A World of Winds
The States of the World
Antharos is a fairly new nation, combined from the unification of a half-dozen smaller kingdoms in the central heartland. The monarchy has tried to hold onto centralized power, implementing land-reform and promoting a legalist philosophy that promotes a harsh but (usually) fair rule of law.
In meta terms, they have the look and sound of a fantasy kingdom with a culture and government vaguely similar to 8th-9th century China.
Antharos uses the caste system, but especially meritorious behavior by one caste member that occurs in the traditional focus of another class may be officially recognized as an honorary member of that caste for official purposes. Socially, they find themselves stuck between the two groups. It’s lonely, but it’s also a way to channel the odd malcontent by granting the desire for a different role while socially isolating the potential troublemaker.
The country is populous, with a large and organized military. They are happy to throw their weight around, but don’t show interest in conquest. The Kingdom of Kalathos and The Lowlands are tributary states. Antharos has a tense relationship with the Highland Holdings as the western Holdings attempt to extract tribute from the Lowlands, which Antharos sees as its unique right. Natural barriers limit its direct influence on other nations except Molgravia, which it is not on good terms with. With the weakening of the Tasmin Empire, there was speculation that Antharos will seize the eastern Tasmin territories to keep Molgravia from doing so.
Antharos is currently in the midst of a massive propaganda campaign to hold the country together in the face of empowered individuals having the potential to upset the balance of power. A call has gone out to those people to form a sanctioned order called Guardians of Antharos. Speculation is that the next step will be an external campaign to drive internal unity.
Brombrigal and The Fens
Brombrigal and The Fens is are largely unexplored subcontinents/islands to the Northwest. They are largely unexplored but reported to be the home of a large variety of non-Humyn creatures. Giants in particular seem to take exception to Humyn visitation to Brombrigal proper. A few Tasmin Empire colonies have been established in The Fens. They are sometimes used as places of exile, which might explain the colonies rumored connection to a dark power in the interior of The Fens. Or it might not.
Masters of trade, Corecia has established trade not only with all the Humyn nations of Arimaspea, but also with Wyrmlings and foreign continents. The latter feats are almost as impressive as their sustained relationship with Ormward, as the insular jungle nation usually refuses dealings with nations that implement the caste system.
Death Valley and Ormward isolate them from the rest of the continent, allowing them to live in relative peace. Minor confrontations with Shakken over piracy are generally the only fights it gets into, and it’s superior navy means piracy isn’t a threat to the nation itself.
The most militarized nation on the continent, the Highland Holdings are firmly allied city states united in defense against the Wrymlings. The sides raid each other frequently, and overall territory is somewhat fluid apart from the population centers. Even the Kingdom of Kalathos doesn’t compare to the fortifications on their mountain castles.
The culture and mannerisms seem backwards and barbaric to most other nations. Unlike those in the Kromus Clans who welcome the designation, the Holders take exception to those who don’t seem to appreciate them holding the line that makes the other nations possible. Whether the Wyrmlings would actually pose a threat to the other nations, or if they’re only interested in their ancient feud with the Holders is an open question.
The holdings along the Lowlands’ border often bully the weak nation into providing food, money, or goods. These holdings are held in low esteem by the others, but the ties of alliance bind the other holdings to side with them against the complaints of the Lowlands and Antharos.
Kingdom of Kalathos
A tributary state of Antharos, the Kingdom of Kalathos competes with Corecia to be the prime trading partner of Shakken. The Kingdom of Kalathos has elements of the culture of Shakken, but ultimately rejects those egalitarian principles in favor of the caste system common on the continent. The royal council has representatives from each caste which can petition the king for redress of grievances, but the typical societal roles and responsibilities break down as normal.
The kingdom tends to invest heavily in infrastructure and education, and as such has some of the best roads and fortifications on the continent.
The Kromus Clans have been independently governed clans for most of their existence, but in times of trouble, they elect a clan to lead them, and the clan chief becomes king. Such is the case at present, and the Rakstanti clan flies its checkered banner at the center of the Kromus moot.
The Kromus Clans have a cattle-based economy, with each settlement’s esteem based on the size of it’s herd.
The Kromus have a social structure that ranks strength and valor slightly above wealth and wisdom, and so are almost constantly raiding and stealing cattle from each other. This is rarely done with intent to inflict serious harm on the other clan, but a few deaths are inevitable and these are generally accepted without increasing hostility. The nuances of when it’s acceptable to kill and raid are complex, but it’s generally poor form to do a large raid during planting or harvesting season, as that can lead to starvation on both sides.
The Kromus keep captured enemies as thralls, a status between serf and slave. It’s generally not a long term prospect, as thralls are usually released when ransomed or rescued. Long term thralldom generally only occurs when someone requests it, as their family or clan has become destitute and helpless. While the Kromus don’t allow such people to die, a failure of that level makes you unworthy of full status, hence thralldom. As a result, many people prefer to turn bandit or emigrate rather than admit to that level of failure.
The Lowlands is a fertile but poor kingdom frequently caught between the demands of the Highland Holdings and Antharos. It’s not well governed, and the king seems to have more interest in soothsayers and fey-speakers than in practical politics. It has one seaport, which conducts a limited amount of trade with the Tasmin Empire.
