1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Lord Agragax Presents: The Fantasy Realm of Escalonia

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl, May 19, 2019.

  1. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,363
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Trophy Points:
    113
    For a couple of years now, I've been thinking and working on my own fantasy setting for both a series of novels I have been writing and also a rank-and-flank mass combat wargame like Warhammer Fantasy and Kings of War. After being inspired by @Scalenex's brainstorming threads made to discuss his own fantasy realm for an RPG he was thinking of designing, I have decided to follow suit and present my creation here to garner reactions from the general fantasy-loving public.

    So without further ado, I present to you all the realm of Escalonia!

    Part One: Escalonian Geography and Inhabitants
    Escalonia itself is a giant supercontinent, surrounded by oceans on all sides. Indeed Escalonia covers so much of the surface of its planet that almost every environment imaginable can be found in some region of it - it is so vast that the different areas of the continent vary wildly in climate despite all being part of the same landmass.
    At the very middle is the Central Lake, a huge body of fresh water that in many ways is more like a large inland sea, and from this lake flow four wide tidal rivers, one in each direction of the compass, all the way to the sea. These four rivers effectively divide the supercontinent into quadrants, and have often been used to establish natural borders between nations.

    The Western River is the calmest and with the slowest current of them all, slowly meandering from side to side like a sidewinder serpent as it nourishes the temperate grasslands of that side of the continent.

    The Northern River is the wildest and most unpredictable, as slow-flowing as its western brother one minute, almost as merciless and angry as the ocean it feeds the next, as if it were constantly objecting to having to flow through the colder northern half of Escalonia.

    The Eastern River is shallow and sickly compared to its brethren, for in the east of Escalonia the climate is drier and more arid, and thus the Eastern River is party to the least rain.

    The Southern River is the most abundant with life, for it flows through Escalonia's hotter southern regions, and such warm temperatures and the moist environment around this river encourage vast quantities of wildlife to make their home in and around it.

    Quarter 1: The Northwest
    Escalonia's north-western quadrant has the dishonour of possessing both the cold climate of the northern half of the continent and the heavier rainfall that inhabitants of the western side have to endure - the further north and west you go, the worse it gets - as well as playing host to several ranges of steep, rocky mountains. Indeed, the very north of the area is also prone to especially strong winds, meaning few trees last long up there before they are blown over, leaving a vast stretch of near-empty highlands with little in the ways of shelter. Here, only the meanest and most aggressive have any hope of surviving - humans did once eke out a living in this hill country, but they have since been driven out by a more violent yet similarly intelligent species, the Felinids of Suri, a sadistic and cruel race of feline humanoids that actively enjoys torturing and killing prisoners merely for their whims of pleasure (largely based on how cats are the one creature other than humans that kill for the fun of it - had to have a convincing evil non-human race somewhere).

    Further south, the climate becomes (slightly) more accommodating, even to the point where the odd few trees can be seen and the coarse heather is replaced with patches of well-nourished green grass. However, the terrain is still pock-marked with the foothills of the two mountain ranges sandwiching the area, the Grey Mountains to the south and the Shrieking Crags to the north, and it is very rare for any building to be constructed upon a completely flat piece of ground. This hilly landscape makes up the kingdom of the Dwarfs of Wodristan, the most powerful Dwarf nation in Escalonia. While sharing the origins of the other Dwarf kingdoms in the east side of the Northwest quadrant, Wodristan is by far the most advanced, having largely abandoned the traditional axes, hammers and shields of their bretheren in favour of a more disciplined strategy featuring serried ranks of Pike Guard supported by smaller units of musketeers on the flanks. Additionally the Dwarfs of Wodristan are the only Dwarfs to be unafraid of regularly riding short, stout ponies, and have developed entire cavalry regiments to support the slow-moving bodies of their armies (I've thought of the Dwarfs of Wodristan as being styled around the armies of the English Civil War, with their distinctive rock-paper-scissors kind of unit roster - pikemen beats cavalry beats musketeers beats pikemen).

    The other, smaller Dwarf kingdoms are all found in the south-east region of the Northwest quadrant. Although described as kingdoms, these nations are little more than family-based clans, and where the Wodristan Dwarfs have largely distanced themselves from this way of life, thereby allowing their kingdom to have expanded so much, the Dwarfs of these clans have resolutely maintained to remain in the past. Here the Dwarf culture has existed as it has done for millennia, with inter-clan grudges being settled with axe and hammer and notable quantities of beer being swigged when half-time comes round. Due to their proximity to the shores of the Central Lake, many of these Dwarf clans have constructed notable trade and military fleets, and use these to compete with both each other and other races to try and seize the monopoly on various commodities. Their cousins in Wodristan refer to these smaller Dwarf factions as Wodristan's Feifdoms, and indeed often prompt clan leaders to pay tributes to Wodristan as if they were part of Wodristan's own territory, but in return Wodristan have always done their best to help protect their cousins' beleaguered holds from the wicked Felinids and the mad Cultists of Necromancy, as good Dwarfs should, and thus the two Dwarf groups maintain a friendly relationship despite their differing cultures (you guessed it, these are the more traditional Dwarfs we know and love).

    The Grey Mountains are the currently established border between Wodristan and the neighbouring kingdom of Calderon, in the more temperate grasslands surrounding the Western River with the majority of its territory in the Southwest quadrant. This ancient nation has been built on an alliance between humans, the reptilian Lizardkin and the kingdom of Tarkalia, the latter a smaller kingdom within Calderon ruled by the humanoid otters who founded it and evolved on the banks of the Western River. The northern border of Tarkalia is on the other side of the Grey Mountains from Wodristan, and while the human rulers of the wider kingdom of Calderon have tried to enforce peace with the Dwarfs, there remain an ongoing feud between the Tarkalians and Wodristan. Both desire for the whole mountain range to be entirely within their own borders, and defend their border fortresses aggressively against any approach made by the other to claim it. However, neither of them are ignorant of the fact that the Grey Mountains themselves are home to their own tribes of humans, who have developed their own strongholds deep within the mountains. Aggressive and warlike, these peoples will accept rulership from neither Calderon or Wodristan, and launch raids against both to steal resources and preserve their own cultures (I thought of having a Viking-type human faction represent a neutral party in the wars between Calderon and Wodristan who know the mountainous terrain better than either - Calderon will be explained in greater detail in the Southwest Quadrant section).

    In the north-eastern part of the quadrant, the land is drier, although just as cold as the highland territory of the Felinids, and the inhabitants here are similarly hostile to others. There were many coniferous trees in this part of the continent, but the vast majority of them are dead. This was due to no natural event, but the meddling actions of the corrupt and decadent Howardi dynasty, the craven monarchs of Upravania. Humans they may be, but their people are unlike any of the other human kingdoms of Escalonia, for Upravania is the one faction that openly encourages the practice of the religion of Necromancy, which has been banned in all the other kingdoms for hundreds of years, on pane of death. Depravity, lawlessness and chaos perpetrate Upravania, for it has become an unholy sanctuary for all those who have ever secretly practiced the art of raising the dead, and they do so without restriction to satisfy their every whim. Nobles populate their grand houses with the awoken skeletons of the long-deceased as their servants, while unquiet spirits freely prey upon any who are not Necromancers themselves. All manner of profanities occur within alleyways, alcoves and back gardens, and gruesome rituals are performed openly in the streets, for the Howardi have no objection to allowing the dead to be party to the acts of the living, or vice versa. Like the savage Felinids who are their neighbours to the west, the extended Howardi family send out raiding parties of babbling cultist militia and remorseless undead legions to capture new souls to experiment on - indeed the Felinids and Necromancers often target each other just as much as others for abduction campaigns (This faction is another of the three main evil nations at the point in time where the stories start - they're the horde army that can spam large numbers of lightly armoured, stark-raving-mad death cultists and legion upon legion of skeletons, ghosts and other hideous undead stuff).

    I haven't that much time to post stuff yet so my initial posts will be quite small, but stay tuned for more in the coming days.
     
