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    Default Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Eramus

    Friends, Aurelians, Countrymen, lend me your ears!

    The Oracles see more than just the past, present and future. They can see the might-have-beens and the never-were, the present-imperfect and the lost futures and pasts of a thousand rolls of fate's dice. In so many worlds they see, the world has come to ruin. The old knowledge is lost, or the ancient powers fall and leave the world in an age of darkness. In some of these worlds civilization recovers, even thrives. Technologies are discovered and rediscovered, magicks are relearned to some degree, codes of chivalry and honor uphold the law with greater authority than that of the lawgivers, and life moves on. But these people, advanced as they become, will always look back on the ruins of empire. They look back on a world so different and yet so familiar to their own. They gaze up in awe at the marvels of the ancient world, staggered by the scale that their ancestors once took for granted. They are filled with a sadness, the knowledge that something has been taken from the world, that the world was once a far better place.

    We must be thankful, therefore, that such is not our world. The Empire remains strong. It's legions are hearty and loyal, it's Magi dedicated to the betterment of the people, it's populace comfortable and fed from the spoils of conquest. Where the Oracles see only doom and death, I see an eternal city seated atop eight hills, a city that towers over Eramus and the world, a city that commands one hundred thousand thousand loyal subjects, regents, kings and lords.

    I see a city blessed by the Gods to never fall. The auguries are auspicious and the fatted calf offered up unto the temple. The priest's of the Flame and of War-Maiden Titania have proclaimed that the Millennial Games shall mark a new chapter in our history. The Pax Aurellium has begun my countrymen! Hail to the Impirium! For the People and Congress of Aurelias!


    -First Speaker Trimmerius Piter, 160-212 calendar

    This right here is a setting I have been working on for a while now, and I think it's all set for the nice folk here at the Playground to have their way with it. I intend to use this setting for a novel, as well as a game I will soon DM for my friends.

    Again, please PEACH as well as you are able. I'm often discouraged when no one posts, so I hope that even if you don't have much to say that you'll say what you can anyway. Everything helps in the long run, and I am willing to listen to any and all advice, especially the harsh stuff.

    Thank you. And now...

    Maps
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    Original
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    Pure Political
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    Physical Map
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    In Color
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    Overview
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    The world of Mediter contains a single continent (thus far) known by many of its inhabitants as Eramus. At least to the Empire, but then again "there is no law but Aurelian". The Jun call their landmass Tsong, the Shi name it Muuna, the Vandalmen prefer Third Earth, and the Elves often make a point of calling the continent Fasilepos. Imperial dominance however means that we shall refer to it as Eramus for the remainder.

    Eramus is a land that has yet to know the destruction of civilization. Sure, civilizations rise and fall, absorb each other and collapse into multiple warring states, but to the people there is no concept of a "Dark Age" as we would understand it. Some of the first post-hunter gatherer civilizations still stand, and the world can still be considered in a Classical Era.


    History

    Beginnings
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    In general history, the oldest records hint that humans arrived on Eramus from the north, possibly from the shores of the Summersky Sea. The oldest Elven evidence points towards their appearance on the southern shores of Xelor about the same time, approximately 50,000 years ago. The central areas of the world were filled with what would eventually be referred to as Beastmen, a collection of races unrelated to elves or men or each other, and usually only grouped together because some scholars of the Empire did not care to properly take notes.


    Rise of the Elves
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    The real first history can be found in the Chronicles of Xi, a text from the eastern coast, and the only surviving work of the pre-divergence proto-eastern humans, and the Tales of Axelor, a favorite among the elves. Xi is a legendary tale about a mythical king who was befriended by the Dragons, and ultimately defeated a demonic horde by stabbing his magic sword into a stone boulder. He goes on to found the Legendary Empire. Axelor was the boy-King of the Elves and son of the Queen Nerva of the Faeries. He was nigh unkillable and unstoppable due to his godly lineage, and led his people northward to conquer the known world. He got as far as Medeonada, conquering the Shi and the centaurs of the Ossrian plains before succumbing to the drink (or poison, depending on the story). His empire fractured under his son, who inevitably fell in combat at 16 years, betrayed by his own men who sought greater glory for themselves.

    The Elves of Xelor at this time became caught up in a series of wars with the monsters of Bast. The southern minor continent was always a desolate, hellish wasteland filled to bursting with unspeakable horrors. Some say that the Gods (pick a pantheon, it doesn't matter) used it to test their most deadly weapons and powers when they roamed the earth in the time before time, before they were physically locked away from the world. Bast's monsters usually could not leave their home, and any who tried, or were forced tended to explode or melt on the journey. But some of Bast's evil had infected the southern coasts of Eramus, causing vile corruption and deadly supernatural beasts to form everywhere in the deep coastal jungles and up the great valley of El Shibburr Nalthalot. Those elves who lived in Xelor proper secluded themselves in their monastery-fortress cities, where they trained to do battle with the abominations.

    The rest of the elven empire descended into civil war until the House Orici united them into the Orician Elven Empire. They renamed their new kingdom Shanar, after Orici Shanar, the founder of the house. Xelor declined entering the empire, preferring to focus on the monsters of Bast. Orici sent colonists across the sea to the lands now known as Halhva, but soon lost interest in colonizing after discovering vast mines of gold, silver and other precious metals and stones in the deserts of Shanar. Colonization fell from the agenda in short order. People were needed in the empire to mine!


    Halhvannen
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    Meanwhile, the elves who went north to Halhva met the native humans, possibly an offshoot of Aurelian stock. There was a tense period where no one was certain if a war of colonization could be avoided. Then, a terrible seaquake sent the ocean over the land and drowned most of the people. So reduced in numbers were the two peoples that they chose to force the issue and intermingled as much as they possibly could so that at least something of them would survive. In a few generations, they became the Halhvannen, or Half-Elves. Halhvannen culture and politics were enmeshed in family lines due to their unorthodox ancestry, and this eventually led to the development of a network of city-states on the peninsula. Every city claimed descent from one or more legendary humans or elves, and often named their cities thus. The Halhvannen quickly established themselves as philosophers, statesmen, tradesmen, soldiers and sailors, but their most prolific skills were with magic. Their unique blood allowed the Halhvannen to easily tap into magical energies, becoming the preeminent magical race in all the world. Despite this, they remained loyal to their homeland Shanar, and plotted no ill.


    Aurelia
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    North of Halhvannen there lay the Tyrrhenian Highlands (now called Aurelia). The land was rough and full of rocky hills and lush river valleys. Here there lived a race of men known as the Tyrric peoples. They were hardy men, stern and full of vim and vigor. The greatest Tyrric city was that of Aurelias, built atop eight sacred hills and bisected by an equally sacred river, the August. They claimed to trace their lineage to Irosce the God of Love and Light, and Titania, Goddess of War, via their mortal descendents, Hieronymus and Aurelic. These two brothers sought to found a city that would endure forever, so the legends go, but could not agree on the location. Hieronymus wished to move south, while Aurelic west. The argument came to blows, but before either fell to the other a messenger from the Gods commanded them to set aside their differences and separate. Aurelic founded Aurelias, and Hieronymus, Herea, the future capital of the Halhvannen.

    Aurelias patricians grew up learning from Halhvannen texts of mythic adventures, even as the plebeians of the city were entertained by plays based around the same. They heard tell of warriors and gods going forth and having great and imaginative battles and adventures, and it hooked them. Though they had only read about heroes such as Honorus and Aetius of Thermes, the Aurelian imagination was captured. Though needing to compensate for their smaller stature in battle led to tightly organized legions that worked more like machines than men, once an Aurelian soldier reached the front of his line (rotation was common to reduce fatigue) he was expected to be every bit the warrior. He was on his own.


