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Libra1010
11-02-2014, 05:58 AM
Oh what the heck, in for a penny in for a pounding; I hereby establish this thread as a spur to my lackadaisical self to finally get to work on this particular corner of Charles Phipps' Creation - a place best described as a Pre-Industrial Science Fiction setting and therefore one that happens to be very difficult to distinguish from Heroic Fantasy at this point in it's History.

Watch this space, but not TOO closely please!:o

Libra1010
11-02-2014, 06:38 AM
ONCE there was an Age of Dragons, to whom this world was as the egg from which they hatched - forth they went and wheresoever they went they took what they desired, killed as they pleased and consumed all that would resist; in the end they found themselves grown more hungry still and devoured one another, bringing to an end to their age of blood and burning.

This we endured but did not delight in.


THEN there was an Age of Empire - for from out of the ashes of the Dragon-Age there rose up those that had once been their patient thralls and killed those who had long since ceased to be more masterful than troublesome; from the ranks of these Dragon-slayers rose Peerless Alacarn, who proved herself the Greatest there ever was and forged the Greatest Empire that ever will be.

We burned so bright that the Sun and the Moons seemed a little dimmer in those days; but the Demons came and that age screamed to its end until choked with torments.


NOW there is an Age of Change, an Age of Ice and an Age for Endings; first our Forebears warred down the King in Shadows, the mightiest tyrant for an Age brought low by the mightiest of mortals - if this might be done what cannot be achieved?

Then the eldest of all Crowns was broken, not by chivalry or by sorcery or by treachery but by Peasantry roused to the utmost ire and bloody revenge - if this can be accomplished what cannot be imagined?

Finally a time has come when it will be fallible Humankind and it Kin, not unfaltering Fate that shall determine the ways of the World - for when the very World turns from ice to earth, when monsters unimagined grow lean and hungry as true folk grow scarcer, when Everything is there for the taking and glory awaits those who will dare to seize upon it, it is a Time of Heroes.

For who else would be mad enough to reach out, to risk all for infinitely more and survive the consequences?

Charles Phipps
11-02-2014, 10:25 PM
BTW, while it may sound strange, I liberally have stolen your inspirational work-ups of my work to great effect in both my other non-Winterweir fantasy campaigns and my writing.

You sir, have made me a far far better writer!

Thank you so very much!

Libra1010
11-03-2014, 10:33 AM
Thank you for the kind words Charles; I hope that my work shall continue to merit such praise, but suspect that I shall have to work much harder to ensure that this remains the case!

Libra1010
11-23-2014, 07:27 AM
Charles, I hope that you remain well and will forgive me my recent absence - a commitment to a six day work week, however temporary, tends to eat up spare time! - but I have recently broken my writers block where names are concerned (into small, shivering splinters of shrapnel) and therefore have an impressive number of them which I would like to post in a series of lists themed around the various realms of Alacarn with which I intend to associate them (principally Amania, Calipan, D'Henna, The Pirate Islands, Tythan, Turlon and Vokelstein); I have also had a whole series of thoughts developing upon the Monarchs of Tythan (from Harrold IV to the unworthy Blue Rose Sovereigns), the present generation of House Blue Rose and thoughts further developing Calipan and Vokelstein.

For the moment all I can offer are lists of names (named characters, personal and place names on the whole), but I hope that names like 'Ulric the Unconquered' 'Roderick the Pleasurer' 'Maud Mankiller' 'Brock Battle-wise' 'Rose the Ruddy' 'Brand the Bold' 'Lapis Longbow' and 'Aethelred the Impaler' will make amends for my absences by supplying amusement and inspiration in lieu of actual detail.:o

May I please ask if it would be alright were I to take the liberty of posting such natter?

Libra1010
11-29-2014, 01:25 PM
The Highest Throne, The Fortress Mountain, The Kingdom of Ancient Shadows, The Land of Corn and Clouds, The Bloodless Realm, The Hidden Heights, The Unknown Queendom.

A mountainous island of quiet set amidst the long, troubled border between D'Henna and Turlon - in fact both sides in the Eternal War sell those captives they cannot ransom into slavery through the markets of the Mountain Realm and frequently accept payment in kind rather than in cash, eager to defy the desertification on either side of the border and eat well or at the very least drink away memories of bloody nights and hard days.

Blessed with enviable altitude, agriculture and independence from both of these inveterate rivals Vokelstein might well be regarded as the most fortunate of all those realms that have split from D'Henna had it not been cursed with Vampires long since. Yet thought the Vampires are undoubtedly the most Evil influence upon this realm, they remain far from the greatest threat to its existence - for Vokelstein is not just a Volcano, it's a SUPER-VOLCANO.

There are very few persons on Alacarn who are aware of this fact and even fewer of them actually live in Vokelstein for reasons that should be very, very obvious.


VOKELSTEIN

Some would call Vokelstein the greatest stronghold in all the Known World instead of the smallest Realm and there is much truth to be found in this assertion; a single, enormous mountain with three peaks and an entire civilisation cradled in a series of hollows and vales carved out of the mountain's fabric over the course of its history by artifice as well as through the workings of nature (not to mention a number of other, equally-interesting communities hidden amidst the extensive network of tunnels that riddle this grand rock) Vokelstein rises from the borders of D'Henna and Turlon upon a foundation of foothills so bare and so steep that they had to carve steps into them to make the Mountain accessible from the ground - even then they had to settle the Inner Realm first so that would-be visitors would find supplies waiting for them and would therefore NOT die of starvation.

In fact to this very day the majority of the wildlife native to this almighty rock are descended from creatures that flew into the Green Heights hidden amidst the ramparts of rock that girt the Mountain and the long white streamers of cloud that so frequently cloaked these peaks; birds flightless and flighted therefore remain the most common creatures to be seen away from the works of man, although insects of unusual size have also been frequently observed over the centuries and other, stranger things have since been introduced to the Hidden Heights.

It was this very ease of accessibility from the air and impossibility of access from the ground that recommended Vokelstein to its first landlords, those two blue dragons Talthar and Turroc (known to song and story but seldom to History as the 'Twin Slayers'), who had come to find their former stamping grounds (the desert that would one day become Calipan) a little TOO wide-open for their peace of mind and been highly gratified to discover a most attractive alternative - infinitely more attractive, in fact, given the flourishing flora, fauna and fierce creatures to be found in their new home for while Dragons enjoy great heat, even they become bored of the sheer EMPTINESS of a desert after the first century or so.

The trouble was that their impeccably-comfortable and impregnable new home was perhaps just too small for TWO dragons - increasingly prone to quarrel, the previously-insperable pair now became prone to spend a season or so apart each year, giving rise to the uncertainty and suspicions that would allow Alacarn of D'Henna - the Once and Future Empress - to first drive a wedge between the pair of them, then manipulate them into a duel that would kill one and wreck the other.

It would be the murder of Wyvern-riders that had finished off the last surviving Slayer after that fatal duel who became the first recorded human residents of Vokelstein, arriving by air to find a landscape not too different from their own Home but just that right degree milder and establishing their first continental garrison there not long afterwards - the 'Big Rock' being useful to her only if the Wyvern Riders were in residence and at this point in its history still entirely vulnerable to hunger (for no farm had yet taken root there) Alacarn elected to permit this settlement to go unchallenged and reigned over it with a light hand, in the interests of ensuring that D'Henna could maintain this impregnable stronghold as a thumb in the eye of Turlon.

This approach would be mirrored across centuries of History even long after the Uniter, given the usefulness of Vokelstein and its residence, although Empress Kalinka A'Alacarn would take care to ensure that at least the beginnings of a land route into Vokelstein would be laid out - a process pushed still further by her own heir, much to the discomfort of those Wyvern Riders and affiliated mountaineers who had been rather getting used to being quite able to thumb their noses at the lowlanders if they really felt inclined to do so.

Yet while the Riders did very well or still better than that in their new home, no matter how many generations of Wyverns were introduced, their eggs simply would not hatch in anything like the numbers needed to replace their losses - given that even in the heyday of the Empire accidents and undiplomatic incidents alike took their toll on the Knights of the Sky (also given that not EVERY Wyvern Rider wanted to risk themselves at the heart of the Empire), Vokelstein remained more a garrison than a nation for as long as the Alacarn remained a unified whole.

Then the Shadow King emerged from long obscurity and killed all of them that were left - so that he might secure a stronghold that would allow him to hold the balance of power while the Empire of Alacarn tore itself to pieces during the War of Bloody Tears and thereby dictate the course of the continent's Future in a luxurious style to which he fully intended to become accustomed.


Even as the Armies of Empire marched against one another the Shadow King built upon his commanding position in Vokelstein - constructing the infrastructure that would allow Vokelstein to finally be civilised, further strengthening the massive natural defences of the Mountain and above all establishing the training grounds upon which he would build an army worthy of his designs.

He even adopted a … protege so that he might have an heir to whom he might leave all that he had built should he decide the time had come to move on; this boy, although of obscure origins (last of the Wyvern Riders? half-celestial case study? perhaps even just one of the many refugees whom The Shadow King offered asylum in return for obedience) would never-the-less write himself into the history of Vokelstein before his time had passed - though not in any fashion his Foster Father would have approved of.

But none of this would come to pass before the Mad God Malaxas came to Alacarn - of this Abominations seductions, savagery and various depredations we shall not write here in any detail, but suffice it to be said that he accepted the Allegiance of the Shadow King (offered by an emissary who rather exceeded his authority in a fit of passion induced by The Crimson King and honoured by Brother Shadowspawn's former master as often in the breach as in the observance of fealty) and proceeded to command him as one of his own.

The Shadow King, being too canny to start a fight before he'd accumulated power sufficient to win it, accepted this homage as a fait accompli and proceeded to serve his new Overlord almost as efficiently as he served his own interests - under his rule Vokelstein became the eye of the storm that would tear Alacarn not only apart, but into something fallen so far from former glories as to be barely inhabitable, deceptively-untroubled yet surrounded all about by ruin.

Yet even as the power and significance of The Shadow King in his Kingdom of Vokelstein reached a peak of iron discipline, power and ruthlessly-exploited prosperity the factions that would thrust him from his Kingdom and utterly subvert his designs began to form around Brother Shadowspawn the Vampire and The Prince (as that living protege of The Shadow King had become known to one and all); the former seeking to ensure that the power of Vokelstein would become the true reflection of Malaxas in all his glittering terror and serve none but the Crimson King, the latter moved to side with the last lingering relics of Free Humanity and Kindred Species out of fear for what might become of Creation were it dominated by a Mad God - and also so that he might free himself at last from his Foster Father's tyrannical tutelage.

Between the two of them, twisted zealot and ruthless rebel chieftain, they reshaped Vokelstein in their own image to such a degree that The Shadow King could only resign himself to pursuing his designs elsewhere - frustrated beyond belief at seeing much that he had built either seduced into disobedience or blatantly turned against him, he vanishes from the History of Vokelstein more mysteriously than he arrived.

Exultant at the success of his scheming and proselytising, Brother Shadownspawn turned the upper hand he had been given in the long guerrilla struggle against The Prince to the task of finally swatting this particular gadfly once and for all, so that the Vampire might finally launch a Crusade that would utterly ruin any chance of survival for the civilisation that had defied The Crimson King.

Having achieved considerable power in his own right and carved out still greater forces from remnants of the Shadow King, The Prince decided to finally match his accumulated Power against his Enemy - the conflict that ensued would tear out the heartland of the Shadow King in Vokelstein, then use the larger fragments of shrapnel to beat the enemies brains out and finally become known as the Battle of the Mountain Breaking in song and story, as well as the few, fragmented histories of those days to be preserved.

In short The Prince and his followers fought downhill in the face of superior numbers, forced the Army of Brother Shadowspawn to a stalemate and then finally dropped a mountainside on their enemies to ensure that Final Victory in the Battle for Vokelstein would belong to the Prince and not to the Vampire Priest.


As would later become apparent, victory in this battle would not settle the War once and for all - still, in the centuries that followed the heirs of The Prince would leave their mark so deeply set into the Rock of Vokelstein that even the Vampire Queen could not extirpate all traces of the traditions that had thrown down her predecessor.

But to say even so much is to get ahead of myself at this point in the tale; suffice it to say that The Prince was made secure in his Principality (as a note while his female heirs would title themselves Queens, in honour of their forefather his heirs male would allow themselves no other title but Prince … or rather HIGH Prince, just to make absolutely clear that they were the very mightiest sort of minor monarch), especially after marrying into the Aristocracy of D'Henna and thereby securing his succession also.

In the end he disappeared from the pages of History as mysteriously as he had entered them and although those closest to him mourned his passing, many more who had found the sheer weight of the Destiny he had so ardently pursued oppress them even as he had freed them from the depredations of Brother Shadowspawn felt more than a little relief that things might now settle into a more quiet sort of History.

With the odd exception, such as Vokelstein's peripheral but crucial role in the creation of the Middle Kingdom (that would in the course of its brief existence humble both Dh'Henna and Turlon … before the Tralax exploited the lure of a crown to turn these borderers to first to their own advantage, then against D'Henna and finally against one another), The Fortress Mountain and those native to it were pleased to pursue their own affairs -troubled by the outside world only when they chose to trade with the Lowlanders or exploit their place at the pivot point of the balance of power between their two powerful neighbours (a crucial position that allowed The High Princes and Queens of Vokelstein enormous autonomy even before full Independence was assumed).

But then The Vampires returned and the Green Heights began to become a Green Hell.

Charles Phipps
11-29-2014, 02:16 PM
Charles, I hope that you remain well and will forgive me my recent absence - a commitment to a six day work week, however temporary, tends to eat up spare time! - but I have recently broken my writers block where names are concerned (into small, shivering splinters of shrapnel) and therefore have an impressive number of them which I would like to post in a series of lists themed around the various realms of Alacarn with which I intend to associate them (principally Amania, Calipan, D'Henna, The Pirate Islands, Tythan, Turlon and Vokelstein); I have also had a whole series of thoughts developing upon the Monarchs of Tythan (from Harrold IV to the unworthy Blue Rose Sovereigns), the present generation of House Blue Rose and thoughts further developing Calipan and Vokelstein.

For the moment all I can offer are lists of names (named characters, personal and place names on the whole), but I hope that names like 'Ulric the Unconquered' 'Roderick the Pleasurer' 'Maud Mankiller' 'Brock Battle-wise' 'Rose the Ruddy' 'Brand the Bold' 'Lapis Longbow' and 'Aethelred the Impaler' will make amends for my absences by supplying amusement and inspiration in lieu of actual detail.:o

May I please ask if it would be alright were I to take the liberty of posting such natter?

Of course, and always, Libra!

I consider your actions most welcome!

I am already two chapters into my next book as inspired by you and your efforts!

Libra1010
11-30-2014, 11:29 AM
THE LAND

The Furrows
Snowdrop
Low Lake
Stonegarden
The Hollow Heights
Mistwood
Needlewood
The Pinch
Longburrow Town
Goosewash Lake
The River Tipple & Tipple Vale
Last Gasp
Windhaven
Stone Nest
Holystone
Stranglehold
Singingstream
Honeystone
Lowguard
White Lightning Vale
Meadwater Vale
Smokewater Springs
Cloudwood
Oldgarden
Stonebloom
Portertown
Skywatch
High Harvest

LOCALS

Baila, who seizes the Dreadful Toll
Ber of the Thirteen Victims
Bluma Barley-Hand
Churn Cheer-Widow
Clamber Featherfall
Faiga Four-Wives
Falk the High-Flown
Fruma the Trackless
Gander the Thunderer
Hawk the Harrier
Hersh the Unhurried
Kaila the Callous
Kreine the Graceless
Leeba the Peeler
Raisa Slice-Stone
Selig, bastard son of Sybus
Sender Sunburn
Shaynah Sky-High
Vale the Grave-keeper
Velvela the Voluptuary
Zusa the Unrighteous

Libra1010
11-30-2014, 11:32 AM
The post above is just a starting-point from which I intend to make my way into a brief description of the landscape of Vokelstein and a few points of interest scattered across it; the names I include as both a representative sample of personal names gathered from across the Highest Queendom (also, I hope, as inspiration for suggestions from anyone who happens to be reading this and would like to suggest a character to go with these names).:D

More later, I hope.

Charles Phipps
12-01-2014, 03:16 PM
I absolutely love the write-up of Volkelstein! It's given me so many ideas! Your love of the setting is awesome.

The super-volcano bit is my favorite.

The struggle between two dragons over territory is very interesting, too.

Your interpretation of the Shadow King is wonderful as well.

The last line is awesome too.

Phrozen
12-01-2014, 07:50 PM
So are Vokelstein's mercenaries the best in the world? Considering it is Switzerland after all.

Libra1010
12-02-2014, 12:10 PM
Actually they're more Transylvanian by way of Tibet (and I had not actually given any thought to the matter of mercenaries), but now that you've given me the idea YES Vokelstein does indeed have something of a reputation for contracting out troops to whichever faction happens to be offering the best opportunity for Vampire Queen Carmeera to 'domesticate' some of the more violently troublesome of her subjects (either they die or they decide not to come back or they get used to fighting for their Queen … in theory).

As a note, however, this only works for Queen Carmeera when she whistles up some local aristocracy and their fighting tail from The Furrows - more like a Highland Chief and his tacks-men than Swiss Pikers - because those fellows are tied to her directly by bloodline (even when they're not Vampires - Her High Majesty really got around in her living days and her descendants have proven no less promiscuous, albeit usually less powerful) and in Vokelstein bloodline will almost always trump principle (especially when the chance to get the heck out of The Fortress Mountain unmolested by any pursuit is involved).

Given that the small, relatively rare Towns of Vokelstein (like Deliverance, Longburrow and Portertown) are mostly chartered - since they rest in The Level, a small and relatively flat, rather barren but by no means infertile area at the heart of Vokelstein where the Highest Kingdom meets the Lowlands (if one imagines The Fortress Mountain as a vast castle this would be the Bailey) which is somewhat removed from the heartland of Queen Karmeera's strength.

Quite frankly these towns are run by traders, all the better to reap the benefits of Trade (they're not Merchant Princes by any means but they're definitely Burghers at the very least); they don't have the blood ties and vexed question of fealty that keep the Living Aristocracy more loyal to the Vampire Queen than they are obliged to be, but they're scared green that if they push back too hard against The Night then the Vampire Queen will casually dam the flow of foodstuffs et al that keeps the Towns solvent and well-fed.

Bloody-handed and possessed by a God-Complex of hideous proportions Queen Carmeera may be, but she hasn't kept her throne by brandishing the meat-cleaver when palming the stiletto better suits the problem at hand; it should also be noted that she has agents in almost all the towns and that she has been known to pin up some inspiring examples when a town starts moving from 'Disgruntled' to 'Restless' but usually before it reaches 'Riotous' (and what these examples usually inspire is utter dread - put simply when you think of Vokelstein Vampires think 'Old-School Tzimisce' and try not to shudder if you get the reference - or look it up on a full stomach).


On a lighter note, some of the mercenaries do come back without having been inspired to increase their loyalty to the Vampire Queen and sometimes they bring friends - this is, in fact, how The Watchmen found their way into The Broken Peak (formerly Kings Peak and now the badlands of Vokelstein, as well as a stronghold of resistance to the local Tyrants - on a good night Brother Shadowspawn can appreciate the irony in having exchanged seats with his old enemy The Prince); unfortunately those who went much beyond conducting an Underground Railroad have not fared very well to date.

Libra1010
12-02-2014, 12:53 PM
I absolutely love the write-up of Volkelstein! It's given me so many ideas! Your love of the setting is awesome.

I'm truly sorry that I haven't been able to post more than I have to date, for I truly enjoy The Savage Worlds of Charles Phipps (since it gives me such a broad canvas to play with - Science Fiction not merely Futuristic, but Near-Future and Pre-Industrial too!); I'm currently doing my best to plan out ideas focussing on the Old Hennan Hegemony (Calipan, D'Henna and of course Vokelstein) but we shall have to see if anything comes of that.

If you have any ideas that you like well enough to post, I would love to see them!:D



The super-volcano bit is my favorite.

I'm actually rather proud of that one idea in particular - I was looking for a way to add a distinctive note to the local Land Beyond the Forest (as well as an outward expression of the unsettled state of Vokelstein) when it struck me that siting this Nation atop a Smoking Mountain would do just that, as well as neatly explain The Shadow Kings interest in this particular rock (I suspect that for all his subtlety he DOES have something of a detectable pattern to his behaviour).



The struggle between two dragons over territory is very interesting, too.

Thank you very kindly, although to be strictly accurate what we're speaking of was in fact more a quarrel over the proper care of their hoard, complicated by a lovers quarrel and fatally exacerbated by the cunning of Alacarn the Uniter - although there was more than a trace of a ******* match to the whole affair too.



Your interpretation of the Shadow King is wonderful as well.

He rather strikes me as being, effectively, Sauron as Railroad Baron - someone who is genuinely interested in Progress and who happens to be capable of a certain philanthropy, but who doesn't particularly care to make concessions to Human Frailty when dictating the pace of change (or who gets crushed under the wheels of progress as a result).

I think I've actually worked out a characterisation of The Emperor in Turlon that satisfies me as being equal to The Shadow King; it rather jelled together when it occurred to me that making him a more morally-ambivilent character than he had previously been in my imagination - someone who, unlike The Shadow King, lives more in the Future than in the Present and therefore takes a thoroughly laissez-faire attitude to influencing the World (because he dislikes having to confront the crudity of the Present, since it distracts him from the Glories to come).

In many ways he's more of a Philosopher-King and Oracle than a Railord Baron-Tyrant; if he likes you then he'll talk quite straightforwardly and give good advice (although he won't act FOR you - he's no more your Queen than you are his Pawn), if he dislikes you he'll conjure up a labyrinth of riddles to bewilder and vex, but if he HATES you … well, only then will he trouble himself to act and then he'll probably squash you like a bug.

Fortunately he's a pretty laid-back sort of Demigod and it takes much more than Wickedness to vex him (if he hasn't squashed The Tralax after almost an eon of being obliged to put up with their provocations - it's not that they actually WANT to rouse up his ire against them, more that they just can't help but be themselves - you will most likely not even register on his radar); he is in truth rather aloof, ambivalent and perhaps even a touch cold-hearted.

Looking at him is rather like looking into a Hall of Mirrors (and not just because his attendants keep that mighty exoskeleton SHINY) and trying to work out which casts the truest reflection - you're never quite certain which is the right interpretation to place on his actions, mostly because he prefers to let people work things out for themselves … or just enjoy watching them TRY to puzzle things out.

Several eons of existence and he STILL can't quite shake the simple entertainment of all those muscle groups twitching as they try to process complicated emotions into nice, simple semaphore signals.

Libra1010
12-03-2014, 03:13 PM
The Enemy of Turlon, The Proudest Queendom, The Realm of Past Glories, The Broken Empire, The Gift of Mamma Henna, The Inheritance of Alacarn, The Once and Future Empire, Dust-Dry D'Henna, D'Henna the Diminished, D'Henna the Defiant, D'Henna the Undaunted.


THE LAND

As a note D'Henna is traditionally divided into Four Quarters, sitting side by side as the eye passes left to right from the Midland Mountains to the Black Coast across any map of The Proudest Queendom; viewed in that order they are (respectively) The Hard Quarter, The Empty Quarter, Henna's Quarter and The Old Quarter.


THE HARD QUARTER, still sometimes known as THE SKYLAND is by far the most secure part of the Queendom, employing the mightiest mountains on the Continent as a buttress against all harm and in particular as a rampart against any threat from out of the West - a system of defences only ever penetrated by Great Bunghi and never entirely overwhelmed.

The fact that Dornya remains the capital of D'Henna bears witness to this truth, though it rests far away from the most populated areas of the Once and Future Empire - partly because it sits at the heart of the richest mining district known to this nation, mostly because generations of Hennan Kings and Queens have lived in dread of being pincered by simultaneous attacks from Turlon, Sephia and Vokelstein … a very unlikely, but not entirely impossible contingency.

This dominance of the West within the Halls of Power is a relatively new phenomenon - dating no further back than the War of the Eight-Fingered Hand and the Thunderstorm on Hooves that struck D'Henna as part of that conflict, after which Kings and Queens (who had long employed Horse-Taming Thur as their personal hatchet-men) began to fall victim to fears that their Realm would never be safe and therefore went to great lengths to ensure that at least their dynasty would endure in some comfort (they might have their backs against the wall, but it would at least be comfortably-tapestried).

This mindset has been mitigated by distance in time and more modern success stories, but D'Henna remains as strategically wary as it is proud. More to the point it has proven impossible to maintain Good Order in the realm from its fringes and so more recent generations of Monarchs have resumed the practice of spending high summer (fever-time in the heart of the Queendom) in the mountains and winter in the flatland.

Not all of their viceroys are thrilled by this increase in supervision.

Prominent Locations (Outside Dornya):-

Longsummer Vale (Dornya, once the old Summer Palace, rests at its heart)
The Pits (formerly Goldenhill).
Grandtree
Sandwall
Dugout
Vigilance
Strongstone
Littlevine
The Ebon Fort
Dustwater
Longsight
Bright View
Breakleg Pass
Highgrape
The Western Gate


THE EMPTY QUARTER also called THE DRYLAND is still more Arid than the Hard Quarter and thrice as harsh; caught between the rain shadow of the Midland Mountains and the life-giving waters of Henna's Dynasty (the greatest local rivers and their vassal streams) only a series of wells and a mighty aquifer keep anything like civilisation going here, but these are almost entirely in the control of Calipan - fortunately Calipan is a crossroads rather than a roadblock and is generally a neighbour with a certain family feeling, even if it remains as estranged from D'Henna as any other former dominion of The Proudest Queendom (not least because unlike Vokelstein, Calipani despise The Tralax and their influence even more than they dislike being reminded of D'Henna).

Something to remember; you can always tell a Hennan native of this area from a Calipani by their reaction to being called a Drylander - a Hennan will take it in their stride, a Calipani will either cry out that they are Wellborn or that you are a fool for thinking them a Hennan or quite probably both (with a curse for thinking their home a DESERT).

As a note few Hennans are born here - most of them the offspring of the garrisons kept around the Lonely Lake to ensure that a Hennan host can still march East or West at need without hazarding anything worse than hungry nomads or being obliged to Calipan for leeway (although as recently proven by Lord-Prince Cassius during the Rising of the Unchained Gangs, one is still wise to take council with the Sun-Worshippers).

Prominent Locations (Outside Calipan):-

-:The Lonely Lake (the largest reliable body of water in the Dry Quarter and therefore strategically vital, surrounded by garrisons - such as Lakestone, Holdwater, Continuation - and blessed with a few stops on the Caravan trails to bring business through, such as Drinklake or Passwell).


HENNA'S QUARTER more commonly called The DOWERLAND consists of the territories defined by the three greatest rivers in the Realm of Past Glories (from Left to Right Nana Henna and Mamma Henna - subdivided into Old Henna, Queen Henna and Empress Henna). It is here that we find the most agriculturally rich and fecund part of the Realm, as well as the Lion's Share of Trade - the problem is that these Great Rivers are as much a free-flowing high road as an agricultural heartland and not all of D'Hennas most profitable trading partners are the best of neighbours (witness enterprising Sephia and wicked Turlon).

Put simply The Dowerland is a market that can either boom, bust or descend into bloody mayhem - other neighbours are less unpredictable than Turlon, but not necessarily very much more friendly. Quite frankly the rivers of D'Henna can (in a particularly bad year) be almost as rich in pirates and privateers as the seas surrounding the Pirate Isles.

In better years the River Valleys may be peaceful and prosperous, but they are still thick with slaves (too many Bronzeborn at all levels, unwilling to spend time farming when they can be pursuing the Noble Arts or raising Trouble) and were accordingly at the very heart of the Rising led by Melyssa the Bandit Queen of the Unchained Gangs - who remains at large to keep the Riverborn free from any threat of Peace for the foreseeable future.

Prominent Locations along the Rivers:-

Snowcourt
Queensvine
Gardenfield
Peppergrow
Vinecourt
Sentinel
Queenswine
Gardenfield
Sweetwine
Strongvine
Grandharvest
Hustling
Goldenvine
Grapeferry
Winebridge
Greatbattle
Spicetown

THE SALLY PORTS deserve a special mention; scattered over the course of the Rivers which make up Hennas Dynasty it is here that the famed River Regiments are headquartered (formations as able to fight on land as they are to make war by river-boat) and the most formidable fortifications in the region may be found.

Unsurprisingly these cities tend to be the hubs around which the Dowerland turns (Empire in particular is grown to be almost more a trade town than a fortress, having been designed as an Imperial Capital and proven a surpassing profitable market even after the Throneborn took to living elsewhere).

EMPIRE
DEFIANCE
DOMINION
RESOLUTION
RENOWN
VICTORIOUS
ILLUSTRIOUS



THE OLD QUARTER is where civilisation in D'Henna is held to have begun, although not where it reached its apex (hence its more common name THE HINTERLAND); quite frankly while somewhat less dust-dry than many other parts of The Proudest Kingdom agricultural resources here are harder to come by than in many other places - in truth most of them are concentrated in Vokelstein, which dominates this Quarter even more than the Eternal War albeit in somewhat more subtle fashion.

Outside of the pastureland by the Stonelake, where the finest horses and the best beeves in D'Henna are pastured (it might be made into good fields, were raid and counter-raid such a hard fact of life), rocks are more easily harvested than grains in this portion of the realm - the folk here have always been a hardscrabble, self-sufficient lot with little time for graces or leisure or anything but a certain hard-nosed swashbuckling (though they always seem to make time for the festivals of competition ubiquitous in D'Henna - or just take it).

On the other hand, as the Hinterlanders like to boast living elsewhere in D'Henna will get you killed - living in 'Crowfeed Kingdom' will make you TOUGH, as even a casual knowledge of the most famous local daughter and her career will convince the informed reader.

They don't rename continents after just ANYONE, you know.

Prominent Locations:-

Defiance
Old Gloria
The Temple of Perpetuity
Vinestone
Riderton
Seawatch
Olivestone
Hardbrace
Hunters Hall
Burningstone
Longfight
Resolution
Pepperstone
Landheart
Impasse Cleft
Wildcourt
Orehill
Grindstone


As a note this is only the smallest possible sample of this Ancient and Extensive Kingdom - if my researches uncover more names and more data, this shall most assuredly be posted.

Charles Phipps
12-08-2014, 12:06 AM
The endless conflict between D'Henna and Turlon was always a favorite evocative bit of business from me. For your information, Libra, much of Winterweir's lore, geography, and fun is being rewritten and re-incorporated into "Death Knight" which is my dark fantasy novel currently in the works. What happens when the Dark Lord falls and his shadowy minions regain their strength? We'll find out! If you want to know more, please just PM me, Libra! http://www.pinterest.com/charlesphipps94/

Libra1010
12-08-2014, 12:54 PM
I shall be very happy indeed to help you Charles, insofar as I can - more via PM.:)

I'm also working on a bit of business to do with D'Henna - to be precise the complexities of the Royal Succession and Family Reunions when the Royal Family practices polyamory (thankfully they did away with Polygamy some time ago after a rather unfortunate series of events known to Historians as The Age of the Hungry Heirs, which helped simplify things but unfortunately this occurred only after one Deodan moved from the middle of the pack in the order of succession via a process that earned him the epithet 'Deodan the Lone Child' … and had his heir Barak Kin-Saviour not moved right sharp the Kinslayer King would have likely culled his own superfluous heirs too).

More on this later in The Brazen Blood of Old D'Henna (in which the discriminating and loyal reader will learn what is meant by 'The Brazen Blood' 'Throneborn' and 'Bronzeborn' not to mention the reason why Dust-Dry D'Henna has produced such a leisurely class in the middling orders of society).

Libra1010
12-08-2014, 02:35 PM
When the Golden Blood of the Old Empire died out with the Last Empress (she who had reigned over Alacarn in name since the tenderest days of her youth, yet only truly ruled in D'Henna), it was her baseborn yet richly-blessed son Usura who rose to the challenge that was the inheritance of Alacarn in that broken world which had only barely survived the War of Flame and Shadow - yet though Usura was the last of that line living, he could not truly call himself the heir of the Golden Line for he was born to no known Father and no bastard might mount the Lonely Throne without having been formally acknowledged by a reigning Empress or Emperor.

His mother having died before this formal adoption, Usura D'Henna had no right to the Lonely Throne nor to the Imperial Diadem nor any claim to the Imperial Dignities that had once accompanied them - yet the genius of Usura was that he saw the World as it was and not as it once had been, so in the end he reached for that which he might take into his own two hands without seeing it slip through his fingers thereafter and set aside the Diadem so that he might claim the long-unclaimed Crown of the Four Quarters.

As he himself said "I will not claim the Throne Imperial, for I am the Heir of Alacarn in blood only and not by Law; yet though I do not now claim the Glories and the Territories of that Lineage, though for now I lay claim only to Dauntless D'Henna, in time we shall WIN BACK those glories and those territories with words or with swords, by craft and by courage, as Alacarn and our Ancestors once did - for never shall my line abandon the Dignities of the Old Empire nor shall D'Henna EVER surrender the Dream of Alacarn; One Realm, One Ruler, One Rule: SAFETY AND PEACE FROM SEA TO SEA!"

As the Spellborn Tralax put it upon hearing of these proud words "It takes a truly brazen bastard to make such a speech" (ever the most merciless eye and sharpest tongue turned upon the Old Empire and its memory, they would be no more enamoured of those who fought hardest to equal these achievements); much to their disgust Usura the Usurper and his heirs would reforge this jibe into a badge of honour - to this day his descendants name themselves The Brazen Blood and recall their forefather as The Man of Bronze (an accolade bestowed only rarely upon his heirs, as amongst the greatest accolades they can receive in life).

Yet though the Royal and Imperial House of D'Henna has proven enduring, that line of descent has not always taken the straightest course from past to present into future for amongst the traditions retained by The Royal House of Henna from the bygone days of the Old Empire is the tradition of the Imperial Seraglio - a King or Queen in D'Henna takes as many lovers as they care to with none to gainsay them and only those limits set by personal appetite or physical endurance to be observed.

The inevitable result, as one might expect, is that the most common problem of Succession to be observed in the Royal and Imperial House of D'Henna would be that posed by far, far too many heirs rather than the opposite; Any given King or Queen of The Proudest Kingdom has many, many siblings (and quite possibly many, many offspring - Alacarn being more profane than pious when it comes to matters sexual); as you might imagine this can cause a great many problems when it comes to picking out the Right Heir without unleashing a Civil War and even bigger problems when it comes to keeping an entire seraglio of these relations fed, dressed and safely out of the Royal Hair without being obliged to employ ALL of them (especially when they're mostly your half-siblings bred from a veritable concerto of concubines).

For a time the problem was set to one side as generations of Kings and Queens were able to pick out their Heir from amongst their offspring and coped with the consequences - yet the problem had not disappeared, was only being managed not diminished and in fact grew over time with the Royal and Imperial House itself: eventually the problem grew so acute that Succession Crises were the rule and not the exception, giving birth to a period in Hennan History known as The Age of the Hungry Heirs and marked by an ever-quickening waning in the might of the Proudest Kingdom as its Monarchs struggled to keep the peace in their own Palaces.

The Age of the Hungry Heirs reached an apogee and came to an end only during the reign of King Deodan the Lone Child (the sixth of over a dozen siblings … once) - having won the throne by removing his elder siblings and been cautious enough to deal with his younger siblings (on the understanding that what he had done could be done to him), he would unfortunately proceeded to father a rather incredible number of children himself and was right on the verge of purging them on the understanding that his heir lacked the nerve to do so (they call him 'The Kingslayer King' with good reason) when that still-young heir of his rose up in revolt against him and launched the Palace Coup that would send Deodan King into forced retirement.

As it turned out the lad had the nerve to SAVE his siblings, rather than resign himself to slay them.

Being of a more reforming inclination than his father, the newly-proclaimed Barak III proceeded to decree that henceforth only those children born to a reigning King or Queen AND their designated Consort would be permitted to inherit (henceforth these would become known as 'Throneborn'); half-siblings, who shared the famous 'Brazen Blood' of Usura the Usurper with the Sovereign but only one parent, would henceforth be barred from the Succession but WOULD be freed from the Imperial Seraglio and the notoriously-stringent by-laws of the Royal and Imperial House of D'Henna (decrees barring Throneborn from Trade, Travel, Marrying whomsoever pleased them and … well, just about anything even remotely Adventurous).

