Member No.: 15
Joined: 11-July 05
History: The land of Saresh was not always ruled by the emperor, even though many who remember such times have either died of old age or mysteriously vanished. The old history of Saresh is something whispered in corners of taverns, out of earshot from the lurkers.
It is written that the continent consisted of several nations, bound by a truce: to each his own. No nation would harm the other, and in turn, the others would trade freely with one another. Nations were free to develop militaries to defend against outside attackers, but a great many saw such a thing as unnecessary. Why would it make any sense to spend time and money on such an unneeded force? The money, the leaders agreed, was better spent on the development of their cities.
One nation in particular faced difficulties with development. The land-locked nation of Brindall was founded on rocky terrain with very little room for agriculture. Their lack of supplies left them at the whim of the merchants of other nations, particularly those from the country of Airendale. The Airendalese merchants exploited their hardships, increasing the tariffs and setting up heavy tolls on trade routes. Gradually being forced into poverty, Brindall’s people were desperate for someone, anyone to make their nation stronger.
Unfortunately, their wish came true.
A human man of common descent began to grow embittered with Airendale’s greed, and began to ignite the rage of the Brindallian populace. His following began with his home village, gradually growing until his followers numbered in the thousands. Charismatic and radical, his words whipped the desperate citizenry into frenzy, until the entire nation called for a new leader: their idol, Gregor Saresh. Marching his followers to the capital building, he ordered the mob to execute the inept government. Smiling, Gregor took total control of all aspects of government, and immediately began to focus on military development, intent on making Airendale pay for its greed.
Brindall’s military saw a never-ending flow of young men and women eagerly wishing to improve their nation. With a constant flow of anti-Airendalese propaganda, Governor Saresh had the people willing to look the other way as the military development grew at the expense of the old government’s funding towards education, arts and humanitarian projects. Soon, the army of Brindall grew to massive proportions, and set out to conquer its former oppressors.
Airendale fell within two weeks against the army, having little to no military itself. The coffers of Airendale’s merchants were emptied to improve the already formidable armed forces of the Brindallian army. The victory inspired more and more to join the Brindallian military, and soon Governor Saresh possessed twice his original forces.
Seeing the threat of an uprising, he began harshly limiting the speech of the Airendalese. He turned his people even further against the Airendalese, naming them as the source of all Brindall's past woes. The growing hate for Airendale's populace led the the establishment of a secret police force dedicated to the purpose of removing "threats from within". Roughly a hundred Airendalese people vanished in a month, with no explanation given. Nobody dared to question why.
The three nations of Hildun, Gertez and Atasca were outraged; not only had Governor Saresh violated the truce; he had stripped an entire people of their most basic freedoms! They first invested in diplomacy, sending three ambassadors to the gates of Governor Saresh’s domain. Their pleas for the governor to see reason were met with an executioner’s axe. The governor had their heads sent back to the leaders of the three nations, sending a clear message: Brindall had declared war upon them.
Reluctantly, the three nations began to prepare for battle. Within weeks of the grisly message, the forces of Brindall were upon them, taking one nation at a time. None of the soldiers were spared, and the leaders soon found themselves captives of the Brindallian army. They were put through a show trial and executed in the same day.
With their leaders dead, the three nations were added to the dominion of Emperor Saresh (as the governor had begun to call himself). Those remaining nations swore fealty to the Emperor, paying massive tributes to become simple territories of this mighty new empire. In an act of arrogance, the Emperor demanded the continent be named Saresh, and any records of the old name of the land be burned.
One of the strongest empires to ever exist was born, built on the backs of those to weak to resist.
Government: Saresh is a military dictatorship, led by Emperor Gregor Saresh. The Emperor has absolute power over his people, and none have the right to question his decisions. There are many crimes in Saresh, but punishments are few in number; minor crimes such as theft will result in branding of the forehead, while more severe crimes (or repeated minor offenses) will be punished with either lifetime imprisonment or death. Nations loyal to Saresh have a regional governor appointed (always of pure Brindallian blood) who answers directly to the Emperor. Regional governors are second in authority only to Emperor Saresh. Mayors of cities and towns might be of another race, but they are regarded as a joke by Brindallian humans in positions of authority.
People: The people of Saresh are diverse in their ancestry, given the size and origins of the empire. However, the status of those citizens not of pure Brindallian Human descent is considered second-class at best.
The people suffering the worst at the hands of Gregor Saresh's brutal regime are the Airendalese. Considered to be the source of all woes in Saresh, Airendalese people have little to no rights, serve as slave labor and are blamed for every setback Saresh faces. Any misfortune that plagues Saresh is blamed on the Airendalese, and its nationalistic citizens are, for the most part, all too eager to believe them.
Airendalese people of all races tattoo their hands and faces as a rite of passage, and some will tattoo their arms and neck as well. Not one Airendalese adult goes without tattoos; the tattoos are their ancient, most sacred tradition, and no self-respecting Airendalese would ever hide their tattoos. Unfortunately for them, this makes their heritage easily identifiable.
