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Against the Shadow  |  Places on Aryth  |  The Continent of Pelluria
The Continent of Pelluria

The Pellurian continent

General considerations

Geography

    Pelluria is a huge continent, about one and half the size of Eredane. It roughly “takes” the other half of the world , as it is crescent-shaped so that it is connected by maritime routes to the west, east and south of Eredane (see descriptions of Alloduan, Sharuun and Landfall: all were connected to pelluria depsite their different position). The climates are varied here, from polar cold in the north (same latitude as the Vale of Tears) to hot deserts and wet tropical jungle in the south.


Magic

    There is no “hedge wizard”, natural magic, like the one found on eredane, as there are no fey races with a close connection to nature on pelluria (so: no spiritual or charismatic traditions, sorry folks). But the sarcosans and krahntu know of the arcane magic (due to their ancient ties with eredane) and learn it in academies (although their grasp of this practice will never rival what the elves achieved). There remain many uncharted power nexi on this continent.


Religion

    The sarcosans still venerate the sorshef, although their faith is much less firm than in ancient times (they hold on it more for tradition than religiosity); the krahntu believe in a strange reincarnation cycle and practice deep meditation; hruntai venerate strange animal deities in semi-orgiac rituals (maybe izrador-inspired)


Option

    A new sect is being born here, across all human cultures, that gathers large crowds of poor, desperate people, in an easy to learn and practice religion, that involves praying the One God that will take them to greatness. Although it has not yet gained access to the ruling circles, the Church of Izrador gains daily more and more praticants in the common people…

1) human “kingdoms”:

- Dorn humans

(on the extreme north of the continent); they are viking-like people, reputed for being barbarians who were pushed on the least hospitable lands of the continent by the Old Empire; they venerate spirits and ancestors, and their women are noted for their witchcraft (and notably as seers). They make valiant combatants and hunters, but they tend too much to fight each other. They are scattered in clans, each wearing the symbol of an animal totem that they avoid hunting. Inter-clan conflict is a good pastime for them, although they have a theorical unity unde rthe rule of a weak king who reside in their capital Fasimir. They are noted as master survivalists in a polar environment; They are the last ones who dare travel the seas towards eredane, as they are the best sailors of the continent, although their lands are surrounded by creepy and mysterious creatures (sent by izrador to prevent further ties with eredane ). Although they are barbaric in many ways, they still have their own scripture (runes) which they have derived as a minor form of arcane magic (mostly for divination magic, but also sometimes for minor enchantments on weapons). When they need food, they raid sarcosan cities, from which they are separated by a huge desert (icy in the north, it becomes a grassy steppe in the south) that has always acted like a natural border with sarcosa. They number almost 120.000 people, scattered in icy plains in an ever-present fog, some 2500 sq. Kilometers (which is HUGE, and means their communities are isolated). Influence of izrador: the dark beasts that sometimes assault an isolated village and spread fear in the hearts of the stoutest warriors (mainly because even when they are killed, their bodies cannot be found – watch “the tirteenth warrior”).

- Note: the Dorns share their territory with the last remaining noble giants (called Ice Trolls) left on Pelluria. They are allies, and help each other against the dangers of the frozen north, and the treacheries of their southern neighbors, as the giants were driven of this inhospitalbe terrain by the old Empire. They are limited in numbers, living in small bands of a few individuals, and their low birth rate unfortunately means that it is likely that there will be no more of them in two centuries.


- Sarcosans of the Old Empire

(located in the center of the continent: originally vast grass steppes, on which they initially rode before establishing their empire, and which they settled and built huge cities upon); they number approximately 10 million people,scattered on about 50.000 sq. kilometers, of hospitable lands (grass, fields, etc.). Their capital is called Sarcosa, it is a shining diamond of civilization, but its great rival is the merchant city of Sassima. Now the rivalry is almost armed conflict. The Sarcosans (or imperials as they like to call themselves) have become fat and lazy as their civilization progressively softened and lost most of its colonies. They have severely declined, as political factions were struggling for power and decadent behaviour became the norm. It is a lost empire still persuaded of its superiority, where politicians wage subtle wars with words but rule only on scared peasants. Still their armies are not to be underestimated, and most notably their cavalry. Strangely, they still worship the Sorshef, although many converted to the Krahntu “philosophies”. Influence of izrador: as many princelings are trying to gain some measure of independence for their fief, they are counselled by sages from a scholar order coorupted by izrador’s agents (most of the time, legates operating in disguise); they breed chaos and corruption, accelerating the decline of the old empire.


