View Full Version : Marshire [Setting] [PEACH]

2008-02-18, 12:47 AM
You could probably skip right over History. At the moment it's just a vague timeline, and mostly focuses on the Tyrocian Empire which a) no longer exists and b) existed in what is the back-end of the modern world.
0 TE, petty Tyrocian empire begins

116 TE, invention of steel, giving the Tyrocians a military advantage over their neighbors.

120 TE, Dasyll, fourth emperor, takes the title at the age of thirty five, and begins the process of enlarging the empire.

122 TE, invention of a gladus equivalent and the formation.

134 TE, Dasyll dies, probably due to poison, out in the Vilician Deserts. He is returned home to a lavish funeral and put to rest in a grand mausoleum.

134-340 TE, the empire is fairly well managed with occasional uprisings.

260 TE, the capital of the empire is eventually moved to southern Asyr, in Chaltan, away from Old Tyrocia.

312 TE, the Imperial Church fully converts to the Benelosist texts, from it’s previous Fist and Styr worship.

341-350 TE, the beginning of the “decadence of the Empire,” Tyrocia begins to slowly lose ground and face heavy civil wars.

460 TE, the empire splits. The East Tyrocian empire holds off the West Tyrocian empire in the Vilician Deserts.

520 TE, the West Tyrocian empire collapses.

589 TE, the East Tyrocian empire collapses. Old Tyrocia becomes known as Ryssia.

712 TE, the fragmented colonies of the West Tyrocian empire begin their age of discovery.

956 TE, Ryssia colonializeded by the Nyssians.

1133 TE, Present Day
Geography (still needs to be churned out in depth)
You probably need to skim this to get a grasp on what is where and what the places mentioned are.
Marshire is the name of the main "continent" (the IRL equivalent of eurasiafrica).

Chaltan - the center of civilization, as it were
Mostly forests and plains. Has humans and orcs. Located in the northwest corner of Marshire.

The Vilician Deserts - deserty
Desert with the occasional pockets of human civilization along rivers. Has the occasional band of city-states. Has lots of lizardfolk. To the direct southeast of Chaltan

Azakhan - culturally distinct but adjacent to Chaltan
Mountain ranges, valleys, and sparse trees. Has goblins, hobgoblins, and dwarves. To the direct east of Chaltan.

Kataka - distant continent
Widely varied geography. Has elves. Across the western sea from Chaltan, across the eastern sea from Chakvos

Ytonia - the jungly, deserty hellhole ass end of the world
Deserts, jungles. Has humans. Old Tyrocia was located here. Located across a relatively small patch of ocean from Chaltan.

Chakvos - the mysterious orient
No idea what to do here - might get cut.
History: Elven history spans countless millenia - it is not known when they began their society, but they were killing each other long before the Tyrocian Empire. Every hundred years or so, a great “Blood Conflict” will occur, and most of the population will die, either by the indiscriminate killing, or by the massive undersupply of food.

These Blood Conflict occur because of the massive elven reproductive tendency. They have children at a rate proportionate to humans, but they have a much lower infant mortality rate and they continue to pump out babies without cease until the day they die. With the huge numbers they constantly accrue in this way, their agriculture can feed only a relative few, and either civil unrest or national rivalry erupt into an all-out Blood Conflict.

Early in their existence, the elves mined away what little iron, nickel, copper and similar “hard metals” their home continent had. What few mines still exist are used to gather luxury metals such as gold and silver.

In their grand history, elves driven to escape the cycle of Blood Conflicts occasionally came to Marshire in wooden boats. When they did, the never looked back, because they knew if Kataka learned of their success, far too many would come, and it would become caught in the same Blood Conflicts that ruined their home. If a naďve elf tried to set sail for home, one of his comrades would readily kill him. This, the difficulty of the path home, and the unlikeliness of an elf being believed if he did get home, has kept Marshire unknown (or at least unbelieved) in Kataka.