Which meant that these Bronzeborn would be free to marry whom they chose and in the first generation or so of this practice that meant they would marry very well indeed, for a whole world of arrivistes and snobs eager to acquire greater legitimacy and enormous prestige in the eyes of the world by marrying a product of the Hennan Royal House sought them (even if they might as well have been born on the wrong side of the blanket for all the chance they had of inheriting the Throne); in fact Barak III would conclude so many advantageous marital alliances on behalf of his siblings and bring such splendid dowries into the Imperial Exchequer as a result that he would become known to history as 'Barak the Sister-Seller' and 'Barak Barter-Brother' (not to mention as Barak Kin-Saviour, one of the best-liked albeit not the most revered of Hennan Monarchs down to this very day).

While the marriage market has become quite a bit more saturated with Bronzeborn since his day, it remains easy for one of the Royal and Imperial blood to find a mate … assuming they don't mind marrying for comfort, rather than Glory and Renown. Most wed individuals with only a thimbleful of noble blood but with otherwise-extensive and rather more tangible assets like land or coin to their name, then proceed to lecture their descendants on the glories of D'Henna and the Noble Dignities of their lineage, as well as the undesirability of anything even vaguely common … or Turlon.

What this means is that quite a lot of the middling sort in D'Henna can claim just enough of the Brazen Blood to be extremely devoted to the perpetual D'Hennan dream of matching the Past Glories of Alacarn, not to mention snobbish enough to be reluctant to devote their time to anything but athletics, high art … or adventure.

Most of the Bronzeborn fail to make their own way into greatness, but their relations, their distant relations and their still more distant relations continue to strive to honour their ancestry and improve their own lot in life - and sometimes this can be USEFUL, especially when one is looking for reinforcements in a pinch or a crisis.

MightyDavidson
12-10-2014, 02:09 PM
Glad to see Winterweir make a triumphant return. I always liked this setting.

Libra1010
12-11-2014, 01:11 PM
It's always good to hear that someone shares your partiality for a mildly-obscure setting!;)

Might I ask if those articles focussing on place names from within a Great Kingdom are an acceptable substitute for anything more detailed? (They're easy to compose, but if they're not very interesting I shall do my best to think up something different).

Mighty Davidson, if you have any ideas about Teth'Ammon then I would love to hear them (to be entirely frank, I know how sporadic my posts are and I would be grateful to have another contributor helping to ensure that there's a broader focus and a touch more diversity where articles are concerned); at the very least if you have any suggestions for future articles then I would be glad to see them.

Stay Well and I hope that you'll continue to enjoy my occasional contributions to this thread:D

Libra1010
12-13-2014, 02:38 PM
Towards the end of that time when stone was needed to serve the Human Kind in place of Steel, in days long gone and half-forgotten even before Alacarn made all the Kingdoms of the Earth one and her own, a man wandered out of the stone-strewn Hinterland seeking respite from the rock-rich fields and the life of endless raids that was all he had ever known - a son of Mother Earth and Father Stone, as were all the Human Kind who dwelt in this land in those days, but one blessed with the eyes of Grandfather Sky.

Grey with melancholy, bright blue in mirth, those eyes beheld a mighty river - greasy, golden, rich with good things and also heavy with mud - seeing it to be the life blood of a valley blessed with grapes, thick with life and innocent of enemies; a place where one might begin to dream of herds and pastures and peace unknown in the Hinterland, where the Human Kind had feuded with Giants and suffered Red War with the Beast-Breed, where settlements might be seeded and mighty cities could spring forth from the fertile clay - where a mighty man might make himself a monarch whose heirs would count themselves the most richly blessed in all the World, Known and Unknown.

Yet in an instant and for a time all this was forgotten, for upon a time the eyes of the wanderer looked into that yet-unnamed River and saw a woman there - a woman with golden skin, hair of gold and eyes as deep and brown as the mud of the valley but infinitely more beautiful, a woman with the marks of motherhood upon her and not quite young but more beautiful than any he had yet beheld or ever would.

A woman with a whim to bear another bairn and a man far distant from all other company; suffice it to say that swiftly they came to know one another as man and woman, yet they spoke together as well as sported and for a time knew one another as a wife knows her husband and as a husband knows his wife - in follies, in frolics, and in fellowship.

Yet no promise was exchanged between them and in time these two parted friends, each to return to their own place - yet as the man walked the first steps of his long road to the land of his Forebears, he turned back long enough to see the woman first step, then swim and finally dive into the waters of the River as was her habit … yet though he looked back many times until the place where they had known one another was but a sweet memory, swiftly fading not once did she rise up out of those waters.

He returned from his wanderings to the place of his Ancestors, to the long struggle for the Lakeland that had ended many lives and would not end until many more were spent at length or in battle. Yet in his memories he continued to wonder at the sights he had seen and wonder about the woman he had loved, so as many moons later as one might be led to expect by this History he resolved to find his way back to that River Valley and to she who had made it a place of enchantment for him.

Now followed all the way by some few in whom his tales had fired a thirst for the River Waters and a hunger for the River Valley he had described, as well as those whose curiosity regarding the truth of this storied woman must be slaked once and for all, the wanderer came back to the greasy, golden waters he had missed so much - yet though he looked far and freely he could not find the woman who had made him glorious.

Yet his search was not fruitless; upon a time, long ago a man who wandered the valley of a nameless river seeking one whom he loved found a little child between mud and water - a child with golden skin, hair of gold and eyes as bright-blue as Grandfather Sky in the days of his utmost beneficence; a child old enough to be weaned but only just old enough to call the wanderer 'Father' - and the wanderer looked upon the River with wonder, looked upon this beautiful boy with a smile, called his name 'Lutra' and knew him for his own son by the strangest of mothers.

She had given no name but was glad when he called her name 'Henna' (for in the spirit of fun he swore that her temper was more fit for flame-hair than gold-hair) and so the River of that valley would be named in all its courses, even as it was settled and seeded with the Women and Mankind who would win grain, grapes and gold from that place - in time that strangely-born son would call her 'Mamma Henna' and the many, many children that would call him Father spoke likewise.

In time that son would make his father proud, would win a mighty name first in the Hinterland and then all across the Known World - for first he was golden and glorious and open-handed, then he was chief worth following and at last he was a King worth serving; He would defend those that loved him and were loved by him against all the perils of a young and savage world with all the power that was in him.

In truth the power in his hand and the power in his people and their prosperity were surpassingly mighty in truth, yet it only when in the utmost extremity of his need the very river herself rose up in her anger and drowned the camp of his enemies that those foes began to speak of him as 'Riverborn' instead of 'Mudblood' and would spread the name of D'Henna from One end of Ezul to the Other as something far more than mere pretension.

Yet though Lutra D'Henna drew to him many of the folk of Mother Earth and Father Stone, not all of them cared to follow him into the fertile lands that his mother had furnished for his dower (for Lutra would win many wives to his side and needed many a dowry); The Rock of the Hinterland was the stuff of their very bones and they would not yield up their Home, the long home of those that had bred them even to the very first of their ancestors, to become a houseless wild or worse still the prize of their enemies - nor would they consent to depart before the Lakeland was made their prize, not even so that they might pursue richer holdings, for the fires of conquest had caught in their spirits and would burn for many lifetimes without cease.

The Uniter herself would carry that torch across all the Known World and with it consume all the enemies of her people with it; she would be born the heir of these Stoneborn and all her days would be shaped by her ways … but that is a tale of another time.

Libra1010
12-24-2014, 07:07 AM
Begging you pardon for long absence, Good Readers, I have taken the liberty of amending the article on D'Henna and fully intend to post more regarding The Savage World of Winterweir in future; the details of these posts I leave to your imagination (at least until I have them ready to be posted!).;)

Charles Phipps
12-25-2014, 07:22 AM
So are Vokelstein's mercenaries the best in the world? Considering it is Switzerland after all.

Volkelstein has the benefit of being a place almost no one really wants to try and conquer due to its incredibly high mountains, countless natural ambush points, and the fact it's an open secret the place is demon haunted as well as filled with vampires. Countless lesser military expeditions have been mounted to the place over the millennium but they've all tended to fail in a variety of natural disasters.

The Vokelstein, themselves, maintain a somewhat isolationalist policy to the rest of the world due to the fact they don't really want their peasantry fleeing cross the borders to the place where they don't have to offer up their daughters and sons for two-to-five years as blood offerings and sex toys. Though, given this has been happening for centuries, quite a few don't even see it all that strange anymore.

Those few trading ports which do exist in Volkelstein often produce extremely elite but disliked mercenary units with a large numbers of, simultaneously healers and black magicians. Blood magic is something they specialize in and if you honestly want to terrify an enemy into submission or curse him to death, you could do worse than hire Volkelstein mages. While this tends to be a serious hit to your honor score, it's not an insurmountable one and the usual "Evil Chancellor" vibe from them is completely subverted as said black magicians almost NEVER betray their employers.

The big benefit of Volkelstein mercenaries is the fact natural selection and vampire blood, however trace, has infected a large amount of the population to become somewhat immune to horror. Volkelstein mercenaries suffer "War Sickness" far less than normal people and always fight to kill versus many conscripts who fight not to die. As a result, while they do not produce a great number of mercenaries, they tend to produce ones which become extremely well-respected veterans quickly.

Albeit, terror tactics are things employed by them and they tend to get hired for jobs "normal" companies do not. Mostly because their reputation feeds itself as people assume they're monsters so they hire them to be monsters. When, in fact, the majority are consummate professions who just get hired to do leg-breaking the way the Czars people or Cossacks often were.

Volkelstein calvary is, notably, extremely good.

Charles Phipps
12-25-2014, 07:44 AM
Actually they're more Transylvanian by way of Tibet (and I had not actually given any thought to the matter of mercenaries), but now that you've given me the idea YES Vokelstein does indeed have something of a reputation for contracting out troops to whichever faction happens to be offering the best opportunity for Vampire Queen Carmeera to 'domesticate' some of the more violently troublesome of her subjects (either they die or they decide not to come back or they get used to fighting for their Queen … in theory).

Volkelstein is sort of the odd-man of Alacarn really in the fact that everyone assumes it should be something of a North Korea backwards hellhole given its isolation, horrific rituals, and monsters but there's actually some advantages to living in Volkelstein as the near-constant state of war afflicting Alacarn is rather absent there. As Thomas Swift said, "Why don't the English eat the Irish's babies?" actually suceeds in rendering peasants a valuable commodity in ways other lords do not think.

The vampires of Vokelstein scheme for land constantly but they tend to do so by challenging each other for duels, marrying each other, fighting with zombies or necromantic armies, and intrigue at the Empres' courts. The idea of conscripting their peasantry to march on each other's estates is ludicrous as the last thing you want to do is arm the peasantry with something more than a torch or pitchfork.

So, the majority of the mercenaries come from the "middle" classes which are usually the mortal descendants of vampires who envision themselves becoming the undead themselves with dhampyr, werewolves, those with magical talent (more like "talent for weaving" versus Force Senseitivity), and so on. To be frank, there's also a huge market for people who can swing as sword and shoot a bow too.

The Middle class is called the Czveka or "Tax Men."

As such, this is the rather bizarre situation that Volkelstein is a place of causal atrocity but very little large-scale warfare. The exceptions to this, again, are the trading areas where the excessive military might of Volkelstein is exported. There's always more killers in Volkelstein than there is need for killing and they find ready work from unscurpulous people who want to hire them. They're as close to a "middle class" as exists in Volkelstein as their wealth goes to building up these trading cities.


As a note, however, this only works for Queen Carmeera when she whistles up some local aristocracy and their fighting tail from The Furrows - more like a Highland Chief and his tacks-men than Swiss Pikers - because those fellows are tied to her directly by bloodline (even when they're not Vampires - Her High Majesty really got around in her living days and her descendants have proven no less promiscuous, albeit usually less powerful) and in Vokelstein bloodline will almost always trump principle (especially when the chance to get the heck out of The Fortress Mountain unmolested by any pursuit is involved).

The few times the Queen has actually had to put down military might from other nations has been a bit like herding cats. The local Voivodes, Princes, Barons, Counts (of course), Viscounts, and a staggering other titles constantly curry and jockey for her favor in what is to the Game of Thrones as Go is to Checkers. Actual warfare is no different even if she's had no real trouble dealing with most threats. The problem is the realities of war often mean that the usual, "spending a night reading to the Queen's handmaiden to gain a nod of approval" being a great accomplishment means the backstabing reaches Drow like levels.

A determined PC who shows he could actually BEAT the nobility on the field of battle would find himself facing significantly less opposition than he might expect.

Unfortunately, Cameera is a warrior queen even if many of her subordinates have forgotten what it is to fight a foe who can fight back.


Given that the small, relatively rare Towns of Vokelstein (like Deliverance, Longburrow and Portertown) are mostly chartered - since they rest in The Level, a small and relatively flat, rather barren but by no means infertile area at the heart of Vokelstein where the Highest Kingdom meets the Lowlands (if one imagines The Fortress Mountain as a vast castle this would be the Bailey) which is somewhat removed from the heartland of Queen Karmeera's strength.

Quite frankly these towns are run by traders, all the better to reap the benefits of Trade (they're not Merchant Princes by any means but they're definitely Burghers at the very least); they don't have the blood ties and vexed question of fealty that keep the Living Aristocracy more loyal to the Vampire Queen than they are obliged to be, but they're scared green that if they push back too hard against The Night then the Vampire Queen will casually dam the flow of foodstuffs et al that keeps the Towns solvent and well-fed.

Blood-Traders should be noted as something which is a nickname for those who venture to Vokelstein. It's a slur because there is a quite prosperous slave-trade to the country for obvious reasons.

This is something of an unfair advantage because like Shogunate Japan, there's a massive market for OTHER goods to be delivered to the aristocracy and those willing to venture to the trading cities find the Volkelstein to be dour and unfriendly but scrupulously honest.

In a corrupt society like Alacarn where every single level of nobility steals from the till as much as he passes up, trade in Volkelstein is shockingly straight-
forward. The obvious haggling, negotiating, and other engines of business still take place but if you sell 2000 bundles of silk to a Volkelstein merchant, you're likely to get paid for 1500.

Versus the 1000 or so elsewhere.

The Volkelstein, as well, are quite skilled miners as well as craftsmen. The two exceptions being boots and weapons. It is forbidden to sell those to the peasant class and possession of such outside of the main cities is often a severe offense unless you're a member of the Tax Collectors.

This means the economy of Volkelstein is surprisingly stable despite itself.


Bloody-handed and possessed by a God-Complex of hideous proportions Queen Carmeera may be, but she hasn't kept her throne by brandishing the meat-cleaver when palming the stiletto better suits the problem at hand; it should also be noted that she has agents in almost all the towns and that she has been known to pin up some inspiring examples when a town starts moving from 'Disgruntled' to 'Restless' but usually before it reaches 'Riotous' (and what these examples usually inspire is utter dread - put simply when you think of Vokelstein Vampires think 'Old-School Tzimisce' and try not to shudder if you get the reference - or look it up on a full stomach).

As mentioned above, a Volkelstein Lord may keep your daughter or son as a sex slave or regular evening meal plus take a dozen or so peasants to enact a Blood Magic rite to summon a demon to get an answer to a particularly vexing magic-problem but he's less likely to take you off to fight his neighbors over a mill overlooking the river.

So Volkelstein peasants take a perverse, and frankly insane, sort of pride in this.

Much like the Hobbits, they assume their lords won't do anything to them if they don't invoke it so long as they obey everything and treat them somewhat like a natural disaster. This despite the fact they really ARE much more oppressed than most others.


On a lighter note, some of the mercenaries do come back without having been inspired to increase their loyalty to the Vampire Queen and sometimes they bring friends - this is, in fact, how The Watchmen found their way into The Broken Peak (formerly Kings Peak and now the badlands of Vokelstein, as well as a stronghold of resistance to the local Tyrants - on a good night Brother Shadowspawn can appreciate the irony in having exchanged seats with his old enemy The Prince); unfortunately those who went much beyond conducting an Underground Railroad have not fared very well to date.

The resistance level to the vampires is about ten times what it was a century ago and about ten times that what it used to be. It's just taken the vampires this long to notice.

(The Vampires are also a minority, it should be remembered, making up the majority of the upper nobility while their descendants do the same for the lesser as well as the Tax Collectors)

Charles Phipps
12-25-2014, 08:15 AM
Excellent write up of D'Henna, Libra.

On my end, I always envisioned the land to be something of the Byzantine Empire to the Empire of Alacarn, which was often more of a force than an actual unifier in terms of history. D'Henna was ever THE seat of the Empire and as far as they're concerned, it's business as usual except for the barbarians being left to their own devices. I also tend to view the climate as decidedly Southern European and Spanish themed.

The D'Hennans are a decadent people who have managed to accumulate such a massive amount of regular wealth from their trade that they really live in an entirely different sort of world from the rest of Alacarn. Even so, the country is slowly decaying as the aqueducts become clogged, the mosiacs miss more pieces every year, and the slave economy slowly killing what has historically been a very robust economy.

Sheer staggering inertia will keep the D'Hennans going on for a very long time still but not so much that it isn't a minute fraction of its former grandeur but still convinced it is glorious beyond compare to anything ever made.

Re: Polygamy/amory in D'Henna

It's actually less difficult than you might expect in the culture due to the fact so many men and women intermarry. Quite a few alliances are in name only with a family trading company involving a woman marrying one of their sons and another son or another son still while they have their own collection of wives or husbands (D'Henna, it's a whole other planet). The polygamy actually tends to keep numbers of births DOWN rather than the reverse since its much easier for a man with multiple wives to conceive many children than the reverse. Use of magic and contraception is also far more prevalent in D'Henna than other lands, too, due to the complications extra children can bring on wealthy households.

Still, the population of D'Henna's noble class would have long since exploded if not for the fact the martial tradition of the country is so bloody fierce. They consider themselves the heirs of Empress Alacarn and while they don't have the chevalier tradition of the Tythan, they do have a massive military one which is ever attempting to inflict as much damage on the Turlon as possible. The Summertime War is a place where D'Hennans can achieve honor and glory which will raise their social standing considerably but is also, frankly, a place where casualties are massive but rids themselves of unwanted second or thrid children (or fifth and sixth).

Other nations look at the massive number of trenches, ramparts, and graveyards built upon graveyards to think D'Henna is as sick and insane as their enemies.

Again, it should also be noted that war in D'Henna is similar to war in Volkelstein in that it's a pasttime of the rich more than the commonfolk, though its' also the only way commoners who are freemen can actually rise to any sort of prestige and many join the military to avoid the poverty which accompanies being someone who isn't a slave but can't compete with their prices.

Yes, this effectively means the Summertime War is a Feudal World War 1/Hundred Year War which NEVER ENDS.

Libra1010
12-26-2014, 08:26 AM
Excellent write up of D'Henna, Libra.

Thank you very kindly; as I suspect you have noticed I've grown rather fond of the place for some reason and have therefore thought up quite a few bits and pieces to expand upon it as a result - I'm trying to work out Turlon in similar detail and have some thoughts when I have worked through 'A History of Hennas Children' until the Age of Alacarn the Uniter, possibly even as far as the Time of the First Emperor (to be precise Davios Dragon-King was the THIRD Imperial Sovereign, but the First EMPEROR after two Empresses) although not necessarily in prodigious detail.



On my end, I always envisioned the land to be something of the Byzantine Empire to the Empire of Alacarn, which was often more of a force than an actual unifier in terms of history. D'Henna was ever THE seat of the Empire and as far as they're concerned, it's business as usual except for the barbarians being left to their own devices.

I have done my best to keep this in mind when working out my mental image of the Proudest Kingdom (and its eponyms); I admit that my mental image of D'Henna is extremely Howardian - every sort of entertaining decadence laid on over the bones of past glories, a population that tends to be slaves, indolently aristocratic, down-at-heel aristocrats or hard ******** whom it is truly unwise to underestimate (sometimes combining these disparate attributes in a single person).

It seemed appropriate given their pronounced hatred for their Moorecock-mad neighbours!

I also like the mental image that while the Hennans habitually over-indulge, they don't often go to seed physically by virtue of their mighty tradition of Games - in the Olympic, rather than the Gladiatorial fashion which has rather lost its popularity owing to the recent Uprising of the Unchained Gangs (a rather nasty slave rebellion which has at least startled most aristocrats out of Apathy … for now) and the traditional association with Turlon of the latter (which doesn't stop it from coming into and going out of fashion whenever Hennans feel the impulse).

What Tournaments are to Tythan, the Games are to Hennans - only those with money or pedigree or really RIGHTEOUS physiology are allowed to compete, but everyone enjoys watching them. I imagine a whole circuit of Games (with varying origins and themes) but that the Greatest Games are those that take place within sight of the Tomb of Alacarn (an event which reliably draws every self-respecting Athlete from across D'Henna and has been known to attract Athletes from all over the Continent with some regularity).



I also tend to view the climate as decidedly Southern European and Spanish themed.

I have been working on the assumption that it is rather like India (partly because I have come to imagine D'Henna as combining elements of Ancient India with the Classic Greco-Roman World, albeit at a Medieval/Near-Renaissance level of technology - Alacarn being the continent of curiously mixed-up cultures in my mind!); for the record I see the Skyland as fairly like the foothills of the Himalayas, the Empty Quarter as rather like the Thar Desert (or the American Southwest, New Mexico perhaps?), the Dowerlands as rather like the valley of the Indus or the Ganges and the Hinterland … well it looks more Mediterranean but like one of the friendly parts (Anatolia or the drier parts of Greece, but somewhere with lots of otherworldly rock formations).

In fact the closer to the sea one goes the more Mediterranean the climate becomes; inland it is definitely more continental and downright arid in parts (although becoming marginally more pleasant as D'Henna turns into Turlon … I'm tempted to call the Borderland 'Gehenna' but fear that I lack the nerve to put G'Henna on a map!).:cool:



It's actually less difficult than you might expect in the culture due to the fact so many men and women intermarry.

By the sound of things it must still be extremely difficult to keep track of just who married whom and which of them interbred in any case!

I imagine that Polygamy is the domain of the very, very rich (aka The Throneborn), the very rich and the merely rich (The Bronzeborn and their peers), with those of more modest means preferring to pick a good investment and stick with her or him … the poor, as you may guess take whomsoever they can get or whomsoever takes their fancy.


Use of magic and contraception is also far more prevalent in D'Henna than other lands, too, due to the complications extra children can bring on wealthy households.

One imagines that contraception has tended to be more popular than Magic on the whole (especially since the … interesting case of Tikva-Tomer the Twin-Headed, who came within a coup de theatre of confusing the heck out of Historians trying to work out if they counted as a King or a Queen or a King AND a Queen).:cool:



Other nations look at the massive number of trenches, ramparts, and graveyards built upon graveyards to think D'Henna is as sick and insane as their enemies.

As one shrewd observer put it "Hennans are never more attractive than when compared with Turlon, but never less appealing than when these two Eternal Enemies are facing one another whomsoever may win or lose this time."

Put another way they call the border between D'Henna and Turlon 'Feedcrow Kingdom' for a reason … as a note I had not realised that the Front Line of the Eternal War was so extensively fortified; I shall have to keep that in mind when working out the details of geography in that part of this world (although I believe that the Sally Ports, the Skyland and the Lonely Lake all hint at fortification In Depth).

As another note, most of the major man-made defences in the Hinterland (itself an attackers nightmare of gulches, high plateaus and rocky marches by nature) are concentrated in the vicinity of Vokelstein by virtue of the presence of the High Lake (formed by the Vokelwater and the Vokelflow, which fall into it from the Green Heights), the most fecund ground in all the Hinterland but perpetually fought over and hence a place farmers fight almost more often than they till, where it is best to keep agricultural assets moveable (which adds cattle-raiding to the list of local hobbies and other felonies).

Which makes it even more of a bad idea for D'Henna to try clearing out the Vampires; if the Stein-folk stab them in the back, there's a good chance they'll undermine the strongest defences in that part of the frontier in the process (The Hinterland is TOUGH but its never been rolled over by an entire army because the Lake-Strongholds tend to occupy the attention of a majority of any forces in the area … while any raiding columns are eaten by the rest of the Hinterland, metaphorically).


Yes, this effectively means the Summertime War is a Feudal World War 1/Hundred Year War which NEVER ENDS.

They call it 'The Eternal War' with good reason; the majority of D'Henna and Turlon do not live in a state of active war (no, really, The Summertime War and consequences thereof may be horribly extensive, but it still counts as Border Skirmishing by the standards of these Ancient Colossi), but they're seldom more than a Good Excuse or a Diplomatic Mis-Step away from declaring one.

The longest single period of peace in 'Feedcrow Kingdom' since the End of the Old Empire occurred when the Borderers on both sides (as prone to interbreeding as they are to mutual enmity) decided that they'd had enough of fighting someone else's War and decided to declare their own; announcing themselves to be a Realm entire to themselves, no Hennan Monarch or Turlon Tralax required THANK YOU, they proceeded to shred the armies sent out against them and then virtually conquered Turlon (D'Henna having done a bit better against them).

Their leader, Maya of the Median House (as a note Aristocratic Houses on the East Coast tend to favour the style <Name> of <Title> House as seen in the preceding name, as opposed to the more Western Style of which ''Lance of House Knightly" is a fair example) was declared Young Empress of Turlon (which basically meant she did the actual ruling while the Undying Emperor reigned as her senior), a title with some precedent in the History of Turlon but which had never before been bestowed upon a mere Human - think of it as a Late Roman 'Caesar' to a Late Roman 'Augustus' as a rough equivalent.

She proceeded to kick D'Henna in the defences with some success, then bear twin heirs who would proceed to make horribly bloody troubles for Turlon after her death, even as the Tralax laughed into their sleeves (frequently beaten, they've become past-masters at putting one over on their would-be conquerors - the crowns they hand out to that sort of person tend to ring hollow), but not before bringing peace to the border for her lifetime. It was a mighty achievement, which to date remains unequalled.

Libra1010
12-26-2014, 09:13 AM
Volkelstein has the benefit of being a place almost no one really wants to try and conquer due to its incredibly high mountains, countless natural ambush points, and the fact it's an open secret the place is demon haunted as well as filled with vampires.

Oh and don't forget the lingering relics left over from the War of Shadow and Flame (think High Fantasy Vs Cosmic Horror … EVERYBODY loses).

How high is Vokelstein? What other lands would call 'Mountain Ranges' they call 'Peaks' and their biggest body of open water is called 'The Low Lake' because it doesn't sit atop one of them (amusingly differences of perspective mean that The Low Lake of Vokelstein actually FALLS into the High Lake of D'Henna which rests high in the foothills of the Fortress Mountain).



Though, given this has been happening for centuries, quite a few don't even see it all that strange anymore.

This doesn't mean they LIKE what happens, just that they've grown hardened to it over the long, long years.



Those few trading ports which do exist in Volkelstein often produce extremely elite but disliked mercenary units with a large numbers of, simultaneously healers and black magicians.

Another idiosyncrasy of Vokelstein; they tend to think 'porter' (as in Sherpa) where others would think of ships when they hear the word 'port' for there are no seriously navigable bodies of water in the Highest Queendom (at least none fit to move bulk freight).

As a note bulk trade tends to rely on interesting systems of pulleys and similar mechanical marvels constructed out of rope-work.



As a result, while they do not produce a great number of mercenaries, they tend to produce ones which become extremely well-respected veterans quickly.

Not least because Vokelstein archers and artillerymen are noted for their skills; for reasons that should be obvious Vokelstein fears few threats more than those that descend from above to deal out Death … and takes advantage of few natural gifts more often than their ability to rain death on enemies from above.



Volkelstein calvary is, notably, extremely good.

Even if it is most frequently mounted on giant, flightless birds (Vokelstein wildlife is WEIRD, as I may have previously noted, due to the isolation imposed by its great height).




The Middle class is called the Czveka or "Tax Men."

Also 'A nice juicy treat' best enjoyed only on special occasions according to the Vampires.



They're as close to a "middle class" as exists in Volkelstein as their wealth goes to building up these trading cities.

With some help from extensive export of grains … and booze … to the lands below (where crops tend to be burned more often than harvested).



Unfortunately, Cameera is a warrior queen even if many of her subordinates have forgotten what it is to fight a foe who can fight back.

As one chronicler put it "She had a taste for blood even in the days before this became literal and not mere poetic metaphor" - to add to the dangers of Queen Carmeera is the fact that she can prove to her satisfaction that she has more right to the Crown of D'Henna than the present incumbents and can present a case of interest even to those who are NOT terrified of puncturing her conviction that she is the purest heiress of the Golden Blood of Old Alacarn yet extant.

She is the greatest fangirl of Elexas A'Tressym, the Vampire Queen of D'Henna, known to History and isn't done modelling herself on that Ancient and Unmourned despot yet.

(Its a long story but some claim that The Prince was himself a captured heir of the Old Empire, others that his wife was an Imperial Princess and some that both stories are true - in any case the Blood Royal of Vokelstein HAS intermarried with Hennas Heirs since before the days of Usura the Usurper, which might arguably make their claims more legitimate than those of The Brazen Blood … in theory).



This means the economy of Volkelstein is surprisingly stable despite itself.

It helps that the Realm is quite agriculturally self-sufficient; its Furrows are more agriculturally fertile than most places outside Tythan or those bits of Turlon that aren't currently being burned by D'Henna or falling victim to the sporadic outbursts of "Agriculture is EVIL" that afflicts members of the Tralax who have listened to the Obsidian Circle once too often.



Much like the Hobbits, they assume their lords won't do anything to them if they don't invoke it so long as they obey everything and treat them somewhat like a natural disaster.

I think you may be confusing Hobbits with Bretonnians … ;)



The resistance level to the vampires is about ten times what it was a century ago and about ten times that what it used to be. It's just taken the vampires this long to notice.

In general - one suspects that individual Vampires have taken notice before now, but generally either failed to care or failed to survive long enough to spread any message of warning.



(The Vampires are also a minority, it should be remembered, making up the majority of the upper nobility while their descendants do the same for the lesser as well as the Tax Collectors)

So noted - it amuses me to imagine that while your average Count in Vokelstein is almost certainly a Vampire the common-or-despot Baron is about as likely to be mostly-Human as they are to be entirely Vampiric.

Libra1010
12-26-2014, 09:14 AM
Thank you very kindly for all your comments and compliments Charles!:)

Libra1010
12-27-2014, 01:30 PM
In those days when wars were waged and all the wonders of that time were worked upon with Sun-bright Bronze, long after the lusty heirs of Lutra Riverborn had sired or become mother to many a generation of his descendants, the heirs of Mamma Henna fell to quarrelling over her inheritance.

A long, interminable and unimaginative quarrel it was, with the seeds of Greatness left to spoil as those that should have planted and tended them instead trampled them under foot as they squabbled and scratched and quibbled for the privilege of knowing their lessers must call them 'Majesty' instead of 'Master' or so that they might ennoble a meagre manor with the title of Kingdom.

Truly Kings were never pettier than those numbered amongst this rabble - yet even in this, the nadir of Monarchy in the Realm of Hennas Heirs, there were Kings mighty and aspiring to greatness, who ruled lesser monarchies as their pettier kinsmen ruled over those not of the Golden Blood. Yet this is not the tale of their Age.

The Stone King had warred against the Lakeling Giants for a long lifetime and led his hard-headed-hard-handed long-winded Hinterlanders in many a Victory; the work of wresting the High Lake from the hardy, long-shanked breed that had made it their own and sought to hold down the Stoneborn as their inferiors for as long as memory could stretch back would not be finished in his generation, but it was The Stone King himself that had weighted the balance of the Long War for the Lake in favour of his people.

For this and for the wisdom of his years they named him King to the people of Mother Earth and Father Stone and Grandfather Sky, gifting to him more than any Hinterlander had dared to dream of hitherto, for he had achieved more than most had dared to dream … yet this is not the tale of HIS Age.

The Sand King had been born the youngest of sons to the mightiest sovereign yet sprung from the line of Hennas Heirs, he had been cast out into the desolation of the West by a Brother as fearful as he was pitiless, yet he had found Strength in those sands rather than Death and seized to himself a Kingdom amidst the Wells and the Wastes.

So strong had this once-hopeless exile grown where no other had flourished that he had become rival to the heir of the very Brother that cast him out so that even in his weakness he need not fear his brothers strength … yet this is not the tale of HIS Age.

The Golden King, the last of these three mighty men and not the least; in him was all the strength that his father lacked and more beside, for though he shared his fathers fears still there was peace between him and his Uncle through his will, through his words - though the Sand King seized the Western Bank from pettier kings and eyed the Eastern with interest he had been brought to understand that there were no enemies for him to find on the other side, only a goodly kinsman who would make a bad enemy …

This was a man who had turned anarchy into good order and subdued an indomitable enemy with words, not swords, whose thoughts began to turn to an Order that might encompass all Hennas Heirs in a Peace that would outlast his lifetime and whose pen worked to make this come to pass … yet this is not the tale HIS Age.

Upon a time these three, the greatest Kings born of the Golden Blood came together to make truce, to take council together and to talk of Turlon. Above all to talk of Turlon, for already that wicked realm was grown to be more than the rumour of Terror and was indeed beginning to be a mighty power in the North, too strong already for the quarrelling Heirs of Henna - yet though these three spoke long into the night and not without wisdom they could not yet put aside their differences and grievances to choose out of their number one of them who would be Great King over Kings for their pride forbade each them to speak for any but themselves.

Thus these proud princes hung all the future of Hennas Heirs by the slenderest of threads, for if their friendship with one another was to frail to master their own pride in service to the best of sense, how could it defy all the Power in the North massed under a single master?

In answer to this question and in defiance of the security with which this council had been conducted stepped a woman, youthful in years and old already in the Wisdom of the Fallen World … and comely besides, with the greatest gift of pleasing by song, by speech and through all the other Arts of Charm known since long before Lutra Riverborn was ever bred.

Yet if she was beautiful to look upon and loved her pleasure, her resolution was stronger still than bronze and her eyes were hard to hold; eyes with the Far-Sight in them that had beheld a Truth of what was yet to come and driven her to deeds that surpassed all others in cunning, in charm and in grace. Such a one was Kelee A'Tressym and this is the Tale of HER Age.

It was soon revealed that each of them had known her, that each of them had Known her intimately and that each of them already loved her a little (despite the Age of the Stone King, the Caution of the Golden King … and the Competition surrounding the Sand King whose harem was said to outnumber his Armed Host in multitude) for they did not strike her dead upon the moment she pierced the thicket of their guardians before even she began to speak.

"I am with child by one of you" she had said, after proving the gift of True Foresight that was in her "the child beneath my heart will be the mightiest monarch in the South and from the line of this child shall be born one who will rule all the Known World, by courage and by cunning and by secret craft - I have Seen it and it shall be SO" if these three kings between them made one Kingdom to stand against Turlon of the North.

Yet though this True Dream set fire to their souls of the Three Kings, the night was gone and dawn long past when she was finished with speaking, when the mighty feat of persuasion she had set herself had been accomplished, when the tale of her deeds was told and her greatest deed was done - each of the Three called up his followers and named the child to be borne to Lady Kelee their own Heir … and the Heir of the other two besides.

The Stone King, who dreamed of a child of his own in defiance of old injuries and the expectations of more than one generation of sibling-bred scions; The Sand King with so many bairns born of his own blood that he might as well decree an unborn heir to revenge himself for the importunate pleas and begging of this myriad; The Golden King, who nursed Dreams of Unity and nourished Nightmares of his Rivals and was now given the way to make Rivals fast friends.

All of them desperate to secure themselves and their kindred and their countrymen against the threats they saw massing to Turlon without being asked to set aside their Pride - for what man could be prouder than he who stood Father to the Mightiest of Monarchs and Forefather to the Master of the World Known?

Some might wonder if the Pact and the Pride of these Three could survive the birth of that infant born to one who worked harder than any to forge the one and soothe the other - yet by the Grace of Fate, The Child born to her handmaiden was all the Mothers and showed no sign of any Father.

They called her name 'Henna' in honour of her foremother and in token of the Golden Blood that had drawn them together with the unwearying aid of their Lady Kelee A'Tressym. That the Lady Kelee's daughter resembled her mother alone spared the newborn Empire of D'Henna a cycle of envy tending towards civil war; The Realm that had been born with her would survive the attentions of their rival to the North for a very, very long time before falling victim to the Vampires that would establish themselves at its heart courtesy of a Princess who was hungry to become much, much more than Monarch of D'Henna alone... but that is the tale of another Time.