Brindallian citizens of Saresh are the clear cultural elite, having far more privileges then any other nationality. The Emperor's favored people, Brindallian humans face lighter taxes and are considered to be superior to other races and nationalities in every way. This is something that is considered fact by nearly every person in Saresh (though obviously not the Airendalese).
Terrain: Saresh lies near the equator of the world, giving it a fair mix of tropical and temperate climate. Towards the north of Saresh lie vast deserts, though several safe trade routes exist through the barren wastes. Towards the southernmost areas of Saresh (beyond the imperial territory), one will find a thin stretch of temperate climate, followed by a large taiga and relatively barren tundra.
Major Exports: Lumber, exotic animals, slave labor
The World Market
History: The idea of The World Market came into being in 20 SE when a massive influx of pirate attacks began to plague the trade waters, causing drastic damage to the economies of the nations. Fear took hold of the governments as merchants refused to risk their lives out at sea. Resources began to dry up as nations like Ackre and Rham ceased to export their plentiful resources.
It was from an unlikely source that a solution was found. Emperor Saresh gave the other nations a bold offer: work together and construct a massive artificial continent to serve as a market, safe from the attacks of pirates. Saresh would provide the necessary manpower. All he asked in return was for trade in this World Market to be subject to Sareshi laws and taxes. Desperate to save their economies, the nations agreed to Emperor Saresh’s terms.
The structure was designed by the engineers of Denash, and constructed by Sareshi laborers with resources from Rham and Ackre. The nation of Kalach made the interior of the market a work of beauty, and the spellcasters of Eldryn provided the market with magical defenses and a controlled climate. Upon its completion, the structure was the size of a small continent, an awe-inspiring marvel of unparalleled construction.
The market proved a well-defended port, shielded by both its steel exterior and magical shielding. Eager merchants flocked to the market in droves, ecstatic to find a trading post safe from the attacks of pirates. Over the course of the next 5 years, the economies of the nations were restored, and trade was in full swing. It was then that they realized the dangers of the agreement made with Saresh.
The Sareshi trade laws became increasingly restrictive, and tariffs rose to exorbitant levels. The pirates still prowled the seas, and the amount of money they would lose at their old trade routes was far greater than that lost to the tariffs. But with the rising taxes and stricter laws, the governments were losing their economies fast.
Saresh offered them a deal once more, one that the nations had no other option but to accept: have a trade overseer placed in their governments to dictate any imports and exports. With a heavy heart, the nations accepted Saresh’s offer, and found their economies totally under Sareshi control.
Soon, Saresh began to make many arrests of both merchants who they claimed were attempting to avoid trade laws and shoppers who were seeking illegal goods. Many of these merchants and patrons were those who vocally opposed the Sareshi regime. Security in the World Market rose to the point where there was a platoon of guards in nearly every district.
A resistance began to assemble, an underground group of saboteurs who had begun to suspect that Saresh had been behind the pirate attacks, using its own navy to assail trade routes, and used the guards as a way to eliminate political threats. They sought to free the World Market from Sareshi control, and overthrow the Emperor. Waiting in the shadows for the opportune moment, they are soon planning their first strike. But the heightened security makes their mission a dangerous one, and they find their numbers dwindling…
Government: The World Market is under Sareshi control, and all who set foot in it are subject to Imperial Law, be they a merchant or a patron. Many guards patrol the various districts, keeping a close eye out for lawbreakers, making the Market Guard captain the highest authority.
People: People of all races and creeds can be found in the World Market, from elven artists of Kalach to dwarven miners of Ackre. The Airendalese fare no better in the World Market than in Saresh, due to the seemingly contagious bias against said people. The World Market is a crowded place, because in spite the harsh laws, it is the best place to find goods from every land.
Terrain: The World Market is completely man-made, constructed from stone and metal. The floors are even and stable, and various stairways lead up to balconies bearing more and more merchants. The enclosed structure is dome-shaped, kept afloat through brilliant Denashi engineering and Eldryn magics. The smoke from the various smithies is vented through chimneys leading up to the surface of the dome.
The World Market is kept in place by enormous anchors, and many docks extend from the entrances and exits. Within the structure the climate is always warm, though not too humid or dry. Most merchants sell from stands, though some permanent buildings exist (most of which are guard barracks).