- Krahntu

(hindu-like people who have seceded from the Old Empire; they are about 6 million people,living mainly in countries, most of them almost dry, and large cities, the largest of which is Palonia, which numbers alone half of their population). Once, their mighty empire expanded upon almost all the pellurian continent; when it crumbled, they were invaded by Sarcosa, and gave them much of their civilization; they “tamed” the sarcosans although they were an occupied people; now they just took back their freedom, as the old empire is weak enough so they don’t have to fear reprisals); they are artists, philosophers and sages; although they do not have a religion per se, their philosophy is almost like a religion; theirs is a strict social order, with castes; like all educated people, they tend to be somewhat arrogant with those who do not have their knowledge. Their warriors are few but impressive, the legendary kshatriyas, who fight with a scimitar in each hand and are master bowmen, but who meditate every day in order to be able to perform their talents. They are for now the most immune to izrador’s influence, but the Church of izrador gains many believers as it preaches the breaking of the strict social caste system, and their elevation to higher status due to their merits, in their lifetime and not the next.


- Hruntai

(asian people, khmer-like); never tamed by the Old Empire, they always ravaged their borders; they always had a vast empire which few people ever really visited (exact numbers and superficy ignored, although many suspect theur numbers are of at least 12 million people and their lands are at least 100.000 sq. kilometers); their lands are mysterious, as their merchants prefer to trade abroad rather than in their homeland; they secretly collaborate with a race of snake-men from the southern jungles few know about yuan-ti who have “infiltrated” their ruling family); they were always enemies of sarcosa, and quickly attacked it when the conflict with the eredane colonies became intense, thus obliging the old empire to retire from eredane. They have schools of wizardry specialized in necromancy and dark magics. Their empire is clearly evil, yet they have not fallen for any of izrador’s agents tricks. Maybe they revere another foul deity?


2) the elven islands: the lands of autumn.

Located on an archipelago on the south of the pellurian continent, the miransil exiles settled them in the third age, as they were ordered by the queen aradil. Not all travelers reached their destination, though, as many were lost in supernatural storms (and some lost ships settled small remote islands). At first it looked like a tropical paradise (think about polynesian islands), but soon, they fell under amysterious influence and began warring upon each other, as they were scattered on different islands. They finally realized they had settled on lands that were used as the hunting ground for tribes of aquatic nagas allied with yuan-ti. They built powerful city-fortresses, hidden with mighty illusions, and patrolled the high seas with tamed dragon-turtles. But they never were united, and the sages recognized there the nefarious influence of izrador. They have contacts with the krahntu, who do not want to help them by fear of the hruntai, and the few elves who are Snow elves forged ties with the Dorns and Ice Trolls of the far north, but it is at the other end of the pellurian continent, so contacts are scarce at best between them. There are no relations with the Old empire, since they never were on good terms in the times of colonial occupation of eredane.

    In recent times, they have been invaded by the hruntai, and could not ally with any other pellurian culture. Divided, they could not resist the human raids, as these were supported by troops of yan-ti and nagas. The hruntai have taken them as slaves for their own perverted pleasures. Theirs is a kingdom that is strongly decaying, surrounded by enemies, knowing it is living its last days, with no hope to contact its own people back in Eredane, scribing their annals for posterity, in the unlikely perspective that a rescue mission would then be able to uderstand their fate.

    Note: As many elves in Eredane believe that the exiles have found the mythical "elven lands" from which they all originated, perhaps they would mount an expedition to discover their fate and also to escape from Izrador's grasp as it is believed the elven lands are unreachable by the dark lord's minions (the sect that spreads this theory could be led by a subtle agent of the order of shadow in order to weaken elven morale and force them to flee from eredor, or at least a sizeable portion of them, thus weakening the remaining defenders).



The History of Pelluria (DM Directed Content)

Optional

The Time Before Evil

    At the beginning, the elthedar walked the lands of Eredane, worshipping benevolent deities and living a Golden Age. They were the elder races, first created by the Old Gods as their children. They lived for countless eons in lands of milk and honey, living simple yet satisfying lives under the protection of benign deities.

    But one day, for a reason the elthedar never knew, the Old Gods created a new continent out of the water, which they reserved for the “younger” races, which at the time were called the Titans. Those were beings of huge power, never aging, never falling prey to disease, and resistant to most harm. Somehow, these races lacked the connection with Nature that all fey races had. Legends did not record if they were to be meant as servants of the elthedar or their masters, for the Old Gods never explained their plan.

    These new people were protected and nurtured by a race of powerful magical beings called “Dragons”, who settled Pelluria with them, and taught the first Titans many of the finer crafts and arts.

    After a few centuries, elthedar people were finally allowed contact with the newly created continent, which was called Pelluria, and began trade (both economic and cultural) with Eredane. Together, they built unrivaled civilizations, of peaceful customs, living in pure harmonny. And thus it lasted for several millenia before the Sundering.

    Note: Some elthedar scholars suggested that the Old Gods had acted this way on behalf of Shandring, God of Fate and Seers. Obscure manuscripts stated that the Titans had been created to save the world from the evil that was to come, or rather as a test: if they could be corrupted, then evil would forever win its fight against good.