    The Sack of Aurelias
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    Under the Aurelic Kings, the city thrived. But that all ended when the Deniri attacked. They were a fierce, tribal people to the east, tall and red-haired beasts as far as Aurelia was concerned. But they were a clever and guileful folk, and they managed to execute a midnight raid on the city and sacked it in a terrible siege. The entire royal line was eradicated and many of the temples were burned. From the ashes of this humiliation, the Aurelians promised that revenge would ultimately be theirs. Every year thereafter to the present day it was an Aurelian tradition to execute all the guard dogs in the city on the anniversary of the defeat, as punishment for failing to warn them of the attack. The word Deniri became a curse. And most important of all, the King's Council were forced to take control of the city, accepting the executive power of the kings into themselves. The council declared itself the Aurelian Congress, and began the Republican Era of the city.


    Brutum
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    At the same time, a wave of peoples from the far east made its way into the region. They were the giants of the Kagharaan Steppes, the bestial Kahran. But these did not come to raid, but to seek shelter. They were an outcast tribe that had been forced into Danog, the Midlands, by their rivals on the Steppes, and then driven towards Aurelia by the Deniri, who could not forgive these Kahran for the raids carried out on their border. These outcast Kahran arrived as a bloody wreck outside Aurelias' walls.

    The Congress considered their options, but ultimately voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing the Kahran to settle in Aurelia. Many went into the city, and were awestruck at the grandeur and scale of the Aurelians. The Kahran swore an oath on the spot that they would serve the Republic for all time. They cast off their old name in favor of the Aurelian title: Brutum. These Brutum swiftly integrated themselves into Aurelian society, proving their great size and strength to be to everyone's advantage, and their inborn magical resistance only added to their appeal as heavy soldiers for the legion. Some Brutum even married into Patrician families occasionally, the latter hoping that some of the innate power would be inherited by the offspring.

    With the Aurelian-Brutum Alliance set, the only thing for the Aurelians to do was wait for the right time to take their sweet revenge. That opportunity came from Halhva.


    The Deniri Invasions and the War of Unification
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    The Halhvannen flourished culturally. Though occasional war would mix things up between the states, intellectualism was up and even the poorest among them did not go hungry. But the nearby Deniri tribes looked upon this bounty with greed, and decided to raid the peninsula, much like their cousins to the north and west had raided Aurelia. In the early dawn hours they would steal up the shore in their longboats (learned from the far more northerly Vandalmen) and sack the first village they came across. Before a proper repulsive force could be mustered, the raiders had slunk off to a new target, or to home. Little seemed to be done to stop the raids, for there was little that could be done. As powerful as the Halhvannen were, the Deniri were too clever and sneaky to be seen until it was too late, and they had mages of their own who could at least provide cover for the raiding parties against Halhvannen magicks, which had to deal with such a spellcaster first.

    Still, it appeared that the Deniri were only raiders, and that a simple redoubling of patrols might be enough to ward the coast, at least some of the time. Thus it took everyone by surprise when Herea was sacked and occupied by a huge invading army of Deniri warriors. The loss of such an important city sent a chill down every spine. Though they had long touted their independence, the Halhvannen League was forced to send an ambassador to Shanar to plead for aid. But the elven court had succumbed over the centuries to gluttony and vice, and the Padishah cared very little for his half-blood people. The Halhvannen delegate was left to wait. And wait. And wait. For months he waited for an audience before storming into the King's Hall, only to discover that the Padishah and his courtiers had a wager going as to how long they could make the delegation last before the Halhvannen stormed in as he did.

    The delegate left Shanar, but did not immediately return to Halhva. Instead, they sailed northward to Aurelia, where the delegation offered, before the entire Congress, the loyalty and the industry of the Halhvannen people if only the Aurelians pledged to drive the Deniri out.

    The First Speaker of the Congress needed only a moment to judge the congressmens' unanimous decision before he gave the order. Within a fortnight, all six of the legions were mustered, with five more being demanded by the Congress, and sent hurtling toward Deniri lands. The Aurelian desire for revenge burned brightly, and now armed with Brutum strength and endurance there was no telling what they could achieve. Herea was the first city to be liberated, and all Deniri found within its walls were slaughtered, men women and children alike, all those who had been brought as a part of the Deniri colonizing effort.

    As the Halhvannen were freed, they practically threw themselves into the war effort. The Aurelian Congress offered citizenship to any Halhvannen who aided their countrymen against the Deniri, and soon the legions were flooded with mages who sought murderous vendetta against their would-be conquerors. Within only a few months the lands of Danog had been thoroughly invaded, and the offending tribes of Deniri surrendered. The Empire was born.


    The Elven Response
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    But this would not be the end of trouble, especially not with the Deniri, for most of Danog was still free from Aurelian control, and angered at the loss of their fellows (though some saw the opportunity in allying with the triumphant Imperials). With the annexation of Halhva, the elves of Shanar took notice. The Padishah finally realized that Halhva had defected to another power, and simple spiteful anger demanded blood for the offense. Shanar declared war on Aurelia and ordered a vast fleet of ships to sail straight to Aurelias and destroy it.

    The Shanarian Gambit, as it was later known, ended in humiliating failure. The morning of the naval launch, the elves spotted an Aurelian armada approaching the harbor. In their scramble to make ready, the elven ships started out of the harbor with skeleton crews. As they raced towards their attackers their ships bottlenecked in the harbor opening, right as Halhvannen magi began saturation bombing the harbor with every fire-spell they knew. Within an hour, not a single elven ship was still afloat.


    Inter War Period
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    Shanar was allowed to remain free, though much of their island possessions were seized and they were forced to pay hideous fines for their agitation. Aurelias believed that would be the end of things, that the reparations were so high that Shanar would be crippled for centuries.

    In fact, Shanar was able to pay off it's war reparations within a hundred years, much to the Empire's consternation. The payments were still crippling, but not nearly so much as the Aurelians hoped. The elves executed their Padishah for incompetence, and placed a new man on the throne, Padishah Asamar Fel. Asamar Fel was a brilliant administrator, and was the man responsible for repaying Shanar's debts so swiftly.

    After a century and a half, the Aurelian Empire had grown strong. While the Aurelians maintained the largest single demographic, and made up a vast majority of the Patrician class, Brutum were on the rise in number and importance, and the Halhvannen were granted the universal title, Aurelium Perpetua, in essence declaring that there was no distinction legally allowed between the two. The Aurelians believed that Herea had been founded by their founder's brother Hieronymus, and so logically deduced that Halhvannen must have been the result of breeding between Aurelians and Elves. Whether or not this is true is still debated by some Imperial scholars, though not too loudly. Halhva became the intellectual core of the Empire, where the greatest thinkers, mages and philosophers resided. It is even suggested at times that Halhva could become the administrative capital of the Empire one day.

    Those Deniri tribes that had waged the Halhvannen War found themselves relegated to third-class status, if they were lucky. The unlucky ones were taken as slaves. Some labored in camps and mines, while luckier slaves were used by Patricians in their homes. This was very rare as most Deniri were not familiar with Aurelin or simply lacked the desired temperament. Besides, Halhvannen debt slaves were far more highly valued as instructors (Halhvannen introduced debt slavery to the Empire) for Patrician children. Many Deniri thus found themselves in the arena, where they fought until they died or were set free. Death was rare in the arena due to the high costs of gladiators, but occasionally there was a call for a death match, and many Deniri were used for these. Life was unkind to the Deniri.

    Among the free Deniri, there was one man who wished to restore his people, even those of other tribes. His name was Tarix Varan, and he would shake the Empire to it's core. He became the High King of several Deniri domains through right of battle. He ceremoniously defeated several enemy chiefs in single combat to earn his reputation, and Shanar noticed his cunning and military prowess. He was just what they needed.