Culture: Over the course of elven history, the constant, inevitable wars and seemingly destined demises have altered elven culture to the extent that it is now a deeply fatalistic, darwinist antitheist society. Great elven philosophers have come up with many ways of justifying elven brutality, and of blaming the gods.

What has stuck through the most, though, is the teachings of Tamako, whose most remembered teachings include: “What have the gods ever done for the good of elvenkind? Naught. And so elvenkind should do naught for the good of the gods,” and “If we are destined to be born, and to die, in conflict, should we not take this conflict, and sieze it? To take the stick that life has handed to us and to use it and wield it?”

Elves on Marshire are a varied bunch, but they generally take control of the situation. Most royal lineages can trace themselves back to at least one elf who took to power.

Physiology: Elves can be swiftly described as “better than humans.” Their lifespans are longer, their vulnerability to diseases lower, their child mortality extremely low, and they don’t have to worry about dysentery. The rare elf that lives through more than one Blood Conflict is almost always an extraordinary individual.

Elf skin tones vary between slightly tanned to very dark, depending on their location of heritage. They have long, pointy ears, like typical elves from other settings.

Adventurers: Though elves make up a small portion of the population, they make up a disproportionately large portion of the adventuring sort. Having long since severed their tethers to their homes, families, and lives, they find the sort of travelling that adventurers do easily. Further, many elves are extraordinary people merely by virtue of their long lives.
Goblins & Hobgoblins:
History: The countless tribes of goblins outnumbered the dwarves from the dawn of history, but they were never organized or effective enough to fight their old foes. The two had a long, hate-filled rivalry for centuries, with the dwarves occasionally raiding the goblins, and the goblins frequently (but rarely successfully) raiding the dwarves. The much larger mass of goblins was governed mostly by the hobgoblin minority.

Since the beginning of human imperialism in Azakhan, goblins and hobgoblins have become notable parts of human society. Only a few pockets of village of goblins and hobgoblins still exist, and these have frequently adapted seriously to the progress of modern times, wielding modern (though frequently stolen) weaponry, rather than the axes, spears and leather armor of their ancestors.

Culture: In their Azakhan tribes, the goblins were members of a quite martial culture, with frequent but ultimately pointless wars taking place amongst themselves, and with the dwarves. The greatest warrior (almost always a hobgoblin) lead a tribe.

Since their absorption into human society, goblins and hobgoblins have gotten less and less tightly knit, though they are still close allies and friends. The goblin subculture in Chaltan has it’s teeth firmly sunk into the sciences - and, indeed, no human bats an eye at a goblin scientist, though there are some nasty stereotypes. On the other hand, hobgoblins have selected the wonderfully meritocratic military to escape from the ghettos, and most adult hobgoblins have been in the military.

The relations between Chaltan goblins and hobgoblins are excellent: a goblin is liable to treat a strange hobgoblin just as well as he treats a strange goblin, and vice versa. There are very few pure-goblin or pure-hobgoblin ghettos. The old ways reassert themselves sometimes, with a hobgoblin (or family of hobgoblins) returning from the military with good pay to help their friends back in the ghetto get out (or improve life in the ghetto).

Many goblin alchemists worked (and some still work) with mercury. Mercury poisoning lead to dementia, and earned the goblins a reputation for madness. Such goblins are called “quicksilver smiths” or simply “silversmiths.”

Ancient goblinoid religion focused on Styr and Fist, with a tiny bit of Ill Quen. A significant number of modern goblinoids now worship Benelos instead.

Physiology: A goblin with all the luxuries of civilization may live to about fifty, and reaches age of majority at ten. They are small, with beady eyes and long arms. Their physique is generally wiry, though there is occasionally a bit of muscle on a particularly hardy goblin. Their fingers are long and thin, with strong, thick fingernails.

A well-groomed hobgoblin can live up to eighty years, reaching adulthood at thirteen. They stand in at a height greater than humans, with catlike eyes and very well developed musculature.