 

The Sundering and the Fight of Gods


    When the Veil fell upon the mortal lands, the elthedar that had settled Pelluria were so affected that they were literally wiped from the surface of the continent. For it was designed as the lands of the younger races, and it was predicted that the elder races could not strive, less again survive in those lands. Only the Titans survived the cataclysmic events that followed the Sundering, and the lands, both of Eredane and Pelluria, were forever changed after.

    What the histories never recorded was that, before the Fall, Izrador grabbed with him his most trusted lieutenant, a half-god named Garakdul (“Dark Flame of Sin” in elthedar language, for he was revered by the perverted horsha). Some scholars hinted that this was also his “son”, or the portion of his essence specifically destined for corrupting and staining all that was good and beautiful. Only Izrador could tell.

    When both evil beings fell on earth, they landed on the Pellurian continent, creating a huge crater. Both had considerably been weakened, and they knew that Galahane, the Father of Order, had followed them in the mortal lands to defeat them once and for all while they were weakened. Knowing He had to regain some measure of his former strength to fight his eternal foe, Izrador mercilessly attacked Garakdul, stealing his divine essence and leaving him for dead, before he fled to Eredane. There, in the chaos sowed by the aftereffects of the Sundering, he challenged the benign deity, who was also weakened and did not expect him to be that powerful. Galahane was no match for Him, and his limbs were scattered all across Eredane in Izrador’s rage. Where they landed, the areas became God Touched Regions (see Tos Vol I. Humans or their descendants that would be born in those areas would develop abilities known as Heroic Paths. For this, too, had foreseen Shandring when he allowed Galahane to follow Izrador on Aryth). Once again weakened by the fight, but knowing that now nothing could harm him anymore, Izrador retired to the North and fell in a long sleep.

    Meanwhile, Garakdul, with the last remnants of life that were in him, began chanting a ritual called the Aspiration that would allow him to suck the land’s life energy all around him. And thus, gradually, all lands around the Great Crater where he and Izrador had fallen became a lifeless, merciless desert, that only he and his servants could survive. He retreated far beneath the surface and fell asleep for a long, long time).


 

The Decadence of the Titans and the Rise of Humans

    The Titans, like the elthedar in Eredane, were deeply affected by the cataclysm known as the Sundering, which in reality lasted for nearly a millenium. Just like them, they evolved and adapted to their new environment. No longer were they immune to age and disease, and their size declined until some of them were of human-like stature. This change was called the Dark Lord’s Gift, for the races not only lost their immmortality, but also had the potential for evil in their hearts. But the Dragons used their magic to prevent total corruption of the newborn races, and thus, though they had the ability for doing evil, in the end they had free will. They would commit evil acts only if they so chose.

    From those dark times were born several races: two lines of Titans became Storm and Frost Giants, and the third became the much reviled Humans. The Dragons thought them the most corrupted of the younger races, for they were the most numerous. Many times would they later regret they had not exterminated the foolish humans.

    They progressively settled the pellurian lands, but the warlike humans could never coexist peacefully with other races, and thought only of destruction while expanding. In those early days, man was like a savage beast, and did not plow the lands, but rather raided the more peaceful giants, stealing their cattle and burning their homes.

    A few centuries later, some dwarves captured in the north of Eredane managed to flee before they were completely corrupted by Izrador. They crossed a frozen strait that existed at the time between the northern parts of Eredane and Pelluria, and walked the frozen wastes of the north until they settled in the Teeth of the Earth, the largest mountains they found. There, they buried as deep as they could and hoped they could hide from Izrador until the end came. Though those few had had the resilience to resist the dark call of the sleeping god, they were forever broken by the horrors they saw and committed in the cold wastes of northern Eredane. Convinced that the Evil Lord would in the end take over the whole world and that he was unstoppable, they decided to spend the remainder of their time creating items of art and beauty, as a last gesture of challenge to the Evil One. After a few centuries, they would become bold enough to trade with strangers, although they never really trusted any other race, especially the wicked humans. Reclusive and paranoid, they became legends, forging items called artifacts by ignorant humans, and even in rare cases weapons for legendary heroes.

    But some dwarves were not so fortunate, and while traveling the northern lands of Pelluria, discovered they had become orcs. But they still carried dwarven souls, at least for a time. Forsaken by their own people and hating Izrador, they settled the icy desert on top of Eredane. Ironically, they would forever stand guard against the Dark Lord’s creatures, though they also came to hate the southern “humans” who hunted them. Adapting to their environment, they became known as White Orcs, from the arctic animals’ furs they would wear in order to survive the harsh climate. Still, their favorite staple would be a “black” (ie, Izrador’s) orc stew…)


A Golden Age


    As time passed, progressively several distinct human cultures formed from the barbaric tribes. They all warred upon the Giants, slowly pushing them towards the more inhospitable lands in the North and the mountains, and keeping the best lands for themselves.

