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 Rheinhardt's Massive Proposal

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Join date : 2009-07-08

PostSubject: Rheinhardt's Massive Proposal   Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:30 pm

Some of you have already noticed I wrote a proposal of gods. This was drawn from a fairly broad setting that I've developed for my tabletop group and I was wanting to share it with you. In addition, they've liked much of the rest of my setting, its backstory and themes, so I thought I'd spill it out here. To be short, I'd like to submit a continent.

Now as you can clearly see, I am no good with Paint.NET. Or forum image posting, hence my repeated edits. But with this map before you, lets discuss matters.

To begin with; blue horizontal stripes represent salt awter seas and oceans. Both major bays are of reduced salinity, so much so that the northwestern bay is plagued by ice in winter and the central bay has caused careless sea captains to sink their merchant ships, floating fine in the saltwater ocean, but floundering in the far less saline bay. The various colors represent nations; two human, one dwarven, one orcish, and one elven. These nations are as follows;

Now it isn't critical that this be the Known World, nor that other continents don't exist. Even at the tabletop sessions, I hint at a Middle East/North Africa continent of deserts directly south of the limits of this ocean, possibly with your usual Asian-themed human civilization across the central highlands. Off to the east is a huge amount of undefined space; perhaps any humans who don't mesh with the Western powers could fit there, or even other varieties of elves than what I'll describe. But Eldarus, for the purpose of this proposal, is the capital of the elven nation on this continent. That nation is marked in gold and purple diamonds, and Eldarus herself is the large grey circle on the central penninsula.

Eldarus is the maritime trading center of the world, so plenty of captains, pirates, merchants, travellers, and tourists will flock here. It is the primary naval base of the Nieranese Empire, and harbors much of its battle fleet of sleek galleys. Eldarus is the billet of a reserve army of elven cavalry and archers with human 'free companies' (more on this later). These military-minded elves also form the core of the guard. The city is also the political capital as well, with the Sun Palace's marble spires crowning the limestone rocks in the center of the city. Within it, the Queen and King dwell.

Eldarus is also a holy city of sorts. You might recall Aurinia from my write up on the Gods and Goddesses, which can be found here. Well, the write up has a rather flattering view of Aurinia as its written by a high priest of her lover Archambau. There are a few layers to her. Suffice to say, she truely is mother of the elves in a spiritual sense (they aquired her beauty as well as vainity in their creation) as well as in one physical sense. When she first visited her new creation, she found them so beautiful that she fell in love with their greatest lord, thus securing him as the first king. Their firstborn was a daughter, indeed, the only children were daughters and would ever be daughters from that lineage. She resembled the goddess so strongly she was considered not only a demi-goddess herself, but a spiritual avatar to the elven people. This left her as the first priestess and princess. However, Archambau found out of Aurinia's little tryst and demanded she return, and afterwards the first King was lost in grief, or so it is said. This left a Queen. And to the understanding of everyone, this selfsame Queen has ruled since creation, 6709 years ago. The current date is thus 67xx, where xx is the current year on our calendar. This calendar is modeled after the Byzantine calendar, the Byzantines being the nation I modeled my elves approximately on in some but not all ways.

Thus a divine Queen rules the city aside her husband, who has not reigned consecutively but tends to murdered every dozen centuries in a great court scandal. The Queen herself always escapes death, grieves for a time, and finally accepts a new King. Meanwhile life in Eldarus and the Nieranese empire continues as usual; elves come of age, become married, seek estates abroad, eventually are slain on adventures, in battles or by simple accidents, and their children inherit what their elders had. A society with such long lifespans would, as a result of broad education, nearly limitless time to spend learning a trade, and an excellent position along the commercial routes as a nation, aquire very significant wealth even for the lower classes. Even a poor elf is dressed as well as a merchant in a more distant land, and much of the society can afford armor, horses, land, servants and slaves.

Oh, slaves and elves? Dispell all notions that I'm proposing Drow. These are very much High Elves, dignified and proper, in ivory towers and silvered armor. And that is exactly why they aquire slaves from the mortal races. As the pinnacle of civilization, with boundless learning and great wealth, the elves have taken upon themselves to accept humans, orcs and even the occasional outcast dwarf into their society as servants and slaves. While it might seem a cruel process, the elves are in fact liberating the mortals from so many struggles in life. Human nations suffer famine, here humans are fed. Human cities are filthy and diseased, here humans have bath-houses and doctors. Human peasants are kept ignorant, here humans are taught all the enlightened arts of Elven civilization, as well as a healthy scorn of their old lives. Humans enslaved by, or perhaps the word is enthralled by, mesmerized by, Elven society live longer, happier lives in relative comfort and peace over their warlike home nations. And while they're here, they can tend the fields and do the dangerous work that immortal lives are best not squandered in. A thousand years of elven life is lost to the same bad mineshaft as eighteen years of human life, and the latter is not such a loss, is it? Speaking of which, any men who volunteer into military service would make excellent infantry, while we elves can remain safely behind the lines as archers or within our household armor as cataphract cavalry. And rowers for ships as well, of course...