Libra1010
12-27-2014, 01:57 PM
Elexas, Princess of Tressym's Line and Queen to D'Henna, was born into the dying days of the Age of Bronze; she was born into a Queenly family that had been Imperial once, but had seen better days pass them by long since, courtesy of the grinding rivalry with Turlon that had spanned the generations and grown ever more bitter since the Undying Emperor had withdrawn into seclusion, leaving the rule of his Realm to Xoan the Wolfs-head, Xoan the Peerless, Xoan the Houseless as Prince Imperial and Regent of Turlon.

The lock-rank legions of Old D'Henna, buttressed by the swift-footed Sandborn and the hard-headed, hard-handed Stoneborn who had wed with and warred down the Giants of the High Lakeland until those timeless rivals were a dying breed, who had then turned to the North and become the cutting edge on the Hennan side of the frontier with Turlon long since - but the Tralax were no lonesome Giants, but Immortals and Warlords of a Mighty Empire themselves.

No Turlon host had yet taken the field in good order to equal D'Henna (storm and slash and slay was more their style), but their swords were as keen as their senses and the depredations of those terrible weapons had cut to pieces entire armies, worse still the magics of Turlon had few peers outwith their borders, even amongst those in whom the Blood of Henna mingled with the line of Lady Kelee - and worst of all the Warlords that wielded spell alongside sword in the service of Turlon were Immortal.

Those that outlived the wars grew stronger and stronger with time, even as the defenders of D'Henna grew ever more frail as they they diminished towards the point of Death; it was an insuperable advantage and The Heirs of Henna had suffered long without finding any way to best it.

Elexas of the Golden Line found a way to MASTER that advantage; long she wandered, long she sought after the secrets that would permit her to fulfil the already-ancient prophecy that a descendant of Kelee A'Tressym would rule The Known World Entire - so shortly after she found those secrets, she stole them and all the power she long had lusted after, found in Shadow and Steel.

To the Homeland she had seen so little of for many, many years she brought stone-grey steel to tip their spears and forge into swords, though the armour of that age on the whole remained beaten out of Bronze for a long while yet - but alongside Steel, she brought the Curse of the Hungry Shadows into her Homeland and set the Mark of the Vampire upon it for a reign that stretched so long many believed it would never end.

Her heirs believed that; so embittered with their mothers immortality did they grow, she felt obliged to slay them and be freed from their tantrums and their treasons thereby - though this contemptible act of blood set the seal on the death of her soul, she had reason to fear treachery above all.

For in the prime of her youth she had planned and plotted herself, consorting with Xavier of Ocherous House who named himself a Prince of Turlon and promised that between them they would overthrow his brother the Regent Xoan, taking to themselves the rule of two mighty realms made one in their persons.

In time all his promises had proved hollow; in time 'Prince' Xavier was revealed to be no more than a pretender seeking to avenge himself upon a brother who had been cast out of their house for his weakness then become exalted by the Ageless Emperor himself to the very highest rank in all the Dominions of Turlon for that very quality of mercy which so disgusted his kin.

In time Queen Elexas had her revenge; she had Prince Xavier, seeking to have by him heirs who would share their fathers longevity and none of his foolishness, failing in this as in all the hopes that had once fuelled their co-operation she tormented him to his death in token of her power.

Prince Xavier had been the runt of all the Tralax, but he had still been Spellborn and his blood was the blood of a mighty House, his own Kinsman was Master in Turlon in the absence of its Mightiest Lord - furthermore his death touched upon the pride of all the Tralax and roused up all the fury that was in them, for they refused to endure the triumph of a mere mortal over one of their own.

The death of Xander roused up Malachite House from its dealings with the Obsidian Order, tore Cerulean House from its revery, claimed Amaranthine and Ferruginous Houses from their endless feuding, demanded Xanthous House forgo its predatory intentions for the North and even persuaded Ocherous House to finally take an interest in the very least of its heirs.

War began; no swift victory followed and both realms suffered. Yet time as ever was on the side of the Immortals in this struggle until Elexas the Queen made herself an Immortal of a different kind, yet one equally without kindness or Humanity.

For the Tralax, honour was satisfied and the word of Prince Xoan (who had taken little interest as D'Henna bled towards death, content that the Tralax tormented the natives of a Young Kingdom and not their own Dominions) was Law. A kind of Peace was proclaimed and at last Elexas, Queen of D'Henna and Queen in All Darkness set herself to rebuild a battered realm in her own image.

It was a bloody business and Alacarn, Heir of Bretai was born into the midst of it.


Alacarn A'Bretai was born into the Hinterland, the Eldest of all the Realms reigned over by Hennas Heirs; in her youth the Age of Steel came to its first flowering and the last of the Lakelings, The Giants against whom her people had warred and amongst whom the Stoneborn had wedded for almost as long, passed out of the present and into history.

It is said that she met her truest love, the lady Kaleena in the course of one of their last raids; though Alacarn was as hard-headed as she was heavy-handed, born with stone in her soul and a temper to match that of her steely blade - though the Lady Kaleena was born into a House far above her own in dignity, a House that survived only through their Gift of Foresight, a House that survived because it had learned to smile, to sing and to survive by placating the Hungry Shadows that had eaten up all the rest of Henna's Golden Blood - though she was born to a House less than pleased its most eligible heiress had seen fit to pledge her hand to a Lady whose line had last distinguished itself when it produced the Stone King who had been one of the Three wedded to the Lady Kelee.

A man who had been no more than an Uncle to Bretai the Bold herself; this made Alacarn herself of the Golden Blood more in theory than in practice and the House of Lady Kaleena therefore objected to the match she had chosen - they needed all their heirs to forge the Alliances that would keep the Vampires at bay. But the Lady Alacarn and the Lady Kaleena loved one another as few have ever loved; they made their match and kept to it all the days of their life together - days which would not always be lived in obscurity, for the reign of Elexas the Queen drew on towards its end.

She ruled the peoples of her Realms as a canny farmer rules his herds; she bred them one with another, she saw to it they multiplied accordingly, she lived well upon their substance and sometimes she saw fit to thin out their numbers - if they prospered, then it was a strange kind of prosperity that cost many their lives and far too many their souls.

Yet in the prosperity of her bloodless, bloody-handed kindred lay the seeds of their Doom; many hated them, they began to grow too powerful and the ambitions of their queen did not go unnoticed by the watchful eyes of the Unwearying Tralax, not least Xoan Imperial Prince and Regent - who saw in those Vampires the potential for a rivalry that might destroy D'Henna and Turlon both, as well as the enemy whose prosecution might allow him to live at peace with his kin.

His sire had led all the forces of Turlon in War and proclaimed himself Emperor in consequence; it was as much this threat to his own power and the peace of his realm that had persuaded Prince Xoan to make a truce with the Hennan Queen - now he would make a War that would save the peace in his Realm and wreck the dreams that had driven Elexas A'Tressym so far into Darkness that she could scarcely remember the Light.

At the end of it, The Tarnished Blood of Elexas A'Tressym and all her spawn, all the heirs of her newborn line of descendants were extinguished and burned up in a Holocaust that claimed them down to the smallest child.

Having stood apart Lady Alacarn, who had risen very high in the esteem of the Stoneborn (for her ambition was as great as her valour and almost the equal of those subtle wisdoms of Lady Kaleena), reaped the profits of that hatred she had borne toward the Vampires - who had won little love in the Hinterland, that hardscrabble land of swashbuckling border-fighters too important to stamp out and too independent to endure.

On the first day of the New Year Xoan of No House, Imperial Prince as Regent to the Immortal Emperor and as Kin of that Waning Pretender to Imperial Dignities besides, perched at the very apex of his power and prestige, became Queenmaker to D'Henna when he placed Alacarn A'Bretai on the Throne of Lutra and set the Crown of Queen Henna on her head.

It was a deed he would shortly be given cause to regret.

Libra1010
12-27-2014, 01:59 PM
In the lifetime of Alacarn there were no Pirate Isles on the Eastern Seaboard of our mighty continent, but there were a terrifying number of Isles infested with the bastard, fantastically interbred and occasionally just plain inbred progeny of old Grey Zull - including half-breeds in their prime kept from being acknowledged as full blown dragons only by the hauteur of Talthar and Turroc, not to mention their interest in remaining Dragon-Queen and -King in the East unchallenged by a horde of budding competition that seemed to mock their own childlessness with their enormous numbers.

Not least because they had enough trouble sharing the East between the two of them without having to split it with the bastard heirs of Old Zull Scab-Scale to boot. Some few of these, most often the runts of these numerous litters, were ever seeking to escape the pressures of many peers by taking flight to find refuge on the mainland and of these a few had formed bonds with Houseless Kindreds of Humans who did their best to survive without the Civilisations of the Day.

Wild beasts and desperate men - they would prove a most dangerous combination.


In Turlon the Eternal Emperor rested from his colossal labours … or perhaps he simply waited upon events he had long foreseen. In any case the Great Houses of that Realm vary between Rule and Misrule of their subject dominions, caught up in their own causes and their quarrels, but Government in the Realm is given to Xoan of No House - he who renounced and was renounced by his Kin, who was held to be nothing more than a runt yet rose up to become surpassingly mighty, then the chosen Regent of the Emperor, then grew to be a name of terror for that which he brought to The Tralax.

Efficiency, to add to their cruelty.

He hated his kin, he governed them ably and he overshadowed them, from which achievements much else came to pass. In the meantime he ruled well and as result the Tralax managed their dominions with somewhat greater care than is presently the case, from which grew the power in the Realm and the sufferings of its rivals.


Foremost amongst their rivals were the subjects of that Queendom in the South, D'Henna the Dauntless, a Realm that had once been an Empire but which had dwindled in prestige even as it increased in power; yet the highborn in that land remained confident that the prophecy of Henna would yet come to pass and be made truth, that the day would dawn when one of Henna's Heirs rose up to take the rule of the Known World.

Few realised how many sufferings would pave the road to that supremacy and none realised how near in the future lay the dawn of that day.


In the meantime the great rivalry between Hennas Heirs and the Spellborn Turlon lay under the shadows of the Twin Slayers, Talthar and Turroc, one as blue as the high sky and the other dark as the depths of an azure sea (no difference between them was ever detected, even though poets have to keep things clear for the listener), but both united in hunger for glory and for each other - as well as their desire to place Free D'Henna and Turlon under their talons if they could - not to mention divided by their anger and their greed.

These two mighty dragons kept their roost at the very peak of the Fortress Mountain that would one day be Vokelstein, save when they flew out to extort their golden tribute from realms too strong to tyrannise yet not so stable that they did not fear the consequences of Dragon-Fire and Ruin … or when one sought to find a small measure of peace to quench the heat of their fury after another of their perennial disagreements - usually in the sandy lands West of D'Henna, which would be held up as a wasteland until an Army passed that way and realised that the great mountains that lay beyond them were merely the midpoint, rather than the very limit of the World.


In truth one there was who had long been aware of this salient fact; Dranax, the greatest wyrm of his Age and therefore High King to the Dragons that remained in this world. From his lofty perch at the very peaks of the Highest Mountains he bestrode Ezul like a colossus - wheresoever he winged his way he either conquered or laid to waste or subdued by the terror of his mere presence and the long record that told the ruin of his foes.

Yet he also ruled cunningly and well, for he had grown weary with laying waste and now sought to build; from out of all his various tributaries he had assembled chattel and goods and a population fit to build up a mighty realm. These he carried to the Land where Earth meets Sky, in those places where the mountain peaks gave way to mountain passes, and there made a Kingdom as well as a mighty profit - for all the goods that would pass into the markets by the shortest route, East to West or West to East, must pay a toll to him.

This was the Skyland, here he was unchallenged King assembling a mighty power - and dominating the two halves of the Continent by denying them easy access to each other.

The only alternative was a round trip journey that would see a young man grown old and grey by the time he made a profit that surpassed all his expenses; Sephia, the Second City to be built in all the Known World, was already seeking after a profit as greedily as any Dragon and as honestly as any sensible merchant, but this they sought to do by SHIPS and ships burn … the age of their glory had therefore yet to come, but they were already rich and would grow more wealthy even while the Dragon-King took his tolls … but slowly.


Farther North, others paid tribute to Dranax with resentment less burning but an eye to their advantage; The Batha of Belkor had burrowed so deep into the Earth that they feared no flame, but familiar with Dragons as they were - Wemax the White Death had been their good neighbour and protector, even as she harrowed the North with endless questing after … who knows what, but Wemax was dead not long since and the greatest dragons that yet remained sought to make them their own dependants or sought to place their proxy in power over them.

The Batha schemed, the Batha sought advantage in this situation and in the meantime their slaves suffered much hard use. This was the way of Belkor, in those distant days and in this present time.


To the West of Belkor lay other lands and others that had, of old, been servants to the Dragons but were now something different - in the West and the North was Amania of the Muddy Deluges, Amania where Galax the Glutton had once ruled and perished through the cunning of his manling servants The Aman Twins, who had taken up his crown then bequeathed their title to the Twin Houses bred by their descendants.

Yet if the heirs of Aman reigned over High Amania then the land was ruled by an uneasy co-operation between Dragon and Human - the seed of Galax had not perished with him and though many who had once served the Green Gullet chose to pledge themselves to his Human heirs, courteously threatening the Blood-Heirs of Galax with the very weapons he had once taught them to wield so that his kindred might be spared the peril of making War upon the Black Dread yet others held loyal to the Trueborn Get whom he had spawned upon a multitude of concubines almost his equal.

It was not a relationship that would prove workable for very much longer.


South of Amania, in the South of the West, lay the Grassland where many and more tribes roamed yet the followers of two trouble-making twins Tythan and Thur predominated - Thur who would be content to follow herds and tame Horses forevermore even in the harsh, dry pastures that lay perilously close to the Red Dragon Mountains that those in the West called The Skyland, Tythan who spoke with the Sephian Traders who sought their profits and dreamed of breeding cities as a consequence.

Who knew what might follow from THAT … a Crown, perhaps, but not without a War as the price to be paid for it not amongst the proud descendants of the Dragon-Slayer who recalled all too well that Black Abryss had named himself 'King' and proven to be a fierce master, beyond all restraint.

If they feared anything then they feared to witness one of their own grow fangs and talons under a crown, then rape the Grasslands for their profit and put to death old-accustomed freedoms in consequence.


So much then for the South - Of the North in this time little enough is known but of this we can be certain; the Jotun, the Beast-Breed, the Houseless of Humanity that wandered there were a hardy breed and the power in their anger was terrible - Wemax the White Death, most mysterious of all the Dragon-Kings and not the least terrible died under the hands of one who was bred in these lands after a long, long war upon her waged without mercy and concluded in a most bloody battle.

With her died the myths that the death of Dragons was beyond the power of The Mortal Kindreds to execute - in the long years since Black Abryss fell to the lance that carried his doom on its point, even since the pride and gluttony and humour of Galax Greenback led him to hazard uncertain death drunk from the cup carried by those Twins born to Aman (his court jester and sometime chamberlain), then saw the certainties of his rule collapse into his death-throes not a few had sought to diminish these defeats on behalf of their Draconic Overlords and in service to their pride.

"Treason!" they cried - "Accident" or so they hinted - "Old Age and Infirmity" they whispered for nothing else could explain the Death of a Dragon.

These arguments perished with Wemax - handed the right weapons and buttressed with high courage, not to mention enlivened with True Intelligence Mortals might slay the Dragons … if they dared make the attempt and risk the terrible consequences of failure.

With the death of Wemax, all the Known World found their dreams more consumed with fears of what might happen were they never to throw off the burden of Dragons that still sat upon their necks, however precariously; Fire and Blood, forever and ever.

But not, as it would turn out, without End.

Voltron64
12-27-2014, 03:01 PM
Think it might be a good idea to archive all those entries, Libra? ;)

Charles Phipps
12-28-2014, 02:56 AM
I have done my best to keep this in mind when working out my mental image of the Proudest Kingdom (and its eponyms); I admit that my mental image of D'Henna is extremely Howardian - every sort of entertaining decadence laid on over the bones of past glories, a population that tends to be slaves, indolently aristocratic, down-at-heel aristocrats or hard ******** whom it is truly unwise to underestimate (sometimes combining these disparate attributes in a single person).

Honestly, I tend to see it as a kind of weird twisted mirror universe Gondor in the fact that it's the "rightful descendant" of a much grander civilization which has much of the original's architecture and beauty but has squandered a lot of it away.

You're right about the decadence and sense of entitlement, though. The people of D'Henna talk about their ancient lineages, heroes, and so on in causal conversation despite none of this mattering at all to anyone outside of their territories.


I also like the mental image that while the Hennans habitually over-indulge, they don't often go to seed physically by virtue of their mighty tradition of Games - in the Olympic, rather than the Gladiatorial fashion which has rather lost its popularity owing to the recent Uprising of the Unchained Gangs (a rather nasty slave rebellion which has at least startled most aristocrats out of Apathy … for now) and the traditional association with Turlon of the latter (which doesn't stop it from coming into and going out of fashion whenever Hennans feel the impulse).

D'Henna's Roman influence is hard to ignore and the thing to remember about them was the aristocracy managed to maintain a pretty big slave population, a pretty huge reputation for indulgence (they invented the vomintorium for instance), and yet still had a terrifying martial tradition.


By the sound of things it must still be extremely difficult to keep track of just who married whom and which of them interbred in any case!
I imagine that Polygamy is the domain of the very, very rich (aka The Throneborn), the very rich and the merely rich (The Bronzeborn and their peers), with those of more modest means preferring to pick a good investment and stick with her or him … the poor, as you may guess take whomsoever they can get or whomsoever takes their fancy.

It's more precisely the indulgence of the very rich and the very poor. The very rich are capable of supporting multiple spouses and making alliances between themselves but also maintain stable harems of beautiful impoverished spouses to spread their numbers. Bed-slaves tend to be altered as to not be able to have children.

It's a pretty demented society.


Put another way they call the border between D'Henna and Turlon 'Feedcrow Kingdom' for a reason … as a note I had not realised that the Front Line of the Eternal War was so extensively fortified; I shall have to keep that in mind when working out the details of geography in that part of this world (although I believe that the Sally Ports, the Skyland and the Lonely Lake all hint at fortification In Depth).

It's not quite that bad in places, though a war which is only fought in three-months gives lots of time between to work on building. There's countless castles present along the border, fortified roads, patrol, and smaller forts erected to claim ground. The wooden fortresses are destined to be burned to the ground but the castles are more likely to be taken.

The problem is managing to not damage them enough that they're not immediately taken back.

The D'Hennans who fight in the war tend to have an enthusiastic "honor, glory, and death" view. The D'Hennans on the border, far from being disillusioned with the war, think very ill of their decadent relatives and think of the war as a chance to reclaim the heritage of Alacarn as well as show their contempt for the D'Hennan's decay. Quite a few have considered it would be "solved" by taking their armies up North and dealing with their associates to put things right.

No one thinks of peace with Turlon except those ignorant of who they are, though.

Charles Phipps
12-28-2014, 03:26 AM
This doesn't mean they LIKE what happens, just that they've grown hardened to it over the long, long years.

A few Volkelstein have a romanticized view of the Nobility (spoken with an audible capitalized "N"). They dream of being taken away to become the lover of one. This is viewed as a form of mental illness by the population despite their resignation. Because, no matter how used to it they've become, no one has forgotten they're MONSTERS.


In general - one suspects that individual Vampires have taken notice before now, but generally either failed to care or failed to survive long enough to spread any message of warning.

The nature of vampirism is to be an eternal drug-addict who gets his high every night. Blood has that sort of high and immortality isn't quite natural to the way the human brain is meant to function with parts getting overriden the longer you live. As such, really, it's amazing they've noticed ANYTHING.


So noted - it amuses me to imagine that while your average Count in Vokelstein is almost certainly a Vampire the common-or-despot Baron is about as likely to be mostly-Human as they are to be entirely Vampiric.

The lesser nobility are a collection of unpleasant individuals who are as forced to serve the whims of the upper nobility. The dhampyrs, elevated commoners, werewolves, and necromancers are kept around mostly so the Counts and Princes have someone to go to their parties and make arrangements for said parties.

The majority of vampire murders are actually done by them in order to create spots for them to ascend and it's a "test' for their kind to do so in such a way that the Lord considers it impressive initiative versus treason.

Charles Phipps
12-28-2014, 06:45 AM
Extraordinary history, Libra!

I am in awe. You should make a novel about Winterweir and you can have the rights completely to the setting due to how much you've made the setting "yours." In fact, I give them to you and dub thee the Alan Moore to its Swamp Thing.

Albeit, with far less bat**** crazy.

:-)

The history reminds me strongly of "A World of Ice and Fire" with all of the staggeringly important and wonderful figures within.

Voltron64
12-28-2014, 07:52 AM
Extraordinary history, Libra!

I am in awe. You should make a novel about Winterweir and you can have the rights completely to the setting due to how much you've made the setting "yours." In fact, I give them to you and dub thee the Alan Moore to its Swamp Thing.

Albeit, with far less bat**** crazy.

:-)

You say that like it's a bad thing.

Libra1010
12-28-2014, 09:07 AM
Actually I think he's implying that this is a pretty GOOD thing to be! (at least I hope he is …).:cool:

Charles, thank you very kindly for your compliments (although be careful what you offer me - offer me WINTERWEIR and I might turn to BLACK HOLE for my next trick and possibly HAS TO BE DONE for afters, I do have this lingering concept for an SCI-FI a la Astro City and Astro City … for FANTASY! that I keep trying to work out).;)

I had intended to post more, much more of an answer than this but I fear the Internet swallowed a fine post whole before it arrived on this forum.:mad:

In brief, I shall say that THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE was almost as much of an inspiration as you were Charles and that I'll do my best to keep things coming along from time-to-time! (although I would be very glad to see any posts you may produce or hear any ideas you have in mind when Winterweir is on your mind, for I'm not so arrogant as to think only I have Good Ideas for a setting … that goes for the rest of you readers with interesting ideas too).;)

Libra1010
12-28-2014, 09:35 AM
Welcome to a Savage World - now pick out which of three will be your first kill.

There they are, in front of you, blade and spell and hammer busy at work keeping them not that much farther away from Death - stay still and they'll roll over you, ruining your day. Move without thinking and they'll just kill you to avoid unnecessary complications in the middle of their death-duel.

So pick your dead 'un walking; Just remember to watch out for their friends once the killings done.

Mabye Sir Edna of the Heavy Hand goes first? Flame-hair, Fanatic, Prig of the Nobility, loves her fellow women almost as much as she loves that hammer, personality can be as ugly as her face is pretty - she's come all this way under orders to kill an Evildoer and she can't quite pick between two such transparently horrible individuals (not least because she wants to be a Saint more than she wants to be a Slayer); Kill her and keep clear of any pretension to civilisation, because this one is a Champion of the Highest Order, so her fellow nobs will seek to avenge her … and them whom she's saved won't like you much either, because this one hunts monsters like they were mere wolves.

Then why not shank Shrike Blackstaff, that bald spell-slinger over there, out of Turlon and not quite out of his mind; grave-robber, thief-taker, corpse-botherer he's busy chasing the secrets of Creation but he's happy … well a bit less miserable … to take time out from what troubles him to fight for his life. What troubles such a spell-slayer? He's been a slave himself and won't be one again, he won't let that sort of thing go on in his vicinity even though no-one else minds it much (hence yon hammer-in-hand and the backstabber - money talks and even those who won't hear it will listen to them it makes respectable); Kill him and you can kiss your chances of making nice with the local peasantry goodbye because they prefer him to the last lot that held the ruin they call 'Home' on yonder hilltop.

Ah, here's number three slinking past, looking for an angle now and looking out for number one always; Gale Gallowsbait was born in a hovel you wouldn't inflict on a well-bred flea and lived there until he fought his way out. He isn't going back and he isn't leaving his kin there neither - so it's money easy and often for old Gale, so here he is to make a killing and doing his best to avoid the wrong one. Kill him and the order HE serves will avenge his reeking hide, for he has a shrewd eye and a knack for avoiding murder … which makes him very useful for those that would have Death whispered of rather than screamed to the Skies and see those that treat the Law as their own pet hound running scared.

Kill one of them then, break this dead-lock and maybe we can work out some way to get home before we all freeze - it's COLD, isn't it? No central heating but find a roof and a fire, you'll find warmth just enough to live out the day - kill two of them and the last one standing will probably offer you a job on principle -but it'll be bloody-work and no mistake, though it'll keep you warm if the thought of it doesn't chill you more - Kill all three?!? - My you're as ambitious as you are frostbitten - Kill all three and assuming they don't kill you into the bargain the locals will call you 'Hero' to your face and 'Monster' at a safe distance. Welcome to Winterweir...

Talk them all out of killing one another and into following you?

You'll be a Legend yet and we can use many more like you. WELCOME TO WINTERWEIR!

Libra1010
12-28-2014, 11:05 AM
The Mirror of Heton, The Kingdom of the Wise, The Unconquered Realm, The Hungry Sands, The Domain of Deliverance, Realm of Solemnity, The Gift of the Wells, Crossroads of the Great Sand Sea, The Jewel in the Sands Land of Dunes and the Divine.

NOTE: In Calipan what might be known in other lands as a 'Trail' or a 'Road' is usually called a 'March' and civilisation in the Hungry Sands must rest upon these collections of wells, springs, seeps and the caravan trade that follows them to Pharas City, that sits at their very heart and turns a tidy profit from those making half a journey from North, East, West and even occasionally from the South rather than risk a longer, impossibly-unpleasant journey.

However it must be noted that while the Wells of Calipan may be trusted, there's a reason the West of D'Henna is thinly-settled and frighteningly-deserted on the whole the further one goes from Hennas Dynasty or the Midland Mountains, those Watchtowers of the Known World; outside Calipan the waterholes are not to be relied upon and inside Calipan only the Wells can be relied upon … and no army can live on the water in those wells alone, not in an everyday year, even caravans can shrivel up and die when the waters of Calipan away from the Wells VANISH in a bad year.

Even worse, in a good year an army CAN march into Calipan with some hopes of marching out again victorious.

Thankfully Good Years are rare, Bad Years are uncommon and the common sort of year leaves you just about enough water to survive travelling… assuming you're not doing anything TOO hopelessly stupid in the course of your journey.


OLDROBBER MARCH:- Stretching south from Pharas to the sea, this is the rockiest part of the Calipani landscape and very distant from the Capital, which coupled with the ease of access for cunning sorts looking to pop up from the sea to make trouble for the local authorities makes it easy for a gang or a criminal tribe to make a living over the course of reasonably-long life without worrying too much about anyone else but an unusually lucky guard-merchant … or a rival robber.

Saltsea
Livingwell
Stonefield
Oldrobber
Smileskull Peak
Scorchstone
Indomitible
Dry Gullet
Ambush Pass
Screamstone Canyon
Oldshrine
Sandhaven




DIGWATER MARCH:- It stretches out from Pharas in the West almost to the Western Bank of Nana Henna, which makes the Calipani grateful that even in a good year this march cannot support much more than raiding parties … unless one knows where to find the well-hidden waters of this March and even then in the time it takes you to find enough for an Army the opposition will have mustered in numbers and quite possibly have finished building a field castle by the time one finds enough water to support a LARGE Army which makes defeat likely (Except, perhaps, if you have friends waiting for you on the other side).

Sole Tree (An ancient and rather wind-beaten growth, but held to be the very limit of Hennan Territory and suspect of Holiness by reason of its endurance where no Tree should be able to eke out an existence).
Drinkwell (because you'll have to work hard to find water from here on out).
Dunebloom
Melt steel
Sandshrine
Sandstream Canyon
Hidewater
Drywater
Blackwell Springs (producing not water, but a substance flammable as it is undrinkable - much to the delight of bandits).
Restwell (Not the first water to be found since Drinkwell, but certainly the easiest to find).



BARE BONES MARCH:- Neither the best nor the worst of the Calipani Marches by reputation and prized by the priesthood as a pilgrim trail for the very simplicity of lifestyle imposed on travellers by the modest waters and thoughtful pace required in this March. Stretching East to the outer gates of Dornya, this part of the realm MIGHT support the passage of a decent army in a good year, but will probably kill it before it gets anywhere interesting. Still, there's enough water to support a whole relay of messengers, which keeps relations between The Keeper of the Faith and the Sovereign of the Proudest Kingdom familiar … if not always congenial.

Chillwell
Sweetwater Springs
Flowerspring
Devotion
Sandflower
Prayerstone Keep
The Burning Plain
Brightstone


TEMPTATION MARCH:- The most well-watered of all the Marches in Calipan, that string of wells which stretches between Pharas and the Lonely Lake has long been the most plausible invasion route towards the Jewel in the Sands (a fact which occasionally makes Calipani glad they were unable to bite off the Lonely Lake as a part of their Realm; holding it means they have to face Turlon EVERY DAY, a prospect which only the true-blue Holy Fools relish the idea of). It is still a part of the Great Kingdom of Calipan, however, and its apparent abundance of water is deceiving - it will support trading caravans in good style, it will support any number of raiding parties in style … but such small armies will be defeated and large armies drink too deeply to be supported … except in a Year of Grace (a 'Good' Year for the Waters, potentially a very bad year for the Peace of Calipan).

Holywell
Sweetwell
Queensblessing
Sandstone Keep
Prayerhold
Oldguard
Sweetwell
Temptation (The Temptation being to assume you can make it this far with an entire Army in tow).


IN THE VICINITY OF PHARAS:- The City of Pharas is set down amidst an area more stone than sand and therefore better able to retain water. It is also at the heart of the local gem-mining districts and this is far from a coincidence, although ease of access to springs in the mountains that keep the invaluable aqueducts flowing and the citizens drinking as deeply as may be desired … so long as nobody blocks them. It is also the very heart of the ranching country in this part of the world, with reliable grazing so far as the eye can see and all of it claimed by (amongst others) The House of the Archduke and the Great Temple (who only gift that sort of thing to those who do them BIG favours).

Gemdelving
Glitterstone
Feedcattle
Horngrass
Coronet Aquaduct
Godwater Aquaduct
Goldwater Aquaduct
Sellcattle
Killwell - If you want to get a large army as far as Pharas you'll have to seize this place, because otherwise you have to seize Pharas in a HURRY. Given this, there's been more bloodshed in this place than in the rest of the Kingdom puts together … even including Oldrobber.

Charles Phipps
12-28-2014, 04:14 PM
Once more, I am heartily eager to read your works!

Phrozen
12-28-2014, 04:25 PM
I imagine that Calipan doesn't have an army like the other kingdoms would think of one. It is mostly semi-tribal militia from the great merchant clans that band together in times of war. The bulk of the armed forces is cavalry on small but very hardy horses. The are great at harassment and raiding but not at fighting pitched battles. They really don't need to kill the enemy, the desert will do that for them. Just make sure that the enemy is busy chasing them rather than marching towards the next well.

Libra1010
12-30-2014, 04:14 AM
You are quite right Phrozen, this is indeed the most common military experience of combat in Calipan - not least because Caravan Guards, Cattle Barons and Robber Barons can all be relied upon to produce swarms of these ankle biters when they're needed and even MORE when you'd really rather do without them.

However while this is a completely accurate picture of warfare in Calipan it is not a COMPLETE picture; to cap the image of horsemen harassing enemies into committing serious errors (like trying to swat them or desiccating your own light horse as they try to keep up or doing your best to ignore them "because they're only fleabites on a juggernaut") one has to add in a description of what happens when this harassment only partially succeeds and the Enemy Army reaches some part of the Kingdom the Calipani would really HATE to live without.

In a line: ARROWS, lots and lots of Arrows. Archery is the national sport and the pride of Calipani - the Realm won its freedom in the War of Ten Thousand Arrows and they have never forgotten the achievement or the tool with which it was achieved; the Calipani Warbow, built out of native horn and and trade timber (trees in Calipan are either unheard-of or stunted or being tended as the pride and joy of someones garden), capable of punching an arrow into almost anything given the right archer and proper aim.

It can be beaten with heavy armour, as can any weapon, but as one might imagine 'Heavy Armour' + 'High Temperatures' = 'Heat Stroke' which means that if you bear ill-will towards Calipan the odds are in favour of your dying a pot-roast or a pincushion or quite possibly from sheer frustration. If it's any consolation those who CAN close the gap are likely to steamroller those archers, because they'll probably try to make a fight of it and lose given that armour is neglected in favour of arrows (both are expensive, at least in bulk) as well as the general enthusiasm with which The Faith fires its fighters (helpful … unless you've already lost).

On a related note Calipani tend to ride to war, but fight afoot (horse-archers are uncommon because while horses are maintained in some numbers, The Land of Dunes and the Divine cannot replace losses in great numbers for obvious reasons - also archers tend to be drawn from the more settled populations who don't exactly get a lot of training in the saddle); a Calipani battle-line is usually composed of archers all along it, with shield-bearers (usually armed with a shield, a bow and whatever hand weapon they own) to stiffen their centre on the understanding that the enemy is going to be driven in from the flanks by the sheer weight of fire.

Battles have been won or lost when the centre holds or falters respectively, so unsurprisingly The Faith has taken an interest in creating a 'Sacred Band' of full-time hard-cases retained on the understanding that they will make CERTAIN that centre holds (also that the support of the Nobles - who remain the closest thing to a hold-out of Hennan values in the Solemn Realm - remains useful, but not essential).

Finally it should be noted that archers tend to be drawn from the more prosperous freeborn (some of whom make a living as professionals); while the Nobility is just as enthusiastic about archery as the rest of the population these days, in the Old Time it was the very fact that The Faith armed its humblest devotees against the proud Nobles that won for it the supremacy it now enjoys in the Kingdom of the Wise.

Also that the poorest Calipani tend to make do with slings, rather than bows, since arrows are fairly expensive but stones are literally dirt-cheap.



As a note all this applies only to the Humans of Calipan; Local Beast-Breed aka 'Valken' tend to regard horses as more useful on the dinner table than in the desert, not to mention hold that donkeys or mules are for merchants; their method of warfare tends to revolve around ambush and quite simply running the hooves off their enemy.

Not to mention quite a lot of sharp and pointy weaponry … also rocks.

Libra1010
12-30-2014, 04:38 AM
Now Alacarn A'Bretai was a Queen in D'Henna but in truth a mere Vassal to Turlons Prince; she was to be the loyal vassal who held true to her bargain, she was to be the loyal vassal who would strike from the South when the disloyal Houses in his domains moved once more from resentment to rebellion, the loyal vassal who would serve with gratitude for the Gift of Queenship she had been given.

Alacarn was many things in life, but she was servant to no man.

Nor was she likely to forget or ever forgive the shaming of her nation, a resentment that found many echoes across what once had been the Northern Marches of her new Queendom and not a few even in the thoughts of those so recently their nemeses, as the greatness of Xoan the Houseless grated upon those who sought to prove themselves his peers and not his subjects though they be his inferiors in Truth and by Law.

For a year Alacarn sought to shape aristocrats where she found worth, so that the Golden Blood might course freely throughout the Nobility of her Realm once more - and looked to find worth far abroad, for having risen thus far she turned her gaze to look upon further heights, and shrewdly sought for those that might help her to achieve them.

From all across Ezul, Our Continent of Old, they were assembled through the Promises of Lady Kaleena, that crafty consort and by the Power of Alacarn they were mastered before ever she bestowed her trust or their promised holdings upon them - within the first year of Alacarns Queenship they would be given their chance to prove themselves worthy of both.

In the Winter of that year he who denied himself to be Father of Xoan of No House, he who had ever been the keenest rival to Xoan, Prince Imperial and Regent, he who had called himself Emperor of Turlon as Lieutenant to the Eternal Emperor and the Greatest Warlord in that Realm died of a winter chill in an extremity of Old Age.

Few mourned, but many manoeuvred now unchecked in his absence, each seeking after their own advantage - and all these sought vengeance when their opportunities to raise themselves up upon the ruin of their rivals denied once more by Prince Xoan, though the Realm be laid to ruin itself in consequence.

Into the very heart of this Rebellion came Queen Alacarn, though the Conquest of Turlon be her hearts true ambition - to avenge the humiliation of her countries ravishment and remove at long last the Threat that had ever howled down upon her homeland from the North - and for the time she held her Peace while Malachite and Amaranthine, Ferruginous and Xanthous, Cerulean and Ocherous all fought to tear down him who had lorded over them or fought to make him their humble dependent and tore themselves to pieces in Consequence.