  2. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,363
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Quarter 2: The Southwest

    The Southwestern Quadrant is notably warmer than the northwest while retaining its high precipitation, resulting in more and more foliage springing up across the landscape the further south and west one travels. Indeed the southernmost reaches of this quadrant play host to vast swathes of tropical rainforest abundant with life both hostile and benign. While the sweltering climate of this area of the supercontinent is deemed far too stifling for many of the humanoid groups further north, this jungle does play host to its own nations and tribes, some of which rely upon the constant heat simply to survive. One of these is the Serpentines, a race of humanoid snakes who dwell in the south-east of the Quadrant. Deep within ancient stone temples, these lithe creatures constantly practice their skills in blade-oriented martial arts, duelling both artificial opponents and each other in their determination to master the sword. As a result, Serpentines are truly unnerving foes in battle, for although they largely eschew armour, they have little need of it as their lightning reflexes and uncanny skill at parrying and deflecting the clumsy attacks of their enemies serve them far better. Even in the rare circumstance a Serpentine is robbed or disarmed of his weapon, he is far from defenceless, as all of their kind, like their smaller cousins, are equipped with needle-sharp fangs that deliver a toxic venom. Such skills combined with their natural subtlety not only make Serpentines lethal fighters, but also ruthlessly-effective assassins and saboteurs - while the Serpentine Masters’ Council has forbidden any of their kind to use their talents for such nefarious purposes, there are many Serpentines willing to sell their deadly services to those who can afford them (As you can probably tell, the Serpentines are based largely on the Yuan-Ti from D&D, but I have intended them to have more of a Central American culture rather than Chinese).


    While reptilian species like the Serpentines do thrive in the jungles of the Southwestern Quadrant, there is also a group of the ever-adaptable and resourceful humans that has established its own culture revolving around the bounties of the rainforests - the nation of Xathustan. Having a tanned complexion in comparison to the peoples further north, the Xastustese migrated to the jungles over a millennium ago, and have developed into a thriving people. Although seen as primitive by many other nations because of their preference to wielding stone-tipped clubs and fighting on foot, the Xastustese have developed their own complex culture with a monarchy, extensive judicial system and organised townships.

    In battle the Xastustese are often aided by their neighbours, the Coacans, who inhabit the only mountain range in the jungles. The Coacans have a very similar culture and religion to Xastustan, and the main way in which the two peoples can be told apart is their size. Whereas the people of Xastustan range from around five feet to five feet six inches in height, the people of the Coacan Mountains rarely exceed four feet, as it is said that the Coacans shrank with every generation to more easily survive the thinner air experienced at the altitudes in which they live. The Coacans also have mastered the ability to tame many of the large mountain beasts such as the Altothere, which they use to assist them in manual labour and carry them into battle, providing a heavier-hitting contingent that has impressed many a Xastustese warchief (When I thought of having a jungle-dwelling human faction based upon the Aztecs and Incas as part of the Southwest Quadrant, I thought it would be fun to style their army roster around aggressive Aztec-type close combat infantry supported by smaller Macchu Picchu Inca-type cousins mounted on huge monsters - much like the Lizardmen in Warhammer Fantasy. I imagine these will be @Warden's favourite factions).


    The one other race that inhabits the jungles of the extreme Southwest is the Medusae, who share much of the territory owned by Xastustan. While Medusae predominantly resemble human women, their most distinguishing feature is that they have nests of writhing serpents in place of hair, the visible symbol of the blessings given by the Serpent Goddess in a ritual that their fanatical cultists, the Amazons, must undergo in order to become Medusae themselves. The other blessings an Amazon receives on becoming a Medusa, which cannot be seen but are subsequently demonstrated effortlessly in battle, are an agility and strength beyond that of an ordinary woman, and an immunity to most poisons and venoms. The former tends to encourage Medusae to look down upon the males of all species as simple and cumbersome, for a Medusa’s newfound powers allow her to demonstrate similar strength with heightened agility and dexterity. The latter is especially helpful in the first few weeks after the transformation process, as a Medusa’s newfound snake companions are initially not always too impressed at having been magically transplanted into a human’s scalp. While many women, from Xastustan and beyond, join the Amazon movement in the hope of becoming one of these elite Medusa warriors, the ritual undergone to become a Medusa is not without risk, for if the Serpent Goddess believes the individual in question is unworthy of Medusahood, or even if she is simply in a bad mood, she will instead transform the Amazon into a Gorgon, a mindless, feral, scaled parody of what she aspired to become that constantly seeks to fill an eternal hunger (Obviously based upon the Greek legends of Medusa and the Amazons, the Medusae are intended to be a Chaotic neutral faction, to use the D&D term, that is made up of lightly-armoured close combat fighters of varying skill).


    As one progresses further north, the rainforest becomes less dense, but still provides a consistently warm climate - this area is the southern border to the land of Calderon. The jungles here are home to the Lizardkin, primeval reptilian warriors that live in a patchwork of tribes each named after a particular evolutionary trait that their members possess (the Redcrest tribe, for example, have tall scarlet crests that flatten or straighten based on mood, while the Silversword tribe are the only tribe that is particularly gifted in the art of metalworking). These tribes have become less openly hostile to each other in more recent years, and have developed a greater ability to cooperate if needs must, but the various Lizardkin peoples are still reluctant to intermingle with each other too often. Generally wary and suspicious of outsiders, Lizardkin mostly keep themselves to themselves, but will reliably serve the lords of Calderon, the only human group to have shown them a great deal of respect, in battles around their jungle territories. Lizardkin males are extremely strong, with powerful limbs and jaws and thick, tough scales that render them immune to much external pain, while females are thinner and more slender, with smoother scales and a more athletic physique.

    Lizardkin tribal society is patriarchal at its core, with one of the oldest, most experienced warriors in the tribe being pronounced Lizardlord of the tribe for the duration of his remaining lifetime, and has an extremely strict set of laws - even those who have committed the minor offence of stealing a piece of fruit from a stall will often be faced with exile from their tribe and being cast out of their village to wander the jungle alone, the fear of such a punishment alone being one of the reasons why the Lizardkin are a race that is rarely motivated to commit crimes. Many of these wrongdoers perish away from the protection of their fellow Lizardkin, whether eaten by jungle predators, dying of starvation or victim to some form of fatal accident, but those strong and lucky enough to survive have been said to discover a new life for themselves - within the depths of many of the tropical caves in the northern areas of the Southwest Quadrant rainforest dwell communities of Troglodytes, reptilian creatures that have developed a culture and lifestyle all their own, but are undeniably former Lizardkin exiled from their tribes. Lizardkin are capable of evolving relatively rapidly to suit new environments, and if an exile manages to find a cave network to live in, they will undergo numerous changes within several months - their skin with lose its colour and their eyesight becomes weaker due to the darkness of the caves, webbing develops between their claws and their spines with the need to survive in an environment full of pools and rivers, and their gait shifts from bipedal to quadrupedal movement to weave between the many rocks in their new home. Intolerant of sunlight and resigned to eking out a new life in the caverns, Troglodytes rarely leave their new haunts, and are thus deemed largely as a myth by the mainstream rainforest-dwelling Lizardkin (I wanted my take on humanoid lizards to have cultural similarities to D&D Lizardfolk, but remain physically similar to Warhammer Saurus, with some cultural aspects that are unique in my fantasy world).


    Towards the central regions of Escalonia, and in the northernmost reaches of the Southwest Quadrant, the jungles recede as the climate become cooler, giving way to swathes of green, temperate grassland and forests of deciduous trees kept nourished by the damper conditions in the west of the supercontinent. This fertile land makes up the heart of Calderon, one of the oldest nations in Escalonia. Formed several millennia ago through the unification of many warring tribes, Calderon has become a centre of culture home to some of the most skilled craftsmen of all, rivalling the Elven kingdoms in its ability to produce items of quality to trade with its neighbours. From delicately-woven gold rings to patterned swords worthy of gods, Calderon has built up good relations with all neighbouring lands through not only their pursuit of peace, but also the trading of such magnificent treasures. Despite this outward exterior of tolerance and generosity, Calderon’s old warrior culture still acts as its strong beating heart - the core of its armies consist of warriors who are brave and courageous albeit a little undisciplined, supported by fast-moving chariot squadrons, heavily-armoured elite infantry and the mighty Wyvern Riders that soar over the kingdom to seek out and eliminate any threat. Calderon is governed principally by a ruling Lord whose family will preside over the kingdom until it is no longer able to provide an heir to the throne. After the last Lord of this family dies, a new dynasty is then elected from the ruling houses of the twelve tribes that were unified to form Calderon by the Druid Council, who also have to be consulted by the current ruler before decisions affecting the kingdom can be implemented. Furthermore, since Calderon formed alliances with the kingdom of Tarkalia and the Lizardkin tribes so that they have become client kingdoms, it was decreed that the ruling Lord must discuss any matters concerning these peoples with their respective leaders as well and send appropriate assistance where necessary, for Lizardkin and Tarkalians were given equal rights as part of these agreements due to the long-lasting friendship between the three powers, in return for their loyalty and assistance in matters affecting Calderon alone. As a result, the alliance has allowed these three powers to form a united front that any outsider would have to be both immensely brave and extremely foolish to challenge (As you can probably tell, I’ve based Calderon upon what Celtic Britain might have become if the tribes had been somehow united, whether by the Druids, who were independent of tribe and class, or by one particular tribe conquering/amalgamating the others into itself, as might have happened if the Romans not invaded).