The debate on slavery still isn't settled among elves, with some viewing it as a disruption of the natural order, and others insisting it is the natural order. The goddess chose to come down to them, after all. Their queen is the highest being in the world, and naturally all others should obey her. Thus there is some conflict to roleplay out, some politics to discuss. As far as other politics are concerned;

Tyria lies to the West, across the South Sea and is marked by red and gold. Tyrium is its capital city, modeled after the Elven style with less pointed arches and more brick, giving it a very late Roman appearance. The Tyrians have forged an empire by sword and shield, boasting the world's finest heavy infantry backed by peasant crossbowmen and auxillary spearmen. Cavalry is fairly scorned, however, as those who can afford horses and armor are usually city-dwelling and can pay others to fight for them. Tyria has seeded several colonies throughout the river valley and beyond, but in truth, the major cities that make up the rest of the Tyrian Republic are simply city-states that have been conquered and allowed to join the larger body and remain semi-autonomous. This is where all sorts of players can make up little cities and townships without having to worry about how it meshes into the larger picture; just like a Roman citizen could be from Spain or Judea, so could a Tyrian be from any of dozens of city states. Its also an excellent villian nation; not only are its prisoners of war sold into slavery domesticly and to the elves, but it could have exiled your family from its kingdom, if your kingdom wasn't much larger than say your usual Holy Roman Empire nation-state. Speaking of which, their neighbors to the north are even more along those lines.

Vohrland is marked by silver and green. Here blond-haired, blue eyed folk of varying levels of barbarism have settled after a long migration from the eastern plains some thousand years ago. Any mix of northern european characters can come from here; Viking like sea raiders operate in the northwestern fjords to strike Tyrian coastlines, mounted knights fight for honor in the south, and to the east a brutal war rages constantly as the first group to settle the new land now must hold the pass against the orcish migration that drove them from the plains initially. Vohrland literally means 'Land of Pines', and the cool climate means evergreen trees are the most common sight across its rolling hills and mountain slopes. Names from this region should be Germanic in origin, particularly anyone south of the bay up to the mountains. No Vohrland noble calls himself a king; all are dukes or counts or simple 'von's. The various noble houses are locked in a net of mutual protection pacts, non-aggression treaties, ancestral birthrights, letters of noble grant, deeds and other such nonsense that it is joked no man could become king without finding an army of scribes. The various states are assisted by neighbors if attacked from outside, but internally each summer sees a minor bloodletting to move a border a few miles this way or that. Vohrlanders value freedom very highly, and are opposed to slavery and thus Tyria and Nieran. At present, the three powers are not at war, although they have in the past.

Between Tyria and Vohrland, to both nation's relief as it serves as a fence between unhappy neighbors, lies the Heartmount Range, which is the home of the Dwarves. Not much is known about the locations of their strongholds, save that they render the mountains impassable to any marching army. Dwarves are rarely played, so allow me to just say; I beg that you not use a Scottish accent. Think Tolkien's dwarves. Dignified, orderly, straight-spoken but crypticly minded. One thing of note; the Mountain King has ordered any silver or gold articles which leave the mountain must be paid for by their weight in silver or gold, plus the craftsman's fee. Its not sure if this is because the mines are drying up or if it is simply a ruse to raise the value of the metals, but its caused many dwarves to shift into the more liquid arms market. Other dwarven outposts exist in most mountain ranges, however none are considered true mountainhomes. The gold and grey area represents their above-ground holdings, which amount to large central towers raised above ground that rise almost directly out of crop fields. It is presumed storehouses and distilleries and all other manner of agricultural industries are housed below, carved in the bedrock as is the dwarven custom.

In the northeastern plain live the orcs, who exist in great roaving clans of nomads. Every few years a clan smashes against the Elven or Vohrland borders and is destroyed, but inevitably a new one takes their place. Just what is driving them west is unknown, as the people seem uniquely suited for life on the plains with excellent foot speed, keen vision at night and hardy constitutions. Orcs are not mindless aggressors, several clans have trade and diplomatic ties with other nations, usually selling herd animals and captives in return for weapons and tools.

So there you have it, a continent fully formed. Any further questions you might have, feel free to ask and I'll define. I very likely already have the answer. And while I don't want to keep players freedom and creativity in their backstories, I feel if we all don't start from the same page our relations won't be as deep as they could, as we'd all come from different communities with no aminosity or friendship inherit in that.

TLDR Version; Vohrland is freedom-loving Germans, Tyrium is hedonistic Rome, Nieran is enlightened Ottomans with their foreign slaves and Eldarus is the capital of Nieran, in the middle of all factions, ruled by a divine Queen.
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