    Shanar had been looking to restore their old power for some time and they had finally chosen a region to acquire: the land of Ossria, home to the Centaur race. The only hitch in the plan was the Empire. Ossria was legally protected by Aurelia, and any attack on the centaurs would be met with violence. Padishah Asamar Iruil was also aware of the Aurelian Congress's agitation to Shanar's resurgence, and knew that war would come sooner, rather than later. As "honorable" as the Aurelians wished to be, they had the most annoying habit of breaking treaties on the flimsiest of excuses. So, he decided to make the first move.

    Asamar Iruil sent ambassadors to Tarix's court and offered a tantalizing deal. Shanar provided weapons and armor of the finest make for Tarix's armies, and he would in turn march on Aurelia. Tarix leapt at the idea, and within a year his army was completely rearmed.


    The Dannic War
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    Tarix dove deep into Aurelian territory and began slaughtering Deniri towns that had become Aurelianized. To him, there was no greater crime. The Aurelian Legions were stubborn and unyielding, but even they were taken aback by his ferocity and numbers. Tarix crushed every army sent his way, and besieged every city he came across.

    While Tarix laid waste to the Empire, Shanar moved into Ossria. A token legionary force had been sent from Aurelia to unite the centaurs, but this initiative had little success at first. The elves were nothing if not committed to the conquest of Ossria, and would not permit the Empire to interfere. The Ossrian theatre became legendary for cavalry warfare on a vast scale. There was effectively no border, as the land was so flat armies could ride into and out of each others territory swiftly and strike at their respective logistics bases. The Aurelians and Ossrians had greater success in this as the Ossrian Centaurs were nomads and needed little farming or other destructible infrastructure.

    For ten years Tarix pounded away at the Empire, eventually leading a sneak attack against the capital itself. After a prolonged siege Tarix retreated back into Deniri lands, burning all he found. The Consular Legion, a double-strength legion raised specifically to end him, and commanded by Publius Nero and Caius Crassus Hermagus, pursued him all the way until he reached Sahamon, the Barrow Hills. There Tarix set his greatest trap.

    The legion followed him into those blasted hills, and only once they had followed him did anyone realize where they were. Sahamon was the great burial place for all Kings of the Deniri as well as culture heroes. It is said that Tarix cut a deal with a powerful witch, and she cast a great spell on the hills. As the legion entered they were assailed by a horde of shrieking undead warriors. The dead fell upon the living and swiftly overwhelmed the legion. What few men survived the initial fight fled, harried by the dead horde all the way to the bridge Arlethus, where a force of retired veterans and raw recruits joined the fleeing soldiers. The Battle of Arlethus Bridge is remembered as the finest moment of the war. Though outnumbered a hundred to one, the imperial line held and inevitably destroyed the dead Deniri horde.

    The cost of this gambit on Tarix's part was too much for the warlord. He was devastated by what he saw as cultural treason. He had sacrificed his people's history, defiled his ancestor's graves and destroyed their bodies in an attempt to cripple the legions. Within two years the Aurelians fielded twice as many men as they had lost at the Hills and the Bridge. It was all for naught, and within a year, Tarix died of his shame, some said.

    Tarix's son, Astorik Ax-Bitten, assumed his father's throne and attempted to lead as his father did. He was also a great warrior, but not as great as his father. Slowly, over another ten years the Empire pushed the Free Deniri back. For ten more years the Empire crucified whole armies and villages in order to force compliance, and for ten years the Free Deniri failed to win another victory on the same scale as one of Tarix's.


    Beginning of the End
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    Asamar Iruil had spent twenty years assured of victory, even though his southern armies never seemed to stamp out the Ossrian resistance. And then he received news from the Deniri capital at Atisum, where the Empire had sacked and looted everything in sight. Astorik himself arrived with his retinue and begged for sanctuary from Imperial reprisal.

    Aurelian legions hit Shanar like a storm, driving all who stood before them to the ground. The whole weight of the legions came down on the elves, and every few days word reached the palace that another city had been taken, another army had been smashed to splinters. After the humiliating defeat at Muadib, the Padishah was willing to offer his surrender. Unfortunately, members of the court deeply disagreed with the decision, and led a coup in the night. In the course of a single, blood-soaked evening the entire royal family was slaughtered, as well as the Padishah himself. Loyalists managed to expel the traitors, and even save one son, Asamar Benu, the Bastard. Benu was a military man, trained for warfare as a illegitimate son of a Padishah would be. But he knew firsthand what would happen if he did not bow to the Empire. He went out to meet them alone.

    Padishah Asamar Benu met General Marcus Lepidus Censor outside of the Imperial camp the next morning and prostrated himself before the conqueror. Strangely, Censor did not bind him in chains. They took lunch together in the General's tent, and by the evening the two had become fast friends. Benu managed to cut a deal with Censor, where the elves handed over Astorik to the Imperials, and the elves would be spared the full wrath of the Empire.

    Shanar was annexed into the Aurelian Empire over wine and a prisoner exchange. Many elves felt annexation was the only way they would survive. The Aurelians took very few slaves and kept their looting and burning to an appropriate minimum. Asamar Elves, as they became known, silently surrendered to the Empire. This was not the case with those who thought the elves had to fight on. A great portion of the people of Shanar fled into the deserts and mountains, and called themselves Sharakor, after General Shakoro, the leader of the coup against Iruil. Even today they fight an endless guerrilla war.

    And Astorik. Astorik, son of Tarix, was dragged through the streets of Aurelias behind Censor's chariot. Before a crowd of millions he was strangled, and the Aurelian people took his strength into themselves. Censor was unanimously made the First Speaker after his Triumph, and served as such for the rest of his life. Astorik's body was tossed in the August River, and washed out to sea. Some say that Tarix will return at the end of days and avenge his son's ignominious death by destroying the city.


    Here We Are
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    It has been two and a half centuries since the fall of Shanar, and the Empire is still strong. Kahran occasionally raid in the east, as do monsters from the defiled south. Vandalmen from the north have become a touchy question among the Imperials. Aurelia generally does not wish to engage them in warfare just yet, not until more is known of them, and trade from the far east, from Jiwuxia and Hado and Tiensha, is flourishing.

    It is a golden age, the Pax Aurelium. As the 1,000th anniversary of the Empire approaches, the world is at peace. For now.


    Summersky Sea
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    Alas, though the Imperial line is one of peace and prosperity, there is a dark cloud over the Aurelian Peace.

    The Land of Summersky has perplexed man and elf for centuries. In the midst of frozen mountain vistas and inhospitable passes there lies a vast inland sea, one that has shown to be a source of wonder in the far north. Summersky Sea is fed by powerful volcanic vents so that, even at its extreme height, the land is warm as summer, even in the dead of night. This nearly perfect temperature and abundance of minerals from the undersea vents creates the perfect atmosphere for farming. The land around the sea is fertile, even up to the mountain slopes that enclose the water. And the sea itself is so deep that fish of every variety, size and color thrive beneath, including whales never seen in the wider ocean and other creatures more fantastical. Isleut fishermen claim to have seen giant serpents from time to time, and the most famed sailor of their race, Siggurd the Strong, was felled by a Kraken in these waters. But such things are nearly mythical and do not trouble many fishermen, or at least those that pay the proper sacrifice before a voyage.

    Summersky is inhabited by a wide range of people. Isleut farmers first discovered the region centuries ago, but were unable to fully map or utilize its bounty before a Dragon Migration nearly destroyed the Isleut entirely. During the crisis they were unable to colonize the region fully. In that time, Deniri made their way into the region, and soon the Aurelians did likewise. In time, the Kahran of the east likewise settled in the region, becoming the only tribe of that people to farm on any great level.

