Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Elbonian Empire culture

The old Elbonian Empire unified numerous smaller cultures under the umbrella of a single government. After the Empire fell and chaos reigned, these individual cultures separated once again. In some instances, old regions reverted to their old ways, army units who identified mostly with a particular culture imposed that culture on the area around which they were stationed, or a past kingdom went on a conquering spree before itself falling apart.  In this way, neighboring kingdoms can be very different from each other, while sharing similarities to kingdoms they do not border.

Some cultural quirks instituted by the old Empire are still common among all the kingdoms, and serve to keep at least some amount of cultural unity among the people of the continent.

Among these quirks are social class and identifiers of one’s social class.

Borrowing from TMNT: Mutants in Avalon, social class is divided into five levels, based on a rating system. The rating system is based on individual occupation, and is identified by an animal type. In ancient times, the people were divided into various clans who held animal totems. When the Empire rolled over the continent and united the people, these animal totems gradually indicated the social status of descendants of those clans. The leaders and allies of the Empire formed the highest classes, while the lower classes were composed of those clans that fought against the Empire. Eventually, the lower classes were integrated and formed the mass of laborers, farmers, and unskilled workers of the Empire.

This continues to this day. In most kingdoms, individuals are required to wear some identifying mark to show their social class. This mark is in the shape of the animal that represents their class. This can be conspicuous jewelry, a patch, an armband, a flag, a tattoo, embroidered clothing, etc.

Social Rating

Each rating has dozens or hundreds of sub-ratings within it. Player-characters may roll on the appropriate table (by occupation) to determine their social class animal.

E: slaves, criminals, tramps, hobos, most foreigners (from outside the kingdoms), pretons.
  1. Rat
  2. Weasel
  3. Magpie
  4. Adder
  5. Frog
  6. Lizard
  7. Newt
  8. Toad
  9. Tortoise
  10. Wolf
  11. Skunk
  12. Raccoon
  13. Possum
  14. Porcupine
  15. Aardvark
  16. Bat
  17. Vulture
  18. Flounder
  19. Eel
  20. Lamprey

D: serfs, laborers, artisans, travelling merchants, mercenaries.
  1. Mouse
  2. Goat
  3. Hamster
  4. Hedgehog
  5. Rabbit
  6. Sheep
  7. Shrew
  8. Squirrel
  9. Chicken
  10. Crow
  11. Duck
  12. Goose
  13. Gull
  14. Bluejay
  15. Pidgeon
  16. Sparrow
  17. Turkey
  18. Beaver
  19. Boar
  20. Monkey

C: skilled laborers, soldiers, wizards, squires, wealthy merchants.
  1. Woodpecker
  2. Robin
  3. Puffin
  4. Heron
  5. Horse
  6. Seal
  7. Lion
  8. Pig
  9. Mole
  10. Donkey
  11. Cow
  12. Cat
  13. Trout
  14. Bass
  15. Catfish

B: military officers, clerics and priests, courtiers, land-owners, knights, extremely wealthy merchants.
  1. Dog
  2. Fox
  3. Otter
  4. Dove
  5. Falcon
  6. Owl
  7. Pheasant

A: nobles, royals, high priests/clerics, generals/admirals. 
  1. Elk
  2. Eagle
  3. Peacock
  4. Swan
  5. Mink

Species and Race in Elbonia

The old Elbonian Empire was founded by dwarves, taken over by humans, and infiltrated by halflings. 
  • Dwarven history starts with the founding of the Empire and its spread from the Sunward mountains and across the fertile plains. 
  • Human history starts with their pledge of unity with the dwarves, and the rapid expansion of the Empire throughout the continent.
  • Halfling history is long, going back before the dwarves appeared. However, halflings love keeping secrets and never discuss their origin. One of their favorite secrets is how they tricked the dwarves and humans into thinking the Empire began with them.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Manse of Silence, a library of repute.

