Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Eastern Zenninfal

Summary: Eastern Zenninfal is slightly less industrious than the west, but it is overall more educated in the fields of mysticism, philosophy, mathematics, politics and law. Magic is largely what drives the society, whether it is in the mages becoming figures of political power in the city-states and kingdoms, or the priests and shamans leading their tribes of barbarians in the less civilized areas. Money is used, but trading for goods and services is still practiced. Overall, the people living in Eastern Zenninfal are more tolerant of most everything, from the differences between people to the injustices of society. There are notable exceptions however, which will be detailed in the "Major Conflicts" paragraph.

Regional Religion: The religions of Eastern Zenninfal are wide and varied, though most of the universally worshiped gods are seen as forces where you are better off if you are ignored. Most prayers are not prayers asking for favors or good events to happen, but rather, prayers asking for salvation and mercy. Priests of many gods are seen less as intermediaries between their god and the people, and more as defenders of the people against the excesses of what their god represents.

Naming styles: The names of people and places in Eastern Zenninfal tend to come from the romance languages. Towards the north, people and places tend to have Greek names, and towards the southwest and northwest, people and places tend to have Slavic names.

Major Political Factions: Igakari is the driving nation in this region, with most other nations and kingdoms being mere city-states. Igakari itself is ruled over by two sections of government. The first section is a group of Magistrates from every town and city. These Magistrates serve as both mayors and national representatives; they stay in contact with one another through magic and drive national policy. The larger the city, the more influence that city's magistrate is afforded. International policy is driven by a group of 12 council members who act as both diplomats and foreign policy advisers.

History: Igakari has existed as a nation for more than two millennia, and have considered wars or conquest beneath them. Historically, the magistrates and council members of Igakari have seen fit to maintaining the power balance that exists in the region and nothing more. Several hundred years ago, when the Jerol empire was attempting to conquer the world, the invaders were stopped fast in their tracks by the Barbarians of Rothysia, who consider themselves fiercely independent and managed to keep the Jerolans at bay using guerrilla tactics and magical powers. Many Igans recognize that their current, peaceful way of life would have been impossible without the barbarians to the west, though just as many do not.

Magical Styles: Although magic in Igakari is not as industrious as it is in Cerenbaun, enchanted items are still extremely common. The most common enchanted items are wands and stones that allow the holder to cast specific spells. These items are so common that there are mages with no innate magical talent of their own, who instead do all of their casting using such objects. Magical items in Eastern Zenninfal are normally activated by thought or command words; the switches, gears and buttons of Cerenbaun are not used here, and considered superfluous and inelegant. Magical law is also far more lax in Igakari than it is in the west, although some notable styles of casting are still illegal, such as murder or grave-robbing for the sake of necromantic materials, or creating soul-links with more than two people.

Major Conflicts: Recently, many barbarian tribes have been propositioning the Igan government to annex their tribes as new cities and towns. This "expansive borders" immigration has caused a political group called the Barbarian Caucus to form, in order to represent the rights and interest of the Barbarians of Rothysia. A notable exception is that the Barbarian Caucus has refused to acknowledge the existence of the Bush Ardlins as legitimate barbarians, while it (controversially) accepts Ghrok with open arms.

A group of mages from the west have recently begun stirring up trouble in Igakari. They feel that two thousand years is far too long for a nation to exist, and they seek to exacerbate the tensions between Igakari and the Rothysian barbarians in order to destabilize the region.

Although powerful mages have always become an impromptu part of the Igan government, recently these mages have been experimenting with magical styles heavily frowned upon by Igakari's populace. As a result, the number of "Mage-hunter" adventurers has increased as of late, and there are rumors that the Mages may attempt to take over and break off massive chunks of territory so they may increase their magical power unmolested.

The Valdrex from southern Yessha are attempting to set up permanent bases of opperation and trade in both goods and slaves in the lawless areas of Rothysia, illiciting mixed feelings from all sections of society.

In the south of Igakari, bandits from the region of Camaria have been raiding the local towns with impunity.

The Ghrok have been slowly going extinct. They have been competing for territory with the vicious bush ardlins and bandits reveling in the lawlessness of the region. The Ghrok are aware of their impending extinction, and this makes them very dangerous.

Points of Interest:

Chianmos Desert: This desert to the north acts as part of a barrier leadaing into Eastern Habruk. Due to its northerly location, it is more often cold than hot. The snow coming down off of the Elfalos mountain blends into the white sands of this desert. From a distance the desert looks like a glacier coming down off the mountains.