    The third of the nations that make up the Calderon alliance is the kingdom of Tarkalia, whose borders lie around the banks of the revered Western River, from where its inhabitants evolved from the large bipedal piscivore Gigantolutra and where their creator god resides. Most unusually, these humanoid otters construct their buildings on wooden platforms that rise up out of the river waters on thick wooden stilts, and have constructed entire towns out of such structures in the middle of the river, connected by bridges to the banks either side. In addition, many Tarkalians have set up fish-farms around some of the river’s many meanders, diverting some of the river water into pools where they raise their prize fish - it is estimated that around ninety percent of all the freshwater fish consumed in Calderon comes from Tarkalian-owned farms and sold by Tarkalian fishmongers - and the few Tarkalian communities on the west coast (mainly on either side of the Western River’s delta) are well-known for their proficiency in procuring and preparing a variety of fish caught at sea. As well as their especially lofty build (the average Tarkalian is around seven to eight feet tall), many of those who have never met a Tarkalian before are intimidated by the strong natural stench they give off - like all mustelids, a Tarkalian has a profound natural odour that, alongside their largely fish-based cuisine, can prove offensive to the nostrils of outsiders. However, this is redeemed by their especially jovial and welcoming personalities, for even the lowliest Tarkalian will happily invite a visitor to pull up a chair in time to taste a bowl of freshly-prepared fish stew or a slice of roast venison. Indeed the majority of those Tarkalians who don’t catch fish for a living instead tend to the vast herds of large deer that have been domesticated by their kind in the way humans have domesticated horses - harts are raised to serve as the indomitable mounts of the royal Stag Knights, while hinds are commonplace as beasts of burden when they are not raising fawns. As a result Tarkalians see it as a waste to slaughter perfectly healthy animals when they could be used for carrying out any number of different jobs, and it is only when the deer die of old age, sickness or battle wounds that they are served up on families’ platters - to a human this meat would be seen as too tough and gristly, but Tarkalians have far sharper teeth, normally used for crunching through fishbones and scales, but also highly suitable for chewing such thick venison with ease. In battle, Tarkalian armies are very often outnumbered by their opponents, but they make up for this with their great ferocity and courage - even unarmed, a Tarkalian is a fearsome opponent that can kill a man with a single bite to the neck, and when equipped with the heavy axes, round shields and chainmail armour their people so often use in combat, they are some of the most individually powerful combatants in the known world (The Tarkalians were actually the very first unique race I devised, long before I even planned to write a novel series that in part featured them. I first thought of them when I was about 10 after reading Tarka the Otter - hence the name - and was inspired to develop my own culture of humanoid otters. They are similar in some ways to the otters in Brian Jacques’ Redwall series, but the Tarkalians have been given a lot of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic cultural aspects and fight a lot more brutally, with massive axes and other formidable equipment).


    To the east of Calderon lies the famed land of Esworo, the realm of chivalry, where mighty knights defend the weak and smite the wicked, supported loyally by their dutiful foot-slogging retainers. First formed in retaliation to the ever-increasing violence inflicted by warriors from lands beyond the Southern River, Esworo has developed a culture oriented around warfare out of pure necessity - to this day it is ruled not by a king or chieftain of pre-determined royal blood, but by a Knightmaster, a knight from one of the many established Orders who, in the eyes of the majority of others, is deemed worthy of his position in charge of the land. This is principally decided at the end of a colossal tournament that lasts for an entire week, where all the knights in the land participate in contest after contest and the ordinary people ultimately vote democratically on who should claim the title. Chivalry, loyalty, humility and bravery are the most sought-after qualities in a potential Knightmaster by regulation, and only those with the purest of virtues ever stand a chance of capturing the crowd’s attention - in this way Esworo has been able to escape many of the troubles faced by other factions when undesirable rulers come to the throne, for any corrupt, decadent or miserly individuals are likely to be easily recognised during the tournament and voted out by the masses.

    To become a knight of Esworo, an aspirant can be from any family and any trade, but they have to show certain qualities that advocate them as being worthy of the position in the eyes of existing knights, such as being skilled in horsemanship and having expertise in combat. Those who are accepted by a particular Order begin their life as a squire, usually for the individual knight who approved of their application (knights without squires of their own are often referred to as Searchers because of this, for one of their tasks is to seek out and train adolescents found to be worthy of service in their Order), and perform duties alongside their masters for at least a decade as their training, so that they gain experience of what it is to be a knight on the job. When the squire’s master believes they are ready, he will apply for them to take part in the next Squires’ Challenge, a yearly tournament specifically designed to test the mettle of those close to becoming a knight to see if they are ready to bear the responsibility on their own. Those who are successful are knighted, and are obliged to serve the Order of their master until death, while those who fail may choose to continue to serve with their existing master or attempt to join another Order, in which case a new master is assigned to their tutelage. In some cases squires may have participated in the Squires’ Challenge many times but have never succeeded to knighthood, resulting in them living most of their life as their master’s squire. These men, often called Attendants, are also effectively serving their Order, albeit having to do so under the guidance of their master, but unlike knights they are given the freedom to retire whenever they wish, for they are not full members of the Order and can never be given the right to recruit squires of their own - indeed this is generally forced upon them if their masters die before they do. Because of Esworo’s chivalric culture, their armies principally consist of powerful heavy cavalry as the knights of the various Orders lead from the front, but they are often accompanied by infantry in the form of Men-at-Arms (commoners from the local villages given a shield, basic armour and weapons and taught the basics of how to fight), longbowmen, crossbowmen and even retired Attendants, who take up their swords and the heraldry of their masters to support the normally less reliable foot contingents with their veteran combat skills (As you can probably guess, Esworo is largely my own version of Bretonnia, as everyone likes knights, although probably a less grimdark version as the commoners are at least treated like human beings in Esworo).
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
    Warden, Ritual, Scalenex and 2 others like this.
  3. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,363
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Quadrant 3: The Southeast

    Beyond Esworo across the Southern River, the climate becomes far drier - lush plains give way to rocky downs of brown grassland, while trees become far more scarce, with only the toughest of conifers and bushes able to last the longer periods with no rain. Here, only the meanest have proven able to thrive, as the aggressive kingdom of Scaramonde has risen to dominate this area after conquering their strongest rivals, the trading kingdom of Eadwine. Once a kingdom of unrivalled prosperity when Calderon was still divided into its various tribes, Eadwine’s people have now fallen under the dominion of an arrogant, merciless ruling elite descended from an exiled band of tribesmen from the Grey Mountains to the west, who send their mail-clad infantry and cavalry marauding across the land simply to remind the locals just who is now in charge. Like Esworo, Scaramonde has a caste of knights who enforces their ruler’s will, but these men see no obligation to protect their kingdom’s people (unless there is gold involved) or displaying acts of chivalry just to please the crowds - to them, might in combat is the only thing that both their enemies and their inferiors know, and the only way to keep their kingdom strong is to maintain a grip too tight for anyone to slip between their fingers. Even the lowest-ranking Scaramonde footsoldier is trained remorselessly to hone his fighting skills to brutal and efficient effect, and is equipped with the finest mail and sword available, alongside a tall shield shaped as a reverse teardrop and emblazoned with the sigil of the lone grey tower that is home to the Howlynde family, the ruling house of Scaramonde, against the red hue of the blood spilt in the kingdom’s name.