    The more orderly and disciplined went south, and became a people of farmers and scientists: they were called the Hruntai, and followed the wisdom of Arcxi, an elder dragon scholar. There, they would strive and develop apart from the rest of human people, which they shunned for their barbaric ways. Arcxi became their beloved Emperor, and showered them with his wisdom. They built a very hierarchical society, based on merit, that even the mystic Krahntu and Sarcosans adapted for their own culture. They also developed numerous inventions that other people would find wonderful.

    The more independently tempered, who carried the call of the wild in their hearts, decided to settle the northern lands, for they loved the savage beauty of the place. Thye became warriors (to defend themselves against White Orcs and such), sailors (for they could not afford to neglect the bounty of the sea), and craftsmen. They spent most of their time devising clever ways of surviving the harsh climate, and when they lacked resources, mounted seaborne raids in more hospitable lands to take what they needed, by force if need be.

    A people obsessed with violence and war, the Krahntu settled the central plains, on which they ruled for centuries. But they were oppressive and divided, and quickly were pushed back to the dry western lands by the more evolved fourth group: the sarcosans. Then they finally heard the lessons of Virtuk, a wise dragon, and gave up their violent ways for the study of mysticism, philosophy and arcane magic, all turned in a peaceful perspective. They created a stratified social order to prevent chaos from dissolving their society, and became reclusive artists, scholars and mystics. They would also develop several important technologies, especially metallurgy.

Originally nomad horseriders, the sarcosans were fierce warriors, who developped cavalry tactics with maximal efficiency. They conquered vast swaths of lands, but their hearts were always filled with the thrill of exploration and fight… They became the most feared and efficient warriors of Pelluria.

    In the same time, the newly-come Dwarves fought the Storm Giants who were already settled in the Teeth of the Earth. The battles lasted for centuries, until an unlikely truce was forged between both people: the Giants would inhabit the exterior, the dwarves the interior. The Giants would protect the entrance of the dwarves’ domain, and in exchange the dwarves would provide them with crafted items they needed. Suddenly, the Teeth of the Earth became a very quiet place.


 

Maturation

    From his deep grotto in the desert, Garakdul projected his spirit in the wide plains of Pelluria. Wherever his thoughts went, there was a cloud of corruption that affected those who breathed it. For Garakdul was the half-god of corruption, enjoying to pervert all that was noble, pure and beautiful, making righteous men into sinful, power-hungry jerks. These clouds were however undetectable under normal means (including arcane magic), and their effects were most subtle: they only revealed the unconscious, unconfessable part of every human being, the aptitude for evil acts each one carried yet buried deep within himself. Slowly, his maddening winds attracted to him more and more victims, who became his servants in the Merciless Desert. Worse, none ever discovered it. For millennia, he was to be the undiscovered spark that lighted the fire of many wars on the continent).

    Eventually, the Sarcosan leaders listened to their hearts and conquered the wise Krahntu. To their surprise, their foes did not resist, though they were reputed for their strange martial traditions. The Krahntu replied that this was to be. Incensed, the sarcosans pillaged the rich lands. Many centuries later, they had adopted most of the krahntu customs, as their civilization was more advanced, and were delighted of their beautiful palaces, temples and gardens. While invading the krahntu, the sarcosans were forever changed and became civilized. In the end, the Krahntu managed to save a large autonomy and became a protectorate of the Old Empire, recognizing the khalif’s authority only in name. The latter did not care as long as they regularly paid their taxes.

    Meanwhile, the Dorns became bolder and bolder, staging raids against the rich sarcosan empire, poorly defended by fattened soldiers. They much benefitted from sarcosan stolen inventions, which they reproduced and adapted to their harsh climate. They too became much more civilized, eventually managing to trade with dwarves, exchanging foodstuffs against rare ores or even crafted goods.

    It was during this long period that Garkdul rose from the desert, leading armies of monsters that had been humans or giants, that crashed like a wave on the civilized lands. The free people managed to unite for their survival, and though it was a long and hard fight, in the end they prevailed through the combined superior tactics of the sarcosans, warrior frenzy of the dorns, mystical powers of the krahntu, and the neverending waves of hruntai soldiers. The half-god himself was finally slain in an epic battle , pierced by the charging lance of Targhar, the chief-general of sarcosan armies, while Argok, King of Kings of Dornmen, decapitated him with his broadaxe. His body was burnt, and he was not heard of anymore).