Elfalos Mountain Range: Also known as "The shelf above the world" this mountain range helps to separate Zenninfal from Habruk, as well as divide Habruk into the eastern and western regions.

Lake Siloros: A large glacial lake that lies at the base of the Elfalos mountain range. Those who live north and west of the lake tend to be Habrukan. Those who live south and east of the lake tend to be Igan.

Kressia: The most humid area of Eastern Zenninfal, Kressia is a region made up of peaceful city-state dwellers who tend to wear shawls and ceremonial masks. They are master woodcarvers and fishermen, but their region is otherwise impoverished. Kressia is known for its plains of blueish grass, and coniferous forests with needles of a similar hue. It is also famous for its fog.

Rothysia: An expansive region of plains, and the source of the Lyeban river, the longest river in the northern world. Rothysia has resisted civilizing influences for countless centuries, and is home to a proud barbarian culture. It is home to Ghrok, Bush Ardlins, Valdrex colonists, bandits and human barbarians. In Western Zenninfal, Rothysia is known as "The Eastern Border" regardless of whether or not the location in question actually borders Rothysia.

Tehgrahan: A large confderation of many smaller kingdoms, Tehgrahan is an area east of Rothysia. It was conquered by the Jerolans when they were expanding their empire, so the natives largely speak the Jerolan language. However, they still follow much of the culture of Eastern Zenninfal and worship the more Easterly gods. The kingdoms in the north of Tehgrahan are conservative and known for grumpy, under-educated, superstitious and pessimistic people. The south of Tehgrahan is made up of large, expansive forests inhabited largely by Orchaein. The inhabitants here tend to be much friendlier than their northern neighbors. Like the whole of Eastern Zenninfal is a melting pot between the views of the far east and far west, Tehgrahan itself is a melting pot between Eastern Zenninfal and Western Zenninfal.

The Southwest Way: This valley leads directly into the Yesshan Desert, and is an important trade route, the only land line route that least to Eastern Yessha.

Climate: Eastern Zenninfal is somewhat arid. In the south, it is made up of hot bushlands. The middle of the region is mostly grasslands and plains. The north is cooler and more temperate, though it still suffers from less than average rainfall. There are sparse forests closer to the eastern coast, and thicker forests on the coast of the Great Barrier Sea.

Native Godtouched: Humans (Primarily Igans), Theromorphs, Bush Ardlins, Ghrok, Orchaein, Satyrs, Phoenixes, Sphinxes, Unicorns, Earth dragons, Valdrex (colonists only), Vampries and other Undead.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Aarn Timeline (Beginning with the Birth of Humanity)

Year 0 - The first humans are created by Jennin. The "Age of Humanity" begins.

Year 120 - Already established godtouched civilizations such as the Lenneshin, Ghorma, Valdrex, Salamanders (lead by fire dragons), Medusae and Centaurs begin attempting genocide against the humans. Civilizations that outright refuse to aid the humans are Satyrs, Merfolk and Orchaein, but they do not act hostile towards the new race.

Year 140 - The naga begin aiding the humans against attacks from civilized godtouched. Sphinxes begin aiding the humans against attacks from uncivilized godtouched.

Year 280 - Human civilization first begins successfully in the south of Rensvan. These humans name themselves the Udhan.

Jennin appoints the Naga as the official mediaries between himself and humanity as a reward for saving them.

Year 300 - The giants in the north name two of the other promminent human tribes "elves" and "dwarves." The humans call themselves "Aledorans" and "Tehxiona," respectively.

The fey formally known as elves rename themselves grassrunners and take on a human shape, as opposed to a satyr shape.

Year 350 - The Aldeorans and Udhan independently develop wizardry with the help of Jennin.

Year 490 - The Centaurs accept a truce with the Aledorans.

Year 500 - The Tehxiona enter into a protracted conflict with the Leneshin civilization in the middle north.

Year 530 - The snow naga protecting the Tehxiona are driven extinct by the war.

Exiled from their homeland, the Tehxiona invade the Aledoran homelands in the southeast.

Year 590 - The Valdrex invade, conquer and enslave the Udhan and their southern naga protectors. Their culture is eradicated. The Valdrex quickly reverse-engineer wizardry.

Year 620 - After generations of bloodshed and exile, the Tehxiona mostly join and incorporate themselves into the Aledoran civilization.

Year 650 - The Aldeorans slowly begin expanding north and west, invading Lenneshin territory.

Year 700 - The Lenneshin are driven deep into the northern shadow of the Eifalos mountain range.

