Saturday, September 13, 2008

Creatures: Fey and Demi-Fey

The following claims to be a transcript of a lecture given by William Rennovar, the Director of the Royal Cerenbaun Institute of Fey Research and Investigation. The Cerenbaun Government denies the existence of any such Institute, and the only William Rennovar that has been found within the legal records of Cerenbaun is a patent clerk who died one hundred and seventy-five years ago.


What is an essence that is above a God? Do we even have the language to describe such a thing? Gods are all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, immortal. And yet, the research of this institute is beginning to show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that fey and gods are not only two sides of the same coin, but both of these entities share in common an indescribable essence that is analogous to the souls of mortals.

My posting here at the facility grants me special privileges not allowed to the lesser-ranked researchers. Using some of these privileges, I have developed a habit of playing chess with Subject 25. Proper safety measures have been taken, as he and I both have our own copy of the chess board, and announce our moves to one another. We did lose a researcher, however, who foolishly thought Subject 25 was given the chess board by mistake. His attempt to retrieve the chess board lead to his demise; let this be a lesson to you all for following proper containment procedures.

During these chess games, Subject 25 and I have been developing a rapport and relationship that would not otherwise be possible. This relationship has provided me with a rare advantage in studying Subject 25. During our conversations, Subject 25 has told me many cryptic things about fey and gods that at first, I found simply unbelievable. I assumed Subject 25 was lying, or toying with my mortal sensibilities. Independent investigation of Subjects 22, 27 and 28, however, has provided information that seems to corroborate with Subject 25's stories. The "insane" ramblings of subject 13 also seem to corroborate with the information provided by Subject 25, as well as information regarding the relationship between Subjects 2 and 30.

On many occasions I called Subject 25 a "fey" during our games. Each time, it would correct me and call itself a "demi-fey." When I pressed it for what it meant by that, it said that while it has not "become a mortal," it is no longer a true fey. After I asked it how this came about, it told me that all fey of subject 25's type were created during a metaphysical cataclysm during the Silent Era. When I asked Subject 25 about Subject 13, it said that Subject 13 is also a demi-fey, though a far less lucid one.

These exchanges provided me with a new line of questioning I could perform on some of the other subjects. When asked about "demi-fey," Subject 4 told us that a demi-fey is a shadow of a true fey, without what we would call a fey's soul. Subject 22 warned us that the horrible forest-creature she would transform into if her tree was killed is a demi-fey, but she apparently has the ability to recover from that state, unlike subjects 13 and 25, for which their demi-fey nature is permanent. Subjects 27 and 28 spoke at length of the ineffable infinitude of a fey's existence, and that a demi-fey no longer contains within it such an infinite essence, though it can remember having it.

Sensing a potential breakthrough I adjusted the questions asked during the regular interviews given to our more lucid subjects. Soon after doing so, more information began to trickle out of the fey that we have on hand. Shockingly, a conclusion I have been forced to reach about this information is the possibility that fey and gods are in fact the same sort of creature! Believe me, I understand the implausibility of such an ancient idea, discounted by modern science and investigation. But I have developed a theory as to the true nature of fey that I hope that you, my audience, will be receptive to.

First, I wish to make a comparison between fey and mortals, as absurd as that may sound. It has been shown that we mortals have a soul that transcends our mortal existence. This soul can be detected by magic, and in many cases seems to be the source of the energy our magic uses to affect the world. In the same way that an animal has been shown to have a soul, but no magic, I believe that a fey has the same intrinsic essence as a god, but the fey is to a god as a sentient animal is to a godtouched.

What sets gods and fey apart from mortals is that they seem to be aware of their transcendent nature, while mortals are not. When a mortal is killed and reincarnated, for instance, the reincarnation wipes clean the memories of its past life and the afterlife. When a fey is killed, however, its immortal essence retains its memories of its past identity, even as it adopts a new identity. Importantly, a fey seems to not only be aware of its past identities, but also its future ones.

This brings me to the aforementioned relationship observed between Subject 2 and Subject 30. Subject 2 was one of our first captures, and we deemed it inappropriate for study. Subject 2 would only accuse us of wanting to kill it, refused to communicate with us on any subject, and also claimed the apparently insane idea that we were going to capture it "again" despite its insistence that it would die in our captivity.