    However, even the ruthless warriors of Scaramonde are still mortal men, and in some cases, the efforts of mortal men are not enough to seize victory. In such situations, Scaramonde unleashes its deadliest weaponry - amidst the constant fires of conquest the Howlyndes and their followers anoint themselves in, the practice of one particular form of magic has risen to prominence. The stone castles and fortresses from which the Scaramondrian lords extend their authority are not built by the craft of labourers - such toil would take far too much time, and this time could be used by insurgents to prepare a counter attack - instead they are formed from the very earth by Stoneshapers, sorcerers who have focussed their powers of the earth into being able to move the hardest of rock as if it were wet clay. As well as forming the magnificent buttresses of Scaramonde’s power, these potent magicians are able to bless the stone statues adorning the walls of these structures with life so unnatural to beings made of rock, allowing them to take flight and serve Scaramonde’s armies with cold, stoic resolve, smashing enemy troops aside with their stone limbs and proving impervious to any retaliation with their hardened hides (Another of Escalonia’s evil factions, Scaramonde was designed as a human army with better-quality infantry and inferior - yet still strong - cavalry compared to Esworo, and just as the Grey Mountains Tribesmen are based on the Vikings, the Scaramondrians are based on the Normans and their ruthless conquest of England, a stark contrast to the chivalry and nobility of the knights of the later Medieval era as represented by Esworo. To make these chaps unique in their own right in terms of army roster, rather than just a tweaked evil Esworo, I have also given them stone Gargoyle, Grotesque and Caryatid servants to represent the Normans’ especially profound love for Gothic architecture as a method for displaying their dominance).


    Following in the wake of Scaramonde’s armies, in the hope that these warlike soldiers will lead them to halfway-decent fights, tread large, undisciplined hordes of Greenhide Orcs. These brutish creatures are the more violent but less intelligent of the two Orc subspecies, relying on the traditional method of sorting out disagreements with an all-out brawl and generally causing trouble wherever they go. Their natural ability to pick a fight with almost anyone for generally no reason at all, while giving their race many enemies, has also resulted in many of their number earning a much better reputation for being unusually reliable mercenaries - the majority of them care nothing for material wealth, and as long as they are supplied with regular fights, they will generally see no need to abandon the individual who hired them. The majority of Greenhide Orcs live within the borders of Scaramonde, yet are lucky enough to not have to endure the regular pillaging undergone by the greedy Scaramondrian nobles who claim to own the land the Orcs have lived on long before the first of the Howlyndes was even born - partly because both parties share a mutual enthusiasm for warfare, and partly because even the most ruthless Scaramondrian will often think twice before picking a fight with a green-skinned monster a good couple of feet taller than him. As a result, the Scaramondrians largely ignore the bands of bellowing Orcs that flock to them like Honeypickers to a Hiveripper, for such tagalongs have sometimes proved handy reinforcements who have helped to snatch victory at the last second (although any Scaramondrian baron would never admit that this happened very often), and in the case of defeat have often proven able to follow-up the Scaramondrian attack to finish the destruction the humans started. Greenhide Orc technology has advanced in recent years, hand-in-hand with the increase in regularity of conflicts for the Orcs to participate in, as for all their flaws, they do have a remarkable sense of ingenuity, always able to use even the most deformed and rusty of battlefield scrap for something, even just as a new club to clobber the next unfortunate enemy with (Obviously based on largely a mix of Warhammer and Warcraft Orcs - as violent as the Warhammer ones but with a touch of ‘noble savage’ from Warcraft as these Orcs covet neither gold or land, which are still secondary goals for Warhammer Orcs, although the Greenhide species are definitely more like Warhammer Orcs).


    Immediately further south from Scaramonde, much of the rocky scrubland gives way to vast prairies of savannah grassland, kept barely alive by the little rain that does fall during the winter months. As a consequence, this drier area of the supercontinent is one of the few that has not been seized by one of the emergent unified nations, thereby leaving the giant herbivores that graze on the land largely in peace. However, this does not mean to say that it is completely uninhabited, for here dwell native tribes that also have been left to their own devices by the more aggressive outsiders preferring to fight amongst themselves. Each of these peoples lives by the land, gathering only what they truly need at the time when they need it, and making use of everything they find. To them, the world around them is a place to be respected and cherished, and all the living things in it are connected by a single nature spirit, the name, appearance and temperament of whom varies from tribe to tribe. The majority of these clans are actually made up of Orcs, but of the more peaceful Earthskin species - where the Greenhide Orcs continue what they believe to have always been the traditional Orc way of fighting to thrive, the Earthskins since discovered that in their hotter and less hospitable surroundings, it is far better to work with the world around them, rather than destroy it. Also by contrast to the Greenhides’ skills with metalwork, the Earthskin Orcs have largely retained the technological state they possessed when they first arrived in the prairies centuries ago, favouring axes and spears of sharpened stone, armour made from carved wood obtained from the intermittent clumps of savannah trees and pottery fashioned from the red clay-based soil common across the area (These orcs are more based on the ‘noble-savage’ orcs from Warcraft III, with largely the technology level of the Warhammer Savage Orcs - perhaps a little more advanced, but not by much).


    Further to the east of this land unclaimed by any of the major power playing factions, the supercontinent becomes so hot that water rarely has a chance to even land on the ground in its liquid form, so that all that covers the far south-east of Escalonia for miles around is little more than barren desert, the only exception to this being a single winding tributary of the Southern River, the River Adatep, that travels a good two-thirds of the total distance from it to the east coast. This is the most extreme of Escalonia’s regions, where leagues of barren sand dunes form a monotonous, barely hospitable landscape, but even here some life is able to eke out a living. The most powerful faction in this area is the kingdom of Phorus, whose borders range from the very southern and eastern coast to the mid east and south of the Southeast Quadrant. Here, the desert is presided over by the Rhacids, avian creatures that are believed to be birthed not by conventional ways, but as fully-formed adults through formation from the desert sands in ‘hatching circles’ specially marked by the priesthood. While they have tried to determine patterns from the rate at which new Rhacids are born, the priests of this race are not able to predict when this occurs - sometimes several individuals emerge from the sands in quick succession, either from different hatching circles or across the same one, and at other times there are no new births for several months - meaning that where and when Rhacids are born are almost certainly determined by a higher power.

    The Rhacids are some of the greatest builders in the whole supercontinent, having constructed magnificent stone cities of pyramidal buildings that have lasted for millennia without any sign of wear or damage, and the interiors of these structures are decorated with vast collections of ornate treasures, made both by Rhacids of ages past and other races. As a result, the Rhacids are near-constantly having to protect their civilisation from marauders and treasure-hunters alike, mustering legions of infantry armed with weapons of the finest gold to safeguard their cities from such despots. The Rhacids themselves established their cities in desert plains across Phorus, for they are far less dependant on liquid sustenance than other races, but in any skirmishes set along the banks of the River Adatep, they are often joined by Thothians, tall, spindly-legged cousins of the Rhacids that are born of the river mud. While the Rhacids never needed to fly, the Thothians evolved the capability of flight to allow them to escape from river-based predators such as Petsuchean Crocodiles and as such provide fast moving reconnaissance units that can fly ahead of the Rhacid armies to harass intruders (Another of the unique races I’ve created, the Rhacids are an Ancient Egypt-inspired army that took cues from the bird-men from Night at the Museum 2 but are fully-feathered rather than humans with falcon heads. As well as their name being an extension of Ra, the Egyptian sun god, and the name of their nation being an extension of Horus, the embodiment of the Pharaohs, both of whom have falcon heads, phorusrhacids is the formal term for the giant prehistoric avians people most often call ‘terror-birds’. I thought it would be fun to give them a unique way of being born to further set them apart from both other races of Escalonia and bird-man cultures in other franchises, and sand, being plentiful in the desert, would be an obvious medium of which they could be composed through some divine magic. By a similar stretch the Thothians are ibis versions of the Rhacids (based on Thoth, Egyptian god of wisdom, learning and medicine) based around the not-River-Nile a bit like the Tarkalians around the Western River, and because ibises are spindly wading birds, I thought Thothians would make good skirmishers as such fragile birds wouldn’t really last long in a melee fight against things like Serpentines, Tarkalians or Lizardkin).


    While the Rhacids’ island of riches in the sea of desert attracts many despoilers, their most frequent and aggressive enemy is not motivated by their treasures at all. Indeed, it is unknown what draws the Insectoids of Szharar to Phorus, but their frequent journeys south and their merciless attacks upon Rhacid settlements have firmly cemented their sinister reputation. These chitinous invertebrates are closely related to grasshoppers, except they are as tall as a man when they stand upright on their back legs, are primarily carnivorous, and have developed the ability to grasp objects in their other four limbs. Also, unlike their smaller relatives, Insectoids live in vast permanent colonies, more like bees and ants, housed in giant stone spires that stick up out of the desert sands. Within the entrance halls of these colossal hollow sandstone towers, there are no staircases, only a series of holes leading to various different chambers - the rooms on levels above ground can be easily accessed by the winged inhabitants. As a result, these hive structures are very difficult to assault without destroying them, for any attacking force that manages to reach the entrance hall will be assailed by projectiles from hundreds of Insectoid defenders on the upper levels, against whom only bows and other missile weapons can be used in retaliation. More often than not, the foolhardy interlopers are shot from all angles like fish in a barrel, and join the many hundreds of other attackers that failed in their attempt to overrun an Insectoid hive.