But not before The Prince Imperial and Regent was himself torn down; for a year he fought and for a year he held out against the inevitable, cutting down his adversaries in battle and tearing apart their alliances with matchless skill in parley before Inexorable Alacarn bought him to bay and the power of Lady Kaleena transfixed him, holding that prideful Prince still as a statue to be brought before the assembled Rebellion.

In the power of his Enemies and utterly without their mercy Prince Xoan showed once more his quality; "I am without sword and held by more than chains" he said "Let the one who would rule after me hazard my death."

None of Turlon came forward; too well they knew his potency and too many years had they left in them to live out to squander in the attempt - for never was this Prince more dangerous than in apparent weakness, even absent Ebonheart, his soul-reaping blade of Infernal Temper and Divine Power.

Alacarn came forward and bade Prince Xoan be unchained, his terrible blade brought forth. At their very feet she ordered it cast, her sword she drew "Take back power once more, Lord Prince" "I can and I shall and I thank you for the wager."

The fight fell out thus; With speed Prince Xoan swung his chains, but Alacarn cheated his swing and still stood over Ebonheart. With fury he came out against her, chancing body against blade and turning wounds from death to scratch by his grace. Ebonheart waited still upon its master and Alacarn warded off all chance of reclamation … yet the fight drew out, in tiredness she grew hasty and at last she chased Prince Xoan and her feet passed away from over that terrible blade in the pursuit of her foe.

In an instant the Prince fell against her with cunning war-craft, beating the flash of her sword he was thrust away with all the power in her mighty limbs and flew towards his goal, he rolled to his feet with Ebonheart clutched to his chest and the hilt of that horror-weapon in hand along with Victory long looked-for in his grasp … and the dagger of Alacarn driven into his windpipe until hilts touched throat.

Thus fell Xoan of No House, Prince Imperial and Regent in Turlon to Alacarn A'Bretai, Queen of Hennas Heirs … and with him all the Realm of Turlon into her grasp, The First of All to be Conquered but by no means the Last.

Libra1010
12-30-2014, 06:42 AM
Or "How do we talk the pedigree inbreds out of killing us by making nice?"

Well for a start stop at 'Pedigree' and leave out the accusations that cousin of theirs was more likely a sibling; for one thing Hennans come down very hard on that sort of thing, for another polygamy gives you a much, much larger gene pool to dip your toes in even if you are trying to breed an heir for some astonishingly-prestigious Lineage (at least in D'Henna; in Calipan the Faith just keeps working those sex-education classes and introducing those that ignore them to the discipline of Poverty; in Vokelstein they just fix 'things' to make sure the gene pool doesn't get TOO stagnant).

On a more serious note, if there's one thing that crosses borders in the feuding family of Hennan-Speaking Nations (besides Armies, Accusations and Anathemas) its the Aristocracy; for all the admirable efforts of the Faith in Calipan to set that Sovereign Realm in the power of the middling orders of society rather than the local military aristocracy, The Bronzeborn get EVERYWHERE in their endless quest after Adventure, Reputation or Sufficiently-lucrative Nuptial Contract.

More to the point Calipan, D'Henna and Vokelstein were all one United realm once (or even as many times as TWICE in their shared existence, if one trusts the more optimistic Historians), with all the inevitable inter-breeding that involves and while D'Hennans might be dismissed as rabbiting relics with delusions of lingering glories, while Calipani are often considered priest-ridden cowboys and whatever might be muttered against Vokelstein Aristocracy behind their back is alarmingly likely to be less terrible than the Truth, when the only available grafts available to the Family Tree are more likely to turn it into something alarmingly close to House Habsburg than a healthy growth, The Old Blood are likely to find it in their hearts to reach out to those slightly-less wretched foreigners across the Frontier with matrimony on their mind.

After all, its hard to look down your nose at the local peasantry if you turn out cross-eyed because Mummy and Daddy shared Great-Granny and Great-Granddad, not to mention even harder if you're obliged to mate with the local plebeians ….



That being said - and didn't that 'more serious' turn out to be rather less so than expected? - the Realms of Hennas Heirs do tend to share almost as much culturally as they divide on by nation; a proud sense of caste and peerless devotion past glories (especially those of Ancestors in their direct line), not to mention a mutual fear of Turlon.

Even the Vokelstein Aristocracy go in terror of Turlon, no matter how much they may enjoy the company of those Tralax who've come to treat the place as a Holiday Home, not least because they remember how the LAST Vampire Queen wound up meeting her final end.


Getting down to the basics, House Names are known in Calipan, D'Henna and Vokelstein but they tend to be employed surprisingly seldom in official documents or even in speech - quite frankly ones most famous Ancestor seems to matter more than the precise Family one belongs to (although Hennan aristocrats can be very, very, can we get to the point NOW please?, very precise about descent), possibly a product of the traditional Hennan fondness for multiple marriage - as with any nation on Alacarn descent is reckoned through the maternal line to keep things simple (formally speaking a father has to effectively ADOPT his heirs to gain any rights over them under Law, even if they're blatantly his own flesh and blood) so most of the Aristocracy entitle themselves "A' or D'Most Famous Ancestor I can think of' out of <Mothers Name>" to which they might append "by <Fathers name>" if greater precision is required.


There are however, as ever, complications. In short, since most Hennan Nobility technically belong to the same extended family and share many of the same ancestors sooner or later (not to mention deal with mere common folk or … foreigners sooner or later), even the most inexhaustibly-enthusiastic pedigree-fancier will have to employ a shorthand sooner or later and a House Name makes a very reasonable one.

Even if they ARE the mark of a parvenu whose Ancestors weren't important enough for anyone to bother marrying or remembering in any detail.



For the sake of being THOROUGH if repetitive, in the East of Alacarn a noble family is entitled thus; "Mahesha of Brazen House" as opposed to "Brand of House Turnbull" the form more common in the West (or for that matter in Westeros).

This is a trifling detail of address and therefore EXACTLY the sort of thing pedantic snobs will snigger behind your back at - don't give them the satisfaction and PLEASE try not to contribute to the ongoing difficulties caused by duels to the death and other knife-crimes.


CATTLE BARONS OF CALIPAN

Calipan is a Theocracy proud of having implemented Good Government after making the monarchy its Guard Dog, as opposed to its sporadically-benevolent overlord; While a significant number of otherwise-superfluous scions have made a distinguished career for themselves with The Faith their less literate relations and actual heirs to Noble Titles are less impressed with all these meddlesome clerics, to the point of sometimes remembering the days of D'Hennan overlords with something almost like fondness (whatever else D'Henna may be it is indisputably Aristocratic).

Which happens to be a major part of the reason those Clerics mislike aristocrats and neuter them at every possible opportunity. Still, the Cattle-barons aren't going anywhere not least because they're still the ones most reliably trained in the military arts (Tradition IS Tradition, after all) and also because not a few Aristocrats are as pious as any Citizen and will speak out or fight in defence of The Faith.

As might be expected this split in local attitudes can lead to Trouble.


Noble Houses in Calipan are by no means limited to:-

Archer House (Notorious for needling, Famous for their shooting).

Buller House (Headstrong, but not impulsive and prone to strategy if not tactics).

Fargo House (Noted as much for their protection of travellers as for their own famous piligrimages).

Fletcher House (Prone to flights of fancy, but seldom known to leave the Battlefield first or at all barring victory).

Garner House (Habitually generous, habitually broke, habitually good-humoured, habitually hungry for the next take).

Holder House (Notoriously-stubborn but very civilised; what's yours is yours, but try taking that which is theirs and be prepared to lose it all anyway).

Lapis House (Frequently blue-devilled, but also prone to shine in the midst of battle).

Urban House (Notably pious and one of the younger Houses, but under severe supervision from The Faith).

Wells House (Very nearly control one of the Marches of Calipan by dint of some very clever marriages and the fact that no-one else wants to risk bossing Oldrobber).


THE FAMOUS FAMILIES OF D'HENNA

As a note the rule of thumb that the only sort of aristocrat who swaggers his House Name rather than his Ancestry in everyday speech is probably not just an arriviste but one who hasn't even had the time to beat away the horde of Bronzeborn looking for the latest wealthy and/or heroic potential meal-ticket who just turned eligible (so that the might pick out their preferred ticket to marginal legitimacy for their heirs) holds good in D'Henna except when it comes to the Famous Families - that is to say those Houses pre-dating Usura the Usurper who have better things to do with their heirs than waste them on Bronzeborn, for example wed them to Throneborn who may very well be picked out as the next King or Queen.

Quite frankly these are to the Bronzeborn what Patricians were to Plebians in the latter days of the Republic; they might not be Richer, but they held themselves to be infinitely better. While D'Henna is an absolute monarchy (Land and Position are held by the Sovereign to be handed out as they choose, helped by a Bureaucracy and a Standing Army) these Houses have become sinecures at Court and have a long History of Achievement behind them and in some cases even ahead of them.

So far as they are concerned, EVERYONE knows their Ancestry (and many do) so why bother rambling away a day detailing ancestry when one can get the point across with a House Name?


Noble Houses in D'Henna include but are not limited to:-

Brazen House (Technically EVERY D'Hennan who can call themselves 'Aristocrat' belongs to this House - it therefore has more prestige as a name OUTSIDE Calipan, D'Henna or Vokelstein, a fact frequently taken advantage of when monarchs can't be bothered to waste someone essential on an embassy).

Bridger House (prone to engineering; a coup or a hostile takeover, you name it they'll scheme it up).

Bolder House (They do their best to live up to the name; as flinty as they are fearless).

Courtier House (They're almost as inescapable as they sound, although not quite as indispensable as they think themselves to be; annoyingly polite and useful none-the-less).

Gilder House (Very, very rich and therefore suspected of Commerce - they Jury remains out, but the Judgement keeps on coming).

Hill House (They keep to themselves, but are more than prepared to keep everything else to themselves too. This can cause problems).

Hierophant House (A House noted for its pious obsessions and for antipathy towards Vokelstein … not to mention a slightly less burning grudge against Calipan).

Hunter House (Troublemakers at heart, but happy to inflict themselves on Turlon more often than not).

Strider House (They really get around).

Vintner House (A House that claims its name descends from an old term for the leader of twenty archers and a sharpshooting example of same, but who are frequently accused of having been ennobled for past services to the Vintage of D'Henna; it should be noted that EVERYTHING eats grapes and a bow well-wielded can scare off almost anything, so these two explanations may not be mutually-exclusive).

Warner House (A House descended from those who held the very frontline of the Northern Marches against Turlon for the length of recorded history and have taken advantage of that hard service to play the indispensable prima-donna for almost as long; famously prone to dramatic flourishes).


BLOODLINES OF VOKELSTEIN

Quite frankly in Vokelstein a House Name is really more of a Clan Name, applied to the blood relations, dependents and more useful henchmen of an Aristocrat as a sort of unspoken "DO NOT EAT WITHOUT ASKING ME FIRST" request.

As an answer to the possibly-unspoken question, given the turnover rate in the middle ranks of Vokelstein Aristocracy and the sheer snobbishness of the Highest Ranks, the easiest way to replenish the one and placate the other is to wed some Bronzeborn (Queen Carmeera's burning ambition to bite off the rest of D'Henna at some distant point in time is also easily salved by the sight of a D'Hennan scion of the nobility choosing HER Queendom as their new home).

Did I mention that there are far, far more Bronzeborn than there are potential spouses willing to keep them in the style to which they would like to remain accustomed?


Principal Houses in Vokelstein (including but not limited to):-

Dragon House (almost as pyromaniac as they are kleptomaniac).

Grave House (Almost as prone to poetry as they are prey to pathological humourlessness).

Limber House (They really, really have to be just to keep a footing in this political environment and really, really steep landscape).

Nightshade House (Noted for their interest in botany and getting rid of those who stand in their way).

Serpentine House (Really HATE snakes, but just can't help speaking with a forked tongue).

Skinner House (Not all Vokelstein Aristocrats can be Boltons, but some still do their very, very best to do the worst).

Tracker House (Fond of hunting, equally fond of marathons).

Wormer House (Good with dogs, even better with deceits).

Wolfsbane House (Love full moons, HATE having to share the moonlight).

Charles Phipps
12-30-2014, 11:08 AM
On a serious note, the D'Hennans have few virtues but one of them is the eye-rolling way they regard the rest of the continent's attitude toward nobility. In D'Henna, the blood of the TRUE civilization runs pure enough that it drowns out all other lesser beings. The Patrician classes are thus frequently able to interrmary to freed slaves, merchants, and so on without a loss of status. Their children, furthermore, are all regarded as members of said class with no real attempt to keep the bloodline pure. It's one of the few holdovers from the more cosmopolitan days when Alacarn's Empire was centered around the massive hub of trade and immigration which was the heart of their wealth.

This is also a way they set themselves apart from the Turlon who are HORRIFICALLY inbred. The Valken bloodlines there are constantly married to cousins, siblings, uncles, and other disturbingly close interrelationships. This is actually taboo and disgusting to the majority of their race who view the Turlon as the insane, crazy "Dark Elves" of the bunch.

That and the fact the Turlon are a bunch of psychopaths.

The rest of the continent tends to be more finicky about bloodlines (with the exception of the Free Republic and Borderlands for obvious reasons) as people try to preserve their holdover remnants of the Old Empire.

Libra1010
12-30-2014, 01:27 PM
It is interesting to learn that even the D'Hennan Aristocracy, the most Patrician of Patricians, will wed with whomsoever they chose (although I suspect that more Plebian aristocracy in D'Henna - 'Plebian' as in 'Plenty money but not much pedigree' or 'New Men' - are likely to be a good deal more discriminating, at least for the first few generations until they feel safe to look down their noses at EVERYONE with cold indifference to public opinion). Oddly enough such proud indifference to public opinion sounds to me like a rather endearing quality … when it comes to choosing a bride or a groom.


I must say that I am not entirely surprised that the Tralax are prone to a certain indifference to consanguinity when it comes to picking out their mates, but I have the horrible suspicion that if you're a Valken bold and wicked enough to carve your way in through that kindred, they'll cry "Long lost family!" rather than "Help, Police!" like any sensible snob.

Also in defence of Turlon it's the Tralax who express near-uniform psychosis; the rest of the population in that Ancient Empire does tend to suffer more than their fair share of neuroses, but then wouldn't you if you had to submit to the rule of bunch of feral inbreds who run a Mighty Empire like a city-state and with more than a taste for cruel diversions?

If it weren't for the fact that The Tralax is a gifted Secret Police as much as a hereditary aristocracy, we'd have been quit of them long ago - it doesn't help that the fiends live life as though it were a Dark Fantasy novel (this being WINTERWEIR its an approach that isn't uniformly successful but which does WORK as often as not), but without any self-consciousness!

I really do intend to move on to Turlon at some point, if only to give some attention to those Turlon NOT of the Tralax (not merely sadistic scum, but scene-stealers to boot!).

Voltron64
12-31-2014, 05:47 AM
On a serious note, the D'Hennans have few virtues but one of them is the eye-rolling way they regard the rest of the continent's attitude toward nobility. In D'Henna, the blood of the TRUE civilization runs pure enough that it drowns out all other lesser beings. The Patrician classes are thus frequently able to interrmary to freed slaves, merchants, and so on without a loss of status. Their children, furthermore, are all regarded as members of said class with no real attempt to keep the bloodline pure.

The best kind of cultural superiority!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-OnbzxXTfw

Libra1010
12-31-2014, 09:23 AM
Doubtless the Hennan Aristocracy would have said 'Ennobling the World' but I suspect that the sentiment holds true even so!:rolleyes:

Phrozen
12-31-2014, 09:59 AM
You are quite right Phrozen, this is indeed the most common military experience of combat in Calipan - not least because Caravan Guards, Cattle Barons and Robber Barons can all be relied upon to produce swarms of these ankle biters when they're needed and even MORE when you'd really rather do without them.

However while this is a completely accurate picture of warfare in Calipan it is not a COMPLETE picture; to cap the image of horsemen harassing enemies into committing serious errors (like trying to swat them or desiccating your own light horse as they try to keep up or doing your best to ignore them "because they're only fleabites on a juggernaut") one has to add in a description of what happens when this harassment only partially succeeds and the Enemy Army reaches some part of the Kingdom the Calipani would really HATE to live without.

In a line: ARROWS, lots and lots of Arrows. Archery is the national sport and the pride of Calipani - the Realm won its freedom in the War of Ten Thousand Arrows and they have never forgotten the achievement or the tool with which it was achieved; the Calipani Warbow, built out of native horn and and trade timber (trees in Calipan are either unheard-of or stunted or being tended as the pride and joy of someones garden), capable of punching an arrow into almost anything given the right archer and proper aim.

It can be beaten with heavy armour, as can any weapon, but as one might imagine 'Heavy Armour' + 'High Temperatures' = 'Heat Stroke' which means that if you bear ill-will towards Calipan the odds are in favour of your dying a pot-roast or a pincushion or quite possibly from sheer frustration. If it's any consolation those who CAN close the gap are likely to steamroller those archers, because they'll probably try to make a fight of it and lose given that armour is neglected in favour of arrows (both are expensive, at least in bulk) as well as the general enthusiasm with which The Faith fires its fighters (helpful … unless you've already lost).

On a related note Calipani tend to ride to war, but fight afoot (horse-archers are uncommon because while horses are maintained in some numbers, The Land of Dunes and the Divine cannot replace losses in great numbers for obvious reasons - also archers tend to be drawn from the more settled populations who don't exactly get a lot of training in the saddle); a Calipani battle-line is usually composed of archers all along it, with shield-bearers (usually armed with a shield, a bow and whatever hand weapon they own) to stiffen their centre on the understanding that the enemy is going to be driven in from the flanks by the sheer weight of fire.

Battles have been won or lost when the centre holds or falters respectively, so unsurprisingly The Faith has taken an interest in creating a 'Sacred Band' of full-time hard-cases retained on the understanding that they will make CERTAIN that centre holds (also that the support of the Nobles - who remain the closest thing to a hold-out of Hennan values in the Solemn Realm - remains useful, but not essential).

Finally it should be noted that archers tend to be drawn from the more prosperous freeborn (some of whom make a living as professionals); while the Nobility is just as enthusiastic about archery as the rest of the population these days, in the Old Time it was the very fact that The Faith armed its humblest devotees against the proud Nobles that won for it the supremacy it now enjoys in the Kingdom of the Wise.

Also that the poorest Calipani tend to make do with slings, rather than bows, since arrows are fairly expensive but stones are literally dirt-cheap.


I imagine the horsemen are more like Spanish Jinete's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinete) than earlier day Dragoons or Late Medieval English knights. Lots of small darts made of bone and stone, fight mounted for quick getaways into the desert and to the small hidden oasis that only they know about that are not on any map intentionally.

I would say slings make up the majority of of Calipan's missile troops. It is quick to put together, plenty of ammo, and a lot easier to train with. No matter how much armor you have getting hit in the head with a half pound piece of rock going about 70 mph will hurt. While the cattle barons have cattle of course, I suspect that the middle and lower classes mostly have sheep and goat and thus need a less expensive weapon then a bow and arrow to drive away jackals and other assorted predators.

Libra1010
12-31-2014, 10:57 AM
Entirely likely and therefore almost certainly true!:D

Libra1010
12-31-2014, 10:57 AM
In truth the most common problem posed in the course of any researches into Turlon is that given both The Realm and the City at its heart bear that name, it is very difficult to separate descriptions of one from accounts of the other; given that Turlons most aristocratic and largest single Problem (also known as The Tralax, The Spellborn, The Blood of Madness and Misrule) prefers to remain in the Capital unless actively looking for trouble (either with the intension of making some or so that they might ferret out potential threats to their death-grip on power) - the differences between The Realm of Turlon and the City which bears that name can therefore be as acute as they are frequently-ignored.

For a start once you get away from the City Limits Turlon becomes just that little bit nicer - if it weren't for the fact that the Tralax don't STAY in their civic hunting grounds all the time, the fact that Turlon is locked in the Eternal War with D'Henna and that Turlon is ALWAYS at war with itself, the Realm would be a fair bit nicer than its political centre (but not a GREAT deal, you'd die of old age STILL working to fix various smaller problems before anywhere in Turlon was MUCH nicer than anywhere else - still, you have to start somewhere).

For the sake of clarity it should be made clear here that The Tralax was not always an Aristocracy; in truth the Great Houses who ruled and misruled the Ancient Empire in the days of Alacarn were broken to pieces by the third monarch to ascend the Lonely Throne Davios the Dragon-King, The First Emperor of Alacarn - Houses Amaranthine, Cerulean, Ferruginous, Malachite, Ocherous and Xanthous were all attainted, their leadership either exiled or executed and their younger heirs placed in the ward of The Approved and Imperial Cults.

The problem, as it turned out, was that since the Aristocracy of Turlon were Valken were IMMORTAL enough of those seniors lived long enough to snake their way into Imperial Favour by taking the side of Alacarn's Heirs during the First War of Bloody Tears against the unsanctioned spell-casters of the Empire; themselves no strangers to spell-work or the hunt, they proved extremely useful and the Empress of the time was unwise enough to be open-handed in her generosity when it came to rewarding such services - she restored to these hunting hounds certain lands in Turlon, created The Tralax as her personal witch-finders AND was unwary enough to make one of the more expert dissimulators tutor to her own children.

It should astonish no-one to read that one of hers heirs became known as 'Turlon the Impaler' (or if you prefer 'Turlon the Atrocious') and proceeded to remove the Imperial Court to Turlon after murdering his way to pole position in the line of succession, then raise the Tralax back into the ranks of The Aristocracy once more so that they might be pillars of his Rule (and keep the inevitable backlash of Hennan outrage at bay for as long as possible). Their fortunes have risen and fallen ever since The Tralax assumed more or less its modern form along with the pseudo-divine honours it claimed went with the House Names (all modern Houses of Turlons Blood take their name from one of the Great Twelve - they have almost always regarded this as an excuse for cosplay, rather than an act of piety), but they've exercised power in their Ancestral Homeland ever since by dint of purging everyone who disagreed with their conduct of things as 'Witches' or bribing those who disliked them from antipathy into apathy and have no intention of giving up the lifestyle to which they've become accustomed to just because it is TERRIFYINGLY Wicked and frequently-Evil.

As a note while The Tralax EXERCISES the Power to Rule in Turlon, their exercise of this power remains theoretically-circumscribed by the fact that it is the Eternal Emperor who holds the Supreme Power over Turlon in theory (whatever his present degree of interest in herding this particular coterie of cats in Fact) and occasionally-circumscribed by their on-going Jurisdictional disputes with The Praetors - The Undying Emperors strong right hands and in theory the ones supposed to keep The Tralax in line and the Realm in something approaching Order (a more overworked, underappreciated body of troopers never existed).

Given that the Tralax have held the Imperial Regency since the assassination of Tarmon the Conqueror, The Praetors authority to do their job has been undermined by the fact that they have to ANSWER to the Tralax under law which as you will appreciate presents a fabulously awkward situation and the foundation of a Cold War between the two parties featuring a truly staggering amount of skulduggery and mixed successes. Given that the two institutions supposed to help keep The Realm ticking over nicely are on the whole kept very busy dicing with death on the fringes of crime just so they can get their job done or carelessly playing things for their own convenience regardless of consequence, it is thoroughly unsurprising that BOTH these parties are very happy to find a third party applying for the Job of actually RULING The Realm of Turlon while they work out their jurisdictional disputes one corpse or many corpses at a time.

This is where Cropland, Edgeland, Shiverland, Smokeland, Sweatland and Mineland alias The Dominions of Tulon come in.


As noted previously The Tralax don't particularly CARE about what goes on in The Provinces (still officially named after the six Ancient Houses mentioned above and elsewhere, although most are now known by others names and increasingly-subdivided) so long as they are left to enjoy their creature comforts and hunting down the nightlife in Turlon City (which is not to say that they don't take an INTEREST in what goes on in the Provinces when events trend towards ANOTHER attempt to destroy them root and branch); therefore should some party survive invading Turlon long enough to demand lands and treasure of The Spellborn, the devious wretches are quite likely to hand it over to them (even if all they do is ask nicely) with a few genuinely-modest conditions attached ... which grow progressively LESS reasonable with every succeeding generation in the line of this brand-new governor/vassal/patsy because no matter how good a job you're doing The Tralax don't just want to work you hard they want to make you their pet poodle.

The only reason any Human Nobility can be found in Turlon City is because they're (A) being held as hostages or (B) being kept as trophies of eventual success by the Tralax, living or dead.

Still, at least for the duration of a mortal lifetime this isn't a half-bad deal (assuming you are a bad, BAD individual); for the price of asking (or more likely the price of an Invasion) you get to King or Queen it in one of the most beautiful landscapes on Teth'Ammon and stick a thumb in the eye of the Tralax by ruling whichever bit of their Country you happen to have bitten off (that they're willing to accept you doesn't mean they have to LIKE being obliged to hand power to some 'Poor Cousin' or worse yet a mere HUMAN BEING), with power to bind and to loose so long as you keep The Praetors off your back and The Tralax at bay. Heck, from the position of Stakeholder* at least one woman has risen to become Young Empress of Turlon and passed that title down to her heirs - who then proceeded to tear their budding dynasty to pieces in the course of a Civil War that eventually resulted in the foundation of Winterweir, but that's Noble Families for you.


*The most common title of Rulership in Turlon, which can mean anything from the equivalent of a Baroness to a Petty King on the verge of becoming something Greater. Like the most common name for a fief in Turlon it derives from the responsibility of each 'Stake' to provide at least one of their namesake and a victim to impale upon it to grace the Borders of Turlon quarterly (Some Stakeholders provide fresher victims than others).


Finally, it should be noted that almost everyone in Turlon - with the exception of The Tralax and their 'Poor Cousins' (Valken who descend from the Great Houses of Old but didn't fancy hounding some poor witches as the price of Aristocracy, city living or marrying with those mad devils that lorded it there), not to mention whichever slayers have fought their way into the Aristocracy and whichever of their heirs have yet to endure the price of that success as yet.

That having been said if everyone is a Slave, then not every Slave is going to be a menial - in truth the distinction between 'Slave' and 'Free' in The Dominions of Turlon is more like that between 'Citizens' and 'Non-Citizens' in the Provinces of Ancient Rome rather than that between a Patrician and a Field-Hand (except in the opinion of The Tralax, who as we all know have enemies EVEYWHERE for very, very good reasons); which isn't to say that some poor beggars aren't bought and sold as property (they're usually known as 'Thralls') but rather that some Slaves in Turlon can enjoy a degree of prosperity comparable to a Merchant Prince elsewhere or bear arms as proud as those of any knight (usually known as 'Helots') or live more like a yeoman than a field hand (usually known as 'Churls').

Right up until some nasty ------- with a pedigree or a really swinging sword-arm decided that they want what you have and can't be persuaded to treat this is a metaphor, rather than a mission statement.

Charles Phipps
12-31-2014, 12:37 PM
Turlon is something of a nightmare and dream all at once. The architecture is like nothing else on the rest of the continent, with dizzying Ayn Rand-esque Art Deco statues and things which look like a combination of Byzantium domes, Gondor, and stuff from Hell or the Great Old Ones.

The cities are built in such ways and convergences of mystical energies that they do not occupy the amount of space they should take up. Streets appear, re-appear, disappear, and lead to larger locations all the time. Demon-worship is practiced openly alongside the traditional gods and so is the enslavement of spirits for the purposes of serving. You're as likely to see a mummified zombie servant running errands for his master as a living one with a bunch of stone-elementals being being used to carry a noble's carriage.

This in addition to the fact the Tralax often launch attacks against each others' compounds and do open spell-duels or sword fights in the streets until one is dead with miniature riots being a yearly occurrence. The abuses performed to the populace at large like regular human sacrifices, murder, or kidnappings would have you think no one sane lives in Turlon.

No one does.

Turlon is a location where magic does not sleep. Massive monoliths radiate waves of obedience while the descendants of entire bloodlines are mystically bound to obey certain noble houses and other Tralax wrap themselves up in charms so powerful they can convince crowds to commit mass-suicide just by speaking nonsense. Blood magic, goetism, necromancy, and mind-control are such intricate parts of the realm they're impossible to separate from the place.

As the old saying goes, "A party without three murders, a fountain of blood, and an orgy is a dull affair." In fact, the saying substitutes onion-loaf for orgy.Tralax rarely are so comfortable to have group sex with each other unless one has enslaved the others. That's what slaves are for.

They also love their onion loafs.

Amusingly, Turlon has not degenerated into explosive self-destruction as the nobility largely keeps itself in check. All of the Houses have thousands upon thousands of servants carrying out their tasks for the godlike rulers above them with varying degrees of sycophantic devotion. The somewhat snarky, eye-rolling, or resigned nature of the peasantry in other realms is only about a quarter-true in Turlon. The peasantry of Turlon LOVE their masters, willingly or not, and actively want to kill the people who don't. Families are huge with slaves delirious at the thought of sending their sons and daughters to kill for their living god rulers.

The Eternal War would not be nearly so eternal if magicians, engineers, and fanatical soldiers were not constantly dreaming of new ways to spread the wonders and glory of Turlon to other lands. Those who do not believe this, or are outright HORRIFIED at the gleeful acceptance on display, tend to be descendants of those who are not from the ancient enslaved bloodlines of the land.

Trade with Turlon is something many nations have tried to cut off due to the desire to see the deranged ancient empire of mass-insanity and Demon Elves fall into ruin. This has always failed, however, due to the vast amount of Blood Gems and precious metals the Turlon seem to be able to conjure from nowhere.

The Fingers Guild also handles a good third of the economy as massive amounts of D'Hennan goods are imported through the underground tunnels or through Caliban. They are a Tralax House of Nobility but only a few Valken actually live there as the majority have titles bought and paid for through the guild. Keeping the Beast Lords up to their claws and tails in shinies has made them all VERY VERY rich as no one is quite sure how they have such bottomless pocket-books.

The Crimson Oath, likewise, holds massive amounts of property and are viewed as one of the few forces for sanity and stability in the nation. They handle another third of the trade through both their embassies as well as puppets. The remaining third belongs to the nobility with no real room for the honest trader.

Those who know them know those who worship the Darkness never need worry about their hunger.

Phrozen
12-31-2014, 02:31 PM
Hi Old school Tevinter!

Charles Phipps
12-31-2014, 04:25 PM
Hi Old school Tevinter!

Their politics are like Orzamaar for added horror.

The Crimson Oath is, ironically, funding the plucky resistance against the Tralax.

Mordor and Sauron are so much BETTER than the Tevinter Drow.

:-)

Phrozen
12-31-2014, 04:27 PM
Their politics are like Orzamaar for added horror.

The Crimson Oath is, ironically, funding the plucky resistance against the Tralax.

Mordor and Sauron are so much BETTER than the Tevinter Drow.

:-)

You know your government is terrible when the mafia backed candidate for the throne is much better for the populace then the honorable candidate.

Charles Phipps
12-31-2014, 04:44 PM
You know your government is terrible when the mafia backed candidate for the throne is much better for the populace then the honorable candidate.

The worst part of the Eternal War isn't that it's a neverending meat-grinder.

It's the fact if D'Henna's martial tradition ever failed then the rest of the continent might have reason to fear a Turlon Empire.

They aren't in decline.

In fact, they've been growing stronger.

Libra1010
01-01-2015, 09:47 AM
That actually tallies in with an idea of mine that I've been thinking on for some time, that the Tralax have been making themselves even MORE dangerous not by acquiring additional powers through occult means but through the gradual spread of their core philosophy - summed up, this basically boils down to "This is a Dark Fantasy Setting - Act Accordingly and Enjoy Yourself before it kills you!" which oddly enough is only PARTIALLY accurate; technically speaking WINTERWEIR is a rather technologically undeveloped and isolated part of a Sci-Fi setting, strictly speaking it is a Heroic rather than a Dark Setting (act like a Jerk, they'll salute you as a Hero to your face - act like a HERO and they'll exalt you as a Legend!).

The problem is that its a Setting Dark enough that The Tralax can just about get away with acting like Elrics In-Laws on a daily basis, just so long as they don't push their luck TOO far, and that makes their ideas JUST attractive enough for a certain sort of mind to find them attractive.

You know, the sort of mind found in some abundance on The Pirate Isles, in the Cities of the Black Coast and the Wyvern Isles - its not that every native of these parts actually evidences the predatory mindset required to find the Tralax INSPIRING, just that in these parts of the World that sort of mindset tends to go far … at least as far as the nearest gallows but unfortunately quite often much further than that.

Quite frankly there's a REASON these realms all speak some variation on Turlish and this is mainly due to the fact that they have small reason to love D'Henna (D'Henna tends to be an overbearing neighbour to the Black Coast, even if Turlon is also regarded as a poison influence in most places - D'Henna tends to encourage local government to HANG Pirates rather than do business with them, which the Oceanborn do NOT appreciate - quite frankly D'Henna is just very far away from The Wyvern Isles and the Tralax are more interested in courting an entire army of hillbilly napalm death dinosaurs and their riders than the Bronzeborn, who tend to take more interest in Winterweir these days), but partly due to the fact that The Tralax are inveterately STYLISH monsters.

Which is a major part of the reason that they have such appeal in Vokelstein, whose monstrous aristocrats are working to acquire what the Tralax have enjoyed for Ages and don't mind stealing a few ideas from the originals in the least - except where Queen Carmeera and Brother Shadowspawn are concerned, because they remember EXACTLY what happened the last time a Vampire Kingdom got a little TOO close to the Tralax, which means that they're willing to do business with The Tralax only when the profit is all in their favour and The Power of Turlon kept as far away from Vokelstein as geography allows.

Worse, in addition to this creeping cultural infiltration the Tralax have in recent years begun to send out their youngest generations into the World - on the positive side this has the effect of severely diminishing the numbers of their youths, but unfortunately it also ensures that those youngsters who survive a World EXTREMELY unfriendly to their kind tend to be far, far more dangerous than their predecessors.

If this trend continues The Tralax might actually develop ALLIES, a thought which gives D'Henna nightmares - not least because, Great Battle in North and in South aside, Winterweir remains utterly unwilling to stomach the carnage, the cost and the waste of opening up a Second Front of the Eternal War (despite the best efforts of many a Hennan emissary).

As a note Weirfolk HATE the very idea of Turlon, but prefer to keep a very long way away from those Southern madmen, a major reason the East of Winterweir remains comparatively undeveloped in contrast to The Western and Middle Shires - Fortified Burghs are very common in the East, but organised Shires remain rare as opposed to informal territories where one does not possess anything you can't make a getaway with or build anything outside a fortress that one can't beat a retreat from at need.


Mordor and Sauron are so much BETTER than the Tevinter Drow.

Only in KIND of Evil, rather than degree; whatever Sauron may be, he is at least not KINKY.

On a lighter note, I tend to imagine The Eternal Emperor as Sauron VOICED BY Mr Tom Hiddlestone (aka The Lord of Gifts crossed with Loki or rather the most positive aspects of both, which still leads to a potentially-nasty customer), while The King of Shadow and Steel is basically Sauron AS VOICED BY Mr Charles Dance (which leads to an amalgam of the least attractive traits of Lord Tywin Lannister and Sauron, Lord of the Rings).

Phrozen
01-01-2015, 10:01 AM
Strangely, most pirates were actually better to live amongst than under the authority of most countries. The Irish, Dutch, and Cossack pirates were better than the English, Spanish, Hapsburg, Russian, and Turkish governments they opposed. Even in the golden age of piracy flying under a pirate flag was a better life for a sailor then flying under a flag of a country. The only exception were the Barbary pirates and they were really an extension of the Turkish navy.

Libra1010
01-01-2015, 10:41 AM
The cities are built in such ways and convergences of mystical energies that they do not occupy the amount of space they should take up.

Given the horrors centred upon Turlon cities it is somewhat reassuring that such constructions are actually rather rare; rumour has it that this is due to the fact that the indisputably-Urbane Tralax don't want to risk too much competition for the Capitals title 'Greatest City of Turlon' but it is also true that there remains something of a lingering influence from the days of Turlon Herself - who tended to agree with the view that Civilisation was a bad idea, even if she didn't much like the Lillim who came up with it - which keeps Turlon settlements limited and the Realm extremely rural.