Part of Subject 2's prophecy came to pass when we decided to end its existence in an experiment to observe a fey's “mortality.” Upon death, we concluded that we could observe no mortal component to the fey. Subject 2's physical body ceased to exist once killed, as has been reported by adventurers who have slain fey in the field, and we could not detect the presence of any soul-like energy before, during, or after the death.

The rest of Subject 2's prophecy apparently has come true as well. Subject 30 is one of our newest acquisitions, and quite strangely, it allowed us to capture it and came with us willingly to the facility. Subject 30 claims to have the memories of Subject 2. It knows many of the staff by name, and even taunted our staff member who personally killed Subject 2. This staff member has since retired for the purpose of mental council. For now, Subject 30 has been cooperating with our questioning and investigations, but has been doing so with a very smug, "I told you so" attitude.

If fey indeed carry with themselves the knowledge of their past and future identities, it is no longer quite as much of a stretch to compare them to the omnipotent and omniscient gods. The powers, abilities and even apparent mortality of many of the fey we capture seem to be intentional self-limitations, limitations they will continue to follow even if it means their death or an outcome they do not desire. The entities we worship as gods, in contrast, either have applied very few limitations to themselves, or no limitations at all.

Further, Subject 30 does seem to be a distinct, separate individual than Subject 2, even if it remembers being Subject 2. It carries no grudges against the staff nor does it share any of Subject 2's habits or tastes. While we cannot rightly say that Subjects 2 and 30 are separate individuals, we also cannot say that these two subjects share the same identity, limitations or behavior.

This now brings my lecture full circle, back to the concept of a demi-fey. I postulate that a demi-fey is not mortal, and retains the arbitrary self-imposed limitations of a fey. What sets it apart from fey and gods however is that it no longer has a transcendent consciousness. Fey and gods seem to share the same sort of non-temporal understanding of the world, granted to them by their infinite soul-like essence, but demi-fey has lost this essence. While they can still remember their past identities, demi-fey can no longer anticipate their future ones, nor does it seem that they survive death like fey do. A demi-fey is to a fey or god as a soulless animantic automaton is to animals and godtouched.

As a horrifying prospect, if one of us were to undergo the transformation of a fey to demi-fey, it would be as if we lost our soul but not our identity. We would be aware that we no longer possess a soul, yet would be able to remember having one. For us, death would be a permanent erasure from existence, unlike the loss of identity through reincarnation, where we are assured that our soul, at the very least, lives on.

Perhaps this knowledge of their own "mortality" is what makes demi-fey so much more violent than their fey counterparts. Demi-fey are aware that they can actually cease to exist, so they fight that much harder for their own survival. Please take this into consideration, as Subjects 6, 13, 19, 25 and 29 have been determined to be demi-fey, and will be re-labeled accordingly.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

50 Whacko Conspiracy Theories of Aarn

Every world has its own set of myths, urban legends, conspiracy theories and mysteries. Aarn is no different, and for your reading pleasure, I present to you a group of 50 popular conspiracy theories believed across the world of Aarn. Some are true, some are not, some are only half-true, and I leave it up to you, gentile readers, to decide for yourselves which are which.

#1. In mountainous regions, villagers and goat herders have reported seeing lights on opposing peaks. These lights flash randomly at one another in no discernible pattern. Exploring the sites of the lights reveals nothing other then strange scrape marks in the rock.

#2. Rural agricultural regions are famous for reports of airships of unknown design which fly higher and faster then conventional airships. These reports claim that certain unreliable members of the population are routinely kidnapped by these airships, without any trustworthy corroborating witnesses. Some reports of these ships have been coming in since before the invention of the conventional airship a century ago.

#3. There have been reports of caves found by adventurers filled with fabulous treasures and riches beyond imagination. Adventurers who return to these caves with the tools required to claim the treasures can no longer find the entrances to the cave. Only a few trinkets or handfuls of gold have ever been recovered, but they are of the highest quality.

#4. Occasionally a person who has been dead for decades returns to their homes as if nothing had happened. Local investigations discover no magical essence around these people, exhumations of the bodies reveal the corpses absent, and the people themselves usually know no one with the required resources to resurrect someone. Every time professional investigators from universities and academies visit to examine the situation, the people in question vanish. Left behind are personal affects, the supposedly dead person's new dwelling, and hundreds of eye witnesses.

