players wanting to go on adventures with these people they already heard so much about.
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
Re: Explorers of the Great River (West Marches campaign setting)
Great River Layout
The Great River is roughly divided into six main sections.
The Marshes are a great river delta where the Mahnad reaches the coast. The vast majority of people living on the Great River can be found in this area, which is covered several hundred of small farming villages and market towns, as well as the largest city Kamir. The God-Queen Yenati and her Red Guards rule over this land, and while she lays claim to the entire river, her officials are rarely found beyond the Marshes. Not far north from the Marshes is Ven Marhend, the City of the Sorcerer Lords.
The Marshes are very well explored and settled, and there is nothing here for explorers to find. But agents of the queen or the Sorcerer Lords might be leading expeditions of their own further up the river.
The Lower River
The Lower River makes up the 500 miles or so between the Marshes and Lake Amara, where the Mahnad branches into the Green and Black Rivers. It runs through a wide gap between two long mountain ranges that run parallel to the coast from the Northwest to the Southeast. The main course of the Lower River is seeing frequent traffic by river traders and has numerous small farming villages and a handful of towns on its banks, but many of the smaller side branches are still completely unexplored.
The Black River
The Black River is the southern of the two large rivers that meet at Lake Amara. It runs along the far side of the mountains is flanked by dense jungles. Together with the Lower River, it was the main area of control of the Naga kingdom that existed on the Mahnad a thousand years ago, and in recent years Naga explorers have reached its headwaters by going through the jungles from the south. This river has the majority of unexplored Naga ruins. The Black River is almost entirely unexplored by people from the Lower River, but there exists a town of mountain people that sits on one of the rivers running down from the northernmost parts of the Southern Mountains.
The Green River
The Green River is the largest section of the Great River, but only the first 200 miles appear on any known maps. The Green River starts in a mountain range far to the north, where it runs through a shallow and rocky bed through sparse woodlands, until it reaches a vast valley many hundreds of miles across that goes all the way to Lake Amara where it meets the Black River. The western side of the Green River is covered in dense forests while the lands to the east are more sparsely overgrown and contain many large heaths and moors.
The Ash River
The Ash River runs from a range of great volcanoes that rise high above the center of the great valley. Wind coming from the sea usually drives the smoke and ash from the volcanoes further inland to the east, but occasional eastern winds can carry the ash far down towards the coast, covering the skies above the entire river. The Ash River sees the most of the ash and gases coming down and is a largely volcanic landscape in which small stubborn forest still cling on to life.
The West Branch
The West Branch runs down from a chain of hills that runs between the coastal mountains and the northern mountains that are the source of the Green River. The West Branch has carved a deep canyon into the rocky ground that is covered by empty hall and strongholds of the ancient giant Rock Carvers. For much of the year, this river is cold and covered in fog, and the dark forests above the cliff are just as foreboding.
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
Re: Explorers of the Great River (West Marches campaign setting)
The Ancient Builders
Ruins that can be found on the banks of the Great River fall into six different categories that each have their own typical traits, treasures they might contain, and dangers they pose.
While the civilizations on the coast are still quite young, the ancestors of their people have been around for a very long time before that, always roaming deep in the forests and mountains and hiding from site as the great civilizations of the river valleys came and went. Many such tribes still exist and they might be as numerous as the city people, though spread out over much vaster areas, in terrain that takes much longer to cross than sailing up and down the coasts. These people are now called the Wilders by the city people, but not that long they all used to be the same.
Wilder sites are most commonly found in natural caves, but more recent ones also exist within ruins of the ancient civilizations which have lain abandoned since the Naga retreated further south. They are rarely dangerous in themselves, as Wilder traps made from wood don't last long, and they have few magical creations that could be a real threat. The greatest danger in Wilder sites comes from whatever might be making its lair inside them now. There generally is little gold and silver to be found in them, though they can hold various minor magic items that were taken from other ruins and given as offerings to the spirits or grave goods for dead heroes,.Wilder shrines are also often found at magical springs or other sites of supernatural power.
The Naga were the last civilization that controlled the Lower River and the Black River and they
eft behind numerous cities, palaces, and castles, which are often still quite well preserved. They held large numbers of mortal slaves, from which knowledge about the serpent language has been passed down among the Wilders in the area through the ages, which laid the foundation for the current civilizations. But the dewllings of the slaves have decayed long ago, leaving only the great stone buildings of the Naga masters behind. Many still have objects made from treated wood that have lasted through the centuries, though they usually have started to fall apart for a good while now.