Adventurers: A goblin or hobgoblin who goes out on an adventure probably has no family or home community to call his own, or he adventures for their sake. Hobgoblin adventurers typically have prior experience, and goblin adventurers tend to be magic-users.
[not fleshed out yet]
Key Points:
• The dwarven clans are tightly knit groups with most violence occuring towards other clans.
• Dwarven culture romanticizes war and bloody combat.
• Dwarves are attempting to rapidly industrialize.
• Jewelry and precious metals are the primary exports of dwarves.
• Dwarven mythology includes elves, as nefarious fiends out of the bowels of hell with an eye to steal dwarven industry and riches. This is a strangely long-standing myth.
• Primary deities are Fist and Shiro
At the moment, I only have vague ideas regarding orcs and lizardfolk, the other two races I plan to flesh out.
His Unseen Self
Symbol: A black disk, or a drawn black circle
Portfolio: Luck, the arts, trickery, travel
History: The worship of His Unseen Self is very difficult to pin down. Various hand-painted black circles can be seen on ancient caves, and obsidian disks have been discovered all across the world, but there has never been any confirmation of his existence further back than two thousand years.

Personality: The personality of His Unseen Self is unknown. Indeed, some even question if His Unseen Self even has a personality. It is widely believed that His Unseen Self is fairly anthropomorphic (at least as much as any of the other gods), and manipulates the course of mortal lives according to his plan. Beyond that, not much is known.

Church & Worship: Obsidian disks are sold as trinkets, generally worn or held the clothes of compulsive gamblers, rogues, or con-men. Beyond an whispered prayer for good luck or a safe trip, few worship or gather for him.

Those who are truly dedicated to him, however, follow his path of walking across the world and seeking out new lands, new songs and new faces. This is why the worship of His Unseen Self is so widely spread across Marshire, even though His Unseen Self rarely shows his face.

Dogma: His Unseen Self makes no judgments, and has no dogma. He merely travels and alters, according to his unknown plan. A handful of texts detail supposed appearances of Him, and are occasionally sold for low prices in libraries and bookstores.

Heterodoxy: Some consider His Unseen Self to be a mere godlike force, rather than an intelligence which tries to alter the world.
Ill Quen
Symbol: Varies. Common motifs are leaves, fangs, claws, pawprints and combinations thereof. Most common is a bear’s pawprint.
Portfolio: Animals, plants, disease
[Not fleshed out yet]
God of the beasts and the trees
Ill Quen is sometimes called “the bloody artist,” for his work on this world is a truly a grand sight to behold, but also a brutish and nasty one. His hand has formed nature as it is, a great system which is always ready to shift and turn to a new face, but this same system is obviously brutal, violent, and cannibalistic, as are it’s constituents. Ill Quen is rarely worshipped by civilized folk, and mostly prayed to only when you are deep in the forest and would prefer to not be eaten by a wolf.
[God of Death, but I have no idea what to do with him. Suggestions welcome.

Originally, I was going to make him God of Wealth + Death, but then I realized that Eberron already did that connection with Kol Korran and the Keeper.

I may end up just removing him and giving Dasyll double-duty as God of Death, as he’s a soon-to-be lich and they’re always death gods]

Symbol: A four-pointed crown
Alignment: Lawful Neutral (?)
Portfolio: Tyrocia, Ryssia, law and order, empire
History: Over a thousand years ago, a royal named Dasyll finally took the crown from his father at the age of thirty five. He lead the Tyrocian Empire to great things, and much of their once great size is from his acquisitions. But he died nine hundred ninety nine years ago, and was buried in a grand mausoleum. The Cult of the Emperor kept watch over the mausoleum, and it was said that he would come back from the dead in a thousand years time. And that time is very close.

Personality: Dasyll was a great man, always trying to acheive victory. He had ambition, drive, and force of personality. He was a charmer, a tactician, and he dabbled in the arcane arts. But what he wanted out of life is rather a mystery. He certainly wanted to succeed at his goal of world domination, but beyond that, not much can be said.

Church & Worship: The Cult of the Emperor meets in hidden passages and basements and near the mausoleum of Dasyll. They do little else.