Year 710 - The Valdrex launch a preemptive strike against the Aledorans. Their capitol city is contained within an impenetrable forcefield, and ransacked by the Valdrex. A permanent portal to the central Valdrex hive in what will become Jerohm is set up to transform the city into an outpost from which to launch a greater invasion.

The Aledoran Naga begin invading border hives of the Valdrex.

Year 730 - The Aledoran wizards engineer a virus that is virulently infectious, but only to Valdrex. A lone Aledoran hero slips past the Valdrex's forcefield and releases the contageon.

The Sphinx officially break ties with humanity, and go into hiding.

Year 732 - The Valdrex panic as the Aledoran capitol and Valdrex central hive succumb to plague, withdrawing their forces.

The Aleodran military pushes the Valdrex out of what will become Yessha, then begin a campaign of liberating the enslaved Udhan in the south.

Year 745 - The Valdrex are pushed deep into the densest jungles of Rensvan.

The Udhan become second-class citizens in the Aledoran empire.

Year 750 - The Aledorans begin colonizing and annexing the rest of the surface world.

Year 760 - The Ghorma withdraw from the mainland and settle permanently in the island that will be known as Ghormotole, successfully defending it from the Aleodrans.

The Aledorans drive the Medusae out of the south of Rensvan, destroying their civilization and cultural sanity in the process.

Year 790 - The Aledorans enter a truce with the Merfolk; the Aledorans will not set foot under the sea, and the Merfolk will not set flipper on land.

Year 800 - The Aleodrans successfully reverse-engineer the Valdrex's advanced wizardry techniques.

Year 830 - The Salamander civilization (in what will become the Yesshan trade route) collapses. 70% of all fire dragons are killed by self-righteous Aledorans, and the Salamanders themselves are scattered over the whole of Aarn.

Year 840 - The Aledoran golden age begins, 90% of all existing landmass is inhabited or annexed by Aledoran people.

Year 860 - With no more lands to conquer, the Aleodrans begin researching ways to breach the Jehttan storms and reach the forbidden side of the planet. The potential power of Wizardry begins expanding exponentially.

Year 1050 - The Aledoran magical experiments reach critical mass, triggering a magical cataclysm. The Aledoroan homeland shatters into what is now known as the Eastern Islands. Human civilization Collapses.

The permanent portal between the Aleodran capitol city and what will become Jehrom floods, creating the Heretanni Salt Lake.

Aarn is plunged into a nuclear winter that lastes 50 years, billions die and most civilizations begin to fall.

Year 1060 - The Lenneshin move underground, preserving their civilization and culture.

Year 1080 - Nektos takes this opportunity to create the undead race, shattering the afterlife.

The "Age of Humanity" ends. The mythical "Silent Era" begins.

Year 1085 - The Lenneshin become devoutly spiritual once their dead refuse to rest.

Year 1120 - Psychic pollution caused by all new deaths leading to ghosts drives a great deal of fey insane, bonding them with the Aarn and causing them to become demi-mortal, similar to what happened when they encountered Aarn for the first time. Many of these fey become ghouls and second-generation soul twisters.

K'tellos forces himself into eternal slumber at the bottom of Lake Anessis in order to prevent himself from meeting the same fate as his fey kin.

Year 1140 - The valdrex enter extended hibernation, preserving their civilization and culture.

Year 1220 - Vizdane creates the Spirit animals, hoping to find a solution to the afterlife problem.

Year 1360 - The fey discover the demons, and comission them to create a new afterlife.

Year 1550 - The demons finish the afterlife. In order to educate sentients about how to prepare for it, they physically travel to Aarn and begin settling there.

The "Silent Era" ends. The "Demonic Era," also known as "The Era of Lies" begins.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Regions: Western Zenninfal (Cont)

Climate: Western Zenninfal is host to mild winters with hot and wet summers. The area has a long growing season, and its food output has helped make it one of the dominant regions of the world. The Attanan Mountains are mysteriously dry. Rainclouds tend to drench the areas to the north and south, but they don't move high enough to water the mountains themselves. The lone exception is the occasional snowstorm in the winter, which helps give the mountains their occasional snowcap. North of the mountains are swamps and moorlands, with the Treddis Islands and other isles north of the continent especially swampy and rocky.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Regions: Western Zenninfal

Summary: The kingdoms of Western Zenninfal like to consider themselves the pinnacles of Human civilization. They are industrious, technological, organized and capitalist. In truth, the poverty gap in this region is more of a chasm than a gap. Those who live in the large cities tend to have an excess of gold, treasures, magic and technology. Those who live on the farms and in the viliages of the region are very poor off, with precious little education, sanitation or hygiene. This makes the small towns and farms of Western Zenninfal a veritable breeding ground for adventurers, who are desperate enough for money to go out and adventure, but poorly educated enough to not know any better.