#5. Dreamlings still exist. Or rather, they never existed. Take your pick.

#6. On very rare occasions and never confirmed by magic, there appears to be two suns in the sky.

#7. Medusa aren't dieing out, they're disguising themselves as humans and living amongst them for reasons unknown.

#8. Psychics and mind-walkers who study the moon and its affect on people tend to go insane for no discernible reason. Recurring themes in their babbling are mentions of "The false ones," "The sea of white," and "The Butterflies"

#9. There have been pottery and carvings excavated from ancient ruins that show pictures of ardlins. These ancient artifacts not only date to far before Ardlins were supposedly created, but some even date to before human beings were created. These carvings are often dismissed as stylized representations of goblins.

#10. Demons never left Aarn after the Era of Lies. They have instead been manipulating the governments and institutions of Aarn for reasons that are their own.

#11. Camarian floaters are actually godtouched, and use their magical abilities to hide this fact from the other races.

#12. King Jonas Cerenbaun, King William Cerenbaun, King Jacob Cerenbaun II, King Jacob Cerenbaun I, King Marcus Cerenbaun and the King Julius Cerenbaun are all the same man, an immortal that fakes his death every generation.

#13. An unknown ship of advanced build, imbued with advanced magics was found crashed ashore after a terrible storm. Corpses of the mixed race crew were dressed in unknown clothes in unknown styles with no sign of what port they left from nor what cities they were visiting. However, a map was found amongst the navigator's supplies that appears to be a -complete- map of the world. This map features labeled cities on both sides of the world, including the local continent. Mysteriously, there are labels of many cities that don't exist anymore, and some that either never existed or don't exist yet. This map is widely believed to be a grand hoax.

#14. The Jhettan Storms don't exist. Those who believe this theory claim that the storms are a massive hoax perpetrated by the wizards of the world. Their goal is to either hide the other side of the world, control the masses, disguise the fact that Aarn is actually infinite, disguise the fact that Aarn is not really a sphere, or keep the people from learning that Aarn split in half hundreds of thousands of years ago, with the moon being the other half of the planet.

#15. Occasionally there are reports of strange parties of adventurers who dress in odd clothing and also use strange magics, methods and machines, although one of them is always carrying a silver spear. Any attempts to scry on these adventurers fail, and after some time no trace of them can be found. These reports usually correspond with influential or great historical events.

#16. There were once over 30 magical elements, including such preposterous abilities as a "time" element or "void" element. Those who believe this claim that there is a massive, worldwide conspiracy to hide the missing 16 elements from the masses who might abuse their power.

#17. The first astronomers in recent history who closely examined Aarn's moon described the moon's rings as a series of beautifully complex, massive cogs and gears with tiny slits that could have been windows. All contemporary and more advanced magical and technological examinations has revealed nothing but shattered rings of rock

#18. Ancient records have been found that state goblins were once a godtouched race. These records include documented "proof," and further state the goblins disappointed their unnamed god so much that they had their status revoked and were delegated back to existing as smart animals.

#19. Dragons are extinct. The creatures we now think of as dragons are fey, trying to keep up the illusion.

#20. A strange channeler wandered into a village one day, apparently injured. By all reports, his wounds were not static and had a tendency to shift around his body, moving and changing moment to moment. The local healer managed to nurse the channeler back to health. During his recovery, the channeler told many things to his healer. He claimed to be able to channel time itself, and that there were others like him, however upon birth they were all swept away by an unknown entity known only as “Grandfather.”

The channeler claimed that “Grandfather” existed even before the gods and fey came to Aarn. The channeler continued to claim that this entity required the use of all channelers with time abilities in order to maintain Aarn's natural time flow in the presence of the gods, as they were an anathema to continuity. Shortly after his recovery, the channeler vanished without a trace, and all attempts at scrying were met with innumerable failures, from broken scrying stones to those attempting the scry always being distracted by some other coincidental occurrence.

It is said that every year for the rest of the healer's life, on the anniversary of the channeler's disappearance, she would find a magical trinket or precious stone. It is further reported that year after year after her death, flowers continue to mysteriously appear on her grave.

#21. Humanity went extinct during the early wars, what poses as humans now are simply spirits who are not aware they're dead. Claims are made by the most long-lived races that they personally watched the final group of human beings wiped out.