In the modern era, the membership Cult of the Emperor is far detached from any Emperor. The only thing keeping them tethered to Dasyll is that if he returns, he will doubtlessly put Ryssia at the head of his new empire.

Dogma: Obedience to duty is the greatest of virtues. Victory over others is the ultimate victory. Dasyll had a rather social darwinist view of the world and the idea of empire seemed second nature to him.

Heterodoxy: Some people don’t think Dasyll counts as a real god.
Symbol: A clenched fist
Portfolio: War, destruction, glory, desolation
[Not fleshed out yet]
God of war and destruction
The lord of destruction, glory, and desolation. All he wants is the Great End, the Glorious Finale, the Beautiful Apocalypse. He wants it all to end, with a big old bang. Most do not associate him with the desire to end everything, but it’s there in his holy texts if you know where to look. Most only associate him with righteous destruction, but he is all about beautiful destruction. All he wants to see the pretty explosion, rather than the tiresome old run-down.
Symbol: A hammer
Portfolio: Wealth, craftsmanship, manufacture, industry.
[Not fleshed out yet]
God of money and labor
He is behind ever labor of manufacture, every piece of coin, every new idea of industry. According to recent tradition, it was he who inspired the assembly line and the modern scientific method. And according to much older traditions, he inspired currency and writing. Some wonder if he truly did, but it’s not relevant to day-to-day life. He blesses the crafts of craftsmen and laborers who respect him
Symbol: A pentagon
Portfolio: Arcane magic, knowledge, learning
History: It is said that Cthonix was once even more humanlike than Styr. A man, with desires not as petty or irritating as Styr’s desire for sex and food. He wanted to know things. But with the passing of the centuries, he changed, becoming as inhuman as any other god. Though his worship spread when he was new around, he is now mostly worshipped only by scientists and magicians, and this dates back to long before the Tyrocian Empire.

Personality: Cthonix is a machine, a machine which seeks out only one thing: more knowledge. What horrible secret turned Cthonix into a machine is unknown, but no one really wants to know. He offers spells and interesting bits of magical knowledge to those who worship him, in a passive memory of what he once was.

Church & Worship: There are only a handful of churches praising Cthonix, and those are impromptu basement-worships amongst cabals of mages. Such churches tend to rarely meet, and serve mostly as a social function for their members to share what they’ve learned.

Worship of Cthonix is comprised of hastily-whispered prayers for spells and the like to work, and attempts to learn about the world.

Clerics dedicated to Cthonix spend their lives learning. They tend to use their money to support libraries, research, and the sciences. Many clerics of Cthonix are also dedicated scientists.

Dogma: The lesson Cthonix teaches is to learn as much as you can. This is revealed in a series of texts from various time periods when Cthonix incarnated in humanoid form. Early texts portray a figure quite similar to Styr, a humanlike god with wants, but he later mutates into a learning automaton. Benelosists tend to take the lesson of Cthonix as “don’t learn too much, or you’ll go peculiar.”

Heterodoxy: Virtually none. Cthonix has never had an organized body of worshippers, but they always maintained a similar outlook on life.
Symbol: An etched smiley face on a disk, or a smiley face drawn on another surface.
Portfolio: Desire, humanity (as in the qualities of man, not as in the race), ambition
History: Worship of Styr goes back all the way through the history books, and has only recently become somewhat socially unacceptable. Even now, it’s not a kill-you-for-it sort of deal, just a don’t-hire-you-for-it thing. In the ancient days, Styr’s worship spread across Marshire, with most every race having some who worshipped him (save the dwarves, who found him too disorderly to worship en masse).

Personality: The fundamental difference between Styr and the other gods is that Styr seems human. The other gods come off as machines, running on a set of rules that got keyed into them at some point. He’s charismatic, intelligent, and very emotional. However, he is portrayed as ludicrously petty rather often.