Local Religion: Western Zenninfal's religions are haphazard. Agnosticism and secularism are tolerated beliefs, but raving cults who believe in gods who do not even exist are similarly tolerated. Most gods worshiped (or rather acknowledged) by the majority of people tend to be industrious and materialistic.

Naming Styles: When people and places in this region tend to have names from earth, the names are typically English, Gaelic, Germanic and North American. The exception is the cities from the Shanbar Province of Cerenbaun, which were named after Earth's European countries by demons who settled there 7000 years ago.

Major Political Faction: Cerenbaun is the largest kingdom of Western Zenninfal, and arguably the world's greatest political power. It is ostensibly run by a seldom-seen royal family who share the name of the kingdom. Day to day business is carried out by a group of Dukes who are overseen by an Archduke. The dukes do not directly represent any regions or groups of people, but set government policy all the same. Ruling alongside these Dukes and the Archduke are three governors, who run Cerenbaun's three large Provinces; Shanbar, Denenga, and Querris.

History: Cerenbaun exists in the area that was the seat of the Jerol Empire, which collapsed 250 years ago, and the nation itself is 174 years old. The Jerol Empire Encompassed the entirety of Western Zenninfal, the islands of the Yesshan trade route, and the northern jungles of Yessha. The people who live in these areas still speak the Jerolan language because of this influence.

Magical Styles: In Cerenbaun, magic is an industry. Potions are mass produced, scrolls are sold by the dozen, and a middle-income home will tend to have at least 12 magical appliances and tools. Magical lanterns and street lights are common as well. With so much magic however, comes magical regulation. Cerenbaun has some of the strictest laws in Aarn about what spells can and can't be cast. Soul-linking with anything other than an animal is strictly forbidden. Necromancy and biomancy are both strictly regulated. Non-government experiments to develop new models and styles of necromantic undead and monsters are illegal. Transmutational magicks that change the size and shape of something are somewhat legal, but effects that can change one material into another are strictly illegal, as are experiments with souls or immortality. Animancers, however, are encouraged to perform experiments, provided they stick to using wood, metal and stone as their raw materials.

Major Conflicts: Most conflicts in Cerenbaun are internal. Crime is a large problem in all the kingdoms; despite the laws against magical experimentation, they are poorly enforced, and criminal syndicates run much of the region. There is currently one war being waged in Western Zenninfal; two nations in the north of the continent are fighting over a large, resource-rich offshore island. A second war is brewing, but not yet being waged, between Cerenbaun and a kingdom that is further west. This kingdom has been refusing to patrol or police its side of the Shanbar border. Cerenbaun has recently sent soldiers in to occupy the area, and that particular kingdom is less than pleased at Cerenbaun's apparent territory grab.

Points of Interest:

Attanan Mountains: These mountains separate the kingdom of Cerenbaun in the south with the less developed northern kingdoms. Savage, wild Harpies live in this region, making travel difficult.

Isles of Treddis: These northern islands are positively infested with undead. It is ruled over by a Nercomancer Lich who serves Nektos. The locals are impoverished farmers who prevent the bleak landscape from affecting their sanity by partying at the drop of a hat. They are famous for their wakes and their all-night revelries which celebrate life in their islands of undeath. The Isles of Treddis are also the first stop along the Yesshan Trade Route, with several ports controlled by Cerenbaun politics.

Lake Anessis: This is the second largest inland body of water in Aarn, and the largest in the northern continents. It lies in the dead center of Cerenbaun's Querris Province, and what makes it noteworthy is that the sleeping god K'tellos lies at the bottom. Most of Querris's economy is driven by trade and shipping across this lake.

Great Barrier Sea: This sea lies to the south of Western Zenninfal, and separates Zenninfal from Yessha. Ship-travel across this sea is impossible; The Merfolk race make this sea their home, and they mercilessly destroy any and all ships that attempt to cross it. Instead, those from Western Zenninfal who wish to trade with Yessha are forced to travel through Rothysia to the east, or to take the Yesshan Trade Route to the west.

Native Godtouched: Anthromorphs, Theromorphs, Swamp Ardlins, City Ardlins, Forest Ardlins, Mountain Ardlins, Life Dragons, Humans (Primarily Jerolans), Harpies, Merfolk, Satyrs, Sphinxes, Orchaein, Unicorns, Vampires and other undead.