 

Dornish Invasion - 75 years after the Victory against the Shadow


    In a move none could foresee, the Sarcosan khalif decided to put aside the delicacies of his court and come back to the sarcosan’s warrior origins. In a surprising move, he decided to attack the now-peaceful Dorns, and take their northern lands, for he much coveted their grassy frozen steppes, which he dreamt to ride with his steeds. Needing no other reason than his own madness to act, he gathered his mighty army. Though softened by centuries of self-indulgence, the sarcosan army still was a hundred times more numerous than the fractious dorn princelings, and they still were fearsome horseriders. Despite a heroic resistance that lasted for three generations, the fight became a point of pride and authority for the new khalifs, and they finally defeated the Dorns. In a gesture of challenge, the khalif rode his dark stallion on the dorn lands just out of sheer pride. Those who stayed became slaves of the empire. Most fled in their ships towards the Eredane continent, fearing the mad sarcosans. The boldest went to the more inhospitable lands in the north, where the sarcosans feared the arctic cold, and settled with their Frost Giant friends, staging sea raids with their drakkar ships against the newly conquered sarcosan lands.

    Filled with the pride of their victory, the Sarcosans once again softened and came back to their lazy ways, eventually gradually giving up the inhospitable northern lands. They once again focused on the finer arts of etiquette and intrigue, commerce and subtlety.

They even shared the continent peacefully with the reclusive and mysterious hruntai. For a time.

Sarcosan Invasion of Eredane:

    After several centuries of peace, another megalomaniac khalif decided to follow the coward Dorns to Eredane, and take for themselves the bountiful lands to feed their ever-growing people. Their expeditionary force met success and they founded new colonies on this new continent. This bold move set the stage for an unprededented period of prosperity for the Old Empire.

    Once again, confronted with the increasing needs of an ever-growing population, the Old Empire decided to attack the mysterious hruntai. That was when the Eredane colonies decided to rebel against the Old Empire. Staging a two-front war, the Sarcosans eventually gave up their far colonies in order to fight all the more their southern neighbors.

    Hostilities lasted for many decades as neither side seemed to gain significant edge. Soldiers died in the hundreds of thousands during those war times. Once again, sarcosan pride would not allow defeat or even truce. After such a huge number of casualties, the khalif wanted no less than complete victory. The fights lasted , from full-scale war to sporadic skirmishes, until the end of the Second Age. Without warning, the Emperor Dragon Arcxi suddenly gave up his people and left his lands unprotected for some mysterious purpose. The sarcosan generals siezed the opportunity and finally conquered the proud hruntai people. Fearing pillage and destruction, their nobles , scholars and priests fled in the untamed western jungles, taking with them all the major artifacts of their civilization.

    Arcxi actually answered his brother dragon’s call to fight the last battle of the second age in Eredane. There, he was not killed but severely wounded and made prisoner by a powerful legate of Izrador. Endlessly tortured, he was finally corrupted by the Dark God himself and ordered to come back to his people and to begin planting the seeds of evil in Pelluria)


 

Beginning of the Third Age


    As usual, the Sarcosans quickly adopted their vassals’ culture, incorporating it into their own. The khalif soon found the exotic beauties of the land to his taste, and soon, buying the services of “apsara” (hruntai scholar courtesans) became all the rage, and both people blended. The Sarcosans developped a strong bureaucracy on the model of the Dragon Emperor’s, ensuring that the lands would now be governed by educated scholars instead of brutish nobles or horsebreeders.

    Seeing their enemies were once again softened, an alliance of Dorns and Frost Giants began to reconquer the northern portions of the Old Empire, whose forces had become too far stretched to be of any efficiency against them. After many decades of skirmishing and raids, the sarcosan garrisons finally abandoned what were considered as useless lands. The Dorns once again raised their civilization, and took advantage of every bounty of the land to build for themselves a new kingdom. From the northern taiga’s trees, they built many wooden buildings, and surrounded them with rock walls. With these better conditions, they began forging steel weapons under the tutelage of the dwarves, and soon their kingdom was nearly unattackable.

    It was during this time they founded the Beornid order, for some of them had attracted the favor of the powerful North spirit, who took the shape of a mighty arctic bear. The spirit granted its followers the abilities to take bear shape, which granted them a huge advantage in combat. The Dorns also allied with the last surviving uncorrupted dragons that found a shelter in their lands.

    During this time, the Sarcosan empire slowly began a long time of decadence. As Hruntar the Victorious died, he reigned upon lands that stretched from the Northern Wastes to the former hruntai empire. He ruled upon 95% of Pelluria. Unfortunately, Hruntar had borne no sons from his legitimate wives, only from three different courtesans. Then came the wars of succession between the three bastard lines. Junghar, the eldest, was a fierce general who did not stand the laziness of his more “refined” cousins. He gathered all like-minded individuals and founded his own kingdom, reverting back to the old ways of the warrior nomad horseriders. Jukal, the youngest, was an effete courtesan whose honeyed words carried more poison than the most lethal of snakes. Cultured and manipulative, he swore to bring back the empire to its former greatness, with beautiful palaces filled with poets and artists, where unending plots would be woven. He gathered around him the courtesans, politicians, bureaucrats, and most importantly, merchants. His lands were the best tended, with the best lands that were worked by peasants, as these were carefully administered. It also was a den of vice in the capital city. Lastly, Hrukar the Wise decided to follow the Path of the Stars to find true wisdom. He gathered around him the last sahir priests, for he thought they were at the base of the sarcosan culture, and would ensure he would become a righteous ruler. He slowly built a theocracy where priests progressively gained more and more power as they became close advisors to the pious king.