Except, of course, where the City and Comforts of the Tralax are concerned (and even so they're quite pleased to let greenery grow over the bones of their own city, even when this adversely affects the Good Repair of that city); Well, that city and Godseat the Dominion of the Eternal Emperor Himself, which is in many ways just as scary but a lot less EVIL (for example the last sorcerer who tried to treat the Bloodline Magic as a Party Trick rather than an Emergency Measure fell victim to a fate worse than Death for Tralax - he disappeared without even an interesting anecdote left behind to mark his passing).



The abuses performed to the populace at large like regular human sacrifices, murder, or kidnappings would have you think no one sane lives in Turlon.

No one does.

True for Turlon the City, but the truth is more complicated when it comes to Turlon the Wider Realm; Turlon the City is quite simply an Evil Place, Turlon the Wider Realm is just a very bad place to make a living (unless you happen to be an extremely nasty or supremely lucky individual or very, very fast on your feet).



Turlon is a location where magic does not sleep. Massive monoliths radiate waves of obedience while the descendants of entire bloodlines are mystically bound to obey certain noble houses and other Tralax wrap themselves up in charms so powerful they can convince crowds to commit mass-suicide just by speaking nonsense. Blood magic, goetism, necromancy, and mind-control are such intricate parts of the realm they're impossible to separate from the place.

Entirely True, unfortunately - even far from Turlon the City such power lingers in this land … unless it is UNMADE; what is done by one Mage can be undone by another and especially on the Frontier with Dh'Henna (to an only slightly lesser extent near Winterweir as well) the Enemy of Turlon takes great satisfaction in unmaking their Workings, one dispelling at a time … unfortunately this process can be an extremely unpleasant one.

Still, a major part of the reason The Tralax are willing to tolerate Human Rule (albeit unfortunately not necessarily Humane rule) in the Dominions and sundry other rival Adventurers within their Frontiers is that quite frankly their magics in that part of the Realm grow weaker with every sally against them - unfortunately at the same time the power of those magics laid upon their compounds and the other parts of The Realm they rule grows even STRONGER as they are concentrated.

The fact that they can spare their own Agents the enormous losses incurred when trying to hold off D'Henna while palming those losses off onto the Stakeholders is another major reason that the power of The Tralax is growing at present. These gains CAN be reversed … but only by CANNY types like your average adventurers!



As the old saying goes, "A party without three murders, a fountain of blood, and an orgy is a dull affair." In fact, the saying substitutes onion-loaf for orgy.Tralax rarely are so comfortable to have group sex with each other unless one has enslaved the others. That's what slaves are for.

They also love their onion loafs.

Another variation on that old saying goes "A dinner with a massacre laid on is Uncivilised - a dinner without onion loaf, an assassination and an orgy for dessert is just UNTHINKABLE!"

One peculiarity about The Tralax that has yet to be mentioned is that they are the very DEVIL for 'Good Form' for one of the Tralax would rather Kill you than be blatantly rude to you - they keep their insults nice and subtle behind a veil of IMPECCABLE politeness as is PROPER; as you might have noticed The Tralax are strange people.

Amongst their peculiarities is that they tend to treat Dark Fantasy-type atrocities as Business and something of a Bore to boot, especially as they get older and downright jaded; if the everyday resident of Alacarn realised just how many Tralax embrace thoroughly mundane activities like milking, sewing and painting as 'Exotic Hobbies' they would probably be EXTREMELY bewildered (the Regent of Turlon, for the record, enjoys crochet more than casual atrocity of an evening).

They are very unlikely to realise this, as The Tralax know that they have a Reputation to uphold and keep all this entirely private.



Amusingly, Turlon has not degenerated into explosive self-destruction as the nobility largely keeps itself in check.

I believe that the proper word is 'ANNOYINGLY' in all honesty. This IS The Tralax of whom we speak!



All of the Houses have thousands upon thousands of servants carrying out their tasks for the godlike rulers above them with varying degrees of sycophantic devotion. The somewhat snarky, eye-rolling, or resigned nature of the peasantry in other realms is only about a quarter-true in Turlon. The peasantry of Turlon LOVE their masters, willingly or not, and actively want to kill the people who don't. Families are huge with slaves delirious at the thought of sending their sons and daughters to kill for their living god rulers.

It may relieve readers to know that the Power of the Tralax, while VERY strong is not actually Godlike - even taken as a body, there are more powerful INDIVIDUALS on the face of Alacarn, though few - In fact the reputation of the Tralax for Godlike Power is cultivated and fabricated for the most part (although they're all working on acquiring enough power to EPITOMISE the description Godlike), not least through the adoption of names stolen from the Great Twelve (Paalok et al) as House Names and the extensive adoption, as well as the systematic misuse of the attributes of those generally-respectable, albeit not necessarily loveable 'Deities' in a fashion that would have Caligula hollering in protest.

The problem is that some are either desperate or gullible enough to BELIEVE these monsters when they call themselves 'Gods'.



Trade with Turlon is something many nations have tried to cut off due to the desire to see the deranged ancient empire of mass-insanity and Demon Elves fall into ruin. This has always failed, however, due to the vast amount of Blood Gems and precious metals the Turlon seem to be able to conjure from nowhere.

Mostly squeezed out of their tributaries in truth; quite frankly a major part of the reason Turlon remains a little better off than D'Henna in terms of Natural Resources is that they keep stealing away those of others rather than straining their own reserves to the utmost, which leaves them more of an emergency reserve to dip into (as a note, D'Henna remains a going concern despite its dwindling mineral resources, in part due to its enduring agricultural assets, in part due to trade passing through and in part because Sephia is even more eager to keep Turlon a LONG way away than it is to call in D'Hennas loans … D'Henna being mortgaged to the hilt courtesy of Merchant Princes in The Second City, Merchant Princes in Sephia being kept from surrendering their profits to Turlon at sword-or-spell-point courtesy of those bronze-witted Hennan bad*****).



Those who know them know those who worship the Darkness never need worry about their hunger.

On the other hand those who savour the wrong TYPE of Darkness are in DEEP trouble; Those who fancy the Crimson King more than The Blood of Madness and Misrule tend to come to particular ugly ends … The Tralax really, really don't enjoy being beaten at their own game.

Libra1010
01-01-2015, 10:51 AM
Strangely, most pirates were actually better to live amongst than under the authority of most countries. The Irish, Dutch, and Cossack pirates were better than the English, Spanish, Hapsburg, Russian, and Turkish governments they opposed.

Except, of course, if you were a subject of those nations and had property that you would rather not have stolen a life you didn't particularly wish to find had become lost property because you were prepared to stand up in defence of Property Rights against Pirates. Remember Pirates were not robbing Corporations or Nations, they were robbing the poor fellows who manned or were carried upon the ships they seized (a process differing from a modern car-jacking only in scale and not in kind).



Even in the golden age of piracy flying under a pirate flag was a better life for a sailor then flying under a flag of a country.

Until they were CAUGHT; Also generally-shorter and packed more full of criminality because remember that Pirates were, first and foremost GANGSTERS, a description which I do not consider to be a compliment nor a lifestyle which I consider to be positive one.

Also, it should be noted that while a Piratical discipline could be more consensual than that of the Royal Navy, it was not necessarily less CRUEL.



The only exception were the Barbary pirates and they were really an extension of the Turkish navy.

I apologise if I sound scolding, but I prefer Pirates to be FICTIONAL - since the ones who do not practice their depredations on Actual People are so much more sympathetic. I should also note that my attitude towards criminals out of History tends to be decidedly Cynical - pirate OR politician.

Charles Phipps
01-01-2015, 11:37 AM
I apologise if I sound scolding, but I prefer Pirates to be FICTIONAL - since the ones who do not practice their depredations on Actual People are so much more sympathetic. I should also note that my attitude towards criminals out of History tends to be decidedly Cynical - pirate OR politician.

My own view as a historian Libra is the Golden Age of Piracy is something of an interesting case of Black and Grey Morality. You are quite correct in romanticizing those who flew the black flag has the affect of overlooking the fact they are, at heart, highwaymen. A profession which tends to inevitably result in crossing the Moral Event Horizon.

John Dillinger, for example, is one of the few real-life criminals who made a concentrated effort to not become a killer in order to actively cultivate his romantic rogue reputation and that went out the window when he was shot in the chest and proceeded to kill the man who did so (a police officer). He also worked with plenty of decidedly less romantic figures which shows you can't walk the highway to hell and expect to get off in Heaven.

However, I've always felt it was fascinating to get into the economics of such where a staggering number of these robber-exiles were individuals who'd been trained in their profession by the English Navy (often pressed against their will) during Queen Anne's War. Privateering being perfectly legal brigandry as long as his majesty got his cut and practiced without reserve while piracy being something they made a concentrated effort to portray via propaganda as the enemy of all civilization.

There was a good deal of desire on the part of said highwaymen to use their skill set in hopes of setting themselves up democratic and fledging societies where the common worker could live in something other than destitution and poverty. Which is only sympathetic outside of Marxist circles because said Golden Age of Piracy meant just about everyone being robbed was directly or indirectly being made rich by the slave trade or destruction of native peoples.

Separating fact from myth is an interesting exercise as individuals like Edward Thatch turn out to have been some of the least violent amongst pirates and the most successful ran things as industrialized terrors like Black Bart. Either way, their fledgling experiment in Free Men living Free Lives was doomed from the beginning as you can't build an economy on plunder. Nassau being a democracy which fell into sickness and poverty before simply getting conquered by the English showing up one day then saying, "Stop and you can go home free men. Don't and get hanged."

What does this mean for Winterweir?

One of the great differences between Winterweir and D&D is the fact if the PCs are confronted with bandits imperiling the locals, they're as likely to find desperate people looking for money enough to survive the winter or people who have been brutalized by the local baron to the point this is their recourse. Storytellers should be cautious about these sorts of plots because they can easily be no fun but it falls to the PCs to cut the Gordian Knots by choosing to choose the lesser evil OR something like seizing the Barony for themselves so they can run it not as a tyranny.

There's also plenty of places which are filled with normal, decent, honest, and hard-working folk who just happen to have a tradition of raiding the next hill over who proceed to do the same thing the next year. It would take a quite talented orator or simply someone with a VERY sharp object to point out how stupid this process is.

As you say, this is a Dark Fantasy setting but it's the place where being the Starks and the Briennes can actually COME OUT ON TOP. They just have to be clever about it.

Phrozen
01-01-2015, 12:11 PM
Except, of course, if you were a subject of those nations and had property that you would rather not have stolen a life you didn't particularly wish to find had become lost property because you were prepared to stand up in defence of Property Rights against Pirates. Remember Pirates were not robbing Corporations or Nations, they were robbing the poor fellows who manned or were carried upon the ships they seized (a process differing from a modern car-jacking only in scale and not in kind).




Until they were CAUGHT; Also generally-shorter and packed more full of criminality because remember that Pirates were, first and foremost GANGSTERS, a description which I do not consider to be a compliment nor a lifestyle which I consider to be positive one.

Also, it should be noted that while a Piratical discipline could be more consensual than that of the Royal Navy, it was not necessarily less CRUEL.




I apologise if I sound scolding, but I prefer Pirates to be FICTIONAL - since the ones who do not practice their depredations on Actual People are so much more sympathetic. I should also note that my attitude towards criminals out of History tends to be decidedly Cynical - pirate OR politician.

The only difference between gangsters and government, this is doubly true for most eras until the 1800s, is that government is simply gangsters who have eliminated all the other gangsters and claimed a monopoly. Not to mention the people the pirates were robbing were part of state sponsored companies at best not true free market institutions. Its grey and grey morality though those living under the black flag usually had more freedom then those that didn't. You wouldn't get thrown in a cell if you decided to not reup after a trip when sailing with pirates. The government navies on the other hand?

Libra1010
01-02-2015, 04:51 AM
Phrozen, I fear that I cannot contribute anything further to this discussion except disagreement - not complete disagreement, but a fundamental one when it comes to the difference between Law and the Criminal. I shall therefore carefully ignore any potential for argument and go straight to the article which the subject of Piracy has raised.

Welcome to the Pirate Isles shipmates!

Libra1010
01-02-2015, 12:42 PM
"If you're smart enough you'll get away with everything - if you're stupid enough you deserve anything you get!" can only be called the creed of the Pirate Isles, for 'tis too long for a motto and too short for a mandate; Now in the interests of honesty it should be mentioned here that not all those born on the Isles of the Oceanborn make their living robbing others of the fruits of their labours, for in an ordinary year on the Islands many and more can keep themselves by fishing, by farming, by forestry and by woodworking with personal pride drawn from their labours.

On the other hand if they want to keep themselves in LUXURY then they are well-advised to turn Pirate or try their hand at some mighty sharp dealing in the course of a Trading Expedition (not to mention keep their attitude indulgent when it comes to property quite possibly "saved out of a shipwreck" or more probably stolen from some unlucky passer-by) and in a bad year should they wish to keep themselves alive at all then they'll HAVE to make sure that someone other than themselves must lose and live in want.

That's what you risk when you live in an archipelago infested with Pirates and watched with a hungry eye by the Wyvern Riders - who well remember when the Isles of the Oceanborn were THEIR southern holdings and therefore prey upon the Pirate Isles as the Oceanborn prey upon others (albeit with a good deal more flame-throwing and flyovers); you may be assured that the Pirate Islanders do their best to repay past unkindness when they get the chance.


Now you have been introduced to one pillar of Pirate Islander philosophy (two technically - that first quote and "You shall go without before I am willing to!"), I shall introduce you to yet another distinguishing feature of their style - Blarney, Cant, Chatter, Gossip, Loquaciousness, Slander, Patter, Plain Speech, Prayerful Address, Profanity in short "A Pirate Islander will only kill you when he can get away with it, but she'll ALWAYS Talk your Ears off" and it should be noted that the Oceanborn irreverence when it comes to the Majesties of the Law does NOT extend to Lawyering.

Come up with a really GOOD loophole, piece of precedent, point of procedure or any other good dodge and you'll win as much respect as if you'd pulled off any other Heroic Feat because quite frankly at heart EVERY Oceanborn wants to believe they're a Trickster, not one of those Deep-dredged Reavers (according to the Oceanborn a Pirate will fleece you metaphorically, a Reaver will quite literally skin you).

Legend has it that the notoriously-severe shipboard discipline maintained by an Oceanborn Captain has its roots in one too many ships foundering in a storm after the crew spent too much time debating the quality of a Captains orders and a potentially-superior recourse, too little effort into putting ANY course of action into effect.

Exaggeration perhaps, but any observer who has been privileged to see the unquestioning discipline of Pirate Islanders at sea set aside immediately upon landfall in Friendly Waters and experience the ensuing amiable disagreement, debate and conversational digressions that then ensue amongst a crew of shipmates from this 'Anchors away' to the next 'Set Sail' can only suspect that it isn't entirely fabrication.

The haggling of a Pirate Islander on the make and the heights of rhetoric they will ascend to in search of a profit from EVERY transaction has to be heard to be believed; quite frankly the rapacity of Oceanborn robbers seems to pall in the face of the ruthlessness of the Honest Traders who call them 'Brother' and 'Sister' and 'Poser'.


How then do Islands populated by such a collection of Tricksters, Hucksters and Desperate-types in general avoid drowning in such a sea of latent criminality? Well as noted earlier not all Pirate Islanders are Oceanborn, a fair number are in fact able to live in reasonable style on the gleanings of their Honest Living and quite frankly they don't want to put up with the antics of their less easygoing neighbours - more to the point no matter how honest they may or may not be, they're still Pirate Islanders so the usual tricks aren't going to work on, so even the actual Pirates have to find some middle ground upon which these two parties can live together if they want to have a Home even when they feel like passing more time on Dry Land than it takes to put together a getaway.

That would be where the Articles of the Islands come in, although only after a fairly long period of History when the entire Oceanborn civilisation was run along lines of Naval Discipline, a period that endured for almost the entire History of the High Kingdom of Krasnodor (The Proper Name of the Islands in theory, long fallen into disuse although some of the styles of that period continue to linger - such as the common honorific 'Master' for any major landholder or 'Captain-General at Sea' for one who commands a war-fleet of the Oceanborn).

Then at the very end of 'In The Days of the Queens, the Captains and the Kings' (The Pirate Islander equivalent of 'Once Upon a Time') a great many Captains who quite fancied making a grab for the Sceptre and thereby turning themselves into High Queen or High King if they managed the catch found the dignity of their rank so diminished and the difficulties in which they found themselves so acute that they were obliged to engage in a dialogue with crews threatening to go on strike rather than strike against the enemies of their Captain.

Not least because all their equally-seaworthy relatives had agreed to JOIN such a strike.

The end result was that the assemblies of the various Pirate Isles recognised the authority of these would-be Queens and Kings only on the understanding that whether they achieved their ambition or no they would ratify and observe the letter, as well as the spirit of a series of Articles to be agreed upon after further discussion (as it turned out the precise details varied by Isle, but the basics remained near-identical), whether at Sea or On Land.

Much to the disappointment of the more ingenious Captains and other procrastinators these Articles were swiftly agreed upon and they were left with little choice but to ratify them - the rest is History or more accurately a crude form of Common Law never, EVER ignored by any Pirate Islander who wants to STAY Home in good health. Although remember not to describe the Articles as Laws.

While the differences are trifling at best, the Oceanborn are proud to claim that "Law is ENFORCED, Articles be a thing AGREED upon" (though honoured as often in the breach as in the observance as any body of Law).

Charles Phipps
01-02-2015, 03:05 PM
The Pirate Isles and Commerce

On a simple level, what separates the Pirate Isles from the Greyjoys or the doomed experiment of Nassau?

The answer is it's important to separate the Oceanborn from their reputation and their islands (known to them as "The Home of the People" or C'Tolk in the Old Tongue) from the reputation they have managed to garner across the Kingdoms of Alacarn. Specifically, while they use ships closer to the galleons and caravels of the 16th century, their attitude is a great deal closer to those of the Vikings.

The historical Vikings.

In simple terms, this means the Oceanborn spend the majority of their time trading and exploring as opposed to pillaging. What other nations call piracy, the Oceanborn consider to be their warrior culture. The Pirate Isles consider captains equivalent to Lords, Cutlasses akin to Knights, and Admirals (Pirate Lords) close to Arls and Kings. The only difference between them and the lords on land is their territories are the waterways of Alacarn's shores.

The vast majority of piracy conducted, to be honest, is decidedly less glamorous than their own tales speak of. It is conducted in backrooms or on the decks of ships where a "tax" is levied and the pirates leave with only a portion of the cargo. This is to prevent trade from being discouraged and the Pirate Isles have actually some of the safest waters around for their "friends."

This isn't to say the actual piracy of which towns are sacked, monasteries' looted, and ships burned doesn't occur. It happens all the time. Such is most frequently the result of the Pirate Lords feuding with each other as much as anything. One can strike no better insult (and enrich oneself) than attacking the source of revenue which keeps them (literally) afloat.

Of course, not everyone is willing to take a bunch of highwaymen of the sea seriously or their sometimes hefty levies. Every penny out of a trader's pocket is one less the custom's men can pocket for the king (or himself). Pirate hunters, invasions of the Pirate Isles themselves, and attempts to circumvent them are a constant back-and-forth with the other nations.

In truth, it is Winterweir which has the most unchecked, unabashed, and unforgiving hatred of the Pirate Isles' ways. For centuries, the people of its Eastern shorelines were considered to be barbarians not worth actually making arrangements for. They were subject to raids for slaves, concubines, plunder which didn't have to go to the Admirals, and easy victories. It was the victim of the kind of piracy which Medieval legend gave rise to the Fury of the Northmen and the Enemy of Civilization in the Age of Sale.

It also produced their direst enemies.

Winterweir sailors are often accompanied by Valken archers, living giant catapults, and even Slythin equipped with amphibian traits while trained in the art of murder. The Winterweir Bloodsails are to the Pirate Isles what they are to other lands, leaving burned ships and horrifically mutiliated bodies in their wake. They are the revenge of a people with a deep and unforgiving nature which the Oceanborn have to admit, is their own damn fault. The Knights of Winterweir have, for some reason, refused to check these "bandits."

Recently, the Oceanborn have begun doing a massive amount of trade with the Southern Continent and have begun ferrying their missionaries as well as trade goods throughout the lands. It is said their red gold and black gems have a disturbing effect on the minds of its owners and some prominent Pirate Lords have begun to convert to their sinister religion.

Libra1010
01-03-2015, 01:08 PM
On a simple level, what separates the Pirate Isles from the Greyjoys or the doomed experiment of Nassau?

In terms of the latters, the fact that the Oceanborn are a fully-fledged civilisation in addition to a safe harbour for organised crime; in addition to Piracy there are all sorts of professions one might pursue in the Pirate Isles - there's fishing, fishing and fishing for a start, but there's also farming, wood-carving, ship-building, blacksmith, shepherd, tailor, trader, weaver, bard, priest, mediator and of course fisherman etc et al.

In other words all the professions needed to support piracy and many, many more.


Concerning the former, for a start the Iron Isles entire could be set down in the Isles of the Oceanborn and lost (geographically speaking the Iron Isles are small isles off the shoulder of a huge continent - The Pirate Isles are middling-sized isles not far from the hinge where two continents join); culturally speaking Ironborn could just about fit into the Pirate Isles, but they'd still stand out and not necessarily for all the right reasons; ironically the Pirate Islanders are a far from insular culture, they love to see what's on the other side of that horizon and they enjoy picking up ideas from other cultures and playing with them, albeit not necessarily embracing them (more to the point most would see this nonsense of 'The Iron Price' as STUPID - what you pick up matters, not how or where you got it - except for the usual adolescent or lunk-headed idiots who embrace the idea wholesale).

While the Drowned God would strike the Oceanborn as a bit ... well, CREEPY ... they'd almost certainly accept him as a Power (what Sir Terry Pratchett called a 'Small God'), but are unlikely to be evangelised en mass because quite frankly Vulthoo is their local lad and he's FAR cooler (think Heracles crossed with Jack Sparrow); Ironborn zealots would likely trigger a very one-sided war in response, leaving the Oceanborn pondering the folly of a People who show such enthusiasm for picking unequal fights and such stupidity in refusing to either talk their way out of them or just RUN.

There's a reason The Pirate Isles are also referred to as 'The Isles of the Fleet' and it has a lot more to do with the speed with which they get the heck out of trouble when they find themselves in it than it has to do with the Naval Ancestry of their civilisation! (Its not that the Oceanborn are SMARTER than the Ironborn, rather that they are infinitely more flexible).



The answer is it's important to separate the Oceanborn from their reputation and their islands (known to them as "The Home of the People" or C'Tolk in the Old Tongue) from the reputation they have managed to garner across the Kingdoms of Alacarn. Specifically, while they use ships closer to the galleons and caravels of the 16th century, their attitude is a great deal closer to those of the Vikings.

Mainland scholars tend to translate 'C'Tolk' as 'Isles of the Oceanborn' because "They may be People, but we are BETTER People!" and basically EVERYONE else calls them 'Pirate Isles' because quite frankly the East Islanders recognise good branding when they hear it!

On a more serious note I imagine that Alacarn is a continent on the very brink of a full-blown Renaissance (having trended in that direction since The War of the Eight-Fingered Hand), with the West Coast further along in that respect given the presence of Amania, Lartan, Martok and even Winterweir (although the last named is more a conduit for change than it's most obvious manifestation), despite the best efforts of a certain sort of Tythan (and Weirfolk) Aristocrat.

With that in mind it makes a great deal of sense that, while the Oceanborn aren't QUITE up to Elizabethan levels of ship-building, they're already hard at work on the fathers and grandfathers of the Race Galleons that made life so interesting for the targets of Hawkins and Drake et al.

Why is ship-building so advanced in the Sea of Dawn (aka The Sea of Shadows) while it remains backward-looking even in the Sea of Dusk (with Amania and Martok favouring massive production over massive improvements) and just backward in the Sea of Twilight? (where galleys have been chasing each other since the days of the First Emperor at least); because The Sea of Dawn is UNPREDICTABLE even by the standards of Oceans and obliges you to improvise or die, almighty encouragement to innovations!



In simple terms, this means the Oceanborn spend the majority of their time trading and exploring as opposed to pillaging.

The Pirate Islanders LOVE Vulthoo so darned MUCH and make their version of Paalok so darned INTERESTING that people forget that Veethor is the third member of the Local Trinity; Oceanborn may not worship Trade, but they certainly worship Enterprise (not THAT one or the one you're thinking of or even the other one, although I suspect they'd enjoy the stories!).



What other nations call piracy, the Oceanborn consider to be their warrior culture.

Also "Profitable" God have mercy on their sticky-fingered souls.



The Pirate Isles consider captains equivalent to Lords, Cutlasses akin to Knights, and Admirals (Pirate Lords) close to Arls and Kings. The only difference between them and the lords on land is their territories are the waterways of Alacarn's shores.

One idea that has occurred to me is that while parents can of course pass legacies of landholdings and goods to their children (and the power that goes with them) Titles amongst the Oceanborn tend to be Life Titles and you have to EARN them, rather than inherit them (Pirate Islanders having almost as great a suspicion of Rank, inherited or otherwise, as they do on Monopolies); for example even when you own the ship and have ordered around crews all your life you'll still be a 'Master' to one and all until your crew names you 'Captain' with one voice (I imagine 'Captain' to be the Islander equivalent of 'Colonel' in the American South, to be honest). I also imagine that 'Captain of Captains' (an honorific indicating that you have in effect been appointed first amongst equals on your Isle) is FAR more prestigious than a mere 'King' or 'Queen' (HIGH King now ... ).

I imagine that precise titles also vary a bit, but may I suggest that 'Captain' makes more sense as an equivalent of a Knight (since they're both leaders in war and more mobile than lordship might permit), with 'Warden' serving in place of Lord? (I do imagine that 'Admiral' in the Pirate Isles means something like 'Imperator' in the Roman Republic - it means that you've led a war-fleet into Battle and WON).



The vast majority of piracy conducted, to be honest, is decidedly less glamorous than their own tales speak of. It is conducted in backrooms or on the decks of ships where a "tax" is levied and the pirates leave with only a portion of the cargo. This is to prevent trade from being discouraged and the Pirate Isles have actually some of the safest waters around for their "friends."

The legendary glibness of Oceanborn might well have sprung up as the best way to keep 'friends' from turning into 'unfriends' while you're making their cargo YOUR cargo.



Of course, not everyone is willing to take a bunch of highwaymen of the sea seriously or their sometimes hefty levies.

Especially on the Wyvern Isles, where Riders tend to regard the threat posed by mere WOODEN ships with utter hilarity; the problem is that its a bit tricky to track down a single ship in all the vastness of the Ocean, so they are obliged to harry the Isles themselves - and fixed defences have on occasion proven a bane even to flying napalm death lizards.



Pirate hunters, invasions of the Pirate Isles themselves, and attempts to circumvent them are a constant back-and-forth with the other nations.

The most famous example of this back-and-forth would be the ongoing love-hate relationship between The Pirate Isles and the Black Coast; on any given day it is very, very difficult to predict whether the city states on the Coast will be hounding their Oceanborn neighbours or lionising their achievements (it varies from city to city and in some cases from year-to-year). It doesn't help that the Coastborn and the Oceanborn have been intimately inter-related since there first was a concentrated attempt to settle the Near Isles (as they were known in Alacarns day and long after), since the Fleet of the Old Empire was based on the Black Coast and largely recruited there - it is a connection that has never failed but occasionally bemoaned ever since.

Not just by the Coastborn either - The White Sails War is probably the very worst defeat the Oceanborn have yet suffered in all their recorded History; The Bloody Sails hit harder but the Coastborn have better ships and a better idea of where to hit their near-neighbours so it HURTS (more to the point Pirate Islanders are willing to do business with the Black Coast at the expense of their fellow-countrymen in a way that would be unthinkable and un-survivable were the enemy drawn from East Weirfolk).



Winterweir sailors are often accompanied by Valken archers, living giant catapults, and even Slythin equipped with amphibian traits while trained in the art of murder. The Winterweir Bloodsails are to the Pirate Isles what they are to other lands, leaving burned ships and horrifically mutiliated bodies in their wake. They are the revenge of a people with a deep and unforgiving nature which the Oceanborn have to admit, is their own damn fault. The Knights of Winterweir have, for some reason, refused to check these "bandits."

Not least because East Weirfolk are to the Middle and Western Shires what Winterweir as a whole is to the world - Rugged, Unrelenting and a bit too close to the Wilderness; that's what living with Turlon to the South, Wyvern Isles in the East and Oceanborn closing just over the Horizon does to you. It doesn't help that authority in the East is more than a little ad hoc, since the odds are pretty good that if you don't do the job JUST right it'll kill you.



Recently, the Oceanborn have begun doing a massive amount of trade with the Southern Continent and have begun ferrying their missionaries as well as trade goods throughout the lands. It is said their red gold and black gems have a disturbing effect on the minds of its owners and some prominent Pirate Lords have begun to convert to their sinister religion.

On the whole that 'disturbing effect' is GREED - Oceanborn being opportunists anyway, some think "They'll PAY us?" and are willing to do a whole heck of a lot more than is strictly sensible; on the other hand this IS Teth'Ammon and there is more to the jewels of certain hoards than meets the eye ... the eyes of FLESH at any rate.

In any case the 'friendly' Captains are only part of the picture on the Pirate Isles - as many and quite possibly even more are counting the years since the War of the Eight-Fingered Hand, then wondering if the time is right to hit up the Saiyan Main for they'll have likely replaced all the goodies looted by the Oceanborn during their depredations during that conflict (While the agents of the Shadow King were busy elsewhere they robbed the place deaf and blind - quite frankly the cities on the North-Eastern Coast of Saiya heartily resent the Divine Covenant doing deals with the descendants of those who inflicted such depredations upon them).

Believe it or not, one particularly-mad flotilla of Oceanborn (motivated in part by plunder, in part by piety) actually portaged their ships across the Thronebridge (the rather inhospitable land bridge joining Alacarn to Saiya) so they could stick their oars into the naval war raging in the Sea of Twilight (or more accurately so that they could rob the Corsair Coast while the Corsairs were busy elsewhere and stick them in the back while they were duelling D'Henna), in which the D'Hennan fleet was doing a rather better job of distinguishing itself against the Corsairs than its Land Army was doing in the face of Big Bunghi.

Who did, admittedly, have the advantage of having served as a mercenary with the Royal Riding in D'Henna for some years before a ... misunderstanding over plunder saw him sent home with thanks (Horse, Light or Heavy, has always been the great weakness in the Hennan Host, especially when faced with Turlon - not a country of great horsemen, but one that breeds horses of quality in greater numbers - and until relatively recently Thur were the ones most often brought across the Mountains to bolster that weakness. Until Great Bunghi rather threw that recruiting ground under a certain shadow of suspicion, although the Royal Riding remained conspicuously loyal in the face of their countrymen an even their kin; most lived the rest of their lives and died in D'Henna).

Libra1010
01-03-2015, 01:11 PM
Charles, I trust that you know that I have no intention of over-writing your version of things with my own; indeed I hope that our ideas compliment each other more often than they disagree!

I fully intend to syncretise our two depictions until they form one complex whole and I do hope you'll forgive me if I seek to further complicate a setting you have spent such time developing.:D

Phrozen
01-03-2015, 01:22 PM
Seems the Pirate Isles have a lot in common with the Dutch as well.

Charles Phipps
01-03-2015, 01:28 PM
Charles, I trust that you know that I have no intention of over-writing your version of things with my own; indeed I hope that our ideas compliment each other more often than they disagree!

I fully intend to syncretise our two depictions until they form one complex whole and I do hope you'll forgive me if I seek to further complicate a setting you have spent such time developing.http://roninarmy.com/images/smilies/biggrin.png

Eh, it's YOUR setting now.

:-)


One idea that has occurred to me is that while parents can of course pass legacies of landholdings and goods to their children (and the power that goes with them) Titles amongst the Oceanborn tend to be Life Titles and you have to EARN them, rather than inherit them (Pirate Islanders having almost as great a suspicion of Rank, inherited or otherwise, as they do on Monopolies); for example even when you own the ship and have ordered around crews all your life you'll still be a 'Master' to one and all until your crew names you 'Captain' with one voice (I imagine 'Captain' to be the Islander equivalent of 'Colonel' in the American South, to be honest). I also imagine that 'Captain of Captains' (an honorific indicating that you have in effect been appointed first amongst equals on your Isle) is FAR more prestigious than a mere 'King' or 'Queen' (HIGH King now ... ).

The Oceanborn, in fact, don't have much in the way of a feudal culture capable of supporting land. The Oceanborn's islands are mostly forests and farms with enough mines to support their habits as well as towns. Land-dwelling Oceanborn occupy a decidedly lower position in the heirarchy and no one really cares too much who owns what, save as to how much it affects the cost of timber and grain. Hereditary positions exist in the lands but they tend to be "hereditary mayor, hereditary sheriff, and hereditary tax collector" which can be replaced at the command of a Pirate Lord at their discretion.

Petty Kings, it should be noted, DO exist. They tend to be Pirate Lords who have set up fortresses and declared themselves lords above a few Pirate Lords and villages. It's common enough it's only viewed as somewhat eye-rolling as becoming MORE like the other nations is not what they want.

Of course, it should be noted most of the Pirate Lords have heritages of Captains and Pirate Lords since raising an armada is EXPENSIVE and they tend to be Captains highly placed in their father's (or mother's) fleets before their progenitor's death (helped along or not). Nothing keeps peasants from working their way up the ranks relatively bloodlessly versus in the rest of Alacarn.

The Honor/Integrity system is in full effect.


I imagine that precise titles also vary a bit, but may I suggest that 'Captain' makes more sense as an equivalent of a Knight (since they're both leaders

in war and more mobile than lordship might permit), with 'Warden' serving in place of Lord? (I do imagine that 'Admiral' in the Pirate Isles means something like 'Imperator' in the Roman Republic - it means that you've led a war-fleet into Battle and WON).

A reminder, of course, Libra that knight doesn't actually mean all that much in Winterweir as we're squarely in the period Sir Prachett said, "When kings are men who are very good at killing things." The technology may be Renassiance in places, or even higher, but the viciousness is decidedly just shy of the Dung Ages.

In the case of the title, Cutlass, it is a rite-of-passage for Oceanborn sailors. To be presented with a cutlass is to have it forged specifically for you by the Captain of your vessel and presented to you at considerable cost to tell you that you've distinguished yourself in battle or years of service to the point you can be trusted as part of any man's crew. The makings on the weapon's hilt are as distinctive to the discerning Oceanborn eye as heraldry on a tabard.

The role of the Cutlass is also an important one as presenting said sword is akin to presenting one's bonafides when recruiting an Oceanborn crew. When a Cutlass has borrowed, stolen, or earned enough gold to commission or buy a ship (or just taken one himself) then it is this rank which allows him to be a CAPTAIN. An Oceanborn sailor may serve under a non-Cutlass Captain, usually, foreigners but he will never consider him a TRUE Captain.

In practicality, Cutlasses are individuals who hold positions of quartermasters or masters of arms. Many are quite content to never become Captains themselves, but their swords are marks of distinction and respect in Oceanborn culture.

Libra1010
01-03-2015, 01:45 PM
The Islands of Lost Property, The Isles of the Fleet, The Ship-Kingdoms, The Islands of the Articles, The Isles of the Unsleeping, The Hungry Homeland, The Land of Sly Tongues, The Bane of By-Law, The Realm of Ransoms, The Once-Kingdom of Krasnodor.


THE GRAND THREE
Flatland Isle
Cropland Isle
Woodland Isle


THE LITTLE ISLES

Gathergold Isle
Blackrock Isle
Greentimber Island
Redtide Isle
The Empty Isle
Breakhull Rocks
Drakehaven Rock
Coalscuttle Isle
Shortensail Rocks
Fair Trade
Crumblestone
Honest Isle
Small Mercy
Stern Isle
Littlespit
Trader's Gauntlet
The Isle of Councils
Timbershiver
Dead Man's Chest
Unsown Isle
Ware Island
The Isle of Berries
Ugly Isle
Homely Isle
Pretty Isle
The Isle of Crowbait
Razorback Island
The Isle of the Powers
The Isle of Outcries


Harbours, Havens and Home away from Hulls
Merryhaven
Smallharbour
Killwhale
Tallsail
Silverfish Sound
Big Fish Bay
Sealbite
Rainhaven
Killdrake
Killswine
Rockport
Salting
Pearlton
Hardscrabble
Seawolf Shore
Highwater Hall
Crumbling Cliffs
Grey Bay
Little Netting
Greater Netting
Fishing
Shack
Seashell Sound
Getaway Bay
Fisherman's Hook
Shellwater
Hull
Masthead
Landfall
Crow's Eye
Saltfields
Fowler's Feast
Kraken's Kingdom
Raider's Return
Crossbones
Whalingport
Port Tanner
Cutpurse Port
Hemptown
Young Anchorage

Voltron64
01-03-2015, 01:46 PM
So Cutlasses are equivalent Seneschals, Guard Captains, and Stewards among other things?