    The southern shore of the sea is largely Imperial, showcasing a highly developed urban area and highway system, one that extends westward to the Isleut controlled shore. Between these two peoples there has been relative peace. Summersky has begun to largely eclipse the rest of the Empire in food production, and any threat to the land's fertility, even through a war to acquire more of it, is undesirable. Still, there is a sizable Imperial Legion presence, just in case.

    The Isleut are of a similar mind in this regards. They also require the fertility of the Sea, and won't risk it's prosperity. Also, both Imperials and Isleuts believe that the Sea is divine to some degree, and the local priests hold much power in both the Empire and Isevolk. Another reason for the Isleut not risking the land with war is the fact that they were the ones to discover the nesting grounds of the fabled Griffin. The Isleut have never fully domesticated them, but do make use of them as swift messengers. These creatures are considered more precious than gold.

    Oddly enough, there is little distinction between Isleut and Imperial cities in Summersky. While cities nominally belong to one or another nation, the population makeup fluctuates wildly all over the region. Shadow wars have sprung up over time between the various landlords between cities, leading to a remarkable amount of violence in a nominally peaceful land.

    The Kahran are much more direct about their intentions. An inland sea makes a great place for pirates to lurk. While they use farming to supplement their diets, hunting has always been the foundation of their society, and piracy is just a more interesting form of hunting.

    The current situation in Summersky is ironically that of a cold war. The Isleut and Imperial factions want to avoid hostilites between each other, even as they constantly scheme against (and with) one another on a local level. This is complicated by issues of sovereignty when it comes to dealing with pirates who base themselves near the Kahran territories, and those people number too greatly to remove except by force, something no one is willing to approach. Yet.
    Last edited by Ninjadeadbeard; 2012-09-13 at 05:46 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Races and Cultures

    Imperials

    Aurelians -
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    These people arose from the highlands of Aurelia, where the rough terrain forged them into a hardy folk. Aurelians are an oddly diverse people. Among the plebeians reverence for the gods is paramount, nearly to paranoid levels, and the mythos of the warrior is held as dearly as a creed. The patricians by contrast are followers of Stoicism, a Halhvannen philosophy. They regard Logic as the most important virtue, equal at least to that same warrior-spirit held by the plebs.

    Short though they may be, Aurelians are notoriously difficult to budge, physically or willfully. They are masters of engineering, architecture and mathematics, but equally are they masters of warfare and logistics. They fight as a unit, using large shields and short swords to wear down an enemy. Aurelians stand around 5 1/2ft tall, but are densely muscular. They have hair that ranges between blonde and dark brown, and are characterized by their "eagle-like" hooked noses.

    The Aurelians form the base of the Empire, as well as the majority of its ruling class.


    Halhvannen -
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    Halhvannen are similar to the Aurelians in that they are short and dark haired. They are however much more lithe and nimble in appearance, favoring elven ears and physique. Halhvannen are noted for having entirely opaque eyes. Culturally, the Halhvannen are a more laid back, informal version of the Aurelians, lovers of stories and song, drinkers of wine. Reverence for the gods is...secondary, let's say, to living life. They revel in chaos where an Aurelian would prefer order. Magic is used on every level of society to some degree.

    The Halhvannen mindset, one of informal humor, is informed by their patron deities. The Halhvannen believe in the same gods as the Aurelians, though in their stories the gods are ruled by a pair of mortals. Two brothers, a Bard and a Rogue, sneaked into the gods' party one night and had a merry old time. They managed to get most of the gods drunker than usual (a feat that alone should have immortalized them!) and then conned them using a dice game. The gods elevated the mortals to godhood in order to settle their sizable debts, and the Bada Brothers, Bin and Bun, have ruled the cosmos ever since.

    The Halhvannen form the magical, philosophical and intellectual base of the Empire.


    Brutum -
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    Brutum stand on average around 7ft tall, and are incredibly hairy, nearly possessing fur! They are also quite proportional for their size, being essentially moving walls of muscle. Brutum are savagely powerful. Interestingly, this incredible muscle strength means that Brutum can match a horse in sprinting speed and nearly match them in endurance and distance. They also possess an inherent resistance to magic. No Brutum can cast magic, or even use magical devices in most cases, but can shrug off most spells, even those that normally bypass such defenses.

    Brutum are perhaps more stern than the Aurelians. They hold the gods in due reverence, and even tend to overlook some of the gods' known cruelties (Aurelians and Halhvannen by contrast hold no delusion that there is such a thing as a just and loving god). Brutum, more than any other Imperial race, believe in Fate, and often take the approach that everything that happens will always happen, so there is little need to grieve or rejoice, except to expel the emotional need for such things. Aurelian defiance of Fate may be rubbing off on them.

    Brutum make up a large portion of the working class, and the soldiery.


    Asamar Elves -
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    Asamar Elves are a bit taller than Aurelians, usually hitting just under or at 6ft. They are somewhat paler than Aurelians and Halhvannen, though possess jet black hair as their half-blood cousins. They also are known for their brightly colored eyes and typically pointed ears. Asamar have slowly integrated themselves into the Imperial structure as merchants and bankers. Their gods are considered strange and monstrous by everyone. Most elven deities are simply impossible to render as a 2-dimensional image. One in particular, Oth the Wrathful, is often depicted as a spiraling wheel of fire covered in a thousand bleeding eyes and wings made of bone. Of course, they're also all shapeshifters, so it says some disturbing things about them that they usually take sanity-shattering forms for their worshipers.

    The Asamar Elves are generally held to be "somewhat reliable" by core Imperials such as the Aurelians, the Halhvannen and the Brutum. On the one hand, they live practically side-by-side with Sharakor Elves, sometimes sharing blood as well. On the other, loyal Asamar are violently opposed to Sharakor, enough to where families have...excised...whole family branches for defecting.

    Asamar make up the lowest legal level of society, mostly being non-citizen freemen.


    Deniri -
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    The Deniri aren't one single race. In fact, to the Deniri, the word Deniri carries the same connotation as "people". Only one major tribe uses the name Deniri for themselves. Other "Deniri" consider themselves different races from village to village, and rarely do they share a language, often having to fall back on Dennic, the trade tongue.

    Deniri are very tall, usually around 6 1/2ft, and topped with a shock of bright red or brown hair. They braid their hair in intricate knots and designs, and grow very long mustaches which they also braid. Deniri traditionally fight naked, or very nearly, and are considered to be the stealthiest people in the world, able to sprint through a dense wood without disturbing the wind or a single leave or twig.

    Deniri are usually slaves or freedmen.


    Independent

    Sharakor -
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    Those elves who fled at the Imperial advance are called Sharakor. These zealots believe in elven supremacy, and will never willingly submit to Imperial rule. They are physically identical to the Asamar because they are the exact same race. Only a political division marks one as a Sharakor.

    Sharakor traditionally wear sky-blue cloaks and use sky-blue as a propaganda color.

    Vandalmen -
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    In the far Northwest there lay a land of ice and snow, of high gray mountains and roaring rivers, of Man and Beast. The Vandalmen, as the Imperials call them, or Isleut among themselves, are a collection of tribes or Nations who live in the northern region of Isevolk. They stand as tall as a Deniri, though they possess red-hued skin and golden hair. This race of Man are mighty and strong, almost a match for a Brutum while trapped in their legendary berserker fury.

    Isleut live as one with nature, taking as little wood, meat and stone as they need, and making offerings often for these things. The long, treacherous rivers of their homeland have forged the Isleut into a river people, masters of river travel and warfare. Their distinctive longboats allow Isleut to draw their boats up onto shore for a raid, as well as sail across the deeper ocean, though rarely. They live by a feudal code, and a complex system of gift-giving between vassals and lords. The Isleut consider warfare and crafting to be nearly identical (spiritually), and have great respect for blacksmiths, for these are much like the Dwarves, the mythical beings who dwell underground and forge weapons and armor for the gods. In that same vein, Isleut gods are odd in that they are usually benevolent spirits, and are not immune to injury or death, merely possessing an eternal lifespan.