    When their own people’s settlements are attacked by Insectoids, however, a far different outcome occurs. Individually, most Insectoid soldiers are lightly armed, often carrying only a sword or spear made from sharpened bones and chitin and relying on a shield (if they are honoured elites of the hive) and their natural chitin for protection, but Insectoid armies have been known to reach up to a million or more in number, and their broad thin wings, each longer than a man is tall, can carry them across the land at uncanny speeds for creatures so large and allow them to fly all around the enemy town to look for undefended weak points, even as others pour in at well-guarded areas to distract the enemy. For every Insectoid that finds itself shot down by an enemy arrow or impaled upon a sword, another three take its place, while the defenders have no such support - even the toughest Orc or bravest human can be easily brought down by half a dozen Insectoids all buzzing around them and lashing out with their weapons, and for every enemy corpse that falls, several ravenous Insectoids will descend to pull off chunks of flesh from it with their mandibles.

    There are many Insectoid hives across the deserts of the Southeast, the inhabitants of each of which have their own colouration, customs and language dialects (although the latter is very difficult for strangers to identify as the Insectoid common language is in itself notoriously hard to learn and interpret by foreign scholars), but Insectoids from different hives generally tolerate each other, for in the collective consciousness by which a hive operates, other Insectoids from different hives are naturally programmed to be viewed as allies. However, it has not been unknown for different hives to view each other with caution and a hint of distrust in a meeting, for the members of their ruling caste, a large and powerful subspecies of Insectoid known as the Hivelords, are naturally paranoid - for all the uniformity that the hive mind compels most Insectoids to display, Hivelords are constantly driven to fight each other for control of the hive when they are not fighting the enemy, and a successful Dominant Hivelord will always keep an eye (or three) upon the Inferior Hivelords in case one or more of them attempt to seize his position (We have seen the Escalonia equivalent of Ancient Egypt - now I present Escalonia’s version of a plague of locusts! Think Hopper and his cronies from a Bug’s Life, but as tall as a human with Babylonian names and cultural aspects, able to wield basic weapons and shields, living in hive spires like those of the Geonosians and governed by a Tyranid-esque collective consciousness. Even though these chaps would be classic villains for an Escalonia story, I’d say that they are actually either True Neutral or Lawful Evil, because they don’t discriminate over who they attack as long as they make a good meal, and they are following their basic natural instincts rather than fighting them out of malice).


    To the west of the deserts of Phorus and Szharar south of the savannah plains and east of the jungles of Xastustec, on either side of the delta of the Southern River, lie the Fens of Dhaverroth - these marshy forests have spelled doom for just as many foolhardy invaders as the deserts further east, whether through a misplaced step sending them into the bog never to be seen again or predation by one of the many monsters that lurk in the mists. Few who dwell outside of the marshes know the paths through the Fens, and even fewer know the full extent of the ecosystem or inhabitants there, but the most well-known are the Swamp Elves, for while they are a highly secretive race, they have been known to aid particular sides in conflicts and make contact with various other nations in the south of the supercontinent. Whilst polite and eloquent in their ways and willing to help those they deem worthy of their assistance, they are also mysterious, haughty and, above all, highly efficient and skilled killers. The best relations these Elves have established so far are with the Xastustese-Coacan alliance - they have assisted them several times in controlling the wild Medusae and safeguarding settlements against impending natural disasters (which occur more frequently in the Southwestern jungles than elsewhere) in return for various commodities unobtainable in the stagnant marshland - but records of them dealing with Esworoans, natives of the southern plains and Rhacids also exist.

    The Swamp Elves once were a decadent civilisation, with cities of exquisitely-designed wooden buildings grown as extensions of great rainforest trees by skilled Enchanters. However, several thousand years ago the land became flooded by the sea and turned the tropical forests they had settled in into salt-based swamps and bogs. The great trees that had supported their homes began to die, for they could not process the increased salinity of the water in the soil. The magic that kept the structures of their houses strong began to dissipate, as it required the host trees to be alive to keep the walls resilient to damage and change. Now the majority lead a nomadic existence, travelling across the roads and paths through the marshes that only Swamp Elves know in great convoys of finely-built Elven carriages and wagons, for sources of food and fresh water have since become thin on the ground in Dhaverroth and such groups have since been prompted to take only what they need from one location before moving onto the next, to ensure the sustainability of those sources that remain. A few of the old settlements, generally those that contained trees which adapted to salty water better or in locations where the flood waters could not affect the soil which nourished the trees, are still populated, but most are haunted relics of a lost past, the trees either dead and rotten or having been consumed by the swamps, and serving only as places of reverence and worship to the descendants of the original inhabitants.

    In warfare, the armies of Dhaverroth principally make use of bands of lithe Marsh Elf skirmishers, whose finely-crafted longbows are designed uniquely to be held in a comfortable and efficient hold by their wielders, supported by regiments of disciplined spear-wielding close combat infantry. While horses are used regularly by the Marsh Elves in pulling their carriages and transporting citizens during migrations, they prefer to not use cavalry in battle unless the conflict is taking place outside of the marshes, for fear of risking the loss of valuable horses to the bogs during charges. The successors of the Enchanters so skilled in charming the ancient treehouses also often participate in battles, but in more recent times Enchanters have devoted their time into harnessing the malefic energies of the bogs to summon powerful servants fashioned from the sludge and trap their enemies in magically-formed pools of sucking slime (One of the Elven factions I initially want to introduce is based on the Wood Elves from Warhammer Fantasy and Middle Earth in terms of fighting style, but I was thinking that their skill as sentinels would also be fitting for Elves that hid in marshland, and so I devised the idea of these Elves as a tragic race that lost their grand homes in the tropical woods to unpredictable ocean floods. In terms of aesthetics I was thinking of basing aspects of their culture and symbolism on the Ancient Indian cultures that fought Alexander the Great, as these not-Wood-Elves live in more tropical environments).
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2019
  4. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,363
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Quadrant 4: The Northeast

    Further north, across the Eastern River, the climate maintains the dryness that perpetuates the Southeast Quadrant, but the Northeast Quadrant also becomes as cool and temperate as the Northwest, resulting in areas of land that are a lot more hospitable and habitable. Towards the eastern coast lies the Republic of Aquileona, a thriving nation that is governed by a Senate made up of representatives of all the Aquileonan provinces, elections for whom run at the beginning of each year. Proximity to the sea around the supercontinent and the pleasantly warm yet comfortable climate means Aquileona is the chief source of many foods and other commodities that are very difficult to cultivate and produce elsewhere, meaning the bustling townships there are home to many rich merchants, yet Aquileona also has a highly disciplined army of adaptable and skilled troops, and for good reason. Because of its success in recent years with trade and accumulation of wealth, Aquileona has been seen as a target by both the greedy barons of Scaramonde to the south and the Minotaurs of Iotheiles to the north and west, who are attempting to increase their own trade output and are less than impressed with Aquileonan magnates stealing their customers and reaping far greater profits.

    All Aquileonan men who have no skill for trade or farming are conscripted into the republic’s army or navy when they reach their twentieth birthday, and serve for a minimum of twenty years. New recruits are limbered into the Young Guard where, unless they somehow perform a particularly noteworthy battlefield feat, they are given regular hard training for the next ten years of their lives to turn them into the disciplined combat machines for which Aquileona is so famed. During this time, unless they are required to fight by direct order of the Senate, they are rarely sent into a full-scale battle until the latter years of their training, to ensure casualties at such an early stage are kept to a minimum. Especially proficient Young Guard and those that have spent their full ten years’ Young Guard training are enrolled into the Middle Guard, where they are able to branch out into varying roles that more suit their preferred equipment and fighting style if necessary (the most noteworthy of such specialist regiments are the Spear Regiments equipped specially to protect the flanks of regular Middle and Young Guard units against cavalry attack), and are the front line in the fray of battle. Those that survive a full ten years of Middle Guard service can choose to retire permanently, pursue another career or stay on to enjoy the privileges of the renowned Old Guard, the most skilled and experienced of infantry regiments that can be joined by regular Aquileonan citizens. Other branches of the army that Young Guard graduates can choose to change to are Aquileona’s cavalry regiments (who exist primarily to support the infantry and in some cases have proven to be somewhat unreliable), the Nauticans (hardened soldiers who garrison the republic’s naval vessels) or the batteries of artillery that provide devastating cover fire.