Charles Phipps
01-03-2015, 01:58 PM
So Cutlasses are equivalent Seneschals, Guard Captains, and Stewards among other things?

They usually hold those titles, yes.

:cool:

Libra1010
01-06-2015, 02:14 PM
Charles, I like that bit about the symbolism of the cutlass and its associations in the Pirate Isles - I wonder if the form of the cutlass hilt differs from that of the 16/17th century originals? (My guess is that the blade would likely lack the guard characteristic of post-Renaissance blades).

I shall answer your comments in more detail at some future point, but I shall first - and finally, at long last! - post my first actual contribution to Winterweir the Queendom, as opposed to THE SAVAGE WORLD OF WINTERWEIR (a name which I must admit was adopted to help ease any potential for confusion between the Setting as a whole and the specific Realm).

Voltron64
01-06-2015, 02:59 PM
I look forward to your description of that relative bastion of sanity (especially when compared to its closest neighbors) that is the wild and untamed Queendom of the North, Libra!

Charles Phipps
01-06-2015, 10:15 PM
The Knights of Winterweir

As Terry Prachett would say, the nobility of Winterweir is very much of the old school. The old school nobility being those individuals who are very good at killing versus those who are stand on pomp and ceremony. Albeit, they're not quite as old school as Cohen the Barbarian who is noble insofar as people give him titles or wealth to not kill them.

The idea of chivalry exists as a concept on the continent, however, and is spread far across the Hundred Kingdoms thanks to the efforts of some individuals who have taken to defying the idea a knight has to be a complete b******. In the land of grim and darkness which is almost, but not quite, grimdark, the Knights of Winterweir are something of a exception that proves the rule. Those individuals who have received the memo on being a setting where evil prospers and promptly thrown it in the rubbish bin.

The Knights of Winterweir, known abroad as the Knights of the Hammer, are a holy order of knights which is intimately tied to the Northern Wilderness. The organization was founded in devotion to the God of Justice, God of Rulership, and God of the Dead in equal measure with its purpose to be the protection of settlers from the many dangers present. What's shocking is the knights not only kept to these vows but eventually started extending their protection to those not usually covered by them.

The reason for this uncharacteristic amount of honesty, mercy, and good judgement seems to be related to a covert partnership established with the Death Whisperers as well as Valken mystics. These two relationships are ignored by the majority of all three groups but exist enough that someone has been watching out to catch them when they fall or advise them as to what is a bad long-term idea.

There is also the rather brutal winnowing effect of Winterweir that tyrants simply do not last long in the North as the rugged independent folk have a habit of slitting the throats of those who try and make themselves dictators. The fact the Knights of Winterweir are all trained as official magistrates with power to judge each other has done a wonderful job of keeping their ranks relatively clean of corruption as well.

In Winteweir, the knights of their land are a fact of life and considered to be heroes of the people. They are a bulwark against the chaos and while they have struggled to maintain military supremacy against the increasing technological advantages of the Free Republic, most put their complete trust in the organization. Sons and daughters send their children regularly to train from adolescence to adulthood with them, creating the incredibly well-versed Renaissance men who have not so much exemplified concepts of honor in Alacarn but CREATED THE FOUNDATION.

Tythan, of course, is the party responsible for creating ninety-percent of the pageantry behind armored calvary but it is the Knights of Winterweir who have developed the idea this might come with certain responsibilities to use this power wisely. This would be an unusual quirk of Winterweir, alone, except for the fact the Knights aren't exactly restricted to Winterweir.

Which is a concern.

Foregoing their traditional allegiances to lords, ladies, and kin: those styled Knights of the Hammer take up the warhammer and sword to bring the message of the gods to other lands as militant priests. Their primary goal was to hunt down the forces of chaos, evil, and magic gone array which were just over the borders but the appalling conditions convinced many to start setting up chapterhouses.

The idea of Winterweir creating Fifth Columns in their home nation would have resulted in the swift but brutal destruction of these groups if not for the fact there was a rather staggering need for them. Bounty Hunters, the infamous Sewer Knights, and the occasional wandering do-gooder was just not enough. While several chapterhouses have been infamously destroyed in the order's history, the majority of them have been left alone by royal decree everywhere but Amania. So long as the Knights of the Hammer foreswear involvement in politics and restrict their activities to assisting in the maintenance of the law, they are considered nothing more than a rather quirky monastic or mercenary group.

Even Turlon and Volkelstein have their own chapter houses (the latter being a false face of harmless drunkards for the actual underground ones).

Time will tell if the Knights can indefinitely resist meddling in the politics of the realms given the staggering INCOMPETENCE on display.

Libra1010
01-07-2015, 05:52 AM
Not to mention all the desperation, self-interest, self-satisfaction and Machiavellian misdeeds - not all the problems in the leadership of Alacarn is caused by incompetence (though many are); a frighteningly high percentage tend to be caused by extremely capable individuals incapable of admitting that their plans might not have the best results for the wider world beyond themselves or their own inner circle even if they work PERFECTLY!



I look forward to your description of that relative bastion of sanity (especially when compared to its closest neighbors) that is the wild and untamed Queendom of the North, Libra!

Thank you very kindly for your confidence in my Power to do this settings namesake Justice, Good Voltron!:)

In all fairness to Alacarn, exotic and peculiar and downright WEIRD as life on this particular World can be, it should be noted that 'Sanity' is the basic state of things (as opposed to the Old World of Warhammer Fantasy where "Eccentricity" tends to be the politest and probably the least accurate description of the prevailing local conditions); unfortunately so is Bastard Feudalism, Endemic Opportunism and an unfortunately-flexible attitude to Law that tends to resolve disputes on the age-old theory that 'Possession is nine-tenths of the Law.'

Also monsters, hiding at the margins of the World or hidden in the shadows of society, doing their best to get on with Life or at least avoid looking TOO obviously Dead.

The problem is that the generally-predictible political instability and social stability of Alacarn is over and done with; there's a new Age dawning, a lot of chickens are coming home to roost from across the length and breadth of the Settings colourful past (and some of the eggs a-hatching are going to produce cockatrice instead of friendlier varieties of fowl) - unless The Brave and the Bold make of it THE Age of Heroes it is all too likely to turn into an Age of Monsters instead, a wind-age, a Wolf-age as the wide world crumbles into wilderness.

So hitch up your weaponry, haul out your maps, screw your courage to the sticking-point and for pity's sake take care of your feet.

Hero can't get anywhere if he doesn't take proper of his feet!:cool:

Libra1010
01-07-2015, 07:52 AM
The Northern Wilderness, The Free Queendom, The Youngest Crown, Far-Wide Winterweir, Winterweir the Enduring, Winterweir the Unendurable.


Given the vastness of Winterweir and the variety to be found within its borders, the author has made so bold as to focus upon the principal divisions of this far-flung Queendom rather than the details - he hopes that you will not think this intolerably vague and will welcome the contributions of any scholars seeking to shed further light upon the complexities of this, the Farthest North and Youngest (albeit not the most Youthful) of the Great Crowns under which the Throne of Alacarn has been divided.

The various Principal Vassals of Queen Alusan and the Great Houses sworn to them having been described in small detail elsewhere this article shall focus upon the less aristocratic - but in many ways more integral - divisions of Winterweir, the Shires. For the record a 'Shire' is an administrative division of the realm, administered bureaucratically by The Crown rather than feudal officialdom (although depending upon the precise state of affairs prevailing in any given place at any given time, there can be great deal of overlap between the influence of the Great Houses and incumbents in the Offices of State).

Each Shire is centred around a Burg - traditionally a fortified position into which the residents of the individual Shire may retreat to take refuge, but in many of the more settled Shires quite often having undergone evolution into a full-blown city and not always having extended its defences to encompass these new developments.

Winterweir is far from a wholly safe place, but its residents often feel more secure than those of many other Realms, although happiness continues to be seen as a luxury commodity rather than a basic Human Condition.

As a note Burghs tend to grow up into TRADE towns, for the simple reason that the only way to travel from East to West in Alacarn and vice versa North of the Sea of Twilight (and therefore free from domineering Sephia) is through Winterweir - at least if you want to avoid a long climb over The Midland Mountains, not to mention Unpredictable Thur and Inhospitable Keldor.

For this reason should the Weirfolk manage to survive their encircling enemies and turn those enemies into friends (not to mention build up decent infrastructure at more than a very local level), it is likely to make a truly terrifying amount of money as it effectively turns into the local equivalent of the Silk Road for the duration of those seasons when it is not reduced to a Wasteland by Winter.

Assuming that someone can stop those Amanian Low-Lifes from engaging in foolish Imperialist ventures, keep Keldor from trying to gut Winterweir from the South while their Northern counterparts (unbound by treaty) turn the Marches into a Rampage, as well as prevent the Oceaborn from turning the East Coast into a cat-and-mouse pursuit while those under Bloody Sails seek them out to dye their sheets red once more.

Then having accomplished those miracles you can start the REAL hard work of persuading Tythan to see sense, persuade the Shadow King to leave 'His' Continent in Peace and bring about a lasting reconciliation between D'Henna and it's former Provinces, as well as Tame Turlon.

If you're REALLY lucky you might even accomplish SOME of this in one lifetime without dying of sheer exhaustion (or quite possibly sheer frustration).


The Western Weirfolk

The most developed area in all of Winterweir by virtue of the fact that most of Venetia's followers decided to settle as far away from Turlon as they possibly could without hanging their shingle out on the Western sea-bed (Aefin or no Aefin), a majority setting down roots in the fertile if somewhat soggy vicinity of what became Moonport - a decision they rather came to regret when The Shadow King made that one of his first ports of call after seizing Amania for his base on operation on the continent.

Moonport has been living down the fact that The Field of Fallen Kings failed to see the Battle that both Twin Kings of Amania, The Crown Prince of Tythan and the local Earl-king had been planning to hammer The Lord of Shadows and Steel back into the sea ever since - as this Field instead became parade ground for the greatest Triumph of the Wrong Side in the War of the Eight-Fingered Hand, as The Shadow King compelled three whole armies into obedience to him without striking a blow.

Having previously threatened to assume ascendance over the Middle Shires, The Western Weirfolk instead found themselves their equal courtesy of their wastage in War and the vassal of The Queen in Aefin besides; however The West remains so powerful that alone in all Winterweir it theoretically remains in personal union with the rest of the realm, rather than part of a political union.

Which is to say that in theory Queen Alusan rules here because she is Queen in the West, rather than because she is Queen in Aefin.

This theory tends to cause a great deal of trouble when it does not cause considerable confusion, mostly because someone like the late unlamented Great House in this region will tend to try and exploit it for their own profit.

Whatever the case, The Western Lands of Winterweir remain the most settled in the Realm and extremely independent-minded no matter how independent they might actually be; they also remain in the front-line against Amania, although thankfully this remains a Cold War and if there's one thing Weirfolk can cope with its cold.

Even when they are residents of 'The Warm West.'



Of all the Partitions in Winterweir, The Western Portion remains the most heavily fortified, not least so that it may be well-armed to counter the threat posed by Amania but also because it is extremely rich … and the West Weirfolk don't yield up their riches to ANYONE without putting up an almighty fight first.

Just ask The Queen.

Principal Shires and their Heart-Burghs of the West Include:-

Portshire centred on Moonport.

Cropshire centred on Mudburgh.

Rainshire centred on Dryburgh.

Longshire centred on Frogburgh.

Thornshire centred on Hedgeburgh.

Treeshire centred on Tallburgh.

Springshire centred on Cornburgh.




The Middle Shires

A place where one only has to work hard, rather than get lucky to make a decent living, The Middle Shires are not the only place in Alacarn where one can make such a claim without being proven horribly, horribly wrong within seconds of Tempting Fate but they are probably the nicest (except in Winter where that honour goes to Honest Island in the Pirate Isles Archipelago of all places, since Winter there is a burden on the whole, rather than a deadly threat).

Also a place with Keldor to the South arming some of the least friendly non-Humans on the face of the Continent very, very heavily on the understanding that they will happily settle Belkor's scores with Winterweir (NO Slave trade? WAIT, you're going to be STAYING in our once and future plantations? YOU WANT TO BE FRIENDS?!?) without obliging the crafty Batha King in that place to raise a finger, never mind taxes or an army - not to mention Beast-Breed, Wild Giants and Stranger Creatures not Far North enough for the whole-hearted comfort of the Weirfolk who call the Middle Shires home, even with King Bear and his Marchers in-between them.

Not to mention The Western Shires and the East to either side of them.

Still life could be worse … and there is the very serious threat lingering over them that things MUST get worse before they can get better.



In all Winterweir the burghs of The Middle Shires are the furthest along in their transformation into cities, thanks to the protection offered by the Marches and the generally passive-aggressiveness of Keldor.

This could be a problem.

Principal Shires and Burghs in the Kingdoms Heart include:-

Oldshire centred on Wagonburgh (The administrative capital, as Aefin is the Religious and Political).

Hearthshire centred on Coalburgh.

Woodshire centred on Timberburgh.

Holyshire centred on Aefin.

Bordershire centred on Gaolburgh.

Galeshire centred on Foulburgh.

Goldshire centred on Mintburgh.



East Weirfolk

As noted elsewhere a place that seems to the rest of the Weirfolk to be what other Realms accuse Winterweir of being; a raw, uncivilised and inhospitable land far too close to the Wilderness and far too friendly with the 'Wild Peoples' to be called remotely sensible (not to mention progressive to the point of being not different enough from low-life Amania).

Stripped of all preconception The East is a raw frontier wild even by the standards of Winterweir, not surprisingly given that it is the portion of the Realm most easily accessed by The Oceanborn AND the closest to Turlon to boot - quite frankly generations of hard-headed, sturdy Weirfolk have taken one look at the neighbourhood then thought "Not this year, not with THOSE neighbours" then headed elsewhere when they upped their stakes.

Leaving The East to be wandered, exploited and occasionally built upon by the stubborn, the excessively-optimistic and the just-plain-crazy (not to mention populated with the stubborn, bloody-minded, bloody-handed breed that have called it Home for as long as they care to remember and suffered accordingly); on the credit side Aristocracy is mighty thin on the ground in the Savage East and the competition not exactly numerous.

If you're looking for wide-open spaces to which you can stake a claim without being obliged to send a cut to The Crown or put up with those stinking cattle-pens they call civilisation this is your part of the World - just prepare yourself to share it with raiders, reavers, ruffians and sundry ne'er do wells, then kiss the small comforts of civilisation (like farmers markets, common politeness and baths) Goodbye.

Oh and try not to bother the natives, for they're even tougher than the neighbours and just plain MEAN as you have to be when you need to boot Tralax and Oceanborn off your land! (assuming you survive the process).



Quite frankly the East is not amply provided with Shires, because quite frankly locals are lucky if they keep their SKINS in a good year, never mind their land and property; Burghs are slightly more common, but still rare until the Crown decides to spend the money needed to build walls that can withstand being painted with crosshairs by any passing Reaver or Adventurer for whom a fortress registers as 'Target' rather than 'Deterrent' by virtue of the concentration of property in the presumed safety of such walls.

Still people need SOMEWHERE to store their pelts, the gold they've panned and sundry other small comforts, along with any other trade goods in bulk so they can afford to run for their lives when the Bad Neighbours show up - to date Silverlake has the best reputation as a safe spot because it is, quite bluntly, a long way from the sea or any river connecting to it (as well as close to excellent specimens of that rarity in the East The Good Neighbour … even if they ARE Far Folk).

Principal Burghs in the East include Havenburgh, Hiddenburgh, Flameburgh and Seaburgh.

Charles Phipps
01-09-2015, 04:34 PM
So why IS Winterweir so different from other lands?

Well, it is and it isn't.

Winterweir's reputation for being the diamond in the rough in terms of civil rights and racial tolerance is somewhat exaggerated. In truth, it's got plenty of its own problems which individuals would do well to remember if they chose to immigrate up North in hopes of escaping some of the many problems of other lands.

What Winterweir doesn't have is a nobility which is very secure in its position. As they're descendants of a bunch of exiled D'Hennan nobility, they brought with them their beliefs they could and would marry whoever they wanted to do so and a proud sense of tradition which gave them an antiquity they cherish to this day.

However, what they didn't have was the slave-based economy or scare tactics which would have allowed them to live as they normally do. As such, there are numerous agreements both formal and informal which means there's a means to redress greviances.

What Winterweir does have is an essentially legalized system for murder and feuding. Vendettas run deep and bloody in Winterweir with clans, alliances, and conflicts over resources meaning that while a noble doesn't have absolute power over his people--there's very little preventing him from straight up murdering people who tick him off other than fear of ticking off said person's friends.

With the Oceanborn just off the coast, it is the Winterweir who have their own blood-price and vendettas.

What Winterweir doesn't have is a corrupt church and system of religion due to the fact its believers are, by and large, some of the most faithful in the land. Winterweir religion is straight to the point and largely without flourish.

What Winterweir does have is a bunch of fanatics, superstitions, and rituals which can easily rouse the people to doing terribly stupid things. Many a war or feud has been started over ownership of things from saints bones to the idea a man or woman is insufficiently godly. Real men (and women) love the Twelve and often kill for it.

What Winterweir doesn't have is nobility and kings constantly pushing for the conquest of other lands due to ancient wrongs or dreams of empire. The lands are too unsettled to really feel the pressing need for kindgoms when plenty of second or third sons found their OWN holds. Likewise, plenty of farmers do the same.

What Winterweir does have is thievery. The Winterweir nobility AND peasantry, constantly raid over the border into Amania and other lands for goods or riches. Many times, the Winterweir also attempt to make petty kingdoms or advances for themselves.

Winterweir also has a staggering number of weird ruins, bandit camps, crumbling fortresses, creepy cults, witches covens, necromancer's castles, isolated communities full of unspeakable rites, and monsters which are better left undisturbed but date back to the days both before or immediately after the Terra'ssar.

Winterweir is a land where outlaws and fugitives flee in order to live their lives in peace with plenty never getting caught due to the wide-open spaces throughout. Many of these result in generational evils coming into existence. More than a few nobles have expanded outwards only to find a hundred-year-old petty kingdom ruled by a Necromancer Lich King no one even expected existed.

This is in addition to the fact Winterweir is not exactly uninhabited either with the Trow or Giants having a substantial claim to large portions of the land and less than happy at human expansion, especially with the not-so-subtle aid of the Valken. Wild men and Clans of those who do not recognize the Queen or her heirs are also in vast numbers.

Imagine the Starks' land and Skyrim all rolled into one.

Voltron64
01-09-2015, 05:44 PM
Still, best to have them on your side than not.

Libra1010
01-10-2015, 06:59 AM
Alacarn the Unforgettable was born to Almog, the Heir of Bretai (Brother's Son to The Stone King of Old) and to Maya the Emollient, his wife, in the 94th year of Elexas the Shadow-Queen, the seventy-first year of her reign and at the end of the first decade of her existence as a Vampire. She was raised in the twilight of the Ancient World of Dragon-Kings and Division, would do much and more to bring that epoch to its end in her time.

In life Alacarn was ink-black of eye (some say darkest-blue) and clipped close her hair (for grown out it curled and was more intractable than any of her vassals); her skin was dark and weathered, as though it had first been beaten into submission then tanned. Her face was handsome, but like a visor showed little by its motions save curiosity of the mildest variety.

Only by the glinting of eyes were her passions to be known; Mighty Decisions and the Working of a Great Temper were only ever revealed in hints through the outer seeming of Alacarn before all the deeds of her life were done.

In body she was by only a little more tall than broad; enduring and accustomed to exertion, to hunting, to fishing, to fighting and to dancing (the great delights of her peace-time), ever dressed well and in the brightest of cloths though all the finery of Royalty ever seemed a hunting-trophy on her person and not the trappings of a throned princeling.

In the twenty-second year of her age she fell in with a party that hunted the Giants who yet lingered about the High Lake to destruction (thus winning renown for ending the depredations of that breed) and it fell out that she loved very well one whom she had saved in the course of that pursuit; this was the Lady Kaleena of the Golden Blood, as far-sighted as she was fair of feature but ever haunted by the shadows that lingered all about her.

Yet Alacarn drove away those shadows and the two of them were wed, against the will of their parents - for the parents of Lady Alacarn feared to wed with the near kin of the night-stalking Queen and the parents of the Lady Kaleena feared the consequences of failing to honour the engagement already arranged for the finest of all their progeny.

These two ladies were loyal to one another all the days of their lives together and would never willingly be parted; they scorned the Night-Stalkers in their hearts, although they were not so foolish as to mock them in fair return for the slights sent against them and the threats made against their lives.

Yet when the time was come for the end of Elexas the Shadow-Queen, in the fourth year of their marriage, they did not mourn and stood aside while all D'Henna was made to submit to Prince Xoan the Turlish Regent and to the Mighty Houses of his Domains - so, in her twenty-eighth year Alacarn was named to be Queen in D'Henna as vassal to Turlon.

In the twenty-ninth year of her life, the first winter of her rule, Alacarn rose up in rebellion against Prince Xoan with all D'Henna following her and the very Houses of Turlon beside her in the field against their lawful overlord who so failed to master them. With her own hand she slew Prince Xoan where none other had dared make the attempt and won her claim to the Rule in Turlon.

in the thirtieth year of her life, having by her power and her prestige made herself far more than merely the heir of Henna, Alacarn proclaimed herself Empress (in keeping with the wishes of the Eternal Emperor or so 'tis said); she was now already master in half the world, but her task was not yet done.



"You shall never be conquered; Now you shall conquer your enemies; then your enemies will kill you" these being the Words of the Eternal Emperor in his role as Oracle, on his being consulted by The Empress Alacarn concerning his future.


In the fourth year of her rule as Empress, the thirty-fourth year of her life, grown weary with the restlessness of her vassals and sick with fury at the depredations of the Dragon-Kings she declared War upon the dragon-kin that dwelled in the Isles of Zull off the East Coast of D'Henna her Homeland - combining spear and bow and discipline of D'Henna with horse and sword and spell of Turlon, she sent them into the Ashen Coast where those beasts had made a ruin in the multitudes.

Though the beasts outflew her in the end, she proved the power under command against these, not the least of the Dragon-kin and commanded to be built ports as well as fleets that she might harry the Homeland of these beasts and cast them out beyond the Known World of Humankind. Her ships carried warriors and war with them into the Isles, but found Allies there along with Enemies.

In the sixth year of her Imperium, the Empress Alacarn swore a pact with Krytek Worm-Tamer, he who had formed the Dragon-Riders and led them in hopeless war against the Wyverns until the arrival of Alacarn. Thereafter he was her marshal, her strongest arm and her most unpredictable envoy, a desperate and proud and fearless man with a Stinger of Wyverns to employ as he thought best at her word of command.

Thus were those isles nearest the East mainland all but emptied of the Dragon-Kind that had swarmed there, though the secret of how this was at last achieved was kept from the Dragon-Kings, who now grew restless and began to reconsider the scorn in which they had held this Human monarch, her declaration of War upon them being tempered by private payments of tribute to the Twin Slayers. Dragon-Kings in the East.

These two were the first to fall; the payment of tributes to one or other of them (never both) was the lever by which they were broken apart and the cunning words of Alacarn the ruin of their fellowship - they tore one another to pieces and the Dragon-Riders of the Empire consumed their ruin, then made their own nests in the Green Heights once denied to them.

Now there were Dragons left upon this World and the mightiest of them, Dranax the Red-Golden was yet in the fullness of his power; The Land of Ezul he bestrode and many a dragon-lord yet endured in only slightly lesser glory - and might find refuge under the shadow of his wings once cast out of their accustomed lairs. So Alacarn set herself the task of bringing down this last and greatest of the Dragon-Kings, who ruled from the impregnable highness of the Midland Mounts and on the whole ruled with cleverness and cunning.

Alacarn could conquer dragons, but she would not conquer those mountains by an assault - so she worked to set a siege, to starve the King in Blood and Gold, to set his very subjects against him.

This was the work of long years; Sephia submitted to her supremacy and opened its coffers on the understanding that she would bring an end to the old red nemesis of their trading ventures - the Grasslands of the Far West became her Vassals despite the councils of Thur when Tythan cast aside his twin (but was himself struck down in single combat with Krytek the Dragon-Marshal, each seeking to be made Viceroy in those fertile plains) - The Empress of Lartan Isle was obliged to acknowledge her superior - The Twin Crowns of Amania took the side of The Empress against the Dragons who had been their uneasy allies, swearing themselves to Alacarn rather than risk being obliged to see their saurian vexations become Heroes in Victory - Belkor deciding to cast in its lot with the winning faction in the long war of Mortals against Dragons - All the Cities and All the Peoples whom Alacarn came amongst avowed themselves her most loyal allies in her struggle against the Dragons or were utterly reduced to ruin.

No more can easily be listed, but many bowed and not a few burned.



"The Dragons, those Enemies of Man, I shall utterly extinguish - though the Enemies of this woman grow legion, I WILL NOT FAIL OF MY PURPOSE" These being the words of Alacarn at the outset of her Wars.


In time all that was left beneath the gaze of the Red King, from the very gates of his subject-valleys to the foot of his mountain stronghold was enemy territory and far beyond, by the will and the workings of Alacarn his Greatest Enemy. So straight was the siege with which his realm was encompassed that he sought to speak with The Empress of the Human Kindreds, as one sovereign with another or so they say - yet his servants held true and the siege went on for a decade, with little movement on the map and much blood on the ground, as well as fire in the skies.

In the end it was not treachery nor distant kin nor accident that laid low the Last Dragon-King but an escalade - where all the Legions of the Empire had failed to lay him low, a mere company climbing into the mountains brought about his ruin through their courage and the prowess of their feats.

But though they ended the War, it was Alacarn who had called it into being, Alacarn that had planned it, Alacarn that had led it and Alacarn who won it - in the fiftieth year of her life she was Supreme, the Hero and the Terror of All Ezul. Though The War of the Dragon-Kings was over, the Alliance she had built up to win it endured and she would spend the remainder of her career persuading her Allies to remain bound together in a reasonable semblance of Peace, intending that no Great Enemy would replace the Dragons that had vexed the Human Kindreds for so long (as the Dragon-Kings themselves replaced the Lillim who had harrowed the Civilised World).

The gratuities that continued to accrue to her as Lady of War, Field Marshal of the Great Alliance and Conqueror of Ezul, she stockpiled in mighty sums awaiting the day when they would be spent in arming Her Continent against some Enemy. That day would never come, but the money would be well-spent by her heirs nonetheless.

The living person of Alacarn the Empress was killed in the sixty-first year of her age; having elected to hunt once again in the Wilderness of Turlon she was attacked by Outlaws that held those wild things hunted more sacred than the person of their sovereign and murdered her, having first parted Alacarn from her Company and caught her at bay like hounds upon an old she-wolf.

Her assassins did not escape without injury, though their work was quickly done and over with.

Her immortal essence was held to have transfigured from the stuff of Humankind into a Divinity after death; this process was revealed and proclaimed to have been already completed in the first year of her heiress' reign. It was therefore decreed that Alacarn would be honoured as one amongst the Ancient Gods - although her veneration would long outlive those who so briefly ranked as her most puissant peers.

Libra1010
01-10-2015, 07:02 AM
Imagine the Starks' land and Skyrim all rolled into one.

Albeit with slightly fewer dragons than the latter and slightly better fortunes than The North!;)

I must admit that I am seriously tempted to post a number of rambles explaining how The Great Kingdoms of Alacarn (and all the others) differ from their most significant influences (as I see them, at least); may I please ask how useful you all think this would be?

Charles Phipps
01-10-2015, 10:52 AM
Albeit with slightly fewer dragons than the latter and slightly better fortunes than The North!;)

I must admit that I am seriously tempted to post a number of rambles explaining how The Great Kingdoms of Alacarn (and all the others) differ from their most significant influences (as I see them, at least); may I please ask how useful you all think this would be?

Winterweir is an odd duck given they have a few very modern (by the standards of Alacarn) cities and more than a few universities in an attempt to educate the populace.

It just also has some places just shy of the Bronze Age,

It's just so damned BIG.

But I'd love to read such an article.

Libra1010
01-11-2015, 08:29 AM
While I cannot promise to make a regular series out of such a thing, I shall do my best to work out a least a few articles on that order; I have to admit that I am currently enduring some overstimulation after coming up with the bright idea of easing my perennial worries about working out names for various portions of the Settings which I am helping to develop (and may yet develop in the future) by browsing through an Atlas and picking out a few of the choicest selections (not to mention reassuring myself that my own inventions were not TOO overblown).

Quite frankly compared to 'Killhope Law' and 'Great Slave Lake' my own contributions look downright PLAUSIBLE!:roll eyes:

(Even if I did plunder both these and many, many other names with the intent of employing them for my own nefarious purposes … once the overstimulation wears off and my mind works through the log-jam of inspiration).:cool:

Libra1010
01-11-2015, 10:19 AM
Amania, as one of the oldest known Nations on the Continent of Alacarn - like D'Henna and Turlon it was old even in the living days of the Empress who lent her name to the Continent of Ezul when her biggest Hero-Worshipper became the first heir to the honours The Uniter had accumulated in the course of a long, eventful career … although only after a rather incredible series of achievements in skulduggery and political cunning on the part of Empress Kalinka.

While slightly younger than D'Henna and Turlon, owing to the need to kill-off its Draconian oppressor Galax the Garrulous by poison before his assassins could claim the Crown that toppled from his brow* before going on to rename the Realm he'd ruled after themselves, each of them founding a lineage that would rule alongside the heirs of the other sibling … and the heirs of Galax the Gallant, as promiscuous as he was pernicious.



*Dragon-Kings being DRAGONS this should technically be a metaphor; Galax being Galax he actually commanded the casting a golden crown that looked farcically-tiny on his mighty brow but STILL consumed more gold than the average civic government sees in a year of business.

The Aman Twins are said to have created two complete sets of coronation regalia from it after melting it down and still had enough gold to found a currency to boot - hence The Amanian Crown, a unit of currency that still retains its name under the Republican Government prevailing at present because The Free Republic likes being able to say that in Amania a crown isn't even worth enough to buy a loaf of bread.


Strictly speaking the Aman Twins and their earliest descendants reigned over the domains of Galax as 'Dragon King and Dragon Queen' or 'Twin Dragons' or just 'Twin Eminences' (especially when the incumbent Dragon-King or Dragon-Queen of Amania failed to match the gender most appropriate to their office - although as Dragon-Queen Nelu Blasius proves this was not invariable custom) but only RULED High Amani, the city-state founded and maintained by their forefathers at the orders of Galax, along with the Human-populated areas known to this day as The Dryland (although it should be noted that in any portion of Amania 'Dry' is a relative term); the rest of that territory remained in the grip of the progeny of Galax, not quite clever enough to determine how to beat the wonder-weapons defending the territory of their Superiors AND persuade their siblings to accept their authority AND keep the other Dragon-Kings from swooping in once the fighting was done to snatch up what was left.

It was a complicated and ongoing and infinitely risky situation that never-the-less endured for more than one lifetime - not least because it was either stand together or fall separately, either to another dragon or to the Riders out of the Southern Plains of Grass or the Wintery Wilderness North-and-East. The Crown of High Amania and of Green Galax continued to descend through the twin lines of Human Heirs, Human and Dragon continued to co-exist on the whole … then came Alacarn.

One of the Twin Houses sold out the dragons with phenomenal speed, the other needed little persuading - with the other Dragon Kings removed and the last very, very distant they snatched at the chance to become part of Alacarn's Alliance as Senior Partners, offering their wonder-weapons and the blood sacrifice of those that had been their partners (although some claim that the fate of nearby Durance, where one of the largest fires set in the course of Alacarn's conquest exploded into life was equally-persuasive), with a few lingering progeny of Galax's get fleeing to join up with the last Dragon-King (or at least trying - Dranax took on proteges, but was notoriously picky .. and suspicious when it came to distant kin).

Then Alacarn died, Kalinka came into her own and the proud Twin-Eminences of Amania were entirely prepared to take advantage of her youth, as well as her lack of personal prestige to wrangle that much more freedom from the inconveniences of Alliance - unfortunately a succession crisis gripped The Dual Monarchy quite unexpectedly, both thrones falling vacant not quite simultaneously and the debates over who should fill them therefore assuming an unusual intensity.

The debate was resolved in fine style by the Empress Kalinka, called in as an impartial outside observer and asked to settle the whole unfortunate business in a way that left far less blood in the streets of High Amania than might otherwise have been the case - then somehow leaving the Dual Monarchy ELECTIVE (within the limits of the bloodline of the Aman Twins); to say that this gave the heirs of High Amania far, far more to think about at Home than they could comfortably deal with while plotting expansion abroad is saying the very least one might.

So busy did the various manipulations, plots and schemes connected with the new opportunities for heirs keep High Amania that even the Twin Eminences offered Davios Dragon-King nothing more than their fealty when he came a-calling to impose the Authority of the Empire (despite the puissance of their wonder-weapons and the pseudo-Scientific Arts connected with them).


This elective Monarchy, subject to the Lonely Throne and the Imperial Administration, endured for almost the entire life of the Old Empire after this date; Amania remained a backwater, but an extremely civilised one in the still relatively-wild Occident of Alacarn (much of the population of Wizardry, the Imperial Fief granted to support the education of Court Enchanters and keep their wilder experiments at a thoroughly safe distance … or at least keep the blast zone away outside the Capital was drawn from Amanians used to taking intimidating prodigies of esoteric knowledge in their stride) for much of that period … right before the witch-hunts of The War on Wild Magic (alias the War of Red Tears) decided that their Scientific Arts were in fact a manner of Sorcery unapproved-of by any sensible authority, then tore High Amania and its possessions into pieces.

The Dual Monarchy endured, but its traditions of the scientific arts, elective monarchy and civility were dealt incalculable damage … damage which became irreparable after the War of Shadow and Flame; though The Crimson King never came West himself, his foot-soldiers and devotees of that awful cult (which promised perfection, then refused to accept anything less than their perfect right to inflict it upon others in any form that occurred to them … without painkillers) DID.

Sadly the damage they did was less than that done in the course of the Shameful Siege - having fought those madmen and having found the idea of facing their infinitely more terrible masters less than congenial, a makeshift army of Imperial Militia decided to find the most impregnable fortress known to them, then further buttress it so that they might hide away from the world and kill anything less formidable than a God that elected to dig them out of that particular bolt-hole.

They fastened upon High Amania, but unfortunately the Amanians had learned to mistrust Imperial Armies marching in the wrong direction long since and locked their gates; what followed was the bloodiest conventional military operation of the War of Shadow and Flame, fought out by those claiming to serve the Interests of Empire, concluded only by a Sack despite the best efforts of the Twin Eminences (one House went so far as to wed with the leaders of the besiegers in an act of blatant betrayal - the other merely surrendered, but found the City unwilling to follow orders). The victorious Army thereafter proceeded to occupy Amania and turn the realm into the local equivalent of those crazy survivalist bolt-hole compounds one sometimes hears about.


This explains a good deal about Amania as it was prior to the Great Uprising, but things get worse; after The War was concluded, the Occupiers of High Amania proceeded to defy whatever was left of Imperial Government for the very good reason that they would have been thrown to the wolves had they yielded themselves up to be tried for their cowardly, treasonous and murderous misconduct. Quite frankly EVERYONE in their vicinity did their best to pile into them and only the already-terrifying degree of militarisation, coupled with the functional impregnability of the Amanian Quagmire (teeming with slythin and other horrible predators) kept Amania at liberty from the Authority of the Empire after it's outspoken secession.

Ironically the sheer ENTHUSIASM with which The Tythan played The Wolves obliged them to secede from The Empire themselves not long thereafter (all the while claiming that any authority trying to place LIMITS on such enthusiastic Public Servants as they did their best to scour Amania with Fire and the Sword could not possibly be the true heir of Alacarn). Amania and Tythan HATE one another thanks to millennia of rivalry, it must be remembered, even if Winterweir scares the Free Republic more these days by virtue of penetrating far deeper than any Tythan Army has to date despite diligent efforts by the likes of Harrold VI 'the Marsh Fly' (or much farther back in history by Rosemund the North-Burner of old House Felldrake - formerly the Royal House of Tythan).