History: The bloody history of how the Technocracy was established is known only by a select few, as they have sent the others to die in forced labor camps. The current Manufacturer General Arcturus Marcellus is one of the few who know the true history of how the Technocracy was established, and it is a dark secret that if revealed would most likely demolish Denashi society as it is known today. All Denashians belive that the Technocracy has always been in place since there had first been life on the continent and that their great General Arcturus had been their leader since before they were born. In reality, he has been ruling for only the last 20 years but constant destruction of historical documents and "Re-Education" has fixed that nicely. In fact the city was originally the grandest city of scholars, a pillar of order and law. They kept some of the finest records of the history of nearly all the continents and freely distributed the knowledge to all who wanted it. However in wartime staying neutral and happy was impossible, and the burgeoning new nation of Saresh invaded hoping to keep all the knowledge to itself and perhaps use it for a tactical advantage. After only months of occupation, the native Denashians somehow managed to muster up a force strong enough to seize power back against the invaders under the rule of Adamus The Creator. He was put into power by the people as a figurehead to rally under, who took full control of all government and military power to throw off the invaders. Like almost every leader who is given power in a time of crisis he was reluctant to give it up. This is how the second leader and first Manufacturer General Terentias took power, by politically weaseling his way into the regime of Adamus, and quickly removing him supposedly peacefully, he was the first to set out and decide to live on the western island with his closest political advistors. Terentias began construction of the great city and was the first to decide that the Thralls needed to be segregated into the south while the engineers would have to stay in the cold frigid wasteland all by themselves. The city was finished in 10 SE, and there was much rejoicing by Terentias and his advisers at it's marvels. But his dictatorship would come to an end as well, as while he was making the speech coronating the geared city from the top gear, he was dispatched with a very simple cannon by a revolutionary named Arcturus, who quickly scrambled his way to the final gear and declared freedom from the tyranny. He explained how the previous leader had become soft, and how the engineers were the chosen people of the land and the thralls were being too babied. Under his regime change, the engineers slowly built up their luxury as the thralls first tasted starvation. Arcturus Marcellus had become the third Manufacturer General, and quickly got to destroying all records of his predecessors and "Re-Educating" his former revolutionary comrades. Life was unchanged for five years, thralls were starved and guns were stockpiled. But then for reasons unknown, Arcturus declared that there would be no more trading with the World Market suddenly. Saresh did not take kindly to having an entire country not under it's power through the market, and quickly launched a surprise invasion. They paid for every inch up the south lands through the thralls who fought tooth and nail with farming equipment and zeal alone. Nearly a quarter of the thralls were killed in the invasion. The invasion did not pass the mountains, as Denash revealed one of it's most important secrets, a certain few of them were no longer bound by gravity. They had created a select few machines that could fly. Manned with large rotating batteries of cannons they demoralized and destroyed the bulk of the Sareshi invasion. The thralls still celebrate the day that they defeated the Saresh Empire immediately taking only 1/100th of their fighting forces. No one truly knows why Denash has turtled itself in away from the other countries, except Manufacturer General Arcturus Marcellus, and whatever plans he has for the world.
The terrain is temperate on the southern section, the middle is all but impassable mountains The Aegis Range with few passes through and the north being barren tundra, all but the great city of Primus. The western island is a desolate wasteland full of internment camps and deadly mines.
People and Culture
The southern temperate area is where the working class of society (referred to as the Thralls) all inhabit, working in vast underground mines for raw materials and farming. There aren't 'cities' per se in the southern area, as that would possibly give the Thralls a sense of pride in their area. Most places are similarly in squalor. They are completely loyal and understanding of their place in life, believing that they have it better than all other countries through strict non-contact with foreigners and inter-country travel is forbidden (For them). They are worked to the bone for just the bare necessities of life (Sometimes less) and enjoy it. Any (The little there is) disobedience is quickly reacted to with kidnapping and "Re-Education" before they suddenly decide to move to the west island where they are trained to become manufacturers. While in reality it's a forced labor camp for the minerals and ores that are the most deadly to mine.
The mountainous region is uninhabited, used as a natural defense for the engineers. There are some thralls who try to make it their home, but it's a brutal and deadly life. It's rumored this is where a resistance called Resistance Name but few believe it, and it's mostly used as a threat for thrall mothers to their children for misbehaving.
The tundra is home to the higher class of society, the engineers. They live in the grand metropolis of Primus, a city composed of 5 large spinning gears and the surrounding area. The hierarchy lives on and around the gears. The engineers spend their time manufacturing and engineering new technology, the level of physical labor decreasing as they ascend in position.
Advancing through the hierarchy is merely having enough ingenuity and skill to physically make it up to the next gear, seeing as the current residents will do whatever they can to keep their station in life. Everyone has an equal chance (minus the thralls) and only the finest engineer can become the Manufacturer General (of which there have only been 3.)
Primus is the home of nearly all the engineers who live either directly on the spinning gear or in homes near them. Off of the gears are the factories and homes of the Neophytes, who mass-produce simple necessities (Farm and mining equipment, eating utensils, etc.) for the thralls in large smoggy factories. The first gear is home to the mechanics, who are manufacturers but for their fellow engineers, producing assembly tools and finer household niceties for the homes. The second is the design studios for the first and off-gear factories and the homes of it's inhabitants the Drafters. The third gear holds more factories, but for the production of infantry equipment, including processing and storing black powder. Once again this gear also contains the homes of it's workers, the Crafters. The fourth is for designing and testing new weapons of war (on willing thrall subjects) by it's inhabitants the Architects. It is also the home of the Denashi Gunnery School, where the chosen best and most loyal soldiers are indoctrinated and trained in the use of black powder weaponry. The fifth is for the designing and manufacturing of the secret projects of the current Manufacturer General by his personal Artisans. The sixth and final gear is the home and design studio of The Manufacturer General.