    The Isleut were the first to discover Summersky Sea, an elevated body of water in the mountains that is fed by volcanic thermal vents. The huge valley around the sea is always warm, like summer, and can grow food year round. Imperials, Isleut and some Kahran share the sea, no one power being able to dislodge the rest. Summersky sea is inhabited by griffons, and at times Dragons.

    Isleut have cooled relations with the Empire, and dislike the Kahran.


    Kahran -
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    The Kagharaa Steppes are a vast, flat heath where the Kahran roam freely in nomadic splendor. Their terrible speed and unending endurance renders horses nothing more than pack-animals to these people. The Kahran lack any semblance of a permanent settlement, often using an old ruin for a few weeks before simply moving on.

    Kahran are not savage monsters, as many of their enemies would claim. They merely do not care about non-Kahran. That is the only division between sentient beings that they care about. Occasionally take on mercenaries from peoples they respect, but not often. That being said, from an outside perspective they appear harsh on all levels of society, because they live in a harsh landscape. Why they haven't left is anybody's guess.

    Kahran society is strictly ordered, with every member of the tribe knowing from a young age what their duty will be, chosen by the shaman of the tribe. Kahran, as their brethren the Brutum do, believe in Fate. To the Kahran there is nothing that can be done to change one's destiny. The only choice we have is to follow when fate beckons.

    Kahran have no allies.


    Xeloric Elves -
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    Xelor was once a beautiful land of bounty. Then, the Corruption of Bast reached it's southern shores. The Black Coast is covered entirely in jungle, leaving only the mountains free. The Xeloric Elves sequester themselves in monastary-fortresses, training their minds and bodies in order to combat the corruption. One day they hope to free their homeland, but until then they are an isolated people perpetually under siege.

    Xeloric Elves possess the pointed ears of their brethren, though darker skin. They are otherwise graceful, tall and nimble. Xeloric elves are trained from a young age to combat monsters primarily, the usual denizens of the Black Coast. These elves must be quick on their toes and masters of many martial arts in order to take back their homeland.

    Xelor has only some diplomatic contact with the Empire, but is allied with the Sinon Half-Elves.


    Ossrian Centaurs -
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    These centaurs are not like those often pictured by otherworldly visitors. Ossrians appear as humanoids with the lower half of horses. They are covered in a colorful pelt that usually appears in a distinct pattern with distinct colors, often black, white, brown or red in various configurations. Their faces also feature quite long muzzles, as though to allow them to graze more easily, and their heads are crowned with tall, ribbed horns. They have four digits on their hands, and three on their four "hand-like" feet. Despite lacking hooves, Ossrians are terribly swift, and terribly strong.

    Ossrian Centaurs live upon the plains of Ossria, where they graze, although farming has begun to appear in some areas. Ossrians are a paranoid race and deeply dislike outsiders, the Imperials being an exception to the rule. This paranoia leads them to lead lives devoted to the Herd. To most Ossrians, the idea of one's Herd is sacred, and they treat familial insults (such as calling someone a son of a...) as death threats that must be answered with extreme vengeance. Their relative lack of resources or strategic need has allowed them to escape the Empire's conquest, often being referred to as a buffer state by Congressional notices. Ossrians are strict herbivores by nature, meat having a nasty effect on their systems. Thus they developed weapons technology (simple spears and slings and bows) through a need for protection from predators.

    Ossria is allied with the Empire.


    Shiin -
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    The Shiin are a race of snakemen living between Xelor and Ossria. They are noted for their small forms and beautiful coloring. They appear to be men crossed with cobras, and then crossed again with crocodiles and once more crossed with birds. This leads to their rock-hard scale skin and bits of colorful plumage. They may appear small and weak, but Shiin are really rather compact, possessing dense musculature. Their tails can be used as weapons.

    They are usually renowned for their particular leadership, having been ruled by their King Xeortes for nigh on five-thousand years. Xeortes lichified himself eons ago and has ruled Shi ever since. Though he has no more magical power (undead being a lack of life energy, and thus a lack of magic), he has thousands of years of wisdom and sage advice for those who listen, and is physically nearly invulnerable. He mostly advises these days, letting his latest descendant be the "official" King while he runs things from behind the scenes and sets up the latest wave of marriages for his descendant lines. It's a hobby he enjoys, sometimes taking only the title of Gardener.

    The Shiin are committed allies of the Xelor in the endless battle against the Black Coast, and politically neutral to the Empire, and hoping to stay that way.


    Jun -
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    The Jun reside at the other end of the world in Jiwuxia. There is little contact with the Empire due to the extreme distances involved and treacherous landscapes between them. Jun believe they are descended from dragons, and that the Aurelian Empire is the cosmic counterweight to their own, and often call it Kangeng, the Counterweight Empire.

    Jun are roughly the same size as Aurelians, though lighter in skin. They, like all people on the eastern coast, possess uniquely slanted eyes as well. Their society is highly ordered as Aurelia is, though with far fewer legal separations between classes.

    Wild Eastern Kahran are the most dire foreign concern for Jiwuxia at the moment. The horde is large enough to overwhelm them with sheer numbers, and that does not factor in the Kahran's superior physical power. Several walled fortifications have been built along the recognized border, but they are largely ineffectual as of yet. Jun think of these Kahran as monsters, and far more worth violent consideration even than the Tok or the Hado...


    Hado -
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    The Hado are the most northerly dwelling of the eastern nations. They distinguish themselves as great fishermen, traders and pirates in the region. Living so far north, crops are harder to grow, and so the whole population lives predominantly near the coast to partake in this sea-based lifestyle. Inner-dwelling Hado eke out a grueling living, though some find work with Kahran mercenaries.

    Hado are very similar to the Jun in hair and eyes, but far bulkier and built to survive hard winters. They are often derided as barbarians by the Jun, and make sure to live down to that belief. What better way to drive enemies away than to make them fear you? Hado warriors do not operate under the assumption that they can win a fair fight, and so do their best to dissuade enemies from attacking at all. Technical Pacifism (pacifism unless under direct attack) is a very popular worldview among Hado.

    Hado have almost never heard of the Aurelian Empire.


    Tok -
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    Tiensha is a land whose people have felt the wrath of every warlord and empire in the region, and they're sick of it. Their homeland is a large, hot swamp and they like it that way since it makes it easier to fight an organized force. Tok are a somewhat capricious people, capable of great laughter and merriment one moment, and then horrific violence the next.

    Tok are darker than the other eastern races, allowing them to blend into the darkness of their home at will. If there is one thing that defines them, it is an unbreakable resolve. Every major force in the region for thousands of years has stomped through Tiensha, and eventually left a shell of their former self. The Tok are merciless, pitiless and unforgiving of slights, but utterly loyal once pledged to serve.

    The Black Coast's darkness long ago moved up the center of the continent, following the lengthy Nalthalot River, now remembered as the El'Shibburr Nalthalot, the River of Demons. Tok know this place well, and are the only people crazy enough to hunt here for basic food. They seem to always be at war with their neighbors.


    Hapese -
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    Millennia ago the Hapese were human, but they were fascinated with the veil between this world and the spirit world. Over time the various demons and spirits and monsters they courted wanted to settle down and take root. Since then, the Hapese became a race of half-demons. Hapese can be of any color, though usually some shade of a primary color, and while most appear human, many now possess horns and tails or wings or extra limbs.

    The Hapese revel in chaos and in their differences. Their society is quite colorful and always somewhat in flux. While this at times leads to civil strife, the constant politicking in the upper echelons ensures that their culture never stagnates, with the local maps changing practically day to day.

    Hapese are unknown in the Empire and vice verse.