    Each of the brothers proclaimed he was the rightful heir of the late emperor. Conflict was inevitable. The succession wars lasted for three centuries, leaving all three kingdoms considerably weakened. None of them was defeated, however.

During those wars, the hruntai lands quickly regained their independence, and their long-lost scholars came back from the jungle with new knowledge. They had found back the Dragon Emperor Arcxi. As the sarcosans were busy fighting each other, Arcxi built again his empire. Only he ruled in a much different way, being revered as a god, and infused with new powers by Izrador himself to act on his behalf. Suddenly, the other lands heard no more from the hruntai lands as all borders were closed for five centuries. During this time, Arcxi perverted his own people, using their faith in him for his dark agenda.

    He went to the Merciless Desert, for he knew that, although Garakdul’s body had been slain, the half-god’s essence was not destroyed, but was merely a dark cloud of corruption and madness that was floating above the ground. Imbued with Izrador’s powers, Arcxi achieved a ritual that allowed him to channel into himself Garakdul’s essence. He thus stole the defeated half-god his remaining powers, letting him be but one more Lost soul, the Veil preventing him from escaping Aryth.


 

Elven occupation of the Isles of Autumn

    Some miransil exiles settled an archipelago located on the south of the pellurian continent in the third age, as they were ordered by the queen Aradil. Not all travelers reached their destination, though, as many were lost in supernatural storms (and some lost ships settled small remote islands).

    At first it looked like a tropical paradise (think about polynesian islands), but soon, they fell under a mysterious influence and began warring upon each other, as they were scattered on different islands. They finally realized they had settled on lands that were used as the hunting ground for tribes of aquatic nagas. They built powerful city-fortresses, hidden with mighty illusions, and patrolled the high seas with tamed dragon-turtles. But they never were united, and the sages recognized there the nefarious influence of izrador. They built contacts with the krahntu, who did not want to help them by fear of the hruntai, and the few elves who were Snow elves forged ties with the Dorns and Frost Giants of the far north, but contacts were scarce at best between them given the large distance. There were no relations with the Old empire, since they never were on good terms in the times of colonial occupation of Eredane.


Last Age

    Taking human form, Arcxi sired children that were only half-human. They had considerable affinities with arcane magic, and were called the Snakepeople. They were particularly adept at illusion magic, in order to disguise their true nature, and they practiced all spells that allowed to control minds or charm people. The lesser ones had human bodies, but always carried a portion of their body that was reptilian : either scales, or forked tongue, or snake eyes… They became Arxci’s inflitrators, acting like trusted advisors for sarcosan princelings, or courtesans, or even merchants or bards.

    They were released in the Three Kingdoms, becoming his spies and agents, performing sabotages, sowing treason and distrust, waging war when there was peace.

    Those with the purest blood had a human torso, but the bottom of their body was snake-like. They were Arcxi’s nobles, powerful sorcerers who were leading other hruntai, exploiting them to work the fields to feed their soldiers, to work the mine to collect ore that would be turned to weapons.

    But war will not be necessary. At least against the Three Sarcosan Kingdoms.

    The Kingdom of Hrukar (the line of his descendants) is now obsessed with reaching the stars to obtain immortality, and they are all too busy trying to build magical starships to come closer to the Sorshef. Some uncorrupted sahir remain, however, and all is not yet lost, for the king’s son is not yet touched by the surrounding religious madness.

    The Kingdom of Jukal (the line of his descendants) is slowly forgetting the outside world as the courtiers are all too busy fighting each other in subtle court games, obsessed by gaining the king’s favor. There are still noble politicians and military commanders who truly have the people’s interest in mind, and have withdrawn to their estates to try and plot a coup to remove the rotten aristocracy. Will they succeed or will they be ferreted out by the corrupted king?

    The Kingdom of Junghar is split among nomad warlords who are too busy fighting each other or staging raids against other kingdoms to really care for the outside world. There are still honorable warleaders who would not soil their name by acting like mere bandits. They are only too few, but they are bold and brave like their ancestors, and could unite the tribes if they had a charismatic leader…

    The Krahntu rajahs are obsessed with the mastery of the mystic arts and philosophy, and completely ignore their people’s pleas. Dark cults have spread here and there, but the higher castes don’t seem to mind. Many good people are perverted, preferring contemplation to action, and just watch the events unfold before them. They just follow the teachings of the Wise Men, who promise them a better incarnation if they just stand their lot in a stoic way. There are however a militant order of monks, the Order of the Dragon, who incite people to take their lives in their hands.