It was in great part due to the ongoing military efforts of much larger and more populous Sovereignties that the Amanian Aristocracy decided to adopt a lifestyle that can only be called Spartan - the endemic brutalisation of Slaves only matched by brutal indoctrination of Heirs, The Dual Monarchy, the utter militarisation of an Aristocracy, Secret Police and Covert Killings at Home, Reaction and Repression only barely tempered by the odd scrap flung to the under-classes, all speak more of Laconia than Russia to those with a knowledge of History.

But even such a thoroughgoing brutality cannot endure without change; The War of the Eight-Fingered Hand obliged Amania to Change or Die (the introduction of gunpowder, superior ruthlessness and bureaucracy as an alternative to aristocracy seemed very welcome to the average Amanian - although they loved The Shadow King not very much at all in the end, since he tried to use their Realm as his own personal Stalingrad), the Dual Monarchy did its best to move with the times - or at least one of the Twin Houses did.

Elective Monarchy had been abandoned long ago, but now it was time for the habit of keeping TWO Crowned Heads where one would suffice followed it to the ash-heap of History as one of the Twin Houses subjugated the other, reducing its crowned head from co-ruler to a consort commanding only the weakest authority - thereby substantially reducing the amount of debate and the degree of restraint inherent in the Dual Monarchy. Amania, at any rate the Military Endeavours of Amania, prospered - helped in part by the fact that it was Tythans turn to endure attack from all comers for a frighteningly prolonged period (the attempts of its rulers to make themselves Heirs of All Alacarn at lance-point or at least become Emperors of the Occident having been poorly-received by the neighbours).

Then the mother of Turboys the Mad was killed in battle with a resurgent Tythan and things became still more difficult; her unconventional, bullying and ambitious heir came very close to proving himself brilliant with his dramatic changes in policy, but found a minor sin of strategic over-stretch turned into a major disaster by the sheer STUBBORNESS of Winterweir.

Now obliged to foot the bill for those expenses run up in the course of plundering Amania down to bare bones, Turboys attempted to feed his subjects the most minor reforms while throttling their chances of Real Freedom then found out in the hardest possible way that this particular tiger refused to answer to crop and spur any more.

Once again Amania was to undergo a drastic regime change, but this time it was the Amanian Folk themselves who would chose the new direction in which their Realm would head - they have not always chosen poorly.



As a note in terms of climate and landscape Amania more closely resembles The Low Countries of Western Europe - especially the Netherlands - in climate and in landscape, given that a major problem in this particular Realm is winning land from either the Sea of Dusk or the Quagmire so that it might be used for Agricultural purposes.

The fact that it is undergoing a reasonably-popular political, social and religious upheaval in the interests of relative Democracy furthers the parallel, but unfortunately the Amanians were brutalised HELOTS rather than burghers up until half a century ago and they have therefore proven ill-educated to carry out such extensive Reforms with any ease or impartiality.

While the snide may claim that they've only just reached the level of peasants in other Realms, it should be noted that they've since passed that point and are headed to a much better place … assuming some sensible Machiavellian or an actual Idealist works out how to turn this rather bare-bones Republic into something more like the United Provinces of the Netherlands than the rather unfortunate series of regimes that replaced the First Republic of France.

That will take a lot of work and a good deal of innovation, not to mention inspiration - still, Heroes are quite inspiring AND Very Good at thinking on their feet, as I'm sure any budding or veteran PCs will have good cause to know!

Voltron64
01-11-2015, 10:35 AM
Brutalized Helots, eh?

Another reason why the Spartans were oh so overrated.

Now Gurkhas, they're a warrior people worth emulating! ;)

Libra1010
01-12-2015, 08:17 AM
Not overrated as killers and war-winners I fear, but certainly overrated as a classic model for masculinity.

Anyone who reads Mr Millers 300 should read the more recent graphic novel THREE for a Counter-Thesis to the lionisation of Sparta.

Voltron64
01-12-2015, 08:26 AM
Not overrated as killers and war-winners I fear, but certainly overrated as a classic model for masculinity.

Anyone who reads Mr Millers 300 should read the more recent graphic novel THREE for a Counter-Thesis to the lionization of Sparta.

I read it and why did you think I mentioned such things?

(One little scene I did like was the Spartan general and ex-boyfriend to the King being mockingly envious of how the queen compares to him.)

Libra1010
01-12-2015, 08:59 AM
My dear Voltron, you might have read any number of sources and realised that The Spartans were at times Admirable but NEVER very nice people!;)

Libra1010
01-12-2015, 12:24 PM
As one might imagine given that Magic is very, very real in the Savage World of Winterweir there are any number of ambitious, clever and quite possibly megalomaniacal individuals who have found their way into experiments with the Arcane Arts for the sake of harnessing the sheer POWER available to those who practice them until they are very, very good at them.

Most of them quit after the second time a ritual they have conducted perfectly, in exactly the same fashion as they always have, produces results completely unlike those they have been led to expect or the very first time Magic fails them ENTIRELY in a combat situation … although there are very, very few living who can say that it took such an experience to persuade them to get out while the going was good (given the inherent disadvantages of a squishy wizard finding themselves lacking Magic at a exactly the wrong time to ponder the capriciousness of Fate); while Magic in The Savage World of Winterweir does not flow from a source tainted by mischievous and monstrous entities of a Demonic Nature, it IS not entirely predictable and ENTIRELY weird.

As a result the sensible, sober-minded sorts tend to quit Magic for Science (which can be pretty Mad in it's own right but at least remains CONSISTENT - perform the same set of Actions under exactly the same circumstances and they'll produce exactly the same outcome … for better or worse); this tends to leave The Arts Arcane to Gamblers, Dreamers, Crazies … and Adventurers.



For an example of the … eccentricities of Magic as practiced across Old Alacarn, consider the following; A mage finds herself in free fall and decides that if there's any such a thing as a Good Time to risk the Whims of Magic then this is it - casting a spell practically identical to yet completely legally-distinct from 'Featherfall' and stops falling, beginning to drift slowly to the ground with the gentle grace of a falling feather.

On the other side of the Continent a mage finds himself in functionally-identical circumstances (look the view was beautiful, the Wyvern-Rider was Emilia Clarke Hot … he just didn't realise she was Targaryen-crazy too!) and casts exactly the same spell in exactly the same way - only to continue to plummet headlong, screaming his way from the sky to the Earth … only to land in a massive heap of feathers that somehow manages to cushion his fall, allowing him to survive.

Quite frankly both can count themselves equally-lucky; other recorded example of what seems to have been exactly the same spell have seen mages coated with feathers as though they'd been dipped in tar first, spontaneously developing wings that disappeared after a truly alarming half-hour, descending to earth in the gentle fashion of a feather … having been blown several miles off course because the winds actually had some effect on them this time, turning into a bird until the spell wore off, developing wings that never went away in place of arms and in one particularly tragic case falling out of the sky to their deaths at high speed with a gentle fall of feathers following at a much more relaxing pace.

There's a reason I titled this article THE WHIMS OF MAGIC. Quite frankly one does not HARNESS the Power of Magic, one unleashes it like a shaggy dog into the World and hopes it doesn't make too much of a mess this time.


Magic on The Savage World of Winterweir isn't a Cruel Mistress (it is a very rare miscast that actually results in the Death of the Caster and everyone in his immediate vicinity even should pseudo-Fireball misfire … although sadly this sort of thing is not ENTIRELY unheard of) but she does tend to be an extremely capricious minx with a very odd sense of Humour - quite frankly results are far from certain, frequently-improbable and only very seldom the EXACT SAME twice in a row.

It is this fundamental unpredictability and the utterly surreal nature of their Art that (coupled with their bad habit of crying "I MEANT that to happen JUST that Way") tends to make the populace of Alacarn rather nervous around the more energetically-Magical sort of spell-slinger whom they tend to see as one part Con Artist (yes, magic is REAL but that doesn't mean this particular Magician is telling the EXACT truth about the Magic he has just performed … or failed to), Gambler and Person of Mass Destruction - this sort of reputation takes a person of unusual charisma or popularity to live down (although Clerics tend to get away with this sort of thing more often than not because they can blame The Gods for their failure … or more often blame the sinfulness of their audience, although this is not universally-succesful).

Put simply successful Mages across Alacarn tend to be very, very good at improvisation (coping with Stone-skin … completely distinct from Stoneskin by the way … when you meant to summon up a meat-shield requires a certain flexibility but getting Invisible Servant when you intended to Turn Flesh to Stone takes more than just a little imagination) and even better at convincing their audiences that YES INDEED that went JUST AS PLANNED or Even Better, not to mention possessed of nerves that make steel suspension cables look rather flimsy by comparison.

Now please remember that they can PROBABLY fix that unfortunate bit of accidental transfiguration ('Transfixed' is one popular local term for what would be called Mutants in other Setting, as is 'Hexed') and failing that it will VERY PROBABLY wear off given a little while and failing that … well, you have friends it's not as if they'll treat you as a leper for growing such a magnificent pair of gills will they?

You might want to keep out of the way of your family until you work out how to break the news gently and have worked out a number of possible escape routes from the torches-and-pitchforks mob though.

Voltron64
01-12-2015, 12:33 PM
With magic, the phrase "God does not play dice with the universe" is an utter falsehood when it comes to that.

Libra1010
01-12-2015, 01:25 PM
To be fair GOD doesn't play Dice with the Universe - Everyone else rolls d20 if they want to make the Laws of Physics play Fetch and Roll Over.:cool:

Phrozen
01-12-2015, 07:58 PM
Albeit with slightly fewer dragons than the latter and slightly better fortunes than The North!;)

I must admit that I am seriously tempted to post a number of rambles explaining how The Great Kingdoms of Alacarn (and all the others) differ from their most significant influences (as I see them, at least); may I please ask how useful you all think this would be?

Also much more clannish than others. Particularly in the more remote and rugged areas. It helps that Winterweir is very very large and very very empty. Like Russia.

Charles Phipps
01-12-2015, 08:13 PM
I would argue, Libra, you have missed the Children of the Divine Spark.

Magic in Winterweir is one area where it differs from Warhammer and its sister setting. The scientists of the setting consider magic to be no more particularly remarkable than Ben Franklin did electricity, by which the populace at large would BOTH consider such to be dangerous as well as unpredictable sources of incredible might.

Indeed, it is one of the reasons why science hasn't quite as advanced as far as it could in some places and has advanced far-farther than it might have in other areas. Magic provides the enterprising scientist a wonderful ability to solve the insoluble problems the enterprising engineer might run into.

A machine generates too much heat and is going to explode? Well, just slap a rune on it to compensate and you're good to go.

The essential problem with this sort of thinking is actually one which exists in the real world, which is the fact technology develops in accordance to what's easiest for the mage. In the real world, computers, for example didn't use fluidics (how ridiculous) less because of the difficulty than transistors were just easier because of their ready-made abundance.

The problem in Alacarn? Science is just so much more PROFITABLE making unique one-of-a-kind devices for the Medicine and Pazzi equivalents versus building a better water wheel. The usual Eberrn-style Industrial revolutions or even just the regular kind of Industrial Revolution is inhibited in large part by the fact the guy who finances your typical alchemineer's laboratories isn't doing it so said man can build the Cottin Gin.

This is, ironically, why the Free Republic of Amania has ZOOMED forward past the Dark Ages and Renaissance into the Pre-Industrial Revolution in the span of a few decades. The moment someone actually puts together all of the various brains and tells them to make stuff for the common non-magically trained folk is when things just rocket forward. It's also why Winterweir has cities which are already starting to look like some weird fantasy Victoriana despite being only a weird backward.

Amania would really rule the place like a neo-British Empire if its leadership weren't so damned incompetent.

Charles Phipps
01-16-2015, 04:33 PM
Secrets of the Celestials (Optional)

No discussion of Winterweir would be complete without those photon-based beings who dwell in the faux-Heavenly realm which exists in a pocket-dimension surrounding the planet. It is pretty much identical in appearance to the Christian concept of Paradise with clouds, crystal spires, togas, and eternal bliss radiating out from everywhere.

It's also a complete lie.

The first thing one needs to understand about the Celestials is they're not holy but they do a very good job faking it, so much so they've fooled even themselves. They've impersonated being deities or messengers of such so long, quite a few of them genuinely believe themselves to be righteous servants of good.

The most common "end" for many Celestials is to flee into the Dreamscapes created by the Terra'ssar to join the gods there and promote their interests. These are called Rogue Archons while more friendly sorts view them as Godbearers. As many as two-thirds of the Celestials maintain strong religious beliefs either in their own divinity or in one of the pantheons worshiped on Teth-Amon.

The leaders, however, are atheist.

Extremely atheist.

The Council of Archons is composed of those Celestials who believe religion serves one purpose and purpose only: to manipulate weak-minded superstitious beings into serving their interests. They still have a strong moral code but this is entirely based on results over methods. "Nothing is real, everything is possible."

In strictly secular terms, worshiping the Celestials is a pretty sweet deal as they're quite capable of copying your mind at death before transporting it to a holographic paradise to enjoy the fruits of generic joy and love for the rest of eternity. Your psychic presence is plugged into their Light-based computers and serves as part of the massive psychic matrix which powers their advanced technology as well as allows them to reproduce.

Yes, Heaven (also known as The City of Light) is this.

http://www.extremetech.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/duracell_matrix.jpg

The Celestials devote themselves to the care, advancement, protection, and above all CONTROL of mortals. The image of the Guardian angel becomes somewhat sinister when it involves marking a child their entire lives, arranging so they meet the right spouse, and then manipulating their genetics or mind so they fall in love. They have fostered countless heroes but also led innumerable men to their deaths as they are unwilling to let their control slip even for a moment--even when their champions need them or more support.

They play the long game.

Celestial society is strictly regimented with everyone created for a specific task or purpose. Anyone who deviates from this task or shows too much initiative runs the risk of being "re-purposed", which amounts to personality death and reprogramming. Celestials who breed with each other, thus creating chaotic new elements in the system, are destroyed outright. This is part of the reason why so many Half-Celestials exist as the urge to create is inborn to many species, including the Celestials.

The castes of Celestial Society include the Archon, Warrior, Monitor, Servant, Forgemaster, and Healer Castes. A seventh caste called, Truthspeakers existed to call the actions of the other castes into question but they were exiled and later hunted down for their crimes. Many still exist in hiding or in the service of the gods but are feared and vilified in their realm. A secret caste called, Investigators also exists which is where useful "troublemakers" are sent to serve on missions which are deniable.

The greatest successes of the Celestials are the Death Whisperers who serve as their chief agents in Alacarn and The Divine Order which worships the Celestials directly. The Divine Order and is many quirks are tailor-made by the Council of Archons to serve their purposes.

The fact the entire religion is a fake worshiping a god of their own invention (which exists in the Dreamlands but is carefully controlled by the Archon due to magics they wove around it at its conceptions) is a secret even from many Celestials. The Council of Archons intends to use their Puppet God to eventually bring all of Teth-Amon under their direct religious control. The revelation of this would horrify all Celestials underneath the Archons.

Who would then have to be re-purposed.

Libra1010
01-17-2015, 11:06 AM
As it turns out the reason Teth'Ammons Celestials were exiled there by their peers (whom I like to imagine as more like The Dude than The Man) is a very, very, VERY Good Reason!

As it turns out the only quibble I have with this Article is that the Divine Order is explicitly described as ANTI-CELESTIAL; I would suggest that either the Celestials are fooling themselves about their control over the Supreme Covenant or that there is a potent faction within The Purest that collaborates with them despite the general enmity for the Lords of Eternity nourished across Saiya, the Southern Throne.

It is even more likely that there is an element of Truth in all this; that the Celestials were not the Creators of the Supreme Covenant but that they were its most influential sponsors, intending to reclaim some Power in Saiya after being driving out long, long ago by the natives of the Southern Continent - however they cannot yet wield Power over the Covenant by virtue of the fact that the Moral Authority of that institution would collapse if they were to associate with it too openly, given that even the Purest (The Priests) hate the very idea of them so much that they'll have nothing to do with them.

The problem is that at least a small number of Priests do business with them in secret, based on the fact that its either this or accept that the Crimson Dawn (Allies of the Shadow King) will dominate The Supreme Covenant - albeit later than sooner - by virtue of sheer persistent skulduggery and the wilful ignorance of those who refuse to believe that the very Institution that purged the Servants of the Shadow King is slowly being turned into his most powerful asset on that Continent.

Although the outcome of this transformation remains far from certain.

Libra1010
01-17-2015, 11:51 AM
Some may read the sentence above describing the treatment meted out to Celestials seeking to pair off in order to multiply the slender numbers of their species - "Celestials who breed with each other, thus creating chaotic new elements in the system, are destroyed outright" is hardly the stuff of sweet dreams - but it is easier to comprehend the sheer extremity of this attitude when one learns one significant, unmentioned fact.

Malaxas, The Crimson King of Ten Thousand Cruelties - Malaxas, the Breaker of Alacarn - Malaxas, The End of Empire - Malaxas, an entity that intends to 'Perfect' Creation the way Michael Jackson's plastic surgeons 'Perfected' his face albeit WITHOUT Anaesthetic and WITHOUT troubling Himself to secure the consent of his once and future subjects was one of the very first Celestials born to those Exiled in close proximity to Teth'Ammon.

It was on the whole HIS generation that decided to dispense with subtlety, cut their elders to pieces when they objected, proceeded to touch down in Alacarn and first charm the Empire into chaos, then reduce what was left first to carnage then into Utter Ruin - to say that the events of that Era read like the Silmarillion as written by the Maquis de Sade does small Justice to the sheer Horror of that period that very nearly brought about the End of History on Alacarn for All Time.

I do not have the stomach to describe the events of that time, but a simple list of some of the more notorious events might help convey my point; The Battle of the Unendurable Field, The Savaged Forest, The Rout of Red Terrors, Bloody Run, The Shameful Siege, The Field of the Fallen Sky, The Harrowing Field, The River of Tears Unnumbered, The Fight at Empire's End, all climaxing in The Rape of the Smiling City at which point The Shadow King decided that he'd had enough of Malaxas and decided to throw his weight behind efforts to banish The Crimson King and his Cavalcade then imprison them for all Time.

There is only one enemy against whom All Alacarn would unite without question to Battle - that would be the Dragons, were to seek a return to their former Rule and Power.

If Malaxas showed up, it is quite possible All Alacarn would empty with the Terror of Him; The Dragons they BEAT, Malaxas they merely survived (not very many of them and almost nothing of their Civilisation as they once knew it). Quite frankly if the Archons are the very Devil for contraception then they have good reason - most of them ran with the Crimson King before they sickened of doing business with Him.

They have better reasons than most to avoid breeding another one of Him or even taking the risk of doing so.

Libra1010
01-17-2015, 12:36 PM
"Kill me ..."

"But you have been made Better - At long last you are Beautiful as you should be - I will never Kill you, you would only go to rot and waste all my Work. "

"Mercy!"

"You have no need of Mercy, you need only be made to understand; as you are, so we were - as we are so you will become."

-An entirely typical dialogue between a Crimson Cultist and one of their unfortunate subjects.


The truly frightening, perhaps the most truly horrific aspect of those that follow the Crimson King is that people with almost the exact same attitude make a Good Living on Planet Earth - The Fashion Industry, Plastic Surgeons, Bodybuilders, The Botox Brigade, The Diet of Unhealthy Eating, the poor souls who listen to them and make themselves miserable or unhealthy or DEAD as a result … all of these are just one twist in the psyche away from those who hear the Summons of the Crimson King and plumb the Depths as they seek answer.

The most frightening thing about these Cultists is that quite frankly they persuade their victims to join them, they do not Force (admittedly persuasion involves manipulation, mind control and peer pressure - not necessarily all at the same time but frequently in some degree of combination) although any attempts to back-slide are summarily ignored; the second most frightening thing is the SCREAMING DEMONS they are dedicated to summoning up to improve their grasp on Perfection and generally discover to have gone stark staring, atrocity-inficting mad during their sojourn in the Deep.

Unfortunately sometimes they get in touch with one of the CLEVER Crazy ones and something even worse than Demonic Invasion occurs - Demonic Infiltration, which generally inflicts more lasting damage and on a larger scale, as they have plans on a level that involves … well it's very, very, very, very, very, very Bad and even more twisted than it is BAD given that they intend to reshape the World to meet an utterly unattainable standard of Perfection (without pity, without anaesthetic and without condescending to put their victims out of their misery afterwards).

This, as I hope you will agree, is bad enough - worse is the fact that what the Cult does to its Enemies is infinitely more merciful than what it visits on its followers; after all, they merely KILL their Enemies, because quite frankly they don't consider themselves to be MONSTERS after all and torture in Monstrous (unless you inflict it upon yourself).

Voltron64
01-17-2015, 01:22 PM
"Oh, no tears please, for it's a waste of good suffering."

Libra1010
01-17-2015, 01:23 PM
THE FREE REPUBLIC OF AMANIA - The Crownless Land, The Death of the Green Dragon, The Realm of the Rabble, Never-Dry Land, The Lowly Land, The Smoking Swamp, Amania of the All-Encompassing Quagmire.


As a note, Amania remains a realm in two parts; the larger being The Quagmire, best described as a Sea of Swamps utterly unfit for settled civilisation and so thick with Slythin that it is claimed one can practically walk out of the Bogs dry-shod … if one could travel across the backs of the Dragon-Human Mongrels without being killed for inflicting this indignity, then eaten. It is green, quiet and slow-moving but relentlessly patient, thick with quicksand, sickness and more active perils.

The other is the so-called Drylands (sometimes 'The Highlands' although in Amania the terms from 'High' and 'Dry' are closely interrelated); quite frankly civilisation in Amania has long been summed up as the City of High Amania and whatever lands its labourers can reclaim from the sea or the Quagmire through some of the most inventive dykes, levees and sundry drainage works known to Alacarn (what, you thought Amania's technological developments came out of nowhere? Well that's not entirely inaccurate, but it IS misleading).

There's a good deal of truth in this, especially in recent years as the city expands again and yet again; still there are a small number of other cities more modest in size and the multitude of farming settlements needed to keep any large city alive (amongst other interesting sights).



The Quagmire:-

Drytail Walk, Drowntail Walk, Meetgood, Goodrink, Chasegood, Wrongprey, Breedwell, Eggsafe Sand, Bigrival, Deepswim, Drownslew Swim, Catchbird, Cleanclaw Walk, Goodsun Walk, Catchfish Swim (All of the above are Slythin names).

Greendragon Wash, Mirkwater Fen, Longslough, Blackmarsh, Lillywash Hall, Drowntree Fen, Drowntoad-hole, Frogswallow Hollow, Deepwallow Wash, Big Slithering, Breedmidge Fen, Drownbull Mire, Marshplace, Whitemarsh Hall, Greenbelt Bog, Warrior Flood, Idle Wilderness, Kings Kindness.


The Highlands (The term is very relative):-

Burntree Working, Blacksmoke Working, Mosscrop, Strikehammer Forge, Bigmouth Bay, Harborplace, Stone Horn, Fogplace, Bloody Point, Rockplace, Sunset Sand, Bodkin Point, Clay Island, Great Shoals, Quarry Lake, The Rosewood, Timberplace, Blooming Rose, Woodend, Oakenplace, Tulip Hall, Greenhall, Foul Ponds, Pennant Ponds, Heater's Island (Thickly Wooded), Sidling Chase, Fairmount, Green Ridge, Savage River, Snowfell Hill, Stoney Forest, Smokeport, Weedport, Broad Burn (Border with Winterweir).

Libra1010
01-17-2015, 01:26 PM
"Oh, no tears please, for it's a waste of good suffering."

An unusually blatant piece of sadism from a Worshipper of Malaxas, but a far from atypical attitude; the Cult doesn't actually LOOK for Sadists and in theory they don't like them very much, but boy HOWDY does it attract them in prodigious numbers.

Voltron64
01-17-2015, 01:29 PM
An unusually blatant piece of sadism from a Worshipper of Malaxas, but a far from atypical attitude; the Cult doesn't actually LOOK for Sadists and in theory they don't like them very much, but boy HOWDY does it attract them in prodigious numbers.

Yep, look no further than Hellraiser for good material.

Charles Phipps
01-17-2015, 04:13 PM
The Council of Archons is kind of a subversion of the usual, "all-powerful manipulative council" because the situation in Saiya is best summarized as Fouled Up Beyond All Repair (because you don't swear in Heaven). As much as it would be easy to cast the weird Gnostics down-south as the "bad guys."

The thing is they're EXTREMELY ticked off about all of the horrible things done to them by self-styled gods like the Shadow King and the Celestials. The Celestials having control over the Divine Order is best summarized as "mission accomplished" even though quite a few of them BELIEVE in their religion.

In a very real way, the Saiyins desire to conquer Alacarn and stamp out its existing religions is due to the fact they're of the mind that every god BUT the nebulous ethereal Supreme Throne is a complete a******. The Saiyins, for all their faults, believe themselves to be champions of freedom against hostile magical forces and humanists. It's just they tend to lump Tyros and Kaalon with Malaxas and the Archons.

The actual level the Saiyins have been able to go off script and turn their religion from being a puppet faith directed by Celestial mouth-pieces into a "real" religion directed by humans is above and beyond anything the Celestial's agents would admit to the Archons.

There's an entire Cold War about trying to get the group back under their control even though there's countless specially trained mind-control resistant monks and Death Dealer hunters which exist to purge the influence of the Celestials from the Divine Order.

Even the (seemingly) incomprehensible focus on the flesh and body being evil is, in part because Saiyins are VERY focused on having complete control over their actions. Temptations of the flesh, alcohol, drugs, and so on are all things they worry about because they have such terrible experience being puppets.

It's what's created their pseudo Jedi/Vulcan idealized self.

Which makes them boring killjoys but not evil.

Phrozen
01-18-2015, 10:51 AM
So the Saiyins are straight edge?

Charles Phipps
01-18-2015, 11:38 AM
So the Saiyins are straight edge?

Yes and no.

The stereotype about the Divine Order is they're a bunch of sex and fun-hating jerks. The truth is, of course, they're people like anyone else. As a theocracy, the government and main religious body is obsessed with the concepts of purity as well as "pure thinking." As such, they are constantly in a struggle between what they want from the populace as well as what the populace will actually behave like.

Officially, the Divine Order forbids alcohol, prostitution, and drug use and many other things illegal in parts of our world but which are legal in Alacarn. These things still exist in the Divine Order, of course, but are part of the black market and underground services provided to the populace. The Clerical Police, of course, work to suppress these activities with varying degrees of intensity.

To Alacarn, this focus on "what people do for amusement" is insane. Sexual practices are just the most notable for their repression given the relatively libertine Alacarn society with regards to gender, gender roles, and more. Sex in the Divine Order is meant to be for reproduction only and considered by the monastic leadership to be disgusting. Chastity is the highest virtue to be practiced and those who want to enjoy otherwise, even in marriage, must jump through ridiculous (but all-too-realistic in this world) hoops.

The big danger from the Divine Order is the fact in ADDITION to a theocracy, is it's an expansionist totalitarian power. While it's dysfunctional in many places due to the vast efforts to monitor, control, and punish the populace--it's also a great deal cleaner and less deranged than Alacarn's dysfunctional economic as well as class system.

It would be so much easier if the united continent-sized government with a strong warrior-tradition was about to fall apart at any moment rather than potentially launch Ottoman Turk-style invasions of the South.

Libra1010
01-18-2015, 01:05 PM
Very true; Saiya is neither wholly better nor entirely worse than Alacarn but it IS fairly different so it seems fair enough to post what you might call my working notes on that part of this setting so that you good fellows might have a slightly more developed idea of how I see The Southern Throne.


Having said that I now move on to the actual point of this message, fleshing out THE SAVAGE WORLD OF SAIYA - alias the Southern Neighbour of Alacarn, at present the domain of the Supreme Covenant those sex-hating totalitarian priests with no privy parts … who at least don't have the faintest ambition of tearing out your heart to feed to a Hungry God for the sake of One Day More and can be relied to keep the Far Folk at a safe distance, not to mention keep spell-slingers under tight discipline albeit not necessarily under perfect control (Sorcerers being what they are - too powerful for the good of their ego).

Even if they ARE probably plotting their forthcoming assumption of Supreme Authority in your immediate vicinity any week now!

On a more serious note something has compelled me to at least take a shot at fleshing out Saiya a little more, mostly the mischievous impulse to suggest that the WINTERWEIR sourcebook tells the Truth and nothing but the Truth is cannot possibly tell us the WHOLE Truth (given the page limits).

With that it mind I present the Rough Notes I have assembled with the further purpose of defining Saiya and Her Children:-


-Concerning The Southern Continent: Relative to Alacarn (The Imperial Throne), The Divine Throne is about the same size as Brazil and infinitely more tropical. While no more comprised solely of steaming jungle than South America or Africa is, Saiya is verifiably much more humid than Alacarn and possibly even a little hotter (certainly hotter than Winterweir, but not necessarily hotter than D'Henna). I would say that as Alacarn herself is a continent with her head shivering in the immediate vicinity of the North Pole of Teth'Ammon, Sister Saiya sits upon the Equator (which means the very bottom of the Continent is the most equatorial in climate, while the Northern portion goes from sub-tropical to more mediterranean near the North Coast - with the North-East, on the Sea of Dawn, being more maritime and 'Atlantic' by our standards).

Obviously Saiya generates produce that Alacarn cannot, although the opposite remains true - still, at present trade between these Sister Thrones is deliberately limited by the Supreme Covenant to those goods that have traditionally been traded between the two shores of the Twilight Sea (to avoid giving away too many indications of the sheer SCALE of the Continent under their Power … also to keep prices up). Smuggling is therefore endemic and assuming you can get away with it, the right cargo drawn from across Saiya can make you stupidly rich once sold in Alacarn.

You might not be able to BUY a Great Crown, but you could buy several cities and still have spare change afterwards.


For the record I see Saiya as slightly more thinly-populated than Alacarn, even if it is a bit bigger; any battle between these Two Thrones would be a horribly even one and probably drawn-out … assuming that Alacarn or even a majority of the Southern part of that Continent can be bothered to put up a fight.


Prominent Geographic features and regions (Awaiting further Development):-
-The Thronebridge Barrens
-The Smoking Hills
-The Heavenly Heights
-The Equestrian Coast
-The Roaring Coast
-The Silver Coast
-The Alabaster Coast
-The Sweetgrass Sea
-The Forest of Many Downpours
-Unsavoury Forest
-The Dry-wood
-The Sinking Forest
-The Plain of Portage
-The River of Many Blessings
-The Serpentine River
-The River Sweet
-The River Harridan
-The River Drab
-The Creeping River
-Jade Lake
-Lapis Lake
-Lazuli Lake
-Carnelian Lake
-Pilgrim Pass
-Sour Swamp
-Stinking Swamp
-Savoury Swamp
-Hydra (High-Dry?) Heights
-Level Pass
-The Wilderness of Savagery.


As a note Saiya is a lower-lying continent than The Imperial Throne, with far fewer mountains and far more physical depressions, hence the rather boggy and humid condition of the landscape. If Calipan and D'Henna ever wanted to export rocks - not gems or stone, just ROCKS - they might find a ready market on the Southern Throne.


Prominent Settlements (Not yet placed):-
-Sugar City
-Canetown
-Furnace
-Coaltown
-Dealtown
-Fettertown
-Treetop Town
-Indenture
-Underbelly
-Civility
-Hightown
-Sanctuary
-Mortuary
-Geode
-Vestry
-Storm's Eye
-One Moon City/Two Moon City (A single great city in two halves or two middling cities right opposite one another).
-See Sun City
-Smoketown
-Laity
-Furtown
-Ivory
-Quarry
-Butchery
-Freetown
-Tower City.
-See Snarl City
-Forestry
-Finery
-Piety
-Unity
-Poverty
-Troop-town
-Surety
-Victory
-Lowtown
-Falls City
-Mirage
-Wise Serpent City (Usually just 'Serpent City')
-Mirrortown
-Fishtown
-Digtown
-Apiary
-Shine City
-Drytown
-Palmtown
-Carvery
-Forgetown
-Oretown
-Charcoal City
-Stormhaven
-Hilltop Town
-Windy City
-Crosstown
-Passtown
-Schooltown
-Study City
-Wisetown
-Cooltown
-Smelt City
-Shoretown
-Grasstown
-See Grass City
-Plain City
-See Sand City
-Passerby
-See Eagle City
-Looktown.


-Concerning History: Unlike Alacarn (or Ezul, as they would have known it), Saiya the Southerly was a place where the Terr'assar LIVED rather than a place where they set up their experiments so that they didn't risk any failure tearing out the heart of their civilisation - instead leaving the 'Northern Wastelands' to suffer the consequences of such failure.

As a result very, very few of the dragons were left and even less of their civilisation endured after their youths were finished with the slaughter of their elders - more to the point, those dragons that survived here tended to very smart or very well-hidden indeed, not to mention older than average than the future Dragon-Kings in the North. It is also interesting to note that the 'Post-Draconic' races such as Lillim or even the Slythin are almost entirely unknown in the South and the South is even more unknown to them than they are to the South.


Probably a good thing; if the Dragon-Men got wind of such a muggy, sodden paradise they'd give The Divine Throne an immigration problem that makes the Saxon Sea-Wolves of Arthur's Age look like Kal-El of Krypton …


As a result in Saiya dragons tend to be regarded more as mythic beings (like a cross between Dinosaurs and Dragons as the Chinese see them) than as legendary but genuinely-living beings, as the Peoples of Alacarn remember them - mostly, it must be said, because quite a lot of those dragons left in Saiya decided to head North and King it there, rather than linger in the ruins of their Homeland (Some even managed to carve out a place for themselves there, others died).

On their final departure The Dragons left behind those of their underlings, playthings and pets that had survived the End of an Empire with them (or more often their descendants) - what followed was … interesting. In essence the Celestials and the Batha tried to carve up the continent between them, while the Valken and other Wild Folk refused to play their games (instead setting themselves up at the Top of the Food Chain in the wildest places). The Humans and Jotun were left behind to be the pawns in this particular struggle, which continued right up until they had developed Civilisation and Society to a point where they could say "**** you, shut up and stop bothering us, go Home - to YOUR Home and not after ours."

Much to the astonishment of the Batha, they were regarded as in the Wrong, but tolerably so - they wouldn't be the working model for Society as they were in The North (something which I suspect partially explains the sheer love of HIERACHY in Alacarn), but would be permitted to endure on their own little reservation which in time came to be known as the 'Slave States' (declining over time until most became fairly normal cities, with the exception of the most secure).


In Saiya slavery is more of a criminal sentence than a trade, although it isn't exactly dying on the vine and there IS at least some threat of a full-blown Trade springing up should certain entrepreneurs get their own way and make a profit in the process.

The Celestials, on the other hand, were decreed intolerably in the Wrong and told to … well, I believe that I pointed out the approximate form of words and the content of the address they received - the one giving them their marching orders was one Saiya, a lady of formidable reputation and even greater power, who having ended a very long dispute over the Future of Saiya by force, by the threat of force and by finding a third option proceeded to live out a long life, letting the Government of the Continent look after itself.

Alacarn MIGHT have liked her, but she would quite possibly have called this laissez-faire approach crazy (her heiress and the heir who followed after her certainly would have); they might well have had a point, for it took a tireless work by a totalitarian theocracy and an almost complete breakdown in the Way of Things before The Continent was united.

On the other hand while Saiya has had to put up with human sacrifices by the millions and a great deal of theocracy, near-anarchy, clannishness and democracy it has never been obliged to put up with Feudalism or Bureaucracy.


Now the Way of Things in Saiya at first meant that one lived in city-states or in tribes; in tribes one lived either on the very edge of the civilised world or in mortal terror of the bigger, meaner non-human tribes who dominated the interior - at least until the Wizard-Queens and Witch-Kings came along. In Saiya and due in large part to the role-model presented by the namesake of that Continent, Sorcery has been regarded as the Chivalry of that Continent, The Best and Brightest (in Theory, if not always in practice).