#22. Wizardry does not exist. Any examples of wizardry magic are formed and created by Jennin himself, and using wizardry makes your soul his.

#23. A relatively unknown channeler claimed to have discovered a way to become truly immortal. He disappeared shortly after making this claim, and his acquaintances have been making claims that they witnessed strange people in black armor wandering around the districts of his city shortly before his disappearance.

#24. Jennin is not actually a fey. He is instead a massively powerful divine caster from a lost godtouched race, and human beings are biomantic monsters.

#25. An airship was found crashed in the wilderness shortly after witnesses claimed to see a fireball streak across the sky. No sign of the crew was found. However, a large lump of dead biomass with no aura signature was found amongst the wreckage. The biomass's weight was consistent with the combined weight of an airship of that size's normal crew compliment. The captain's log indicated he was attempting to fly to the moon. Many pages are lost, however the last page describes landing on a gray dusty plain pockmarked with craters.

#26: The Aledorans were not completely destroyed at the end of the Age of Humanity. They have a lost colony on a distant island from which they guide and control the world.

#27. Records from an Aledoran ruin mention excavation of a massive ancient human city in a location that is now underwater. The Aledoran archaeologist claimed the city predated the war of the gods and even the creation of the medusae.

#28. 75 years ago a massive human corpse four times the size of a giant washed up on a Yesshan shore. This corpse was in an advanced state of decay, although there were claims of gems in its eye sockets instead of eyes. All parts of the corpse were auctioned off by the locals and none of their locations are currently known.

#29. A book made of paper materials processed in an unknown but advanced method was found in an archeology dig. The book appears to be a history book for a school of some sort and lists in detail historical events that appear to have never happened. It also records dates set a thousand years beyond the present. Detailed research shows several of the listed historical events were similar or even the opposite of what was known to have happened.

#30. There is a style of magic completely separate from any fey influence. This magic is harnessed by movement of physical objects and examples of it are natural fire and natural electricity. It is said that it is the magic demons use, and humans can use it as well, though none dare study it.

#31. Workers from a geological team reported that they stumbled onto the remains of an ancient advanced civilization. The strata the team were working in was dated to 30 million years ago, astounding the team. A professional archaeologist was called in to investigate the ruins. However, according to reports, the day after the discovery all remains of the ruins were missing, with massive slabs of rose quartz in their place. Further reports state the lead geologist who discovered the ruins was found dead with all his body organs missing, and the archaeologist called in to investigate was killed in a surprise ghoul attack.

#32. Great wizards claim there is an area where magic ceases to exist, but no one can pinpoint it's exact location. Reported positions of this area range up and down the continent, even going into the middle of the oceans.

#33. There is an institution in the City of Jerol that has imprisoned and studies fey. There are rumors of a high turnover rate in employment, and most people suspect a famous mental institution of being the facility.

#34. A great and powerful astralmancer once claimed to have been able to view the distant past and wrote down detailed logs of what he saw. Those in his village who read the logs claimed they were startling. A university sent an envoy to view the logs but arrived to find the village devoid of life. They investigated the astralmancer's tower however and found the logs - they all read the same thing, line after line: “Liar.”

#35. Some geologists have found layers of dust throughout the geological strata. These dust strata have been dated every 10,000 years or so with no explanation as to how the dust got there in that quantity. Worshipers of Sueiffa claim that is is proof their god is real, but no one believes them.

#36. In a famous incident that took place 200 years ago in Igakari, a strange divine caster appeared in a small village. This divine caster had nearly infinite control over his magic and claimed to "enjoy traveling." He produced an unknown formula claiming that it held the answer to his magic ability, calling it the proof of god. None who studied it through any method could decipher the formula or even understand the language it was written in except for a lone channeler of unknown type. She claimed to be able to read it and began showing amazing divine casting ability, almost overnight. According to scryers attempting the event, 99 fey spontaneously appeared moments later and laid waste to the village. Shortly after describing the event, the scryers themselves either lost their power or began to show signs of insanity.

#37. Cows are, or rather were, a godtouched race. However, they were enslaved and specially bred to be nothing more then animals.

#38. There are only 13 godtouched, and all others are either fakes or biomantic monsters. Those who believe this conspiracy cannot agree on which 13 godtouched are genuine.

#39. Humans are not native to Aarn. Rather than being created by Jennin from giant stock, they came to Aarn through other means from some other place. Aledor was only an extension of their alien empire.