    In recent times, the elven exiles of the Isles of Autumn have been invaded by the hruntai, and could not ally with any other pellurian culture. Divided, they could not resist the human raids, as they were supported by powerful Snakemen sorcerers. The hruntai have taken them as slaves for their own perverted pleasures. Theirs is a kingdom that is strongly decaying, surrounded by enemies, knowing it is living its last years, with no hope to contact its own people back in Eredane, scribing their annals for posterity, in the unlikely perspective that a rescue mission would then be able to understand their fate.

    As many elves in Eredane believe that the exiles have found the mythical "elven lands" from which they all originated, perhaps they would mount an expedition to discover their fate and also to escape from Izrador's grasp as it is believed the elven lands are unreachable by the dark lord's minions [the sect that spreads this theory could be led by a subtle agent of the order of shadow in order to weaken elven morale and force them to flee from eredor, or at least a sizeable portion of them, thus weakening the remaining defenders].

    The Dorns are not yet affected by those subtle plots. They are the last ones aware of the dangers of Izrador’s creatures, for they still brave the seas to trade with Landfall, and suspect something equally evil is at work in Pelluria. Their kingdom is now the most mighty in military terms on the continent. They are actively taking sides in the Three Kingdoms to provide warning and trying to ferret out treachery where they find it. They are the continent’s last hope, and they are still strong… Will that be enough? .


Geography of Pelluria


    As for the continent's size, I imagine it to be fairly large (perhaps slightly smaller than Eredane, but that's about it): there are lots of wild expanses and steppes that should be HUGE.

Pelluria from top to bottom

    Far to the north, the lands of Pelluria reach the arctic space, a gigantic expanse of ice that stretches as far as the eye can see. No-one survives here, except the White Orcs. These lands can be crossed by foot, if one can stand the extreme cold and the winds. Real-world equivalent: Antarctic continent. Those lands touch the northest lands of Eredane that are not shown on the map of Eredane, but it requires walking on a thin line of ice that can break at any moment.

    Then are the Ice Mountains, where live the last good dragons and Frrost Giants. These are jagged teeth of earth covered with ice, swept by howling winds and terrible blizzards. These mountains are far from being as high as the Teeth of the Earth, but they provide the lower lands a good protection against the northern winds. They give large deposits of ore of special quality, that can be melted into the best steels. Dwarves smiths are sometimes seen walking those peaks, looking for rare deposits of high quality material.

    Below that are the Dorn lands. They are endless swaths of frozen steppes, with patches of taiga woods, that woodcutters exploit to build their brightly colored houses, surrounded by mountain rock fences. Climate is cold, but bearable. Water is not a problem, as all communities are settled near a lake or river. The dorn communities are scattered in small villages all around the place, for they are an independent people who loathe big cities. They are united, though, but communication between communities is sometimes difficult given their remote locations and the harsh climate. Each village is an independent community called “clan” ruled by an council of elders, men who proved their wisdom time and again. One of them stands as the chief of the community: he is their warleader, and he takes decisions after consulting the wise men. The Dorn peasants are a hard-working people, and all, even the leaders, participate in the community’s works, raising cattle and plowing the fields for the rare plants that grow there. The Dorns are especially gifted metalsmiths and artisans, and their wares are typically exchanged for sarcosan foodstuffs. Dorns are also good sailors, and merchants as well as warriors. They are brave explorers who dare risk the elements. These hardy folk are however tempered like their lands: cold to those who do not know them, but hearty when their trust is gained.

    Then come the Teeth of the World: the eye can not picture the top of those mountains, as they are rumored to reach the sky itself. Their slopes are settled by peaceful Storm Giants, who built rock villages on them. They are shepherds and artisans, and protect the entrance of their dwarven neighbor’s kingdom. For below the mountain is a large dwarven city, called the City of Wonders. In its depths, they forge metal, craft beautiful itmes and live a reclusive life. They have become legends, and none can claim to really understand them. They long ago gave up their warrior tradition, instead waiting for the end surrounded by beauty. Each room oof this city is a masterpiece of architecture, and tastefully decorated. It holds unique cultural treasures and inventions never heard of anywhere else. In those mountains, all rare and precious mineral substances can be found in incredible quantities.