History: Eldryn today is commonly known as a country of wizards, mages, necromancers, clerics, and any other profession one can possibly begin to think of that involves the use of magic. Eldryn's past ages can easily be found within the innumerable books and records in Eldryn's countless libraries and universities dedicated to the studies of magic. And to so do, the history of Eldryn itself is a highly useful piece of knowledge. Eldryn's people often use the old records to perfect their development of magic for better or for worse.
The history of Eldryn that holds the most valuable lesson to the present dates back many years. Back when the country was still developing, the nations of Eldryn were divided, on a whole, into three sections. The core of the country belonging to the mages and practitioners of elemental magic. The northern areas and center island belonging to the clerics; those who used their powers to heal others and cure disease. The southern area plus the western and eastern islands were inhabited by the necromancers, using their dark skills to summon the dead and demons. While their motives may not be aligned with the forces of darkness their ways certainly came off as unnatural.
Each of the three core branches began to expand. It is only natural for humans to wish for dominion and power over all things. The conflicts started with minor squabbles over land, artifacts and other such things that would otherwise be small and insignificat. However each of the branches wished for the advancement of their kind. Like a plague, the fighting grew until all of Eldryn was consumed by wars between necromancers, clerics and mages alike. With no real reason for the fighting, the wars started with brutal battles of magic but ended just as quickly. within two short but bloody years. The wars are nothing but a blur to the current citizens of Eldryn, nor do the people care to reflect on why they were started.
Though from the wars, emerged three heroes from each of the magic branches. Veterans that proved themselves in the wars and provided much wisdom from, and for their respective branch. From the mages came Boris Apollyon, said to be able to summon storms of fire with the power to destroy small battalions. From the clerics rose Janus Baradiel. Her healing powers were, and still are legendary, curing the most dire of wounds and bringing entire armies back to fighting condition. Necromancer Lucius Zaltyd arose as the necromancer hero who was always seen with enourmous skeletal or deadly spirits at his side.
The three decided that it would be best not to sacrifice the well being of their country for such petty squabbles. The three became rapidly known as The Triumverate, and they constructed the first monument to bring together the main branches of magic together: The Academy Of Spellcraft, an enourmous building that not only serves as the primary center for magical learning but also the capital of Eldryn stationed in the nation of Ogion which comprises the majority of Eldyrn's southern grasslands. Eldryn's government sprung from this monument starting with a leader. It was voted that, in all things, Janus Baradiel to be the nation's first leader like figure due to her fairness and dedication to human life.
Once Janus took up position, the rest of the government soon followed. Within just a few years, the rest of the government had been established indluding a judicial system, and a system of law enforcement which included mages and necromancers who used their powers to purge Eldryn of those who would use the same magic for darker purposes. Clerics of course were seen acting as law enforcing officials, but their use of offensive magic was more often than not far too limiting. Soon followed was the backing of Eldryn's leader which included a cabinet, and a council of select members from each of the three branches to form a senate.
Eldryn went through it's leaders and different prosperous ages just like any other developing nation. However Eldryn's quick rise in power did not go unnoticed. Recent activities furthered their society very rapidly, and Emperor Gregor Saresh turned his eyes towards Eldryn. A society of highly knowledgeable magic users could prove to be quite a thorn in his side if left undealt with. Emperor Gregor Saresh made a trip to Eldryn to the Academy itself to visit with the Triumverate of leaders about where their stance was in the world. Gregor Saresh did not go alone, rather he took a few battalions with him. The people of Eldryn were horrified as legions of troops marched to the Academy.
What ensued was an intense debate about Eldryn's loyalty to the Emperor. It was a rather simple situation. Eldryn could pledge it's loyalty to Saresh or be crushed. Janus knew that her people were scholars, not fighters. Yes power in magic though they were, an organized military could not be formed from that kind of expereince. Janus pledged Eldryn's loyalty to Saresh. A deal was reached that Eldryn's people would provide magic services, potions, magic scrolls, or anything that would be required of them.
To this date Eldryn is still a marvel to behold and it's people are always bustling about with their schedules. Though things are much more tense now as plenty of Saresh guards can be seen patrolling the towns and cities, and even outlying villages to make sure that the magic using country knows its place. However in the realm of trade, Eldryn's imports and exports are under Saresh's iron fist.
Eldryn's goods are not able to truly be taxed upon purchase since potions, scrolls, and other magical items are produced by virtually every citizen that so much as walks Eldryn for their own personal use. The few merchants that do sell items in Eldryn are either very rich or very poor, depending on the items being sold. Usually the successful merchants sell rare alchemical ingredients and artifacts. and the very rich ones are usually taken care of in unconventional methods. To make up for the lack of taxes in this fashion, taxes of ungodly proportions are placed on imports and exports, since Eldryn's crafts are constantly being shipped in and out.