    Because of the great discipline and bravery of Aquileonan infantry, most threats to the kingdom have been eliminated just through the efforts of these men, but some more persistent foes have forced the Senate to resort to stronger measures. In these situations, the Praetorians, the hand-picked bodyguards of the Senatorial Chambers and soldiers far more skilled than even the Old Guard, lead the charge into battle, and the giant lions and eagles that gave Aquileona its name are unleashed upon the enemy to cause havoc. The use of the latter in warfare is frowned upon by many senators, for they believe that the use of such creatures would affect the flawless military prowess of Aquileona’s human armies, but others argue that sometimes they are the last defence of the land, and all its fortunes, against barbaric oppressors outside the republic’s walls (As you can probably tell by the use of Latin and the presence of an army with great infantry, rubbish cavalry and nasty artillery, Aquileona is my version of Ancient Rome, where the Republicans won out over the Imperialists).


    Further west from Aquileona, along the shore of the Central Lake, lie the various city states of Iotheiles, the territory of the Minotaurs. Minotaur cities are not made up of clusters of buildings all separate from one another - instead, they are constructed as impossibly vast stone labyrinths with a single street travelling all the way from a gateway in the outer wall to a plaza in the centre and the houses, shops and working sheds of the populace are all carved out inside the walls of the maze - this gives them the advantage of being both far more resilient and less easy to hit against siege engines, which is just as well given that their most common enemy is the siege-masters of Aquileona. In addition, because there are no alleyways, Minotaur cities are unusually easy for a newcomer to navigate as they just need to follow the single high street until they reach their destination. The status of the inhabitants of a Labyrinth City is generally denoted by how close to the middle they live - poorer Minotaurs live closer to the outside wall of the settlement in less well-kept dwellings, while those of far greater wealth can be found in the more ornate terraces closer to the central plaza.

    Iotheiles is one of the youngest nations of Escalonia, for the Minotaurs had long been a savage race, drawn only to conflict and carnivorous hunger. However, around five hundred years ago, a thinker by the name of Manides first began to seek how to turn his people into more than mindless killers. His first breakthrough was the discovery of the first of the three Olympanes, great crystals the size of a human hand and imbibed with the power of a hundred storms. Using this great artefact he became the first Olympian, a Minotaur blessed with the ability to command such storms, and used his skills and innate knowledge to impress the chieftains of the Minotaur tribes enough for them all to view him as worthy counsel. Using this power, he was able to influence them into giving up their violent ways and begin a more civilised lifestyle, resulting in the birth of the nation now called Iotheiles. However, Manides also knew that if the Olympane were to fall into the hands of a Minotaur far more ambitious than he, it could be used to enslave all his kind or return them to their primal roots - as a result, even though he displayed his powers openly to the public, he kept the whereabouts of their source a secret, and passed the Olympane to his eldest son when he died, ordering him with his dying breath to keep it a secret also. So it was that for three hundred years, there was only ever one Olympian - the head of Manides’ family at the time - but the discovery of a second Olympane would change this.

    The Second Olympane was found by a soldier of the Krios dynasty at the end of a battle against the Insectoids, and was presented to King Pyrenes II as a spoil of war. Pyrenes was impressed at the find, and called for Diomoros, the tenth descendant of Manides, who confirmed it as being another Olympane identical to the one passed down from his ancestor. However, it was unknown to the Minotaurs at the time that the power inside each of the Olympanes increases as the distance between them decreases, so when Diomoros brought the first Olympane into Pyrenes’ court, the power within the two became so great that their energies amplified the power within Diomoros himself until they became too strong for him to handle, resulting in a quick but messy death for the Olympian. Realising the true extent of the Olympanes’ power, Pyrenes knew that if they were to be used for the betterment of the Minotaur civilisation, the energies within the Olympanes would need to be divided between a group of individuals in order to equally balance the energetic pressure each Olympian would have to endure - and so it was that the Olympian movement changed from a hereditary position to a sacred priesthood that only the most honourable and trustworthy Minotaurs could join. This event, alongside the construction of the first Labyrinth cities of Kitsakis and Thesos, began the golden age of Minotaur civilisation that lasts to this day.

    Iotheiles, while a loosely unified nation under a dynasty of kings, is still divided into the various states owned by the governments of the Labyrinth Cities. These councils all ultimately answer to both the monarchy and the Olympians, but are given a lot of free rein over their cultural, judicial and military preferences. As a result, only the most dedicated diplomats have managed to memorise all of the cultural cues and graces of each of the different City States, meaning other races often have difficulty reasoning with Minotaurs due to a lack of cultural understanding. This, in combination with the Minotaurs’ location, has resulted in them attracting the attention of the Aquileonans in the west, Scaramonde to the south and the vile cultist minions of the Howardi family to the north. However, due to the rugged lifestyle of their ancestors, the Minotaurs have inherited many centuries’ worth of experience passed down from their greatest generals, which has culminated in the development of the Minotaur army as it is today. Minotaurs have never felt the need to ride other creatures into battle, and rely upon the prowess of their infantry and strange inventions produced by the more scientifically-gifted Olympians, such as colossal stone fists on levers and the Helioprojector (a wheeled machine that uses a series of mirrors to focus sunlight into a powerful beam of heat). Iotheilean infantry regiments typically carry especially large, circular shields that cover much of their otherwise lightly-armoured bodies, which they use to form shieldwalls and phalanxes. Combined with defensive tactics such as entrenchment, Minotaur infantry are excellent at forming impenetrable redoubts that break enemy armies as easily as rocks break the waves (As you can tell, my take on Minotaurs is obviously based around their origins in Ancient Greek myth - living in labyrinths and using Greek-style weapons, tactics and inventions - the inventions mentioned above are both based on actual inventions developed by Archimedes to defend his home town of Syracuse against the Romans. I watched Shadiversity’s videos on Minotaur weapons and found that especially large shields and single-handed swords would be a good load-out for Minotaurs. Knowing that the Greek Hoplon was quite a large shield that protected the torso and most of the lower body, I was pleased to see that my Ancient Greek interpretation of Minotaurs could work pretty well as an infantry-based, defence-oriented army with the strange war machines providing the offensive power).


    At the very north east of the supercontinent, the drier, cooler climate in the territory of Abral has resulted in much of the land within its borders being covered in near-permanent tundra - at similar latitudes in the Northwest quadrant, the water in the clouds is kept at a suitably liquid temperature before it falls, accounting for its high rates of rainfall, but in Abral the much colder climate turns similar precipitation into snow. Once this was a proud nation of Elves, at a time when Abral was a lush, paradisial environment, but the planet the supercontinent of Escalonia rests upon began a period of several centuries, referred to as the Freezing by the Abral Elves, wherein its orbital tilt was reduced dramatically, causing Abral’s temperatures to plummet, until the great cities of tall spires became covered by thick sheets of ice and eventually were compressed to destruction. Being a species delicate of physique, the majority of the Elves were unable to cope with the new extreme temperatures - many evacuated their ancestral home and travelled south, eventually forming a new kingdom in the swamps of Dhaverroth on the south coast. Those that remained (either because they were unable to embark upon the migration south, because they were too proud to abandon their homes or because they were hopeful that the ice age in their kingdom would lift), were beset by nine months of winter and three of merely cool summers every year. Over half of these stalwarts died, and those that survived were driven to abandon much of their culture simply to survive. Where once the Abrali were renowned artisans and soldiers, now they have reverted largely to a Hunter-gatherer lifestyle, perpetually on the hunt for Frost Drakes, ancient winged reptilian predators that are the only creatures who can thrive in the bitter cold, for their meat and thick scaly skins, the latter of which is worn by the Elves both as armour and for insulation.

    Furthermore, since the encroachment of the ice sheets, Abrali sorcerers have devoted all of their time into learning to command this ice to help their people better survive in the frigid tundra - indeed they have spent so long mastering the ability to magically shift the glaciers that they have largely lost the knowledge of the magicks they mastered before the Freezing, as in those times the Abrali relied on memory to retain all knowledge their race had accrued during their existence. However, in many ways it has proven pivotal to their race’s survival, for the enchantments of these mages brought about the ability to fashion citadels directly from the ice - buildings perfectly designed to survive throughout the year in Abral. Inside these structures it is relatively warm compared to the freezing weather outside, but most of their inhabitants still prefer to wear suitable insulation. Even in the summer months, when in other regions the land becomes verdant and bountiful, the temperature still remains suitably low in Abral that the ice is still prevalent all across the region, except for around the southern border with Aquileona, allowing the products of the ingenuity of the Abrali developed when the ice first set in to last all year in their homeland.