    Sinon Elves -
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    The Sinon Elves are the southernmost people of the eastern coast. They can be see as the mirrored version of the Halhvannen. Xeloric Elves who originally settled on the southern coast bred with the local Hapese offshoots until a new race emerged. But unlike the Halhvannen, who were largely independent and left to find their own path, the Sinon were always under Xelor's watchful eye, and never cut ties with their parent nation. Sinon Elves almost mourn their existence at times, wishing to have been born full elves.

    They tend to be dark skinned and red haired as elves go, but quite tall, nearly six foot on average.
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    Religion and Governments
    Imperial Government and Religion
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    The Aurelian Empire, despite the name, is a Republic. There is a single branch of the government, the Congress, which is constituted of many higher offices. Congressmen, or Representatives, serve for life once elected unless purged due to deliberately illegal activity. Only Patricians can serve, and only Citizens with land can vote for their Representative. Most hopeful-Representatives are picked out by other already established Representatives and given ample monetary support. A darkhorse hasn't won in centuries.

    The Congress elects its own members to the higher offices of Aedile, Quaestor, Praetor, Censor, Consul, and Governor among others. The Tribune of the People is a Plebeian elected by the common citizenry from among several People's Magistrates to serve in the Congress, where they possess the right of Veto. The other office with the power of Veto is the First Speaker. The Speaker is an unelected position only confirmed by the Congress, but chosen by the last Speaker. Technically, the Speaker is lawfully the Head Judge of the Magistrates. His only real powers involve commanding the Legions during wartime (with the two Consuls serving as his generals), and running the Congress on day-to-day affairs. His title comes from the fact that he is entitled to speak first in a meeting of the Congress. The Speaker's real power comes from the prestige of the office and the wealth of its holder. It is the man, not the office, that holds the power.

    In Aurelian society, there is no distinction made between the state and Religion. Whereas some people may speak of a metaphorical "Spirit of the Republic", Aurelians mean it literally, believing that the State itself is a divine entity worthy of worship. The High Temple of Titania, the Queen of the Gods, holds auguries daily, every Congress meeting is considered a Holy Day of Obligation, the legionary standard is considered a sacred object, and there is a shrine to a thousand different deities and spirits on every street corner, sometimes more.

    Aurelians in particular are nearly paranoid on the subject of religion. The Plebeians worship fervently, moreso than the Patricians. The primary Aurelian pantheon includes the eight divinities of Halhva, plus a dozen or more gods worshiped by the Aurelians before contact with Halhva. New gods are added to the expanded pantheon every time the Legions conquer a new land. Even the strange Elf gods were incorporated to some degree. Only the Deniri gods were largely excluded from the outset, with only one of their harvest gods being accepted in mainstream Imperial religion. Despite the lack of acceptance of some gods, Aurelians believe all gods are real. The head of the Aurelian pantheon is Titania, the Goddess of War.

    A large number of Brutum personally follow Ilos, the Sun. Ilos was transported to Aurelia by the first Brutum who brought it from their homeland. Worship of Ilos is much more in line with that of other gods than the Kahran original. Halhvannen, unlike the other Imperial races, are highly irreligious. They believe the gods exist, but rarely pay them heed, preferring to chart their own course.

    Asamar and Sharakor Elves follow their own traditional gods. Most elven gods are...different. Most of the are shapeshifters, and often take a form similar to their worshipers, but distorted to a degree. The most benevolent take the shape of winged elves, usually, as a form of comfort. The most malevolent and the most powerful, regardless of alignment, take on forms that drive mortals mad. Urael, God of Travelers, for instance often takes the form either of an old elf, a six-headed leopard with snakes for eyes and tails, or a burning wheel covered in eyes of frozen acid and covered with bleeding crow wings. He/It is considered benevolent. It is believed that the Goddess Thulia'ca sleeps as though dead beneath the desert sands in her underground palace of G'h'rul and will rise again at the end of days. The head of the pantheon is Disr God(dess) of Fire, who always appears as a little girl.




    Other
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    Isleut have a variety of gods. There is Gundr God of Mead, Hynn of the Forge, Freyyd of Thunder, and so on and so forth. Most gods have a set place of worship in Isevolk, usually based around either a place where the god in question performed a great miracle or where their home is said to be.

    Shiin worship their undying king Xeortes. They also have a smaller pantheon of anthropomorphic beings, many of which are shared with Xelor and Ossria. Ossrian Centaurs follow The Herd, a karma-based belief system that emphasizes an afterlife either running with the collective ancestors of the Centaur peoples, or eternally chased by the hounds of hell. Xelor follows several schools of philosophical thought, although they give homage to some local gods.

    The eastern peoples have few major deities, and a shamanistic worship appears from Hado to Sinon. It is unclear who introduced what to whom, but many of the philosophies and ethics of Xelor can be seen throughout the east.

    All Gods are real, to some degree. Gods rely on worship for their power, but very few are considered ethical, and fewer straight up Good aligned. Gods are apathetic at best to mortals' fate, and hostile at worst. While there are some gods who grant protection and mercy and such to their followers, most only do so because they get something out of it. The Isleut and Ossrians are the few with mostly benevolent deities.
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Themes and Adventures
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    The major theme of Eramus would be Warmth and Youth. The world is young, comparatively, and the world is warm in the sense that it is between ice ages. Fire should hold great philosophical significance. Youth, as I will explain in the Magic section, is a powerful force. In our world Alexander was young when he trampled the world beneath his sandaled feet. Hannibal in his youth crushed the Roman Empire again and again in legendary battles. And when he got older, a much younger man, Scipio Africanus, defeated him in turn.

    These are possible Adventures that this world supports!
    Dungeons: Even in the days of antiquity there were ancient wonders lost. There are cities lost in the Aurelian foothills, where a rival civilization failed to succeed. There are ancient barrows left by the Deniri, and whose occupants were stirred from their slumber by an ill-conceived gambit.
    Political: It has been a few centuries since the last major wars, but that has not lessened the threat of war. The Kahran threaten the eastern borders of the empire, the Isleut to the north, and even Shi and Xelor can be dangerous. But the greatest threat to the Empire isn't without, it is within. Corruption and politics makes a poor match, and banditry never really died in the wilderness. And in two centuries the Sharakor and Deniri sometimes still stir trouble up.
    Exploration: As mentioned, there are plenty of places either forgotten or abandoned by mortals these days. There are islands in the ocean filled with monsters to fight and treasure to claim. The Island of Bast is entirely filled with High Level Monsters of every variety. You can't walk two feet without tripping over Red Dragons and Beholders by the drove when you walk the sands of Bast.
    Urban and Wild: The world is sharply split into cities and wilds. The wilds are endless plains and towering mountains, deep gorges and frozen tundra, blazing deserts and thundering rivers. The cities are huge, intricately packed mortar and marble, practically crawling with cutthroats, thieves, and high society.

    If I've missed a crucial or favorite playstyle, let me know!



    Magic (this is fluff, ignore if using as game-setting)
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    Magic is what you get when you mix the Three Parts, Simalcrum, Ops, and Intentio, sometimes referred to as Body, Blood, and Breath.

    Breath: The intention of the mage. This is the conscious decision to act.
    Blood: The power of the spell. This is the stamina, the life energy spent to empower the spell.
    Body: The form of the spell. The actual arithmetic and mechanics of the magic.

    All things posses life energy, sometimes called Ki, Chakra or Ka. Life Energy is constantly generated by living beings, and so living beings are capable of using it. The more life energy you have, the more power you can put into a spell without needing to take some from the ambient energy around you. Young mages have more power than old mages, because they have more life energy. A young mage can overpower an older one with raw power, but an older mage has studied magic for so long that he knows all the shortcuts, and can completely shut down his opponent using illusions, enchantment and dispelling effects. Compare to a younger and older swordsman in a duel. The younger has more power and athleticism, and there's a certain point where that alone should win him the battle. But the older swordsman is learned. He's spent years perfecting his style and learning new tricks. He can out-swordfight the younger man, until the younger man gets a hit in. Same with magic.