Having never been looted yet, Naga ruins often have considerable amounts of gold and silver left behind. While for whatever reason the Naga did not take all their riches with them, they left a lot less beind in magic items, though those can still be found in Naga tombs.
The Tower Builders were a mysterious civilization that preceeded the arrival of the Naga in more northern lands but existed alongside them for a very long time and only fully disappeared not long before the Naga began to retreat south themselves. The Towet Builders were asura, a race of humanoid people whose origin lies with the demons of the Underworld. Though they are mostly humanoid in appearance, their minds are nearly as alien as those of any demon. Asura are rarely seen in Kaendor, but the sheer amount of ruins they have left behind throughout all known corners of the world indicates that they must once have been a much more numerous civilization.
Tower Builder ruins are easily recognized by the great numbers of large towers they include, but they are not the only type of buildings they made. These towers are always square in shape, getting narrower towards the top, which takes the form of a flat tarrace. These ruins are build from very large stone blocks of a sheer endless number of irregular shapes that are fitted together very tightly and have proven to be extremely stable even in earthquakes. Tower Builder ruins on the Lower River and on the lower Green River close to Lake Amara have often been plundered by Naga many ages ago, and moat valuables that can be found there have ended up there more recently or were only uncovered as the old towers started to crumble. But ruins further north can often be found seemingly untouched through the entire length of the Naga reign.
While the Tower Builders are mysterious, barely anything about the Tree Weavers is known.Their ruins are quite, and often describing them as ruins doesn't seem to be the right term. The Tree Weavers had an art to weave together the branches of trees and make them grow together into solid walls and floors with doorways, windows, and staircases. A process that must have taken centuries, even with magic. Some of these sites have fully or partially died over the ages and gradually started to rot and crumble, but many still continue to grow and have reached enormous heights. This also makes it impossible to tell how long ago they might haave lived, but it is clear that no new ones have been made for many centuries. The scale of many Tree Weaver ruins indicates that they were probably humanoid in shape and of similar size to Naga and asura, but even that is only speculation.
There are rarely any coins found in these places, but many are grown around powerful supernatural sites or are home to many different spirits of tbe forests.
The Rock Carvers are one of the oldest civilizations that came long before the Tower Builders. They created their cities and steongholds almost entirely without using masonry snd instead carved them as solid single pieces out of the rock of mountains and cliffs. This unique and certainly slow method of construction also made them extremely durable and many are still innamazing shape. Despite the imcredible age if these ruins, their creators are known to have been giants, 3 meter tall humanoids who often possesses various magical powers. The giants claim that the Rock Carvers where their distant ancestors, but also seem to know very little else about them. But given the abundance of these ruins, their people must once have been much larger in number.
Rock Carver ruins are extremely strong and breaking through sealed passages is extremely slow and difficult, if not even just outright impossible. But this trait also means that many ancient vaults and hoards have remained untouched for several thousands if years, their protections only defeated evwntually by errosion and earthquakes. As the mountains themselves begin to topple with age, these ancient barriers are finally giving up the treasures and secrets that they hold. Rock Carver ruins are attractive lairs for all maners of subterranean creatures, and they are often filled with dangerous mechanical traps, that sometimes become even more dangerous in their gradually collapsing state. One thing always highly looked for in Rock Carver ruins are steel blades. A secret the giants have closely guarded until this very day.
Long before the Rock Carvers where the Glass Makers.The ruins they have left behind all over Kaendor are more strange and mysterious than any other. They appear to be made of a dark green glass that is extrmely strong and nearly indestructable. For a long time there have been stories of people seeing cracks in them which appear to have completely vanished when others explored the sites many years later. Glass Maker ruins are most commonly found underground, often beneath the ruins of other civilizatuons that seem to have build their own castles deliberately on top of them. There are however also a smaller number of strange great towers that rise out of tbe ground and far above the surrounding trees. The identity of the Glass Makers is completely unknown, but they don't appear to have been humanoid at all.
Glass Maker ruins can hold the most wondrous and often very powerful magic items, but slso dangers. Most of them have at least some water flowing through them, but many are also nearly completely flooded and home to many aquatic cave creaturs.
- Join Date
- Feb 2011
Re: Explorers of the Great River (West Marches campaign setting)
I really love that river map, looks naturally dendritic.
Is that hand-drawn, or did you use a program to generate it?