Antharos’s main rival on the continent, what Molgravia lacks in numbers and organization it makes up for in magic and madness. The leader in alchemical production, Molgravia’s barons tend to encourage whatever they feel will increase their power and authority, including magic that makes the peasantry nervous.
While independent-minded, as exemplified by the ultimate ruler having the title of Duke rather than King, the barons realized that the surrounding nations would put more restrictions on their power if Molgravia fell and presented a united front to Antharos during the ongoing sabre-rattling.
With the rising uncertainty, this is no longer the case, as the southern baronies have united under the Witch Queen, leaving the northern baronies under the Duke weakened.
A movement to unify Molgravia under the leadership of the Witch Queen of Slaugh is gaining traction in southern Molgravia. An unapologetic necromancer, the Witch Queen is an unknown. She claims to have been a peasant woman chosen by an ancient god to unify the peninsula.
The Ormward was formed not long after the beginning of the age when low-caste Riverborn and Fieldborn abandoned the developing caste system and somehow befriended an ancient Water Orm. With its protection, they were able to establish a society that’s resisted all attempts to drive it out of the jungle they call home. The Orm is worshipped as an avatar of the small god Quahil, patron of bodies of water. There is a nervousness sweeping the Ormward as the relative power of the Orm declines in relation to empowered individuals.
The Ormward’s only city is Xochictun, a city in the middle of a lake which offers extra security, given the city’s protector. Government is weak to nonexistent, and the many small groups living in the jungle are independent. The caste system is seen as immoral, but prejudice still exists, only reversed. Riverborn and Fieldborn are considered ‘normal’ while Clayborn are suspect and the other Kinds have to overcome a deep-rooted societal inferiority complex in order to thrive.
The Ormward is home to the international network of conspirators known as Equality. They’ve tried their best to destabilize countries using the caste system in order to end that system. Now that things are starting to come apart on their own, Equality is becoming more active.
Mostly shares the culture and history of the Tasmin Empire. The two cities of Selisia were some of the later founded settlements. Juqphr has the most fertile farmland in the entire desert territory. Currently led by Queen Selyida Jansari. The rebellion has gone largely unanswered, thus far.
A subcontinent that claims to have an unbroken cultural heritage to the previous age. They claim that while the main continent was nearly wiped clean, their ancestors preserved Shakken as a refuge for them. This seems to be only half-true, as early civilization in this age seems to have arisen independently in both the Heartland and the Western Desert in addition to Shakken.
They don’t use the caste system that developed in other nations, and engage in a relatively direct form of republican government. They don’t have the moral outrage towards its use that people in the Ormward do, owing largely to a culture that holds that people deserve the government they accept.
The archives and museums of Shakken are a draw for scholars and historians.
The island is also home to species of creatures that seem to be different than the main continent, particularly the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are a main Shakken export. Only neutered dinosaurs are shipped, and the few smuggled breeding animals have been insufficient to create a breeding population elsewhere.
Outside of the trading zones, outsiders are discouraged from exploring Shakken and aren’t allowed into the cities. This isolationism has led to all sorts of nasty rumors and suspicions. With the current troubles, even the trading zones are now closed. Shakken is off-limits to outsiders entirely.
The predecessor states to the Tasmin Empire were formed when an army from one of the former countries that now comprise Antharos marched into the desert to confront the heretic armies of King Rane. After winning the battle, the generals saw that there were a lot more heretics out in the desert than they had supposed; almost a whole nation’s worth. Taking this as a holy cause, they took over rulership of the cities and started converting them. It wasn’t hard. Heretic gods are generally hard on the rank-and-file citizen.
When the Antharos leadership tried to call it’s holy warriors home, they refused, and thus was born the Tasmin Empire. Over the years, the religious overtones of leadership have faded, although the small gods embodying judgement, heroism, and redemption are still officially the state religion.
Subsequently, the desert cities were unified under Emperor Attami the Friendly, who managed to ally with and betray just about every local power before his conquest was complete.
Bessel was originally the home of an incredible fountain which supplied endless water to the inhabitants and allowed for a unique brand of agriculture. Unfortunately, when The Storm rose, the fountain was abandoned with the rest of the city.
With the rise of The Storm, the capital moved from Bessel to Cilessa. The Empire is considered to be in decline. The western cities broke away to form the state of Selisia, and both Aranthos and Molgravia have been eyeing the eastern half of the Empire now divided by The Storm.
Currently led by Regent Ismal Ab-Zaki, the former Grand Vizier.
This forest is full of fey. They had been happy to leave the rest of the world alone in exchange for being left alone. Now they’re starting to get involved.
Wyrmlings (mechanically kobolds) rule the far north. They dispute ownership of the mountain ranges with the Highland Holdings, and territorial wars are frequent. They worship strange gods which don’t seem to be aligned with the Aspects. They believe that great dragons from previous ages still exist and that through perseverance can be found and awakened. Humyns generally dismiss those beliefs as wishful thinking; until someone reminds them the Riverborn founded the Ormward under the protection of the Great Orm.