The Lightless Manse of Silence is well-known as one of the greatest libraries in the world. It is said that any subject can be researched in detail at the Manse, and its Librarian keeps the place organized in such a way that research takes less time than at other libraries. There are some drawbacks to this library, though. It gets its name because there are no candles or torches allowed within the library, so for most people it is only useful during daylight, and even then only in the areas near enough to windows that allow light to illuminate the shelves. No book, scroll, or text is allowed to leave the library. Speaking aloud is forbidden, even at a whisper. Breaking the rules brings down the wrath of the librarian, an elderly woman with glasses and hair in a bun and a severe frown at all times.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Fall of the Elbonian Empire

The ancient Elbonian Empire was the largest of the human kingdoms at its height. It’s fall began with the conquest of the land known as Pretonia. The native Pretonians were a savage and barbaric race said to cavort with foul gods and bestial demons. When the Elbonians came in their triremes and built colonies on the coast in preparation for an invasion, the Pretonians united their various tribes to drive off the invaders. This war lasted for generations, sucking up vast amounts of wealth and manpower from the Elbonian Empire. Eventually, when the Elbonians thought they finally won, the last of the Pretonian shamans appealed to their gods and brought forth a great disaster in a suicidal attempt to finally defeat their enemy. Bankrupt, in political turmoil, war-weary, and beset by enemies in other parts of the empire, the once-great Elbonian Empire crumbled and fell. Today, in its place, are dozens, perhaps hundreds of petty kingdoms and city-states fighting not just amongst themselves, but with the remnants of the ancient pretons who still rule the deepest forests.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Free Cities Bar Association

In the Free Cities, law and order is maintained by an elite corp of attorneys. The Free Cities Bar Association is the guild that controls the pricing of the services of attorneys. While the people of the Free Cities call them attorneys, the rest of the world considers them to be duelists or assassins. Free City Attorneys do not argue cases in a court of law, rather they are paid to duel on a patron’s behalf. They are also rumored to take payment in exchange for quietly eliminating anyone a wealthy patron wishes. As such, the wealthiest attorneys are also the most deadly, feared, and expensive to keep on retainer or hire.

Some of the eldest attorneys have created partnerships, where successful attorneys pay younger attorneys with little to no reputation to take on cases for them.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Ship in the Trollands

On the Dark Side, in the Trollands, is a ship. This ship fell from the sky years ago and lodged itself into a hillside. No one has ever been able to gain entry to the ship. It’s smooth metal surfaces are seemingly impervious to any axe, pick, or battering ram. Strangely, since the ship crashed here, the native life to the area has… changed. The trolls and giants native to the region have mutated in strange ways. Multiple heads, hunchbacks, bestial limbs, and extra eyes are all common with even stranger mutations rumored.  

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Silt Sea

The Silt Sea is a shallow sea, named for its bed of silt formed from the runoff of hundreds of rivers and streams that empty into it. The body of water is also called the Gold Sea, as small gold nuggets are frequently found by sifting through the silt. Prospectors have formed boom towns all around the sea, and theft and murder is a common occurrence among the prospecting towns. Fortunes can be made at the Sea, but getting that fortune out to real civilization, past the other prospectors, pirates, and highwaymen, not to mention monsters, is easier said than done. Vast caravans travel by land to and from the various towns selling wares and trading for gold.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Rim

Strathos, the world, is made up of four sections. The first is the Axis, which is the central spoke. The vast majority of the world is made up of the Disc, which is actually two separate sections stuck together like wafers; the Light Side, and a Dark Side. The outer edge of the Disc forms the fourth section; The Rim.

Rimward is the word used to describe travel away from the Axis towards the Rim.

Regardless of which side of the world one is on, The Rim is considered the Unknown, due to its isolation. Many myths, legends, and stories exist pertaining to the Rim, and many of these tales involve intrepid but doomed adventurers falling off the end of the world, or being taken away by celestial beings for use as playthings.

The lands leading toward the Rim are cold and desolate. On the Light Side, there are often coniferous forests or tundra. On the Dark Side, there is simply tundra or glaciers or barren rock. Mountains often tower at the edge, overlooking the interior. In a few spots, the ocean drains down from the Rim in massive waterfalls, to be collected and funneled back toward the Axis through the center of the planet and belched forth back to the surface from springs within the central continent. 

It is said that the lonely towers found on the rim are the retreats of monks who have given up on the world. Some say these monks oppose the lords of the Axis. Some say they call themselves the Children of Gith.