Church & Worship: In Chaltan, only a few churches to the god stand, and those are frequently attacked or broken into. The few churches is not just because of persecution, but also because Styr prefers more personal sacrifices, made in the privacy of one’s own home.

Indeed, many Styr-worshippers couldn’t be recognized as such except by someone noticing they purchase live animals from time to time that are never seen again. Beyond the occasional attempt to extract a moral lesson from the tales of Styr ******* with people, this is really the only way to “worship” him - buy him a chicken or dove or something, and slaughter it as a present. It is widely believed that he eats it’s soul.

Clerics dedicated to Styr look upon their god as a friend watching their back more than a grand inhuman creature of worship. They tend to lead fairly rambunctious lives, pay their respects to Styr fairly regularly, and not much else.

Dogma: Styr doesn’t really have much of a dogma of how to live. His holy texts are just a collection of tales about all the times when, in various different locales from one end of the world to the other, he appeared in human (or goblin, or dwarven, or whatever) form, jerked around the locals, had sex with a few women, and left as abruptly as he arrived.

Heterodoxy: Churches of Styr are pretty much all heterodoxical. They try to glean moral lessons from his holy texts, an exercise not much different from attempting to get water from a stone.

Some rather nasty folks sacrifice people (no particular race, gender, or sexual experience) to him. Most regular Styr worshippers figure he doesn’t really like this.
Symbol: A white disk. Alternatively, a drawn circle.
Portfolio: Authority, order, justice
History: In the deepest recesses of history, Benelos was rarely worshipped. The occasional tiny community of Benelos-worshippers would appear, but nothing much. But when the ancient Tyrocian Empire was at it’s greatest, it began to adopt the texts of Benelos. This lead to the spread of the Benelos religion throughout Chaltan and the Vilician Deserts. Much of the Chaltan empires’ holdings have also gotten the Benelosist as well.

Personality: Benelos is authority. He stands above mere mortals, watching them as a distant figure, noting their failures and their successes. His sole desire is to judge. Sometimes his judgments seem capricious or strange, but he never admits to being wrong.

If there is a flaw in Benelos, though, it is him being too forgiving. When men do evil deeds in his sight, all they must do is pay lip service to repentance, and they are forgiven.

Church & Worship: Large, extravagant temples, with magnificent stained-glass windows litter the Chaltan countryside. The priesthood, though they technically own nothing, tend to live in excellent conditions thanks to all the donations given to their church. The church has much power, with it being governed by a grand beauracracy. The highest member of the church is the Father, who watches over the whole machine. Most consider the Father to be the pinnacle of Good and Holiness, though he is actually not much better than a normal person - he’s just the one running the business.

Worshippers of Benelos fill churches, whisper silent prayers, listen to readings from the Book of Benelos, and leave. Most rarely think about Benelos once they leave church, save when confronted by religiousity outside the church.

Those of the priesthood who are granted divine powers by Benelos tend to use them to keep worship up by aiding those who they meet with Benelos’ power.

Dogma: Benelos’ will is revealed in a series of texts written over several centuries and was compiled in it’s current form (the Book of Benelos) in 216 TE. The dogma contains many humanist conceits (love your neighbors, do good unto strangers, protect the weak and so forth), but also some blasting of magicians (for scoffing at divine power) and women (for some references to females being more prone to sexual immorality). Modern interpretation tends to focus more on the women-subjugating than the magician stoning, though a couple areas say that drawing on the “naked arcane” (ie wizard and sorcerer-style free casting) is illegal.

According to the Book of Benelos, those who do not respect Benelos must be dealt with by showering them with gifts, kindness, and love, until they accept Benelos for his loving kindness. However, heterodoxy within the church is often dealt with in harsher ways, and though the Father says that such actions are immoral, they continue, and rumors even persist that the Father himself has committed such actions himself.

Heterodoxy: Some “Free Benelosist” churches have propped up in the past few decades, but heterodoxy is surprisingly absent from the Church. The movement has it’s origins in the worshippers of Benelos in the Vilician Deserts and Ytonia, who balked under the idea of a foreign church leader.