Government: Eldryn's government is, for all intents and purposes, a monarchy. Though the decision for who to lead Eldryn is based on quality of those running for position as opposed to bloodline. Those given the grace of ruling Eldryn are therefore considered by the public to be fair, wise, and dedicated individuals to magic as well as the people and state of Eldryn. Needless to say many step up to the position and like so many are turned down without a second thought. The leader, currently Janus Baradiel, is backed by a cabinet and a very large senate. There is also a very strong judicial system in Eldryn. The only out of place branch of the government is the Saresh trade overseer that controls Eldryn's imports and exports, Japser Faust regulates Eldryn trade like a true Brindillian of Saresh.
People: The people of Eldryn are varied in species but singular in purpose. It is extremely rare to find anyone on Eldryn that doesn't have experience casting magic in some form or another, although alchemists are quite common and accepted as well. The caste system of Eldryn is purely based on how well one can do for one's self. Some magic users make a good living serving the public as a law enforcer. Others live well as scribes and some even scour the deserts and forests for treasures of the past. The only people who live poorly in Eldryn are those who do not have the incentive to change it.
Terrain: Not possessing any rather cold climate, the terrain of Eldryn is more or less warm and liveable. Save for the more arid central area of Eldryn which is becoming more and more inhabitable through the use of various magics. The tropical regions that border the drier center provide lush forests filled with creatures and plants that attract scholars from all over Eldryn to study. The deserts provide vast numbers of artifacts and pieces of history waiting to be unearthed. The only grasslands which contain most of the hills and mountains are to the south of the country. This more mild area is the home of The Academy of Spellcraft. No matter where you are in Eldryn there is something to be seen. All of the areas are equally populated due to the far advancement and manipulation of the environment through powerful magic, and the integration of the branches of magic throughout Eldryn's history has led to no particular brand of magic populating one area more than another.
Major Exports: Eldryn is known highly for their exportation of alchemical ingredients, books, tomes, and sometimes rare animals and artifacts. Due to the scholarly nature of Eldryn's inhabitants, the tropical forests remain untouched, so wood being exported is virtually unheard of.
History: Rhamese people have no records of when their lands were first settled. In fact, much of the early records they had consisted of a now-forgotten oral history. The earliest records in Rham consist of the establishment of the Rhamese Timocracy, the governing body of the nation. The RTU’s main responsibility was to ensure a laissez-faire economy and enforce the laws of the land.
The RTU was founded in 200 BSE by Alistair Bishop, a middle-aged entrepreneur who saw a nation based solely on a free market as the best source of income and development for the people of Rham. The majority of the Rhamese agreed to this, and decided to form their government on the principle that the wealthy would be the best representatives of the people.
With a very effective governing body established, the people of Rham began the construction of small businesses, each lookin out for their own. The rich resources of the nation ensured that there would be no risk of unfair advantages over one another, and the economy of Rham flourished. Soon the RT began to look at trade abroad, and the Rhamese businesses found even greater wealth headed their way.
Naturally, this gave those who lived near the coast a leg up on trade, as is the nature of an economy based on supply and demand. But it was a small advantage if any, and Rhamese people felt no discontent. The flourishing trade continued for centuries, until Rham became one of the richest nations in the world.
The founding of the Sareshi Empire was not of much concern to Rham, until the first invasion of Denash in 5 SE. When word reached the Timocracy, they decided to placate the Sareshi war machine by giving the empire the best goods they could acquire. Because of this, Emperor Saresh agreed to treat Rham as an economic ally so long as trade would continue.
Rham would have reason to feel fear again in 30 SE, when vicious attacks on Rhamese trade routes began to drastically damage their economy. Believing it to be pirates, the Timocracy gladly agreed to Emperor Saresh’s plan for the World Market. Contributing massive amounts of their resources, Rham was elated to see the completion of a safe trading post after 15 years of work. Trade flourished yet again, and Rham’s coffers swelled. But it was not to last.
Increasing tariffs made profit margins slimmer by the month. Restrictions on what could be traded to other nations limited the usefulness of many businesses, and class division became more and more of a glaring problem. Soon, many Rhamese merchants were risking poverty, and a fair few had already been left without jobs or homes. When Saresh generously offered to waive their increasing debts, they desperately accepted, uncaring of the terms. Their decision cost them dearly.
The Sareshi Trade Overseer Caleb Del'thair took complete control of the Timocracy, it being a government based on economic standing. The tariffs didn’t decrease; if anything, they grew even steeper. Soon class division had reached an extreme, the only classes of Rhamese people being the rich and the impoverished. Little to no middle ground existed between the two. Nowadays, Rhamese merchants struggle to get by while the rich live comfortably. The days of economic equality and easy recovery seemed to be a distant dream…
Government: Rham is led by a Timocracy, a governing body of high-earning property holders. The Timocracy is in charge of trade regulation and other such laws, which the people see as a fair leadership. Anyone who wishes to join the Timocracy must have a sufficiently high yearly income, a respectable home and a secure business. Should the Timocracy accept the newcomer, they will admit them to their ranks.