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
Re: Explorers of the Great River (West Marches campaign setting)
I used various maps of big river system from the internet and pasted the different branches together into a big network in GIMP. And then simply traced some of the rivers with using a tablet. Could do that with a mouse, but I feel tablet gives you much nicer lines.
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
Re: Explorers of the Great River (West Marches campaign setting)
Peoples of the Great River
There are five peoples that live on the banks of the Mahnad. With one exception they do not have any special traits unique to them that set them apart from each other. The three largest groups are the Murya, Fenai, and Yao who are native to the surrounding lands, but there are also several groups of Kuri and Suay who have arrived in the ports of Kamir and Surat as merchants or slaves.
Top row: Murya, Fenai, Yao.
Bottom row: Kuri, Suay.
The Murya are the native people of the coast of the Inner Sea, where most of the large ports of Kaendor are located. After the Naga disappeared to their more southern kingdoms centuries ago, the coastal marshes of the Mahnad became one of the two centers of the new Murya civilization as they settled in the abandoned Naga strongholds of Hatun and Surat, and the god-queen Yenati claimed the ancient towers of Kamir as the seat of her power. Yenati claims power over the entire Mahnad, but her influence only covers the marshes up to Surat, which in the past decades has become more of a tributary than an actual subject. However, over the centuries, Murya rice farmers and fishermen have expanded continuously, though slowly, up the banks of the Lower River upstream of Surat. The Murya towns Vahri and Dar Valan are the largest settlements east of Surat and there are dozens of Murya villages along the river banks. Even here Murya still make up over two thirds of the population.
Murya sees themselves as being the average build for people and their neighbors being tall or thin in stature as compared to them. They have red skin and deep dark brown hair that they usualy wear long, but often in all manners of braids. Only the Suay have a greater claim to be seen as people of the waters, and on the Mahnad the Murya are truly the people of the river. Surrounded by dense forests with few roads, the Murya of tbe Great River mostly travel between villages by boat, and the water between Surat and Vahri is constantly filled with the sails of their slender and fast dhows. And most Murya who are not making their living on the river are working the rice fields along the banks. In Murya culture, merchants are seen as people of high status just below nobles, and are often seen as social equals of royal administrators who are also working with accounts and coins.
Among the Murya of the Lower River, few revere any of the god kings, and most who have left the
Marshes to seek their fortune further upstream left behind their home in the Marshes to get away fro, the tyranical reign of Yenati. Instead, a majority of them are worshipping the Moon Goddess Ashana, who they revere as the creator of their people, but there are also many shrines to Hazuron, the Lord of Storms.
The Fenai are a people from the forests of the great Dainiva forest beyond the mountains to the north of the Inner Sea. But not long after the the Murya had started to settle on the Lower River, they encountered Fenai explorers who had traveled along the edge of the mountains and followed the various rivers that flow into the Mahnad from the north. Over the following centuries they established several settlements along one of the main northern branches in the area surrounding their hill stronghold Menai. Unlike their kin on the northern coasts, the Fenai of Dainiva are not sailors or great fishermen. They regularly use the river to travel between villages and visit the larger markets downstream in their canoes but have no large trade ships like junks or galleys of their own. Instead they continue to support themselves by hunting and growing barley and roots in the forests like their ancestors. In Fenai society, warriors have a very special station that puts them outside the traditional roles for men and women. Most warriors grew up as boys, but no girls may be denied the request to be trained as one, and all have to prove the same way that they have both the ability that it takes to be a warrior and the true spirit of one. Warriors have their own way of dress and it is considered highly improper for them to wear the clothes of a farmer or a woman. There are also certain types of work that are seen as undignified by warriors, and female warriors are not allowed to participate in activities that are restricted only to women, which is one of the reasons many girls are hesitant to train as warriors.
Fenai make up about a fifth of the people on the Lower River and are much less wealthy than the prospering Murya merchant towns.But they have established themselves as succesful traders of highland lumber that is traded as far as the Murya shipyards on the coast, as well as pelts from animals not found in the marshes. They also hunt and train heors in the forests which are highly sought after as mounts by nobles and officers and fetch very high prices. Fenai make up a significant portion of the people in Vahri, which is otherwise a Murya town.
The Fenai worship their three gods Idain, Livas, and Heotis, the gods of the Earth, Animals, and the Home. They also have many shrines to the hunter Arkunas, and many Fenai living near Murya have adopted a stronger worship of the moon, which their traditions call Temis.
