Tuesday, September 2, 2008
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.
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)