Since the establishment of a Sareshi Trade Overseer, the Timocracy has become little more than a puppet government. The Overseer (Caleb Del’thair) is the only true power in Rham at present time.
People: Rham is perhaps the most diversely populated nation in the world. Merchants of all races and creeds live on the continent, each with their own unique cultures and values. Everyone in Rham is expected to rely on themselves, not having to be dependent on others to survive. And they like it that way.
Terrain: The continent of Rham literally has every conceivable kind of terrain. At the north lie the tropical jungles and deserts, while to the south, grasslands, mountainous forests and tundra can be found. The tropics are the most densely-populated of the areas, with the grasslands being the second most inhabited.
Major Exports: Nearly everything is exported by Rham, but the most lucrative exports are rare spices, herbs and precious metals.
History: Kalach was founded roughly 40 BSE by intellectuals, idealists and artisans from the Island of Rham who were unsatisfied with the economics of their homeland. Their ideals leaned towards an artistic society wherein everyone would support each other while taking only what they needed. While the people of Rham didn’t agree with their decisions or their ideals, they respected the differences of the separatists and let them go with no hardships.
It was a short journey to the nearby continent of Kalach, and the artisans found themselves in rich grasslands where wild grains grew in vast quantities. Knowing they had reached the ideal lands to begin their settlement, the travelers began to settle. At first, times were difficult. Houses needed building and they needed to agree on how they would live their lives in this new land. They agreed to base their society on the ideal of “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” After a few months of settling in, a permanent capital was established, wherein the people of Kalach would discuss any pressing matters.
The idealists of Kalach began to work together, sharing goods and services, never asking for payment nor needing it; for the most part, people worked their fair share. Eventually, word of Kalach’s seemingly ideal society reached the ears of people around the world, attracting idealists, artisans and intellectuals alike. What started as a small city in a vast island became a nation over the course of many years, and the people of Kalach had achieved what many saw as a utopia.
There was no more need to expand; they had all they needed in the grasslands. There was no more need to advance beyond their neighbors; everyone seemed equal enough. There was no need to develop new technologies or weapons; they were content with what they had. With these “problems” solved, the people of Kalach turned to art. Sculptures, paintings, music, literature and drama became the focus of Kalach, works completed at the end of the day when the necessary tasks were completed.
Eventually, the rest of the world wanted to own the works of art seen in Kalach, and offered resources and exotic goods in trade. International trade made the folks of Kalach wary, as they were unsure how to fit it in with their society. Eventually, the people decided to evenly distribute the earnings of their trade.
However, this happiness was not to last. After the World Market’s establishment, the people of Kalach, grown accustomed and adapted to the extra resources their art brought in, were finding more and more of their works declared “subversive” by Sareshi trade laws. Threatened with the loss of the resources that had begun to be necessary to their survival, Kalach had no choice but to submit to the placement of a Sareshi Trade Overseer.
Kalach’s people were worked to levels they had never before experienced, having to contribute their resources to the Sareshi Empire. Much of their art was destroyed, and any who spoke out were quickly silenced. Though Kalach’s people are oppressed, many still work on their art in secret, longing for the day when the shackles of Emperor Saresh’s laws will be removed.
Government: Kalach has no real governing body, and all pressing matters are voted upon by its people (every single person who wishes to vote). They don’t use currency, and provide goods and services to each other for free, understanding and expecting the others to do the same. Some take advantage of this system, but such people are few and far between. However, like many other nations, Kalach has a Trade Overseer (known by the name of Demetrius Seraphon) in place, in charge of the distribution of their resources. Many of Kalach’s finer goods go to this overseer and the Sareshi Empire, and the people receive what is left over.
People: Kalach has a mixed population of races, and each has their own particular artistic talent. The elves use their inherent magical talents to create beautiful constructs of ever-shifting magical energy. Dwarves, masterful workers of stone and metals produce awe-inspiring sculptures ranging from small to gargantuan in size and scale. Halflings have proven to be masterful storytellers, and put their talents to the production of moving literature and plays. Fellians put their great dexterity towards painting and dance, creating intricate works that amaze even the most experienced patron of the arts. Canishans and humans, being adaptable and creative, choose whatever calling they wish, often studying under masters of a particular art.
Terrain: The areas of Kalach that are settled are mostly grasslands rich with grains and other crops. The peninsula to the south is a tropical land, inhabited by a few elves and fellians, but it is sparsely populated. To the north lie temperate forests and tundra, inhabited by the hardy dwarves and canishans. Kalach has a good amount of resources, though nowhere near as plentiful or varied as those found in Rham.
Major Exports: Artwork, performers and literature
History: The nation of Ackre has stood for many hundreds of years, ruled over by the native dwarven community. The climate is unforgiving, with mountainous taiga in the north and frozen plains in the southern reaches of the nation. Winters in Ackre are harsh and though the summer is a welcome break from the frigid winter weather it doesn’t last. Though members of other races inhabit Ackre the harsh climate favors the dwarves and most other races choose to live in the more hospitable regions of the world. The only other race that has established a notable presence on Ackre are humans, who have adapted to live in the northern reaches of Ackre and have established several small communities that trade with the other inhabitants of the continent. Members of the other races may be seen in Ackre but usually only in its cities and ports.