Spell-crafters of a more solitary bent therefore tended to find themselves deluged with botheration from would-be apprentices, those looking for a curse to lay down on a rival or worst of all LOVE POTIONS; since Mages are held to pretty high standards, they were unable to treat these threats to their peace and quiet with the cantankerousness they held to be appropriate, so quite a number headed out into the Hinterland for a spot of peace and quiet research in a nice, comfortable refuge.

Which tended to turn into the seed-kernel of a state once they realised that (A) The neighbours were NOT often friendly (B) when the neighbours WERE friendly they tended to let themselves be ordered around exactly as the Wizard pleased on the understanding that he would focus his particular ire on their mutual enemies rather than his new subjects and that in return they wouldn't let those enemies swamp him with sheer numbers or slip one between his ribs on the sly before he could work up a decent spell.

The Wizard-Kingdoms swiftly became a troublesome border-realm not much liked by either the Coastal Cities OR the Interior Wild-Tribes; the latter proceeded to assemble themselves into Empires led by some suitably-formidable war-chief (on a meritocratic basis - Alphas, rather than Aristocrats were the leaders of these Packs) and either broke on the rock of the Wizards Tower (and the cities surrounding them) or broke those Sorcery-Realms to pieces.

Whether the Wizards or the Wilderness won, the Coast Cities got NERVOUS; the most prosperous drew up defensive contracts in protection of a mutual trade, but a majority found themselves united by religion more often than not - and the sort of Religion that could hold a confederation together in face of aggressive outsiders, then WIN the Wars howling down on them tended to be less than gentle to begin with and an ongoing round of Wars (very few of the belligerents were able to outright destroy the foundations of their opposition, War in Saiya being more guerrilla warfare than pitched battles owing to the climate and terrain) did nothing to gentle their approach to things.

Human Sacrifice HAD been known previously, but it began to become endemic as a consequence of the frighteningly-regular Holy Wars and the self-sacrifices demanded to sustain them (especially as the consequence of failure to meet these demands). Somehow the 'Contract Cities' kept themselves together in the face of some very ferocious neighbours, quite possibly because they were smart enough to regard War as a risky business rather than a straightforward fact of Life and sane enough to avoid it, rather than embrace it.

Their fundamental health and common sense can be witnessed in the fact that most remain ongoing concerns to this day (if obliged to piety under the Supreme Covenant), while their rivals have since been consigned to the sin-bin of History by the present Senior Servants of the Divine Throne.

Although only after the King of Shadow and Steel showed up, then very nearly conquered the entire Continent (killing many-many-many) before proceeding to make an attempt to conquer Alacarn as well, quite possibly high as a kite on Victory Fever all the while.


Former Polities of Saiya include:-
-The Covenant of the Walking Serpent.
-The Covenant with Fire (alias The Ashen Covenant).
-The Covenant with Master River (alias the Drowning).
- The Covenant with Mother Sky (alias the Wind-borne).
-The Covenant of the Crimson Sun.
-The Covenant with All-Embracing Earth(also known as the Entombed).
-The Empire of the Prowling Wild.
-The Empire of the Eagle Above.
-The Empire of the Watchful Furies.
-The Sorcerer-Kingdom of Conjuration.
-The Witch-Kingdom of Illusion.
-The Mage-Kingdom of Summoning.
-The Empire of the Great Enchanter.



At this point relations between The Southern Lands and the Throne of Alacarn should be addressed; quite frankly they've been rather distant given the sheer scale of the distances between them culturally and geographically-speaking.

The Empire never conquered Saiya because they quite frankly had more than enough to worry about at Home (although a number of Emperors did their best to Conquer in Saiya and usually came off worse in the long-run by virtue of sheer strategic overstretch and a bad habit of underestimating the Natives).

Still, there are ties between the Two Thrones - witness the fact that the DIVINE THRONE chose that name for their brand-new Imperium, which is not a coincidence - for example the fact that Sephia was most probably founded and at least initially peopled by exiles or refugees or just plain opportunists from Saiya.

Trade remained ongoing, a few curious souls from both sides of the Twilight Sea quite possibly passed by one another on their way to find out just what the heck that other Continent was like and not all of them crossed back with their reports of what they found.

The others, although not necessarily troubling themselves to make such a long return journey variously misinterpreted, condescended and quite often even accurately reported all that they had beheld in the way of wonders, strangeness and the potential for sound business relationships with the locals on the other Continent.

Some of these accounts were thoroughly-ignored, others hugely influential and not a few told not even HALF of what their writers had seen; so on the whole residents of either continent took only a mild interest in their opposite number, happily assumed they knew more than they did and proceeded to focus on the only truly interesting business … LOCAL business.

Then the Supreme Covenant acquired … well, Supreme Power in the Southern Continent and started to take a greater interest in those Heathens to the North than any organisation born in Saiya ever had before.



-Concerning the Supreme Covenant: Quite frankly The One God Covenant were nowhere strong enough to actually banish the Shadow King from the Southern Throne, but they were MORE than stubborn enough to keep kicking his agents out of their parish anyway, public enough about this resolution to win popularity as a result and lucky enough to benefit from this and Victories in the Further North during the War of the Eight-Fingered Hand.

Even for the Shadow King attempting to conquer a SECOND continent while you haven't stamped out every ember of resistance on the one you currently dominate is pure hubris, but The Shadow Crowned with Steel never was an individual to break his promises, especially those made to himself, and the schedule said 'CONQUER ALACARN NOW' and so …

More to the point neither the magics of the Supreme Throne nor the Holy Host consecrated to the service of the Covenant on the Field of War nor their moral authority had been diminished through investment in the abortive conquest of Alacarn which made their own domination of Saiya possible - albeit by no means absolutely certain.

Still, they accomplished much and more in a shockingly short time - which is precisely why The Crimson Dawn has made a point of infiltrating this particular Cult, all the better to harness such energies for their own advantage even though the risks run in living amongst some of their bitterest and most power opponents are not always survivable.


Quite frankly the Supreme Covenant is the Supreme Power in Saiya … but it is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, not even necessarily the Governing power in any given part of the Continent - it is in fact roughly as powerful as the Catholic Church at the peak of its Power, which means that it can make and break mere secular powers, that it also holds extensive estates and other holdings, but that it quite frequently governs by proxy (as well as by scaring opponents sick with the possible consequences of Sin, consequences that may be inflicted in THIS World as well as the next).

It does rule SOME portions of the Continent directly, particularly in the North - that eternal refuge and escape route for the heathen, not to mention a particular breeding-ground of apostasy (not to mention the part of the continent left weakest in the wake of the Shadow Kings Northern Wars and the failure of same).

As a note the Supreme Covenant has controlled the entire Continent for too brief a while for assimilation to local sub-cultures and sheer distance to breed the sort of doctrinal differences between the Most Devout that lead to Heretic Hunts - yet it is the very briefness of their rule that keeps them busily engaged in ensuring that the recently-converted populations do not lapse back into their former beliefs (A process properly called Apostasy, rather than Heresy), not to mention their Sacred Wars against lingering hold-outs in the fever-filled Interior.


Present Divisions of Saiya <as a note 'Contract' indicates an assembly of City-States, 'Mission' a territory under the direct control of the Supreme Covenant … at least in theory and 'People' indicates a tribe that the Supreme Covenant has not yet decreed intolerable.>:

-The Iron Contract.
-The Saccharine Contract.
-The Contract of Soldiery.

-The Empire of the Enduring Wild.

-The Slave State of Civility.

Valour Mission.
-Veracity Mission.
-Sanctity Mission
-Prosecution Mission.
-Serene Mission.
-Settlement Mission.
-Vigilance Mission.
- Lookout Mission.
-Tireless Mission.
-Temperance Mission.
-Surety Mission.
-Sobriety Mission.

-The Peculiar People (aka 'Curiouser').
-The Singing People (aka 'Singers').
-The Harsh People (aka 'Caustic').
-The Sharp People (aka 'Razors').
-The Wary People (aka 'Watchers').

Charles Phipps
01-18-2015, 01:55 PM
Eunuchs and sex-distaste aside, the Saiyins bear some similarity to the Qunari. One also shouldn't think the Divine Throne conquering the North would be a good thing, because they do have some TRULY reprehensible practices which are designed to control those who rebel against the system. They're not the Taliban or Aztecs but one might think they have extremists who would love to go very Mao or Iranian revolution (more the latter than the former but the former is a danger).

+ The Saiyins practice the use of labor camps rather than slavery for those who repeatedly do not fit in with the situation. Sexual crimes and deviancy (I'll let your mind fill in the blanks) plus any form of political or religious descent gets you sent to the tropical version of a Gulag. You can leave these places after serving your sentence.

Many don't.

This is, notably, a PREFERRED punishment, to being made Empty.

+ The Saiyins use something called "Ghost-Dust" which is a local intoxicant that was found as a means to get through the Shadow King's slavery. It was banned for recreational use after the overthrow of said man but, now, gets combined with tetrodotoxin (puffer fix toxin) and a rare toad poison to create Emptying.

Emptying is considered the punishment for those who simply cannot be "redeemed" by normal methods since the Saiyins rarely practice the death penalty for the faithful. It creates a living zombie that is almost completely obedient and used for unpaid labor by the populace. Combined with magic, the process is permanent and is the most terrifying fate anyone cab endure amongst the Saiyins. The Empty number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, it should be noted and are now a vital part of the economy. The resistance to the Divine Throne, by the way, would VERY MUCH like a cure for this as experiments have shown it's possible.

+ Unlike the Medieval Catholic Church, the Divine Throne has a vast-vast bureaucracy more akin to the Legalists of China. The Catholic Church had confession as a means of dealing with sin while the Divine Throne, instead, have a vast network of censors as well as culture police. The theocrats do not rule directly but the nobility (more like Bureaucrats) is firmly entrenched in religious language as is the military. This is one of the few areas of weakness in the Divine Throne as the military and Bureaucrats both have something of an eye-rolling relationship to the Divine Throne. They consider themselves every bit as godly and the Divine Throne something of "god-botherers."

They also constantly jockey for power and prestige with the populace who are torn between which to serve.

+ The Divine Throne doesn't actually like the concept of family all that much. Attempts to eliminate it have failed miserably for SOME reason but schools to separate children from them and cultural pressures to keep ties distant are all there. This mostly shows up in lands they conquer to convert as they attempt to break up families and raise children as warriors to eventually send against their homeland as Janissaries.

Which is one of the genuinely sick elements in the land.

+ The Divine Throne has almost complete control over its continent but almost is not total as while the land is the size of Brazil, it is not quite South America. Conquering Alacarn or at least spreading the faith North is in part because they've been trying to conquer the whole of Saiyia for centuries with not perfect success. The tribal peoples, "The Mist Lords", "The Shadow People", "The Unseen" and other nations which give insight into their battle strategies have been fighting against the Saiyin theocracy for centuries. Many of these nations have been ground to dust but their descendants hate the Saiyins all the more for it.

Also, there is a resistance against the Divine Throne. Many, in fact, which tend to hate each other as much as the Divine Throne but exist in not-insignificant numbers.

Voltron64
01-18-2015, 02:19 PM
Quick question, would Malaxas and his worshipers consider Saiya to be a absolute potential feast?

Charles Phipps
01-18-2015, 02:24 PM
Quick question, would Malaxas and his worshipers consider Saiya to be a absolute potential feast?

To go with your Hellraiser example, the actual TRUE BELIEVERS of the Malaxas cult, have a surprising number of converts in Saiya. In Alacarn, they recruit from the impoverished or broken because there's so much class struggle that plenty of peasants think selling themselves to the Devil is a pretty sweet deal, all things considered. There's also those nobles or educated men who want MORE power. The Northern cultists, thus, tend to be very pragmatic Cthulhu cultist types who view Malaxas as evil but powerful.

Saiya Malaxas cults are weird.

Down South, the repression of sex, body-image issues, and self-loathing drilled into so many people results in quite a few people believing Malaxas is the holder of SPIRTUAL TRUTHS which the Divine Order is suppressing. The exquisite agony of the flesh, the torture of the innocent, and the embracing of a post-nihilistic worldview which celebrates the madness of the universe's pointlessness are all SELLING points down there.

Quite a few Divine order born individuals don't just worship demons, they BECOME them.

Neither really has MORE cultists than the other but the way they approach damning themselves is different.

Voltron64
01-18-2015, 02:28 PM
Saiya Malaxas cults are weird.

Down South, the repression of sex, body-image issues, and self-loathing drilled into so many people results in quite a few people believing Malaxas is the holder of SPIRTUAL TRUTHS which the Divine Order is possessing. The exquisite agony of the flesh, the torture of the innocent, and the embracing of a post-nihilistic worldview which celebrates the madness of the universe's pointlessness are all SELLING points down there.

Quite a few Divine order born individuals don't just worship demons, they BECOME them.

Knew it was a seller's market!

EDIT: Thanks for the fix Libra.

Libra1010
01-19-2015, 11:22 AM
More of a Cellars market - as in "If you pop your head out of the local hiding-hellhole the local Buzzards will fall upon you like The Spanish Inquistion … under Torquemada, not Monty Python".

As a note Saiya only caught the very fringes of the War of Shadow and Flame (even the Crimson King preferred to focus on One Continent at a time, if only so he could take his own sweet time about Murdering an entire Civilisation - and not quite ALL the population); as a result quite a number of those in Southern Alacarn decided to shift their residence to Northern Saiya (which led to considerable unpleasantness all on its own).

As a result The Equestrian Coast (better known as 'The Picaroon Coast' or 'The Cities of the Corsairs'), which is in any case one of the more Mediterranean climactic regions in Saiya hence the 'Official' name (since here Horses don't die just as fast as the plague-flies can bite them) is somewhat closer to Alacarn - in terms of material culture at least - than most of the Divine Throne.

It was also one of the first bridgeheads for the Crimson Sun, since The Shadow King didn't want to see those refugees team up with the locals to establish a settled Alliance, with who-knows-what outcome; instead he ensured that hard fighting broke to pieces any real chance of either a joint counter-attack or The Equestrian Coast unifying into a cohesive whole.

Instead the cities remained pitted against one another and split between Natives and Newcomers in varying degrees - it was in many cases these tensions that allowed him to turns things to his own advantage until every City on the Picaroon Coast answered to HIM, just as he was getting ready to launch his own Assault on Alacarn.

Long story short, Saiya doesn't much like what they hear about the Cults of the Crimson King, but the locals lack the edge of "Kill Them, KILL THEM OR WE'RE ALL GOING TO BE WORSE THAN DEAD!" bone-deep horror that propels just about everyone in the Northern Throne to make remarkable co-operated efforts to kill devotees of Malaxas and just about everyone in their entire Social Circle (Well, except for the Innocent Ones - Inquisitors on Alacarn are Enthusiastic but not very keen on Wasting lives).

Never-the-less it's something of an open question as to whether the Crimson Kings Cortege fear discovery by the torches-pitchforks-NO PITY! enthusiasts of Alacarn or the relentless meticulousness of the Supreme Covenant (who really, really dislike Cults … correction, they Really REALLY Detest Cults).



To go with your Hellraiser example, the actual TRUE BELIEVERS of the Malaxas cult, have a surprising number of converts in Saiya. In Alacarn, they recruit from the impoverished or broken because there's so much class struggle that plenty of peasants think selling themselves to the Devil is a pretty sweet deal, all things considered. There's also those nobles or educated men who want MORE power. The Northern cultists, thus, tend to be very pragmatic Cthulhu cultist types who view Malaxas as evil but powerful.

The ones that last longer than an Inquisition into their … uncivilised tendencies at least, which is to say the cynical and questionably-devoted ones (aka 'The Sadists') as opposed to the ones who would fit into a sequel to 'The Devil Wears Prada' … as scary, CREEPY Serial Killer Cultists trying to Perfect people without asking 'Please may I?' first (aka 'The Masochists').



Quite a few Divine order born individuals don't just worship demons, they BECOME them.

Either that or Living Zombies; whatever its faults The Divine Order does NOT hold with mutilation ("No, my child, our castration is a form of surgery and not a mutilation - we are, after all, expected to SURVIVE the process in Good Health") even in its punishment of Criminals, although corporal punishment remains popular, it is usually bloodless - you know, being pressed by stones or caned rather than flogged or publicly garrotted; it is even less fond of The Crimson King or his cultists because (A) They're very keen on education and have been acquiring knowledge of Alacarn ever since their earliest days not least because they feared they might have to relocate there (B) The Celestials and the Crimson Dawn tend to be very eager to ensure that their assets seeded throughout Saiya co-operate to reduce chances of The Crimson Kings return from 'Slim' to 'Sub-Zero'.

Also because Crimson King Cultists are … well crazy, sadomasochistic and prone to do very nasty things to their neighbours.

They are QUITE UNCIVIL and Irrational to boot.

… Also it must be said that they remind the Divine Order of their former competitors, who were very VERY Aztec in their enthusiasm for various forms of creative dismemberment (usually inflicted on Prisoners of War); one of the major points in favour of The Supreme Covenant was that their particular deity may be a spoil-sport and a domestic tyrant, but ONE* has never been blood-thirsty and also has VERY firm ideas about the Proper Order of things.

Which is to say that Peace ought to be a default, rather than a nice surprise; say what you like about Saiya but compared to Alacarn the Eccentric the place is downright soporific … unless you look in the right shadows.

<*Entire theological debates have hinged around whether or not it is appropriate to refer to BIG BOSS DEITY as 'It' but the current consensus is that no, 'tis not so ONE is the most common shorthand form of reference - as a note The Purest and other equally Pious Covenanters tend to refer to themselves as 'This One' almost as often as Lorathi gentlefolk.>



The Saiyins practice the use of labor camps rather than slavery for those who repeatedly do not fit in with the situation. Sexual crimes and deviancy (I'll let your mind fill in the blanks) plus any form of political or religious descent gets you sent to the tropical version of a Gulag. You can leave these places after serving your sentence.

As a note, these 'Labour Camps' are more accurately known as 'Mines' and those of you with any knowledge of mining prior to the Modern Era of Labour Relations should know, this can also be read as 'subterranean death-trap'.

Some of you may be surprised to learn that the Divine Order does not use slaves to construct its monuments; instead skilled craftsmen and other freeborn labourers are offered Indulgences (not just the ones that are written down on paper) for every day they work on the local Tabernacles - as a result these monuments rise out of the Ground with a pace, a grace and a degree of beauty in the workmanship that staggers belief.



They also constantly jockey for power and prestige with the populace who are torn between which to serve.

It doesn't help that the Warriors are on the whole the direct heirs of the bruisers who waged The Temple Wars (the rather-unholy cycle of large skirmishes and even-bigger rivalries between Rival Covenants that defined much of Saiya's History … right up until The One God Covenant came out of nowhere to make itself virtually Supreme); while they aren't really stained with the blood of a horrible number of 'Examples' as the old Priesthood were (Priests tended to get grumpy when warriors massacred one another, mostly because this deprived them of potential sacrifices - no, not for MAGICAL sacrifice because deriving mystical power from the DEATH of ONE soul is like trying to lay a trail of nitroglycerine to light a keg of gunpowder big enough to beat an atom bomb in terms of firepower just pour encourager les autres - so Warriors tended to be quite keen on parole and negotiated surrenders once … they'd captured enough victims to keep the Priests happy).

If it weren't for the fact that the Moguls (the usual term applied for the Princely Bureaucrats who help keep The Supreme Covenant ticking over while the Purest pray or discuss theological niceties such as Foreign Policy) are arriviste and technically Priests in Minor Orders of the Divine Order (not to mention profiteers to boot - most of them used to be Merchant Princes because the Old Blood didn't really see eye-to-eye with the levelling instincts The Purest apply to SECULAR Authorities), they'd probably be the most popular of the lot.

Well, if it weren't for the fact that they're basically Mandarins doing their best to keep some fairly robust town-meeting Democracies and Mercantile Assemblies under the Aegis of distinctly ascetic Theocrats (or just keep children of OTHER, Rival theocracies from corrupting their grandchildren).



The Divine Throne doesn't actually like the concept of family all that much.

Not according to ONES priests, at least - as I understand it the Divine Orders idea of a Wedding Blessing boils down to "May the One True God endow these matches with due propriety and increase the numbers of we devoted followers" delivered to as many couples as can fit into earshot (comfortably or otherwise).

Thankfully Mass Marriages weren't exactly uncommon on Saiya even before The Supreme Covenant took over and The Purest tend to withdraw from these happy occasions with tactful haste once the banns have been read - leaving the Population to beads, bells, blankets and a truly fantastic party best described as a pre-industrial Carnivale with elements of the wedding ceremony seen in the opening scenes of ZULU.



This mostly shows up in lands they conquer to convert as they attempt to break up families and raise children as warriors to eventually send against their homeland as Janissaries.

As a note, while most Warriors in Saiya tend towards the Mesoamerican (with the additional fortification of Steel Weaponry, although metal armour tends to be more uncomfortable than strictly helpful) the Buffalos - the Slave Soldiers of The Divine Order - tend to more resemble the Impis as Shaka Zulu might have known them (right down to their being drawn from the same age group and forbidden marriage until a certain period of service has been endured); drawing from the long martial traditions of the Sweetgrass Sea (lots of cattle, lots of bad neighbours) they have proven unmatched in Pitched Battle.

They're not bad at guerrilla warfare either, although they're not Masters of that Dark Art of War.



Many of these nations have been ground to dust but their descendants hate the Saiyins all the more for it.

The fact that their Nations have died a death - or more often been Converted - has actually made them more dangerous, since it makes it much easier for them to run as far and as fast as they can, rather than feel bound to their Kin.

It STILL hasn't killed Old Rivalries though.

Libra1010
01-19-2015, 12:33 PM
EDIT: Thanks for the fix Libra.

Not a problem Voltron - THANK YOU for continuing to follow my humble efforts to enrich a World and THANK YOU Charles for giving me the opportunity to do so, as well as the very best assistance a modest talent could ever ask for!:D

If you have any ideas, dear reader, then please fell free to share them for we will always appreciate the effort even when we don't agree with the ideas!:)

Charles Phipps
01-20-2015, 01:40 PM
BTW, thanks guys.

I've just finished my first fantasy novel because of you.

Most appreciated!

Libra1010
01-21-2015, 02:21 PM
Congratulations Charles, may this be only the first of many future publications! (So when can we start discussing the setting of this fine new novel, all the better to publicise it?).:rolleyes:

Charles Phipps
01-21-2015, 02:53 PM
Congratulations Charles, may this be only the first of many future publications! (So when can we start discussing the setting of this fine new novel, all the better to publicise it?).:rolleyes:

Ask away! Assuming I don't need to create a thread for it. :-)

Libra1010
01-22-2015, 01:47 PM
To avoid confusion I was hoping to keep the World Between and the Savage World of Winterweir in separate threads; sister-settings they may be, but keeping them together would be rather like asking Twins to share a bedroom … and a lover. SIMULTANEOUSLY!

(Yes, I know the idea has its attractions, but it still seems just a LITTLE caddish to me, not to mention vaguely incestuous).:o

Libra1010
01-28-2015, 01:03 PM
I admit that I have been rather distracted from this thread recently, but I've just had a few thoughts on the History and Geography of Amania that will help flesh it out rather more than the List of Names that I've been using as a placeholder in the meantime (there's more to Amania than the Quagmire and farmland desperately pretending it isn't part of the Quagmire and the bit with the rather domineering Revolutionaries? Well … maybe not much but at least a little more!).


In the meantime I have decided to whet your appetite or beat it into remission with the following trivia - across Alacarn, a year is measured as twelve months long but unlike the Gregorian Calendar currently prevailing on Earth the Kalinkan Reckoning of a year is approximately 371 days long and therefore does not accurately match the length of the 'Natural Year' of Teth'Ammon (as measured by Sun and Moons, more than 360 days but fewer than 370).

This was actually taken into account by the Empress and her sages when they drew up the first Imperial Calendar; they dictated that the year be exactly twelve months long, each of no fewer than twenty-nine days in length but allowed for the Holy Days that ended each month to be either one or two or three days long (as decided upon by the Imperial Priestly Hierarchy, at their discretion) to ensure that the years properly matched the seasons over time.

The problem, as it turned out, was that once the Imperial Hierarchy vanished into the memory of History (not to mention the more optimistic dreams of D'henna, Tythan and the likes of the Silver Phoenix) it grew very difficult for the Priests to persuade the population to forego extra holy Days in the interests of a nice, neat calendar.

Ensuring that the precise relationship between Calendar and the present season of the Year tends to vary a great deal across the length of Alacarn (sometimes from Year to YEAR) which has tended to cause an unholy amount of confusion and headaches amongst Historians, not to mention given Time-Travellers a great many problems hitting the right spot in the timeline ….

On the other hand everyone else enjoys their extra Holy Days with the enthusiastic appreciation of the Happily Ignorant, who know a perfect opportunity for an almighty PARTY when they see one!



As an extra bit of trivia useful only to those thinking about writing Novels or Fan Fiction set on The Savage World of Winterweir - I don't think I'll need to grow extra fingers so I can count them all, but a man can dream! - the Months according to the Kalinkan Reckoning are named for one of the Twelve Great Gods in whose Honour the festival that ends the month is held and to whose Glory the month is thereby dedicated.

Given that, as mentioned previously, these Holy Days of Festival tend to erupt into an almighty jubilation it may therefore be easy enough to understand why the Scholars of Alacarn count DOWN rather than add up when reckoning the day of the Month - so the thirtieth day of Veethor is followed by the twenty-ninth, then the twenty-eight and so on.

For the sake of clarity, should I ever be mad enough to bother about the precise day of any given month on Alacarn I shall give it thus: -1 of Paalok or -30 of Vulthoo etc etc.

I hope this is sufficiently clear and would appreciate suggestions on how this system of reckoning might be improved!

Charles Phipps
02-06-2015, 03:55 PM
Oh Libra, we forgive you! Such details!

Btw, if anyone is interested, we have the first article ready on Esoterrorism and hints of what it's about on TUFoC.

http://unitedfederationofcharles.blogspot.com/2015/02/esoterrorism-comes-to-ragnarok.html

Libra1010
02-07-2015, 09:48 AM
I have already read through it and find the basic concept almost as fascinating as the sight of Ms. Scarlet Johansen in a catsuit is lovely!;)


On another note, I would like to make a small amendment to the article above - when I write a date for Alacarn I shall give it as Paalok-28, Kaalon-27, Heton-26 and so on until The Feast Days, which will be numbered 1st Paalok, 2nd Paalok, 3rd Paalok (since The Feast Days proper are the days of the Demigod celebrated, rather than the days of the month that precedes it).

So one month would be:-

Paalok-28
Paalok-27
Paalok-26
Paalok-25
Paalok-24
Paalok-23
Paalok-22
Paalok-21
Paalok-20
Paalok-19
Paalok-18
Paalok-17
Paalok-16
Paalok-15
Paalok-14
Paalok-13
Paalok-12
Paalok-11
Paalok-10
Paalok-9
Paalok-8
Paalok-7
Paalok-6
Paalok-5
Paalok-4
Paalok-3
Paalok-2
Paalok-1
1st Paalok
2nd Paalok
3rd Paalok

Is this straightforward enough or does it need simplification to prevent it from inducing math?

Charles Phipps
02-08-2015, 01:42 AM
Makes perfect sense to me!

Libra1010
02-12-2015, 02:05 PM
Excellent! (Now here's another small tidbit to tide you over until the next proper article).

-A native peculiarity of Tythan, noted by generations of visitors to the Green-gold Kingdom, is its severe attitude to the Illegitimate; while relatively liberal by the standards of Westeros in terms of social attitudes, in legal terms a Chance-Child may not inherit the holdings of their parent intact without the explicit permission of the Sovereign as declared in an Assembly of the Orders (a body constituting the closest thing to a Parliament yet constituted in Tythan - Xander Shepherd talked FAST, with a Silver Tongue to boot - and one which has not been seen in the Realm for slightly more than a century), a ruling intended to reduce the potential for succession crises inherent in any hereditary aristocracy, especially when coupled with the Simple Primogeniture mandated by the Great Charter in the early years of Harold IVs reign.

It is a commandment that has USUALLY been obeyed (although the precise degree to which this ruling is respected varies with the individual customs of the Great Fiefs into which the child is born), in that Ambitious Bastards and their parents tend to think their way around this Law rather than break it.

In the meantime Love-Children of the Aristocracy looking for a way to distinguish themselves from all those other bastards WITHOUT triggering the paranoid possessiveness of their more suspicious-minded siblings tend to refer to themselves by surnames derived from the rank of their aristocratic mater or sire (usually going with the highest rank, because Tythan are ELITIST, except when they're on the campaign trail) - thus the natural son of a Duchess will probably call themselves something like 'Jon Duke' the love-baby of a Cavalier will be 'Maya Knight' and so on ('Priest' 'Baron' etc).



As a side-note, while foreign authors tend to refer to the Noble Houses of Tythan, strictly speaking this is somewhat inaccurate - ask a Tythan and they'll tell you its the Castles than count; Aristocrats title themselves '------ of Castle Name' rather than 'of the House Name' (for example 'Salmon of Castle Stronghill' or 'Rose of Castle Thornbarrow' or 'Lance of Castle Ironside').

Those Noble Houses that explicitly refer to themselves as such are invariably the oldest, able to claim connection to a family tree with roots that stretch deep enough into the past that they pre-date the system of Castles - which deserves attention in its own right, but will be addressed only later if at all - that has dominated the institution of Aristocracy in Tythan for a very long time indeed and has indeed defined the Most Chivalrous Kingdom to boot.

House Greenmay, Paramount Ladies and Lords of The Westwood March, is the most famous example of this known to the Chronicles.

Charles Phipps
02-14-2015, 08:34 PM
Wonderful writing on bastardry in Tythan, Libra!

The poor Snows, Flowers, and Sands of the world unite!

:cool:

Phrozen
02-14-2015, 08:46 PM
Unless they are William the Bastard and decide to take their army and kill anybody who disagrees with their inheritance. Up to and including kings.

Libra1010
02-15-2015, 11:41 AM
True, although we should not forget the Ser Daemon Blackfyres of the World - who reached for a crown and found themselves caught up in the process of their own destruction instead!


For the record the most remarkable 'Dark Horse' claimant to the Iron Crown of Tythan has to be Sir Bullock the Wilful - known in the popular consciousness of Tythan as 'The Bastard Bullock' a name carefully not repeated in the Chronicles - who was born the son of the most famous courtesan in the History of Tythan, a lady most often remembered as 'The Golden Bloom of Kineford' and in her day a woman who was first concubine, then lawfully-wedded wife to the Senior Duke in Tythan (with their younger children becoming his heirs) having been his lover for a long time.

None of which did young Bullock* any good at all - his birth had come at a point in time before Milord Duke could claim the attentions of the Courtesan Letha and the paternity of young Bullock was therefore open to question; more to the point he had already acquired siblings whose paternity was entirely-certain (insofar as such things can be certain without DNA tests) and was therefore obliged to accept that while he would be a member of the family and raised as one of the aristocracy he would never be recognised by Milord Duke.

He was not entirely resigned to his fate as a footnote in History, but then an already-remarkable tale (in Tythan, a knight might marry his mistress - or HER paramour - but a Duke should not and a King never will) took an even more incredible turn, for having decided to spend his career at court Sir Bullock proceeded to win the favour of the King (then Salmon the Shrewd, whose own path to the Throne of Chivalry had been unconventional to say the least) and enter his Inner Councils as a favourite to the point where the production of a Will formally recognising himself as heir of the King was not immediately laughed to scorn not least because his mother had Known the King in the early days of her colourful career.

The problem was that the Will failed to recognise Sir Bullock as the Kings own son (an omission which made many question the veracity of the document, for Salmon the Shrewd was not one to forget such details … unless he hadn't been given very much time to consider them, but even so it was a strange omission) and by the Law of Tythan this made Sir Bullock's legal position unsustainable - except for the fact that the Crown was the source of all Law in Tythan and that therefore the King might make a shaven ape his heir were he of a mind to do so, no matter the precise blood connection between them.

Assuming the King HAD drawn up that document in the interests of his Particular Favourite in the course of his last hours.

Unsurprisingly this was an assumption due for harsh questioning from the Royalty, but somewhat to the surprise of many Sir Bullock found much support amongst the Aristocracy (including his siblings, whose support was full-blooded whether they were full siblings or half) who were as eager to attenuate the power of the Crown as the Royalty were to uphold the Full Majesty of the Law.

Amongst all this uncertainty Sir Bullock manoeuvred for advantage so successfully that he found his way onto The Throne of Chivalry and under the Iron Crown, perched all the while on the Horns of a Dilemma - put simply as King he would be deemed the fountainhead of Law and his claim would be beyond criticism (therefore giving the Royal Establishment no choice but to honour him or tarnish the Crown they sought to uphold), but to become King he would have to BREAK with the very customs that would so empower him were he to preserve them intact (therefore leaving him at the mercy of the Aristocracy and the precise degree of support they were willing to tender him).

In the end a very nasty constitutional crisis was only averted when Sir Bullock swore a mighty oath that he would preserve, defend and honour the Laws Noble and the Custom of the Realm 'Starting Tomorrow' (which is held to have essentially suspended The Laws for long enough to permit him to be crowned without breaking them and shattering the Rule of Law at their very foundation; hereinafter his legitimacy would be conferred by the fact he was now the Crowned and Anointed sovereign).

It was, as his audience noted with a certain grudging admiration, an extremely shrewd piece of legal fiction which had stretched the Rule of Law to the breaking point without breaking away from it or twisting it QUITE out of true - everyone knew that a Crowned and Anointed Sovereign could do as he saw fit (at least in the eyes of the Law and everyone who mattered at the time); much to the astonishment of many, King Bullock outlived the night (with a great deal of help) and was able to begin his Rule the next day with the backing of just enough of the Royalty and the Aristocracy.

He kept the peace and upheld the Rule of Law for as long as he lived, but unfortunately he died while his heiress was very young and Tythan suffered much as a result, for all his craftiness and competence.



'Bull' is a name as common in Tythan as 'Bill' is in the English-speaking world, but 'Bullock' is usually treated as being quite as embarrassingly-formal a name as 'Cuthbert' at least in the present day.

As a note Bestial names tend to be quite popular all across Alacarn, which abounds in the likes of 'Wolf' 'Bear' 'Brock' 'Leon' 'Hind' 'Heron' 'Salmon' 'Finch' 'Cat' 'Robin' and 'Vixen' almost as though the World were being written by an author who wants to point out just how much wilder life is on a pre-Modern World even for the more sophisticated areas therein ...

Voltron64
02-15-2015, 12:32 PM
True, although we should not forget the Ser Daemon Blackfyres of the World - who reached for a crown and found themselves caught up in the process of their own destruction instead!

I'd put the blame more on a father who if fate had been more fair, should've been born sterile.

Libra1010
02-22-2015, 08:51 AM
If Fate had been kind he'd have been born FEMALE.

Charles Phipps
02-22-2015, 09:30 AM
Wonderful article on bastardry, Libra!

Kudos!

A nice way of incorporating the Jon Snows and Blackfyres into the sex-positive world of Alacarn.


If Fate had been kind he'd have been born FEMALE.

I used to think Aegon the Unworthy was unfairly maligned since decadence was a poor reason to say worst king ever.

Then I read the history.

:shudder:

Wow.

Phrozen
02-22-2015, 09:48 AM
Problem with absolute monarchy. If the king is incompetent then the whole country suffers. Just look at France compared to England. England had parliament to step in and moderate, whether it was the Lords in control or the commoners in control, when incompetent monarchs were in charge. France did not so when France had a competent king they were very strong, when they did not they were very weak.

Voltron64
02-22-2015, 10:01 AM
Wonderful article on bastardry, Libra!

Kudos!

A nice way of incorporating the Jon Snows and Blackfyres into the sex-positive world of Alacarn.



I used to think Aegon the Unworthy was unfairly maligned since decadence was a poor reason to say worst king ever.

Then I read the history.

:shudder:

Wow.

Yep, no impulse control on that one.

Libra1010
02-22-2015, 12:56 PM
I have to say that I suspect half the Parliamentarian Faction during the English Civil War and the ENTIRE French Revolution would disagree with you when it comes to Royal Decadence Charles!:cool:

I thank you kindly for the compliment regarding my article and for your patience with my lack of posting recently (although strictly speaking a towering paranoia where illegitimate heirs are concerned is a specifically TYTHAN thing and Tythan tends to be an odd duck by the standards of Alacarn ... but then so does every Great Kingdom and ESPECIALLY Amania).

I must do something to make amends for that and when I can make time to do it I shall.:D