#40. If all the ardlin subraces were to breed together to create a single race, the result would be an immortal species of unspeakable magic power. There are theories that this idea was originally created by the medusae, and has been applied to each godtouched race in turn as they were created one by one.

#41. The tomb of an unknown noble was discovered in the Chianmos Desert. Archaeologists investigating the tomb found marvelous sculptures and art of unknown style and amazing quality, made primarily of gold and precious stones and gems. The walls were covered in carvings in an unknown language, along with pictures depicting the styles of an unknown civilization. Magical translation and further research determined that the buried noble was a great human king of an unknown desert nation that doesn't correspond with any locations in the known world. Pictures identified as his gods were oddly stylized anthromorphs.

There are further rumors that a necromancer procured the excellently preserved body, and attempted to use it to create an undead servant. Soon after, the necromancer's village was wiped out by a horrific supernatural plague that was only contained when some of the most powerful wizards in the world gathered and obliterated the surrounding area, destroying all life. All legal records of this event, records of the area that was expunged and even references to the tomb were forcibly removed under threat of extermination by said wizards.

#42. Not only are all house cats spirit animals, but they are the spirit animals' true forms. All other spirit animals are regular animals possessed by spirit animal anima. Most cats are playing animal and secretly controlling their human “pets.”

#43. There are no gods. All contact with the divine is a subconscious reflection of human desires from the astral plane.

#44.An ancient medusae city was recently discovered, contemporary with the war of the gods. The excavated buildings of this city showed carvings of what appeared to be 3 humans. Inscriptions described one of them knowing what is now called wizardry, and described another as a shadow channeler. The city was destroyed soon after the discovery.

#45. A series of letters written in a strange artificial handwriting were discovered in a cave. They appear to be general logs and records of some sort of advanced airship base. The logs references a war against a nation known as Igania and lists of unknown weapons of terrible power.

#46. There is an organization of psychiatric specialists who claim that everyone who claims to have come into contact with a phoenix have a rare brain disorder. This organization also claims that all so-called phoenix feathers are in fact magically imbued rok feathers.

#47. The act of creating a structured civilization is not a natural act for godtouched to undergo. Instead, the behavior is caused by a magical virus created in the early days of Aarn that forces a race to gather in large cities so they can be more easily wiped out. The virus also compels them to develop more and more dangerous magics until they destroy themselves. The destruction of the Aledoran civilization was an example of the virus in action, although humanity has survived for the moment. Only a handful of godtouched are immune.

#48. The destruction of the Aleodran civilization was not directly caused by any of their magical experimentation. Instead, they were murdred by the gods. The true nature of the Aledoran's experiment was a magical spell that could turn them into gods themselves, and the gods wished to ensure their destruction, and the destruction of all knowledge of the spell.

#49. Almost all races that predate humans share a myth about Aarn having 4 moons in its past. In all of these myths, the three extra moons were destroyed, leaving behind dust clouds that fell onto Aarn, causing great calamitous winters where clouds blocked out the sky for generations.. The most commonly repeating theme in these myths is a fiery snake that erupted from the sun, which literally ate the moons.

#50. Spirit animals are secretly controlling the world's economies by gathering tremendous fortunes over their long lifespans and using these fortunes to manipulate human economies, or for other unknown reasons. It is said they created the current banking system, and maintain its global, international functionality.

Much thanks to my good friend Khyron, who not only came up with the idea of Aarnian conspiracy theories, but also came up with most of the above ideas.

Regions: Camaria

Summary: Camaria is a tropical land divided into three subregions, the natural paradise of the Camarian Basin to the north, the southern and dryer Camarian Highlands to the south, and the untamed wilds of the Camarian Wastes to the east. The Camarian Basin is dominated by a repressive and authoritarian religious structure, while the Camarian Highlands are composed of a number of tribal nations who are heavily influenced by Camarian culture and religion despite not following the major Camarian Church. The Camarian Wastes are not strictly wasteland, but instead populated by a disproportionately high number of dragons, who make habitation in the area by other godtouched races impossible. The wastes are a popular destination of suicidal adventurers.