    Below are the Sarcosan lands, with a temperate climate. Those are the most hospîtable lands of the continent, with gently rolling hills and vast plains. Water is abundant and the place is filled with countless rivers and lakes. On the west (lands of Jukal) there are cultivated fields as far as the eye can see, and beautiful colored cities, with shining domes for the palaces there. Those are rich countries, and countless peasants work the lands, to feed the noble poets and sycophants. To the east (lands of Junghar) are vast expenses of grassy steppes where the horseriders wander endlessly (they call this “chasing the wind”). No fields are plowed here, for the riders prefer hunting the abundant game that can be found there or mounting expeditions against their sarcosan or even hruntai neighbors to steal what they need. They are nomads, and all of sudden a quiet place of the plains can be filled with tents and bonfires. And as suddenly will they be gone. The lands of Hrukar are carefully cultivated, but their cities are not as flamboyant as those of Junghar. Rather, their most distinctive feature are the many ziggurat, towers built to better look at the stars and guess their mysteries. There are also wizard schools there, and many scholars work on the ways to fly and get closer to the stars. This kingdom has spent fortunes just for taming giant eagles that they ride into the sky, feeling closer to the stars and the sorshef. They are also masters of glass-making, for this substance is much needed for their nighttime observations (they are the best experts on optical technology and astronomy/astology).

    Below the sarcosan lands, are the krahntu lands. Most of them are a dry savannah that men try and cultivate, but there are also rare patches of verdure that are heavily exploited, and even subtropical forests. The climate is hot and dry there, and for the River of Life that crosses the whole country , people would be starving and suffer from thirst. The lands around the mighty river are extensively cultivated, and manage to feed the large populations of krahntu. There are few krahntu cities, for they prefer living in small villages. Their capitals are however somewhat impressive, filled with majesty and grandeur. They are always at least in part monasteries for orders of contemplative monks , kshatriyas garrisons and wizard academies. Their special aesthetics are unique in the world (imagine their cities as splendid as the Angkor temple in its former glory). They do not worship any god, but practice a strange spirituality that tells of the wheel of reincarnation and how it can be affected by a man’s actions. Their wise ruler is the dragon Virtuk, who does not really rule but provide enlightened advice in cryptic terms to those who seek them, be they slaves or kings. The krahntu have a strong caste system, but there are many independent small fiefs with no united leadership.

    Between the krahntu lands and the hruntai lands is the Merciless desert, a vast expanse of hot sand, ever-shifting in moving dunes under a strange black wind (Garakdul’s harmless soul). It is a very harsh place, that acts like a natural border, as few are those who dare cross it. No vegetation grows here, but there are rumours of ancient cities buried under the sands, testament of a time man does not remember. There are also caves where emeralds can be found, and some brave explorers claim they found one lonely spot of vegetation and water, though they never managed to mark it on a map.

    In the center of the desert is a HUGE crater, filled with black obsidian. The place obviously radiates with strong magic, but also with evil. This is a uniquely powerful magic nexus, but it can be exploited only with considerable precautions.

    Below that is a tropical, very dense, jungle; it's officially unexplored as. Climate is moist and hot. No-one ever bothered to give it a name. It is simply marked as a white space on all (well, almost all) pellurian maps. It may be filled with a large stock of wonderful natural plants. No explorer ever came back to report his findings, and interest for the place has quickly waned, even for the bold and adventurous dorns and sarcosans.

    To the east of the Unnamed Jungle, lies the vast hruntai empire. It alone houses half of the continent’s population. The lands are mainly endless fields of rice cultivated by countless numbers of peasants, with large numbers of soldiers watching over them to ensure they will not rebel. There are also huge, maze-like cities, where rulers are always Snakemen (at least under disguise). Travel is strongly restircted, and foreigners are only allowed with caution, and their least moves will quickly be reported by almost invisible spies and servitors. Borders are strictly controlled and heavily patrolled.     The tension there is palpable. All citizens live an obedient life. Imperial bureaucracy is also omnipresent, and makes sure the lands are carefully administered. No failure is allowed. To the northeast of the kingdom lie the Dry Mountains, where the world’s largest deposits of gold can be found. Hruntai merchants and artisans exploit this by crafting wonderful jewelry (secret: this gold is easily enchanted to provide bonuses for Bribe checks, for it magically creates greed to any who touches it, to the point of killing to get it).

    To the southeast of the Unnamed Jungle lie the isles of autumn: think of polynesian volcanic archipelagoes (this fits well the pictures of the miransil found in the MN Core book) with a darker tone. They are small and scattered, so no large communities can be built. The elves have made beautiful coral fortresses, and they sail elegant ships, or ride dragon turtles which they use as warships.

    All of this should leave some room for a third, much smaller continent, that would be cut off both from Eredane and Pelluria (I am currently thinking of a mayan-like culture settled in very steep mountains with lush vegetation, and composed of many decadent warrior kingdoms that fight each other in ritualized battles called Wars of Flowers, the prisoners being sacrificed to their own "god" [actually a powerful greater spirit who went mad after the Sundering, and must be "appeased" with human blood in order to provide the bounty of the land]. Wether this spirit is under Izrador's influence is another debate).

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