The Yao are the people of the mountains that rise south of the Mahnad and stretch far to the south for many hundreds of miles between the sea and the Black River. They have lived in the highlands out of reach of the Naga and the Tower Builders for a very long time, but since the Murya began settling the Lower River, bands of hunters and explorers have come down into the river valley, followed in the past century by mercenaries seeking to earn coins in times of peace at home. In their high homelands, Yao herd goats and grow potatoes, but few have settled in the river valley to become farmers.
Yao have ocher-yellow skin and deep black hair and eyes, and they regularly tower over the other people with broad shoulders and thick arms and legs.
Most yao that come to the Mahnad are Sakaya, belonging to a spiritual society that has abolished allegiance to clans or kings and prays to no gods, to create a community of equals without nobles or slaves.They are only Sakaya, and nothing else. They believe that it is the highest virtue and greatest duty for everyone to do what is in their ability to best contribute to their society. Once Sakaya have found their calling in life, they are expected to dedicate themselves to master their trade and strive for constant improvement. With their society placing high value on talent and always comtributing to the best of your ability, Sakaya tend to be mucb more open about gender role than the rest of Yao society. While new converts often find it quite challenging, the mystics of the Sakaya are very insistent to make sure that no children are kept from task in which they show great natural skill.
Sakaya warriors constantly train their skills, but in times where their abilities are not expected to be needed, they often send some of their own out to seek work as mercenaries and earn both experience coins, rather than help with menial task in their villages on which their talents are wasted. Companies of Sakaya mercenaries are regarded among the best in Kaendor, and certainly the most disciplined, which makes Yao mercenaries quite expensive, whether they are actually Sakaya or not.
The Kuri are a rarely seen people from the Far North, whose distant homeland is often talked of as a mysterious place of icy cold and strange dangers at the Inner Sea, tnat is ruled by a fearsome witch queen. Kuri are usually even less chatty than Yao, which makes them appear as quite unapproachable to most other people. They seem to be reading a lot of meaning into slight expressions and gestures that are very hard for strangers to read, which many used to more animated speech perceive as somewhat rude or slightly spooky, or even outright unsettling. Kuri have nearly white skin and hair and are almost always very lean, which makes them often appear taller than they really are, generally being no greater in height than Murya or Fenai. Kuri often have faces that appear as quite androgynous to other people, and their culture doesn't really have distinctive gender roles like in most other parts of Kaendor. As a diplomatic gesture, Kuri in foreign lands will often adopt some local dress to somewhat fit in with cultural gender norms, but many quietly despise doing so and may not pick the clothes that the society deems appropriate. To them, this isn't seen as passing as another gender, but simply as an inconvenience to avoid troubling their hosts who may greatly care about such things.
The Kuri are one of tbe most advanced cultures of Kaendor, being equal to the Murya city states on the Inner Sea. Halva is the only known place where the smiths know how to make crude iron into steel that matches the extremely rare meteor iron, which is claimed to be a gift from their witch queen, who got it from the giants.
Kuri come to the South most commonly as merchants, though there are also the occasional travelling scholars and adventurers. Kuri follow two different faiths, which are a major source of frictions in their homeland Venlat. Large numbers of worship Meiv, the Witch Queen of Halva, who is said to be a daughter of the North Wind. Meiv and her White Guard rule over the main cities and ports of Venlat, but her worship does not reach their borders. The majority of Kuri follow shamanism and prey to the spirits of tbe lands around them than to any specific gods. The smaller clans reject Meiv's rule and resist attempts to being them under her control, and they look down with hostiity to those who wirship her as a deity. Kuri diplomats and many merchants are servants of Meiv, while single scholars or adventurers are almost always from the shamanic clans.
The Suay are a small people from the islands off the coast in the Endless Ocean. It is said that they were slaves of the naga who had the blood of water spirits, which gives them their ability to swim for long times underwater at great speeds like dolphins or seals. When the Naga retreated to the warmer South, many of their aquatic slaves manged to escape or were forgotten, and found a new home on the islands where no ships could go at that time.
Suay have gray skin that often appears sligntly purple that easily dries up and burn in the harsh light of the noon sun. In their villages and town, the streets are completely deserted in the middle of the days as people spend the time indoors or underwater. Suay travelling to other lands usually wear long hooded coats made from light materials like cotton or hemp that keeps them from overheating. Suay are often a bit shorter than other peoples, but spending much of their time swimming they are almost always seen as being in exelent shape. Since they are low in numbers even in their homeland, Suay are very rare in other places, but they often stand out with their unique appearance and dress.