For years the dwarves have made a name for themselves as a major exporter of stone from the vast quarries of Ackre. The supply of stone to mine is immense and upon the construction of the World Market the dwarves established a strong flow of goods to and from the market. For a few years Ackre prospered. As the need for the stone they mined increased the nation was able to expand more and more, creating several new mining sites and improving their already existing cities. In more recent years, however, Ackre’s trade has fallen more and more under the control of Emperor Saresh.
A few years after the World Market’s completion the emperor dispatched Aldris Krighton to oversee the production of stone from Ackre’s quarries. Seeing the immense prosperity of Ackre, Emperor Saresh decided to extend his control to Ackre so as to turn Ackre’s profit into his own. Aldris Krighton, an officer in the service of the emperor, was reassigned as overseer of the quarry production in Ackre.
Through Overseer Krighton the emperor was able to gain influence over Ackre’s trade. The dwarven High Council, led by Dueraim Ironheart, opposed the emperor’s actions but were powerless to act because of the vast forces under the command of the emperor. The overseer imposed quotas and forced miners to work until they barely had any strength left. Currently Dueraim Ironheart and the rest of the council have no choice but to watch as their empire is slowly falling under the control of Emperor Saresh.
Because of the mountainous and rocky terrain of Ackre most settlements are in the northern areas of the land. The capital city, Kaldun’Thar, lies in the central-northern region of Ackre. It is a massive dwarven city carved into the side of one of Ackre’s greatest mountains. It is surrounded in walls crafted by the finest dwarven smiths and stands as a beacon in the otherwise deserted area. It is settled at the base of the mountain and trees still stand around the city.
A stone and brick road runs from Kaldun’Thar all the way to the northern shores of Ackre and to its biggest port, Fairwind Port, where ships come and go between Ackre and the World Market. Most southern settlements in Ackre are near its many quarries, where the quarry miners live and work. These settlements are sometimes just small towns, but the largest of the quarries have small cities and forts around them.
Terrain: In the north the landscape is rugged and consists of forest at lower altitudes and mountains that rise up far into the sky. Snow is common, especially on the mountaintops, but summers are warm and pleasant. In the south the land is flat and icy during the winter. Many quarries here contain rich supplies of stone to mine and trade. In the summer months the land becomes wet and marshy as the ice that covers the plains during the winter melts away.
Kaldun’Thar (Capital of Ackre)
Stonewald (Main human city; located on the northwestern shores of Ackre)
Tuel and the Islands of Orius
History: The islands of Orius and Tuel started as a basic land of tribes and clans, like any other primitive land. When other nations (most notably Denash) moved forward, however, Orius and Tuel (sometimes collectively referred to as the Highlands, for their massive mountain ranges) did not.
The Highlands have always been populated by one people, who call themselves the Lakache (though Imperial designation has them all labeled as “Highlanders” or simply “primitive peoples.”). The Lakache’s indigenous claims to the Highlands have often been formally disputed, but all efforts to take the land have failed for various reasons. Little is formally known about the Highlands and the Lakache, owing to their warlike and territorial nature. The Lakache are divided into dozens of tribes over the islands, and frequently make war amongst themselves.
Saresh has tried on more than one occasion to annex Orius and Tuel, but these projects have all been abandoned. The Lakache do not appreciate intruders and foreigners, and even experienced Sareshi legions have met with ceaseless guerilla attacks that have broken morale. One notable attempt had various ambassadors and missionaries trying to drive the tribes against one another, and form alliances with some of the more prominent bloodlines and clans. It became apparent that the Lakache’s hatred for each other was only exceeded by their hatred for outsiders, and all ambassadors sent on the voyage went missing and have been declared legally dead.
For these reasons, Orius and Tuel have never had dealings with the governments of the world. Indeed, the only frequent contact had with any of the Lakache are the incessant clashes between the indigenous peoples and the merchants, who go there to scout out any prominent natural resources. To date, only one major resource has been found in the Highlands region, and it is in the sea, not the land. This resource, the blosswood, has sparked a series of bloody skirmishes between the Lakache and the blosswood merchants and farmers.
Blosswood is a fantastically light and strong wood, and because it grows in the sea, it is naturally waterproof and will not swell when wetted. Blosswood grows in great underwater forests in the gulf between Tuel and Orius, and is found nowhere else in the world. Lakache coracles and other small boats have always gone between the two islands, and their divers have found blosswood forests growing on the high ocean mountains below. The Lakache are careful to cut a tree but leave the roots, and let it grow back before cutting again. They have made spear hafts, tools, and boats out of this wondrous wood. The merchants who come now, however, are not so careful.