    The armies of the Abrali consist mostly of infantry, for travelling on foot with specially-adapted snowshoes is seen by most of the Abral Elves as the safest way to travel through the snow, but the old traditions of their past still live on in a few dedicated cavalry regiments, whose horses wear Frost Drake hide barding to keep them warm, and the relatively small yet intelligent Levant Drakes, themselves the possessors of scaly skin sufficient to endure the chill, have remained stoic allies of the Abrali since before the Freezing, carrying their leaders into battle to fearsome effect. Compared to their Dhaverroth relatives, the Elves of Abral are much less afraid to charge into melee, for when the Freezing set in, they had no choice but to develop their skill in physical combat to defeat the smaller creatures they needed to hunt, and many of them have lost the elegance and athleticism that their ancestors possessed. However, their tough lifestyle has bred them into warriors possessing an innate resilience uncharacteristic of Elves, rendering them naturally more suited to the grim business of close-quarters fighting. This is not to say, however, that they have lost the skill of archery, as the Abrali are similarly skilled as their Marsh Elf Brethren, although their affinity with the bow is more due to necessity than preference - Frost Drakes and other megafauna have still always been too dangerous to handle in close quarters, so nearly all Abrali troops carry a bow when doubling up as hunters to slay their prey with minimum risk to their own lives. While the weapons of the Marsh Elves are fashioned from thick-yet-flexible Titanrushes, Abrali bows are fashioned from the harder but less pliable wood of trees from scattered Pricklepine forests that barely manage to eke out their own living in the cold, while the ice is so thick and easy to work in many locations that the Elves have learned to fashion arrowheads from it without it shattering into unusable granules. However, many of the oldest Abrali households still retain metal weapons fashioned in ages before the Freezing, in case their soldiers are forced to defend their homeland in warmer regions further south and west (I also intended to include a race similar to High Elves opposite the Dhaverroth ‘Wood Elves’, and originally developed a faction that was very similar to Warhammer High Elves except that they rode smaller, more intelligent dragons called Levant Drakes and that they lived in buildings formed from crystal by their mages. Of course this wasn’t really original enough, so in order to avoid being ordered to Cease and Desist by Games Workshop, I thought about it a bit more, and thought of the idea that because their territory is at the extreme north east, it would be even colder than the north west, so I developed the faction so that it was originally very similar to the High Elves in the distant past, but the cold has since made them more aggressive and rugged - pretty much a whole nation in the style of Chrace, but with fewer metal weapons and a hint of the Mongols in that everyone carries a bow to ensure survival. These Elves are still good guys, but they are also one of the most unpredictable factions, as calm and collected as a cool breeze one minute, as vicious and unrelenting as a blizzard the next).
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  5. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,037
    Likes Received:
    5,369
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Obviously you need some gods.

    Your rivers have a lot of character. You should have a god or goddess embody each river. Or if you want to have lots of gods, each river could be represented by a god and a goddess (brother and sister or husband and wife) or each river could have it's own family or pantheon that is sometimes allying with, sometimes rivals with the other river families.

    Ancient Greek mythology has a sky god and earth goddess as a married couple that started spawning most of the gods to follow. Ancient Egyptian mythology has a sky goddess and an Earth god that did the same thing. The Earth and Sky having children is a very common in pantheons across the world but in your case, I think one of the Primordial Parents of All Creation should be your central lake that feeds the rivers.

    There is also a mythological precedent for an All-Father or All-Mother to create children without a mate, so your central lake might not have a spouse. If the Lake is married, the likely candidates would be the Earth or the Sky. The Earth makes sense because rivers are water that cuts through the Earth, but I do like the idea of the Lake being tied to the sky because rain could literally be Tears of the Goddess or Tears for the Goddess.

    And because the rivers have strong personalities and the lake seems to have a fairly passive personality, the god or goddess of the lake should probably not be a major active force in the present day. S/he can be semi-retired, asleep, imprisoned, or dead. Exactly what happened to your Lake deity will set the tone for your world.

    Sky and Lake had fallen in love. Lake wanted to kiss the beautiful sky but he could not reach her. The best he could was reflect her beauty on his surface when he laid still. Eventually their friend cloud intervene. "I can take you to visit Sky, at least in part" he said. Cloud took up a portion of Lake up to Sky. When they finally touche for the first time, Sky cried tears of joys which rained down upon the land nourishing it and creating life.

    If the malicious Sky lusted after Lake's power so he could have clouds and rain and the Sky had no scruples. Sky raped Lake. Lake bleeds and her blood feeds the four rivers which are also her children.

    Whatever the mood and theme I can come up with a mating story that should fit this.

    Also, you probably want to figure out if you want lots of gods or a relatively few.

    My friend @eron12 created a world. He's not L-O much but maybe we can talk him posting it. We both kind of created our worlds back with AOL Instant Messenger was cool and we bounce ideas off each other. He had a homework assignment to create a fictional pantheon for theology class. Needless to say he got an A. Very different from mine. His universe, the gods are generally on the same side. One idea he had that I would definitely use if I was going for a larger pantheon is the first generation of gods embodied basic aspects of nature like Light and Time while the second generation of gods embodied more human things like Agriculture.

    I toyed with something like that myself and had some rough concepts for second generation gods. For instance, I was going to have Khemra the sun goddess and Phidas the earth god have a son or daughter that was a deity of volcanoes. Their kid was going to be a brat who demanded live sacrifices to be thrown into volanoes. But ultimately I decided I'd rather keep the cast of gods relatively small.

    One very common thing in fantasy worlds is to give every race, every nation their own god. This called henotheism, and in a lot of ways this was pretty close to what much of human history, or at least Western History looked like before the Roman Empire.

    I never liked that D&D split the difference, they gave gnomes a god, kobolds a god, goblins a god, orcs a god, elves a god, humans a gazillion gods. That always bugged me. In my world I wanted everyone to have the same gods though it's not a problem if most or every group has their own god as long there's a lgoical explanation or consistency.

    Another way to split gods is by regions. That's what the universe of Order of the Stick uses. The Northern gods have a pantheon, the southern gods have a pantheon, the eastern gods have a pantheon, the western gods were wiped out. In that universe gods have a lot of rigid rules on what they can or cannot due and their ability to act outside their "home" region is limited.

    Since your world is split into four roughly equal quarters, a regional pantheon system makes a degree of sense.


    EDIT: Also, mortals becoming gods. That has a huge impact on the feel and theme of a setting. In a world where lots of gods are actually elevated mortals that implies that the actions of mortals in general are super important. In a world where that never happens, then the actions of mortals doesn't matter.

    In eron12's world the Fire deity tried to rebel against the other gods. He only had one ally, the Light god. The Light god was also the god of knowledge and everything that was to be. He knew the Fire god's rebellion would fail, but he joined anyway because knew he would join the Fire god's rebellion. He died in the rebellion and his corpse because the stars in the night sky which clever astologers can try to divine the future from because the Light god knew everything. His greatest secret died with him, a secret he kept from all the other gods. There is no free will. While people seem to make their own decisions their choices are all the direct result of what happened before them.

    I don't see mortals rising up to godhood in that universe, unless they were predestined to of course.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  6. Nazqua
    Razordon

    Nazqua Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    802
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Awesome, can't wait to read some more!
     
  7. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,363
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I've just experienced a complete knee-jerk from my computer - I had spent a lot of yesterday and today drafting out my post edit for the Southwest quadrant stuff. I had left my computer to do something else that I needed to do and now that I've come back and awoken it from sleep mode, it somehow deleted the whole bloody draft, probably by refreshing the page, leaving me with very little motivation to do it all again :mad: (I didn't want to edit it paragraph by paragraph as that would ruin the effect produced by revealing it all at once)
     
    Warden and Nazqua like this.
  8. Nazqua
    Razordon

    Nazqua Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    802
    Trophy Points:
    93
    That totally sucks! Maybe you should do it on a external thing such as google docs or word, I believe that may stop the problem
     
  9. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,363
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I've decided to start work on it again on a Google Doc tomorrow. I imagine it won't be finished for a couple of days though
     
    Nazqua likes this.
  10. Nazqua
    Razordon

    Nazqua Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    802
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Good luck, It's awesome to see you're not giving up. May I suggest using Thesaurus.com, I found it useful when writing lore. it can spice up the vocab and make it less repetitive.
     
  11. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,363
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Trophy Points:
    113
    The Southwest Quadrant initial lore stuff is up, finally - next I'll be working on the Southeast Quadrant lore.
     