    How does that play out in a game? I've never gotten a way for this to work, but ideally all spells that are big and flashy blast spells go to the young mages, and all subtle control spells go to the older ones. The idea being you start off with the basics and work your way towards more utility and flexibility, while gaining some at-wills as you go along.


    Mechanics and Gameplay (suggested)
    Eramus can be used with any tabletop RPG I'm aware of in the fantasy genre. I imagined using D&D3.5 for this world when I bring it to my players, but I've been tinkering with a totally homemade system. Still, shouldn't be a problem for other systems. This world probably works best in the E6-ish range. High Powered Characters aren't something I enjoy RPing with, and the feel I'm looking for is most present in a low-level setting.

    And that's it! It's done!

    Thoughts?
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Great setting, nothing really glaring jumps out, but... if all the gods are such a**holes (besides some of the *checks post* Isleut and Ossrian pantheons), why are they worshiped? Sacrificed to, I can get, appeased in other ways, sure, but worshiped?

    Incidentally, this is the issue I have with characters worshipping the daedra in the Elder Scrolls series, (apart from a few exceptions, such as Azura and maybe Nocturnal or Meridia) because they are either a**holes or don't care about humanity.
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Great setting, nothing really glaring jumps out, but... if all the gods are such a**holes (besides some of the *checks post* Isleut and Ossrian pantheons), why are they worshiped? Sacrificed to, I can get, appeased in other ways, sure, but worshiped?

    Incidentally, this is the issue I have with characters worshipping the daedra in the Elder Scrolls series, (apart from a few exceptions, such as Azura and maybe Nocturnal or Meridia) because they are either a**holes or don't care about humanity.
    I suppose in my mind worshiped is just another word for the appeasement/sacrificing process. In RL Antiquity a lot of gods were the same (Athena turned a lady into a spider because she beat the goddess at weaving), kind of screwing over people for little to no reason. So, they may be a**holes, but they're still Divine A**holes.

    Like the Daedra example, they may not care too much about you, but that doesn't mean that you can't bribe them to care. Or at least lend a hand here and there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjadeadbeard View Post
    I suppose in my mind worshiped is just another word for the appeasement/sacrificing process. In RL Antiquity a lot of gods were the same (Athena turned a lady into a spider because she beat the goddess at weaving), kind of screwing over people for little to no reason. So, they may be a**holes, but they're still Divine A**holes.

    Like the Daedra example, they may not care too much about you, but that doesn't mean that you can't bribe them to care. Or at least lend a hand here and there.
    Fair enough. Although they did as many favors or "favors" to humans as they did curses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjadeadbeard View Post
    (Athena turned a lady into a spider because she beat the goddess at weaving)
    Arachne was dumb enough to depict the failings of the gods in her tapestry. That, not jealousy, was why Athena tore it up. To be fair, Arachne did have a point about, among other things, Zeus' many many conquests, but I don't think she should have chosen to drive home those points while in a weaving contest. With Athena. Zeus' daughter. Zeus' divine daughter, no less.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Fair enough. Although they did as many favors or "favors" to humans as they did curses.
    ...
    Arachne was dumb enough to depict the failings of the gods in her tapestry. That, not jealousy, was why Athena tore it up. To be fair, Arachne did have a point about, among other things, Zeus' many many conquests, but I don't think she should have chosen to drive home those points while in a weaving contest. With Athena. Zeus' daughter. Zeus' divine daughter, no less.
    Hm. True enough. But the more benevolent gods there are, the more likely it is that they should show up to help PCs. And I'd like to keep the general power level around E6 or thereabouts. If Gods do show up, their own power should be lowered (can only manifest so much power on the mortal plane and such), and it's no fun for a God NPC to show up and help.

    It's much cooler to make players fight their Gods to win favor. Just think of a world run by Crom-style Gods and you're nearly where I feel this setting should sit.
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    So...just shy of 300 Views, and only Landis has replied? I'm a little stunned. Maybe I should ask some specific questions? Give an idea of what I'm looking for from forum-goers?

    • Are the societies presented here realistic? Do they seem forced or artificial?
    • Is there some aspect of the Setting that I've completely forgotten that you think is necessary to talk about, or that you'd like to know?
    • Is the history believable?
    • Is my take on Half-Elves (Halhvannen) interesting?
    • Would you use this setting for a game, if the races were properly statted?
    • Are the Maps okay?
    • Is there something that feels obscure or ambiguous that I should address?
    • Finally: Did you like the Setting?


    I only ask/double-post because so often I feel like the threads I start instantly die, and I've put too much effort into this to let it go like the last few. PEACH is greatly desired and appreciated, more than words can convey.
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjadeadbeard View Post
    So...just shy of 300 Views, and only Landis has replied? I'm a little stunned. *snip* PEACH is greatly desired and appreciated, more than words can convey.
    Now you realize my frustrations re: Almantha's thread.
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Landis963 View Post
    Now you realize my frustrations re: Almantha's thread.
    Yeah. Just link me here if I ever try to write a setting again.
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    So...just shy of 300 Views, and only Landis has replied? I'm a little stunned. Maybe I should ask some specific questions? Give an idea of what I'm looking for from forum-goers?
    Are the societies presented here realistic? Do they seem forced or artificial?
    Is there some aspect of the Setting that I've completely forgotten that you think is necessary to talk about, or that you'd like to know?
    Is the history believable?
    Is my take on Half-Elves (Halhvannen) interesting?
    Would you use this setting for a game, if the races were properly statted?
    Are the Maps okay?
    Is there something that feels obscure or ambiguous that I should address?
    Finally: Did you like the Setting?

    I only ask/double-post because so often I feel like the threads I start instantly die, and I've put too much effort into this to let it go like the last few. PEACH is greatly desired and appreciated, more than words can convey.
    I know exactly how you feel! So many thread I've created just seem to splutter and die. And my current one I've put so much work into, I'm halfway through the writing of the RPG, and nobody wants to comment But I digress don't get discouraged please! It's hard to comment on a setting. But because I know exactly where you are coming from, and I really like your setting. I'm going to type you an answer to all your questions, and give you my thoughts on your setting.

    Cultures: Your depiction of Aurelian society is wonderful, the evolution from its roots into the empire we see today feels perfectly natural, almost as if I'm reading an account of history, as it happened. Which is to say I like it. A lot. The degree to which you have based it on real history helps ground it quite a bit.

    As for the elves, I feel like because the focus of the account is on the Aurelians, they suffer by comparison. The elven society ended up feeling sort of hollow to me. They were established early, but an account of how Elven society continued while the Aurelians were growing would do your setting a great deal of good. As it was I had no sympathy for the Sharakor, and almost as little feeling about the Asamar. I think some work there would really help your setting shine, as it would allow the player to feel more engaged with an entire segment of the society you have detailed.

    The peripheral societies, could all use a bit more detail as well, however if you want the game to focus on the empire what you have is probably sufficient, though I know, if I were a player I would want to set out for those lands immediately to discover more about them.

    If you want to focus on the empire, a brief history of the Vandalmen especially their relationship with the empire, and the tension on Summersky. Even if these are written from an imperial point of view they would be a good jumping off place. Because as it is your setting feels fairly resolved, a detailing of the possible conflicts would do a great deal to pull me into the setting and make me want to play there.

    Additionally right now the Kahran feel very hollow to me, they just don't feel like a real people. Some detail about them might make them sound less like demons and more like a living breathing society.

    Setting:It might be nice to get a better feel for the regions of the empire. Were does food come from, a little more about the structure of society and how everyday tasks can be accomplished. If my player were to meet a blacksmith what race would he be?