When merchants from the World Market started scouting the Highlands in 45 S.E., they noticed the Lakache’s tendencies to stop in the gulf and send divers below. They also noticed that the divers returned with some new kind of wood. Naturally, the merchants wanted it. They began sending fleets of boats in, with dozens of divers working on every boat. These divers use great axes and scythes, and are slowly clear-cutting the blosswood forests. The Lakache have reacted in kind, and their brand of war is surprisingly effective against even well-armed merchant ships. Their coracles slip behind the boats, then experienced Lakache climbers slip up the sides of the ships. They leave no survivors, and they freely violate any tribal code of honor they have to kill both the armed and unarmed. They have their chieftain’s blessing in this. After all, these are outsiders, and the Lakache revere blosswood forests as places of great power and serenity.
The Blosswood Wars, as they are called, continue to this day, and the Lakache still hold fast to their immigration policy: For every step taken onto the island, one limb lost.
Government: The governments of Orius and Tuel are tribal, with all tribes making war against one another. No peaceful contact has ever been made with the Lakache, and due to the island’s dearth of resources, Gregor Saresh seems content to let them have the Highlands, for now.
People: Exclusively Lakache, as no outsider has survived in the Highlands long enough to give birth. The Lakache people are tribal, with a warlike heritage and a moderate code of honor in combat. (Technology level somewhere near American Indian level).
Terrain: The Highlands are so named for their high mountain ranges that cover both islands. The climate varies from subarctic to temperate, though the summers are still cold by any other standard. Tuel’s southern tip has some scattered grassland which is slightly more mild in weather.
Major Exports: Blosswood, a light, strong and waterproof wood greatly valued for ship building.
The Isle of Nyradu
History: Eldryn’s scholars have debated the origin of Nyradu’s mysterious ruins since they were discovered. For centuries, the island was viewed as uninhabitable due to the sweltering jungles and arid deserts that make up the isle. There were no especially valuable resources found on expeditions, and while it was inhabited by all sorts of wild game, the awful temperatures overshadowed any joy of the hunt. Due to this, rumors flew wildly about the creatures of the uninhabited land. Most were tall tales woven by drunkards, or boasts from hunters (who rarely had more than a horn or tooth to back up their wild claims).
Eventually, a group of scholars from Eldryn grew tired of legend without any tangible proof. Knowing full well the risks they might face, they travelled the short distance across the ocean to the Isle of Nyradu. Though there were fierce predators such as jungle cats and large snakes, none seemed to match the stories spun by the travelers who had claimed to visit the isle.
On their fifth day of exploration in the jungles, they came across a surprising sight: a massive stone carving of a human that seemed to have feathered wings for arms. More of these strange carvings were nearby in a circle; a fellian woman with a snake’s tail in place of legs, an androgynous elf with eight eyes and two extra arms, and a canishan man with the arms of an ape. But strangest and most intimidating of the four was a creature of unidentifiable race, with dragon-like features drawn back in a vicious snarl. Its impossibly muscled body was decorated with spines and talons, poised to attack. The eyes, though they were simply carved from stone, were easily noticeable, seeming to follow the explorers as they examined the other statues.
Feeling uneasy, but still curious, the scholars left the four carvings to investigate further into the jungle. There, a majestic sight greeted their eyes: an enormous stone temple whose architecture bore no similarities to any known to the rest of the world. Inside the structure they found expertly-carved stone furniture and more of the strange carvings of the five creatures they had seen outside. In the middle of the temple was a deep pit, marked with symbols the adventurers had never encountered before. One adventurer investigated the bottom of the pit, finding a series of stone rings set into the floor that rotated when enough force was applied. Marked with more of the alien symbols, the scholars were puzzled as to what its purpose might be.
The scholars took rubbings of the symbols, amazed at their find. They hurried back to Eldryn, showing their finds to any who would listen. Eventually, once the World Market was complete, more scholars from Eldryn began to investigate, finding four other temples identical to the one the first group had found, as well as multiple cities made with similar architecture.
Disturbingly, there were no records of the civilization, and not a trace that any intelligent life existed on the isle anymore. Scholars began to discuss the importance of this civilization, why its people disappeared, and what the nature of the four creatures could be. With no evidence, speculation and wild guesses remain the only answers to those questions.
Government: The Isle of Nyradu is not considered a part of anyone’s territory, and is free to be explored by any who wish to.
People: The Isle of Nyradu hasn’t seen any indigenous people for what scholars believe to be thousands of years. The only people that can be found on the isle are explorers, but very few will stay for a prolonged period of time, given the uncomfortable climate. To this day, no permanent settlement has ever been established on the Isle.
Terrain: The Isle of Nyradu is covered in two parts dense jungle, one part barren desert. The heat in either climate is almost unbearable. Even the shade of the jungle canopy doesn’t make up for the awful humidity, and the desert is subject to the harsh, unforgiving sun with little to no water in its seemingly endless dunes. It is uninhabitable by most standards, raising questions as to why the cities exist there.
Major Exports: Expeditions to the isle have brought back some wild animals, artifacts from the abandoned cities (which are increasingly harder to find) and exotic plants. Nothing else of value can be found on the isle.