Regional Religion: The gods and goddesses worshiped in Camaria are all representations of emotion, reflecting the flamboyant and sentimental feelings of most Camarian people. The most commonly "worshiped" gods are those of Sadness, Passion, Duty, Joy, and Selfishness. The Camarian church itself cultivates this worship, encouraging worship and subservience to the the gods of Duty, Sadness and Joy, while encouraging fear of and sacrifices to the gods of passion and selfishness. The church itself is amazingly repressive, governing all aspects of life and cavorting. It is constantly in a war with the natural passions of the Camarian people, seeking control through propaganda, magic and emotional manipulation.

Naming styles: People in Aarn who have Indo-Iranian and Dravidian-sounding names are usually from Camaria.

Major Political Factions:

Camarian Orthodoxy: The official title of the Camarian Church. It is lead by five High Priests, each of whom serve not only as the leaders of the religion, but as oligarchs who control the Camarian government from behind the scenes. Each High Priest represents and controls the type of worship of one of the five official gods of the church. Certain worship of other gods is tolerated, but only under strict observation by members of the church. The church itself has a holy army of warrior priests called "Clerks of the Gods," who use their combat skills and magic to enforce the church's doctrine.

The Confederacy of Camaria: The official government of the Camarian Basin. The Confederacy has very little power and serves as a figurehead for the region. Its army is considered laughable even by the Camarian people, its police force considered incompetent and there is a Camarian saying, "The Leaders of the Confederacy are only good at taking blame." This statement was originally used as an ironic cricitism of the ineffectual government and those who actually sought to blame it for social problems over which it had no responsibility, but in recent times people have been taking the saying at face value, projecting the problems of society and the church onto the Confederacy.

Sons of Passion: Heroes in the Highlands and the most vicious of criminals in the Basin, the Sons of Passion are a revolutionary group that seeks to unite the tribes and kingdoms of the Highlands and overthrow the Camarian Orthodoxy.

Kalsad: The most powerful and influential of the many kingdoms in the Camarian Highlands, Kalsad is known for its disproportionate level of wealth and prosperity. An extensive marble quarry lies just outside of the capital city, from which many buildings and towers are made. Religious buildings are always made with black marble, which has become quite rare to the point that the nation is forced to import its "Holy Marble" from elsewhere, while the buildings and towers of the government and aristocracy are made with the more plentiful white marble. Kalsad is ruled by a tribal Monarch, although each city within the nation is also ruled by its own tribal leader who, at least locally, has more power than the central Monarch himself. In this capcity, the Monarch of Kalsad is more like a clerk who serves as official organizer/diplmoat of the tribal Monarchs. As is common in the Highlands, each tribe is known for being especially good at a certain trade, and people are usually born into their vocation. The way in which jobs and careers are assigned to members of certain tribes could be described as a loose but extremely complicated caste system.

History: The Camarian Church is in a period of decline and corruption, although it was once the savior of Camaria. For thousands of years, Camaria was a region with a history of horribly bloody wars and tribal genocide. The current doctrine of the church was formulated to keep these wars in check, and the church once dominated the entire Camarian region. Three hundred years ago, the church splintered, and the Camarian Highlands separated politically with the Camarian Basin. A revival of the Camrian Basin's traditional religious orthodoxy is the only thing that prevented the church from being destroyed altogether. Much time since then has passed however, and there are whispered rumors that the church may splinter again.

Magical Styles: Wizardry in all its forms is illegal in the Camarian Basin, those who practice it branded heretics, shunned, hunted and executed. Instead, divine magic is what is encouraged for everyone to learn for their magical skills. In most other regions, divine magic is highly personal, with the methods of casting depending on self-expression rather than institution. This feature of divine magic has been subverted in Camaria, where the methods of self-expression are so controlled and strict that a faux science has grown around divine casting. This science resembles Hermeticism, and uses cards, books of scripture and code, and circles of power drawn with salt and blood as magical foci. Also common are divine spells that can summon both friendly and unfriendly fey, which can create contracts with the caster where the fey loans the caster some of its power. In reality, none of these methods of casting are strictly necessary for divine casting in general, but Camaria's culture has been shaped by the church so dramatically that the vast majority of people would think that casting divine magic without such methods would be impossible. With divine magic of course, thinking a method of casting impossible is enough to make it so.

Although "free casters" of divine magic have become somewhat common in the Camarian Highlands, even the highlanders themselves still continue to use this "Hermetic" style of divine casting.