    Paradoxical Pacifism likes this.
  12. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,037
    Likes Received:
    5,369
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Good stuff, but please break up your large blocks of text into smaller paragraphs to make reading easier.

    Check this out.

    I guess it's fantasy, but I keep thinking back to Guns, Germs, and Steel. There are about a half a dozen things a species needs to be susceptable to domestication and if only one of these traits is not there they cannot be domesticated.

    Zebras are pretty similar to horses but they could not be domesticated because they are stubborn and bite very hard. Zebras injure more zoo keepers than any other animals.

    Cheetahs have the temperment to be tamed in the same manner of wolves, but they don't breed well in captivity (because the mating ritual involves the male chasing the female over a very long distance to ensure their offspring will be fast too).

    In the case of deer, deer hate to be confined. If you put a deer in a closed pen they will often beat themselves to death against the walls trying to escape. You need to either make these deer different or come up with a stable-less system of domestication.

    South Park beat you to it ;) But your otters seem better, Science be praised!

    [​IMG]
     
  13. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    3,760
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Just feed them.

    They domesticate real fast, people get warned not to do this, but deer cheerfully become friends if food is being passed out.

    Read up on real world reindeer herders. Deer are just boxed lunches of deer meat wandering around wishing they had it easier than foraging before someone or something turns them into venison.
     
  14. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,363
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Redwall beat me to it long before South Park (plus I’ve never seen South Park so I didn’t know):
    [​IMG]

    Regardless, Tarkalians are a lot more fearsome in combat than either of these examples (big axes in the hands of 7-8 foot tall humanoid otters that also reek something both strong and horrible to humans), so it’s probably a good job that they are good guys...

    I can confirm this - there’s a wildlife park near me that has an enclosure with gaps in the fences so that the deer can walk around quite freely (within a larger sealed enclosure so they can’t escape completely) and they are often so tame that I’ve seen them walk up to people quite happily and try and nibble their clothes. I imagine as @pendrake says if the Tarkalians gave them plenty of food and protection from predators, they would become tame enough to ride pretty quickly.

    Also this is fantasy - doesn’t have to be based completely on realism.

    I’ve just been inspired to make some lore changes...
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  15. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,037
    Likes Received:
    5,369
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Shadiversity never covered Felinids or anything like it.

    I tried to think about how a Felinid would logically fight. They could have claws or teeth. That would be devestating to an unarmored human, but their claws and teeth would risk breakage against an armored human. Broken teeth is a real problem for lions and other real world great cats.

    Furry hides are generally better at resisting cuts and blunt trauma than say human skin, but not a whole lot. I would rather have metal armor than a furry hide. One of the most unique thing about humans other than our intelligence is our ability to cool ourselve through sweat. Felinids would probably overheat in metal armor unless you gave them a humanlike ability to remain cool which require magic if they are furry.

    In a way, Felinids would be disadvantaged when fighting armored human soldiers unless you made them naturally stronger or faster.

    I'm not sure about speed, but it wouldn't hurt to give Felinds catlike reflexes. Realistically this would let them dual wield weapons superior to humans and demi-humans though if they are not capable of wearing armor, they are probably going to want to carry big shields. Historically, lots of real world humans have managed to fight successfully without armor provided they have shields.

    I don't see any reason why a Felinid would be better or worse than a human at ranged combat though they might have better night vision. That wouldn't let them outshoot humans on a clear day.

    To my knowledge, every real world feline from humble housecat to mighty lion attempts to use stealth before attacking. At the extreme end, leopards are primary stalkers, lions rely on their brute strength, and cheetahs rely on thier speed.

    Felinids live in the northwest which is cold and wet. The two great cats that live in cold and wet areas today are cougars and lynxes. Both of these predators rely on stealth, especially lynxes which unlike cougars cannot outfight very many things.

    Felinids should probably be especially good at stealth. Their padded feet can naturally muffle their foot steps. In addition, they could culturally value stealth. I'm thinking about how the Ancient Spartans underfed young boys, so that boys would have to steal food from the adults. If the boys were caught stealing food they were beaten, not because stealing was wrong but because they were not cunning enough. If they are as cruel as you say, I can easily imagine Felinids doing this to their young.


    Apart from these things, I think Felinids would mostly want to use the same weapons and tactics that humans use.
     
  16. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,363
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I meant when describing the Serpentines - Shadiversity's video on Snake men inspired me to think more about how my Serpentines would fight and their cultural basis.

    On the subject of Felinids, I had certainly had stealth and scare tactics predominantly in mind when designing the Felinids' army roster (predominantly lightly-armoured but fast moving melee troops with high Fear values and a multitude of attacks), and certainly having catlike reflexes would help them a great deal in lightning assaults - this cpuld be represented by them having the ability to strike first against most opponents. Indeed I envisioned the Felinids' fighting style to be akin to the Picts who had a similar homeland (an especially cold and wet ancient Scotland) - leaping out to backstab and savage the rear ranks of enemy armies before using their reflexes to scatter back into the pine forests before their enemies could react.

    I like that idea of cultural similarities between the Felinids and the Spartans as well, although because they're unlikely to use heavy armour, I can't really see them doing a phalanx - cats are energetic things when hunting, so I more imagine them leaping forward, yowling their heads off to terrify the living nargle-fodder out of the enemy and stabbing them in the back before jumping back to avoid the returning counter-attack. However, I do have a Greek-inspired faction planned, although they are in the Northeast Quadrant.

    I'll include some stuff on proposed army lists in detail at some point (generally what the units are, what they look like, how skilled they are e.t.c), but I'm still working on the outline lore and creation myths at the moment.
     
    Warden and Paradoxical Pacifism like this.
  17. Scalenex
    Slann

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,037
    Likes Received:
    5,369
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Are you thinking two handed axes, or one handed axes? Axe and shield would be pretty brutal combining strong offense and defense but a two handed axe would be redundant. You have a really strong attack from someone who is already strong. Axes are slow for second attacks or blocking.

    With their size and strength, Tarkalians would have a solid chance of breaking shields and piercing armor with even one handed axes. Or they could swing down and bash helmets giving their foes concussions. If they want a two handed weapon, they would probably want a pole weapon for more reach or a great sword for more striking distance.

    If I were fighting a giant otter, I would go for the legs. Given how tall they are, it would be moderately difficult for a Tarkalian to defend his legs against a human. Idealy the Tarkalian would want a kite shield or something similar to counter that.

    Tarkalians in formation would be nasty with polearms. They already have a naturally longer reach then humans. With polearms, it would near impossible for humans to close the distance in melee unless they are mounted.

    With Tarkalians size and lanky limbs they would be able to fight with longbows with more potent draws than humans.
     
  18. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    3,760
    Trophy Points:
    113
    1) How did you arrive at (derive?) the name Escalonia? Reminds me of the word “escalate” + “Estonia“ + “Estalia“.

    2) Felinids: wander around the internet and read up on everything to do with “Kzinti”. Hard Sci-Fi author Larry Niven has thoroughly explored the idea of Tiger-like bipeds; learn from the best.
     
  19. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skink Priest

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,363
    Likes Received:
    5,225
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I had devised 5 main infantry units for the Tarkalians by the time of writing:
    Fyrdsmen: Basic Tarkalian infantry with single-handed axes, large round shields and wearing a helmet and quilted clothing.
    Huscarls: Tarkalian Heavy Infantry with long double-handed axes and chainmail armour
    Bailiffs: Tarkalian missile troops with longbows, quilted clothing and a single-handed axe. While they are missile troops, their natural strength and ferocity still make them dangerous in melee.
    Royal Phalangites: Bodyguards of the king with chainmail, smaller shields and long pikes
    Irregulars: Tarkalian citizens levied from nearby villages - again, they’re only armed with fishmongers’ knives, meat cleavers, woodcutters’ axes e.t.c, but they’re still dangerous to man-sized creatures or smaller.

    It came from one of my mother’s climbing plants, although subsequent research found that it had 2 ls in its name (although I liked it with one l for the purpose of naming my fantasy world, so I kept it as it was).

    My Felinids are more like the regular house cat given evil savage form rather than tigers, but thanks anyway, I’ll still look at that.
     
    Warden and Paradoxical Pacifism like this.
  20. pendrake
    Skink Priest

    pendrake Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,241
    Likes Received:
    3,760
    Trophy Points:
    113
    So they are only 20 pounds o_O instead of 350 pounds? (Because Kzinti and Tigers = same weight class.)
     

Share This Page