The Kingdoms of Ereth:
The People and Their Customs
The Kingdom of Altoria
If you choose to play an Altorian resident, you should be familiar with the customs. Most Altorian citizens are human. If you are playing an Orc, you would most likely be from the southern region. There is an Elven settlement in the old forest. A number of Elves who have left their communities are now living in the towns and villages of Altoria. Most Ogres in Altoria are here on business or just passing through. There is the occasional Ogre immigrant who has taken up residence. Glimmers and Rovers are always about. Very few Dwarves are ever seen here; or anywhere outside of their Strongholds. Anyone born on Altorian soil can petition for Altorian citizenship.
We have a supplement on the Kingdom of Altoria for anyone who wants more comprehensive information than is presented here. This should be enough to get you started.
The current men's fashion, for commoners, is a short tunic, belted at the waist, and loose braies of plain cloth. The women wear skirts with belted short tunics or ankle length tunics girded at the waist or hip. Cloaks, simple caps, or headscarves are worn for warmth. The merchant classes wear similar clothes in more expensive fabrics. Baldrics are considered fashionable. The nobility wear full, puffed breeches in place of braies. Usually a tabard is worn with the person's mark on it. The women wear long gowns with elaborate girdles. Highly decorative pouches in elegant materials are widely used.
Altorians worship the god, Toran. The priests of Toran wear tabards or a gorget displaying the symbol of Toran.
The lands encompassing the present Kingdom of Altoria were united under the one King chosen according to the laws of Toran. "Unto each generation shall come one who has the royal aura and this person shall rule for his lifetime." The kingship can be granted by Toran to any of his people. When a child is ordained King, or during the time the priests search for the true King, the country is run by a Regent. At the present, Altoria is without a King and is ruled by Regents.
The signs of kingship do not necessarily show at birth but can appear at any time on any man. So far, the signs have never been seen in a female.
Each child born to Altorian parents is sent, at the age of seven years, to common school. There they are taught their letters and numbers sufficient to pass the abecedary test required of all students. Altorians are able to read and write. Those who show promise are encouraged to continue their studies at a University. The Universities are maintained and controlled by the Church of Toran.
The Altorians have been trying to expand their territory into the unsettled lands to the south. Goblins, adept at guerilla tactics, have been attacking these settlements. Rumors of goblins destroying entire towns in the night have begun filtering in from the borders of Altoria. A number of travelers have claimed seeing huge gatherings of goblins in the Wild Lands.
There have been representatives sent from both Magoria and Qabara to present their case to the Altorian Regent regarding the northern border disputes between the Magyars and the Ogres. No official proclamation has been made on where Altoria stands on this issue.
The Kingdom of Altoria is made up of counties that owe allegiance to King or Regent. Each Count is responsible for maintaining and protecting those portions of the King's Highways that pass through his domain. Each city or outpost has a High Sheriff appointed by the King or Regent.
The crown beadles maintain contacts between the counties and cities.
Our town of Haefen is located in County Arlen. Count Arlen is currently away on a quest. His cousin, the current County Regent, is now in charge of Castle Arlen. Lady Arlen and the young Prince are staying in the capitol, at King's Castle, as guests of the Royal Regents.
The town of Haefen is covered in a separate section. Read over the Haefen section to become familiar with the locals.
Most laws are consistent throughout the Kingdom. All defendants have a lawyer appointed to oversee their case and to argue in court for their defense. Only the King or Regent can grant pardon or overturn the decision of the Lawmakers.
The Laws of Toran
- Give protection to the weak and the helpless among you.
- Take only that which is yours by right or inheritance.
- Eat not the flesh of thine brethren nor take him as a slave to your house or your fields or as a slave to your garrison.
- Give to Toran the honor he is due and give honor to the gods of your neighbors.
- Do not seek to undo that which is decreed by the fates.
- Hold not one man above another, nor one lineage nor one clan higher than their neighbor, nor hold one god higher than another.
- Give to Toran, in his wisdom, to select who shall be empowered as leaders of his people.
- Honor those empowered by Toran with fealty and obedience.
- Look not to fallen gods and demons for the sustenance of your body or mind or spirit. This is an affront to Toran.
- The chosen of Toran must not look to the chosen races of other gods for husband or for wife for children of such a union would be an abomination in the eyes of Toran.
- Be not wasteful of the bounty of Toran and Toran will provide sufficiently for his people.
- As Toran made Ereth a good place for his chosen people, they must see to its care and tend to its needs as directed by those empowered by the great god Toran.
Qabara: The Ogre Kingdom
Qabara is loosely based on the culture from the old stories of 'Arabian Nights'. Very loosely. If you have chosen to play an Ogre, you would invariably hail from Qabara. Located on the eastern side of the Dwarven Mountains in the desert regions, it is a harsh land spawning a tough breed of characters.
Check out the 'Ogres of Qabara' supplement for information to help you really flesh out your character.
Most Qabarians are Ogre. Few people of other races take up permanent residence in Qabara. Only Ogres can have citizenship in the Ogre lands. Ogres keep slaves of many races, including humans.
Most Ogres are city dwellers, called the Al-Zamin. They wear flowing caftans over their garb, with traditional head coverings. The type of fabric would reflect your wealth. Jewelry, including belts and anklets, often belled, are popular with all castes and both sexes.
There are nomadic tribes, the Al-Nisrae, that cling to the "old ways". They usually don't wear caftans, but prefer blousy pants and tunics. According to Ogre tradition, the nomads are the original inhabitants of Ereth. They are a very proud race.