Major Conflicts:

Recently, the High Priest of the goddess of Sadness (Analogous to the One Mother) has been enacting policies of worship that seem to focus more on the emotion of anger. These acts have been throwing the northeast wing of the church into chaos, and creating tensions with cultists who follow the legitimate goddess of anger (analogous to Venrisha).

The Sons of Passion have been increasing their presence in the Camarian Basin. They are to be executed on sight by the clerks of the church.

To the shock and horror of many Highlanders, the monarch of Kalsad has recently converted to Camarian Orthodoxy. Foul play is highly suspected, and several attempts on his life have already been made, both before and after the conversion.

Camaria has long been a popular trading post for exiled Ghorma (A new godtouched race that will be explored in a future post). The Ghorma are resented by the Camarian populace due to their tendency to accumulate wealth and flee with it to unknown places, and the Church is considering banning trade with them. The Ghorma are not happy about this, and are placing heavy political pressure on the Church to reconsider.

Naga from the Hansvar Ridges are constantly at war with the humans in the Camarian basin who follow the Church. These naga have a tentative alliance with the Sons of Passion.

A "Merchants' War" between the Ghorma from the southeast seas and the Valdrex from the west has been raging through the Camarian Highlands, bringing with it violence, corruption and low, low prices.

Points of Interest:

Mount Greppaya: Lying to the northeast of the Camarian Basin, this dormant volcano is a famous landmark and one of the tallest mountains in the world, and the tallest in Yessha. It is also the mountaintop where phoenixes go to die once every millenium.

The Hansvar Ridges: A very tall and sharp mountain range to the west of the Camarian Basin. This mountain range is extremely famous for being impassible, to the point that "Crossing the Hansvar" is a common euphamism for an impossible or foolish task. Unknown to many, there are secret hundred-mile-long caves and tunnels that lead all the way from the Camarian Basin to the Yesshan desert through which merchants might be able to travel. These caves hide the Skull Imp civilization (another new Godtouched race that will be talked about in a future post).

Lake Atnia and the Atnian Marshes: A freshwater marshland and lake that lies at the center of the Camarian Basin. The agriculturalists of Camaria have become very skilled at safely farming this natural wonder, growing sugarcanes and edible grasses the size of houses, and fruits, melons and tubers the size of barrles and larger. The people of the Camarian Basin eat so well largely due to their skilled cultivation of this region's jungle fruits and vegetables.

The Sea of Bwhanvi: North of Kalsad and the source of much of its wealth. The Sea of Bhanvi is teeming with sea life, both delicious and plentiful. There is a strong international demand for Camarian seafood taken from this Sea, but the Kalsad government patrols the sea and carefully prevents overfishing (also maintaining the high prices of the produce.)

The Gansvi Range: The third highest mountain range in Aarn, this glaciated mountain range serves as the source of most of the fresh water in the Camarian Highlands. It also serves as the north slope of the Gungangua Plateua in Rensvan.

Mount Pottotatva: This still-active volcano is home to one of the eldest and most powerful fire dragons in the world, and is also the home of huge population of salamanders, perhaps the most concentrated population of salamanders in the world. This Volcano's volent eruption famously ended a naga civilization four thousand years ago, but since then has had quiet eruptions (possibly guided by the dragon) that have only been increasing the mountain's height more and more. It is now known for being the tallest mountain in Rensvan.

Climate: The Camarian Basin is surrounded on all sides by high mountain ranges, many of which pour water into the Atnian Marshes. The area is filled with thick jungle and heavy rainfall. There is a myth known to the nomads of the Yesshan Desert to the west that the Camarian Basin long ago stole all the water from Yessha, creating the more westerly desert.

The Camarian Highlands border mountains to the south and west, and open sea to the north and east. Once filled with lush jungle, overfarming by ancient peoples caused this area to become somewhat more dry, and robbed the soil of many nutrients. Most people get by with fishing out of the sea and rivers coming down from the glaciated Gansvi mountain range to the south. Although farther south the eastern coast of Rensvan has succumbed to heavy desertification, the Camarian Highlands have so far been spared the same fate.

Native Godtouched: Dragons (Earth, Light, Fire, Life, Shadow, Water, Kanna), Humans (Yesshan), Naga, Phoenixes, Salamanders, Skull Imps, Spirit Animals, Undead (Araenid)