    I would love details of the Summersky region, it sounded like an area rife for conflict to me. Also the details about a few key imperial figures wouldn't hurt to help help as a basis for intrigue.

    History: Believable, but I would really like to hear the history of races other than the empire.

    Half-elves: I found your take on them to be quite interesting. I'm not sure how you're planning on having them work out mechanically, but I'd be a heck of a lot more likely to play one of them then a run of the mill, doesn't fit in half-elf, that is standard in fantasy lore.

    Would I use it? I probably wouldn't, partially because I'm a setting designer myself and I have so many of my own settings just begging to get played in one of my games, and partially because as I said earlier the setting felt too resolved to me. There was stuff I wanted to explore, but that was mostly because the world with all the wars resolved felt empty to me. I didn't see anything that leapt out at me and said "Play ME!" I think if you detailed the cultures or the Elves (especially the rebels), The Vandals, and the Kahran. I would would feel much more engaged with the setting in the present era.

    The maps look good, however I would really like to see the locations of major cities and the basics of terrain. Where large forests lie. Where is it mostly grassland, mountains. That sort of thing.

    Yeah I liked it quite a bit.

    I hope that makes you feel a little better about all your work, and I hope you find what I've said helpful.
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    Thumbs up Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjadeadbeard View Post
    I suppose in my mind worshiped is just another word for the appeasement/sacrificing process. In RL Antiquity a lot of gods were the same (Athena turned a lady into a spider because she beat the goddess at weaving), kind of screwing over people for little to no reason. So, they may be a**holes, but they're still Divine A**holes.

    Like the Daedra example, they may not care too much about you, but that doesn't mean that you can't bribe them to care. Or at least lend a hand here and there.
    Often deities are positive or negative depending on this very fact.

    A lot of deities in the ancient world were capricious and cruel, sacrificed to solely to appease them so they do not cause a flood, famine, plague ect.

    On another note, I over all like the setting. Its similar to my own project, the Arulians are pretty nifty, the Roman Republic or Athenian Senate comes to mind.

    Personally I'm going for that Ancient world feel now as well. Though I'm a bit more Middle East, Fertile Crescent centered.
    Last edited by Tzi; 2012-08-24 at 05:55 PM.

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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by celtois View Post
    Cultures: Your depiction of Aurelian society is wonderful, the evolution from its roots into the empire we see today feels perfectly natural, almost as if I'm reading an account of history, as it happened. Which is to say I like it. A lot. The degree to which you have based it on real history helps ground it quite a bit.
    Thank you! I know the most about Rome of Ancient Antiquity, so I was bound to put more detail into their analogue than the rest. More info will be forthcoming on the other races.

    As for the elves, I feel like because the focus of the account is on the Aurelians, they suffer by comparison. The elven society ended up feeling sort of hollow to me. They were established early, but an account of how Elven society continued while the Aurelians were growing would do your setting a great deal of good. As it was I had no sympathy for the Sharakor, and almost as little feeling about the Asamar. I think some work there would really help your setting shine, as it would allow the player to feel more engaged with an entire segment of the society you have detailed.
    The Sharakor were never meant to be sympathetic, although I realize now that was a mistake. Expect something on them, Elves in General, Kahran, Deniri culture and the Isleut/Vandalmen soon.

    The peripheral societies, could all use a bit more detail as well, however if you want the game to focus on the empire what you have is probably sufficient, though I know, if I were a player I would want to set out for those lands immediately to discover more about them.
    As Zap Dynamic (a poster here) once said (paraphrased): "I want to create a place where players and GMs can make their own stories, not a place where there are already loads of stories". Basically, I left the eastern peoples fairly sketchy because then other people who are familiar with ancient East Asia can fill in the details.

    If you want to focus on the empire, a brief history of the Vandalmen especially their relationship with the empire, and the tension on Summersky. Even if these are written from an imperial point of view they would be a good jumping off place. Because as it is your setting feels fairly resolved, a detailing of the possible conflicts would do a great deal to pull me into the setting and make me want to play there.
    I'll whip something up that points out the current conflicts of the setting. The resolved-feeling is a byproduct of me wanting a setting that felt like the Roman Empire at its peak. There are still conquests to detail and conflicts to be won/lost. I just need to put them down here!

    Additionally right now the Kahran feel very hollow to me, they just don't feel like a real people. Some detail about them might make them sound less like demons and more like a living breathing society.
    I was trying to evoke the idea of the Hun and the Mongol Hordes with their description. Perhaps a bit too far towards bogeymen?

    Setting:It might be nice to get a better feel for the regions of the empire. Were does food come from, a little more about the structure of society and how everyday tasks can be accomplished. If my player were to meet a blacksmith what race would he be?
    Hmm. The details of the previously mentioned cultures and races will contain some information on the resources of the Empire. Shanar for example has deep gold and precious metal reserves, and is also a bread-basket. Danog is Iron and lumber-rich. In fact, a Deniri blacksmith is considered the best to go to for any and all needs.

    I would love details of the Summersky region, it sounded like an area rife for conflict to me. Also the details about a few key imperial figures wouldn't hurt to help help as a basis for intrigue.
    Summersky! Why did I forget to write something!? For some reason I keep thinking Summersky Sea sounds like DLC for a fantasy game. Weird. That'll also be forthcoming. As for Imperial figures, I'll think of something.

    Half-elves: I found your take on them to be quite interesting. I'm not sure how you're planning on having them work out mechanically, but I'd be a heck of a lot more likely to play one of them then a run of the mill, doesn't fit in half-elf, that is standard in fantasy lore.
    Honestly, IMO the traditional D&D/Tolkien-style view of Half-Elves is racist. I like the idea of a group of people who recognize they are a mixed-race, and celebrate that. Mechanically, I thought of granting them a Charisma and Dexterity boost, a penalty on Strength, and an untyped bonus to Spellcraft and UMD. Then again, I'm looking to use a custom-system, so maybe that translates differently.

    The maps look good, however I would really like to see the locations of major cities and the basics of terrain. Where large forests lie. Where is it mostly grassland, mountains. That sort of thing.
    While I don't have much an idea about where the cities are yet, I've added two maps to the OP that'll show more geographical features such as where grasslands and forests are.
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Ah, the sweet taste of having internet again. :small wink: (Successfully moved into my new place.)

    Excellent, I'm glad there will be information on the outlying races, in particular the elves. Fair enough on the east, maybe if you decide to pdf-ize your setting, you could include a list of plot hooks to get GM's started for the east.

    Excellent, I think if you put down more about the conflicts to be faced, and flesh out the adversaries it will give the setting more to grip potential DM's and players.

    If you want to evoke the impression of the Huns it works, however it makes the setting feel more like something which originates in the empire, and less like an impartial broad look at the world.

    Exactly the sort of information I was curious about. Thanks, I look forward to seeing those in your write ups. Excellent, I'm excited for the details of Summersky. It seemed like an interesting place to base a game, if only because that is where most of the external conflict lies.

    I'll take a look at your new maps.
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Added Summersky Sea to the bottom of the OP! Watch this space for more on the other cultures I may have not elaborated upon. Until then, watch the staaaars! Or this thread. That works too.
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    I dig the maps. What did you use to make 'em?
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    Default Re: Eramus, Age of Antiquity (PEACH!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Morghen View Post
    I dig the maps. What did you use to make 'em?
    Photoshop. Layers of Black/White Clouds set on hard mix and then layers of coloring and various filters. I went into it in depth here, but that thread fizzled when someone had a request that broke my soul. Still doing requests though. PM me if you like.

    Also note: I might be a while in getting the foreign cultures up here because I'm busy with school, writing my own things, and running a campaign in this world with my friends (so far so good!).
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