The head of the Ogre kingdom is the Qatchah. Below the Qatchah reign the Chahs, Qalifehs, and Camirs. Kheps are the military leaders.
The Al-Nisrae have their own hierarchy. Their leaders are called Khon, Khol, and Kemir. The Qatchah considers himself ruler over the entire Ogre kingdom, including the nomadic tribes, but the Khons consider themselves equal in status if not in wealth.
The Qatchah is an hereditary title. His children are princes and princesses and his wife or wives are queens.
The lands of Qabara are divided into principalities. An hereditary Chah oversees each principality. The major cities, the capitals of each principality, are run by the Qalifehs. The smaller cities and towns are run by the Camirs. The Kheps are the heads of the military of each principality.
The Al Nisrae travel freely in the vast lands between the settlements. They answer only to their clan leaders and their gods. Outcasts, those who have lost honor, are referred to as Malaks. They frequently go adventuring in other lands to try and restore their good name.
Ogre priests believe in the validity of all gods, with none superior to another. They are reverential towards the Mystics who appear among them to make revelations and predictions given to them by the fates. An Ogre from any class may join the priesthood if he feels called upon by the gods. You may play a wandering priest called the Paynizam. Or perhaps a priest of the temple, called Qallahs. The
Mystics are reclusive priests, known for their augury skills, who have been "touched" by the gods. They offer interesting possibilities as player characters.
There is an older religion practiced by many of the Al-Nisrae and even some of the Al-Zamin. This religion is headed by the Kahina, or idol priests. These beliefs seem to predate the worship of the various gods of Qabara and have been mainly passed down verbally by the Kahina.
The Al-Zamin rulers of Qabara are very wealthy. The commoners are poor. They have a fairly rigid caste system. Your station at birth is considered decreed by the fates. To move up in caste you must perform some exceptional feat. Ambitious children of the poor, working class often go adventuring, hoping the fates will notice them and give them an opportunity. Most Ogres who are off adventuring would be looking for just such an opportunity.
Qabarian city dwellers have a greater amount of equality between males and females than most other races. A female Ogre can choose any profession she wants with no stigma attached. Qabarian warriors are drawn from all castes and both sexes. They are highly respected.
Marriages within Qabarian society are a sacred bond; it is dishonorable to make advances towards another's spouse. Ogres can have numerous marriages, even multiple spouses at one time. However, they are very strict about sexual contact outside of the bonds of marriage. Blood ties are very important to Ogres and family loyalties are at the core of ogre society. All of your actions and deeds reflect on the name of your family or tribe.
An Ogre host assumes responsibility for his guests. Even an enemy, once accepted as a guest, can expect safety and sustenance while under their protection. The sharing of kahve is the traditional symbol of accepting one as a guest in an Ogre home. Once kahve has been shared, the ogre is under obligation to provide hospitality and safety to the guest for a day and a night. Even a lone traveler will have some way to share kahve even kahve flavored hard candies shared by two strangers on the side of a trail can serve to symbolize the truce of the kahveklatch. Refusing an offer of kahve from an ogre is an insult and a gesture of animosity.
The Qatchah of Qabara is Ali Manochar Nourazadah. He rules from the royal city of Huzara. The Qatchah is a young man. He has seven sons. His two uncles and three brothers rule his lesser principalities until he bears more sons.
Qabara has a thriving merchant class. They export embroidered fabrics, rugs, glassware, grains, spices and naugha hides. There are many traveling Ogre merchants.
Naughas are the cattle like beasts that are the backbone of Qabarian economy. The naughas are raised by the Al-Nisrae. The Al-Nisrae protect the borders and the caravan routes through Qabara. They also undertake quests to gather information for the Khons and the Qatchah.
The Qabarians have established trade with the San Wan Island nations for dragon cloth and dragon glass. Most of this trade goes through Magoria via Rover merchants. They have trade agreements with many of the Rover clans.
At the present time, the lands of Qab ara are under i ntermittent attacks from Magorian outposts that dispute their claims to the northern deserts. They have sent emissaries to the Crown Regent of Altoria looking for an alliance. Some of the barbarian tribes have sided with Qabara. Some Barbarian lords have seen this as a time to challenge Qabarian boundaries.
The Ogre merchants have been reporting problems with increasing goblin raids on their caravans. There are rumors of goblins summoning some sort of demons. The Ogre Mystic, Rahashaman, has claimed to have had a vision of a sea of goblins washing over Ereth.
Magoria: Kingdom of the Magyars
The Vampyres of Magoria supplement is available for players who wish to play Magyars or other Magorian residents. This is a complex society, unlike any other on Ereth.
The ruling people of Magoria are hereditary vampires. Haughty, arrogant and rude are the words that describe the vampyres. They see other races as food or objects of use. There is a human peasant/slave class and a class of husk zombies. Nobles tend to wear elf stones as status symbols. Because elves have the sweetest energy, they are considered a delicacy. Both men and women dress in the finest clothes from the richest of fabrics. Men and women of Magoria are noted for their elaborate hats and headdresses. If you like extravagant garb, this is the race for you.
The humans of Magoria are usually clothed very simply, unless they are a particularly pampered pet. The zombies wear simple rough tunics with their master's mark on it.
Magorians believe themselves to be descended from the goddess Lialu. The god Gorak bequeathed their lands to them. They have held power in the northern lands for many centuries. Most of the humans in the surrounding area have been enslaved. The vampyres have become wealthy through trading and as the finest shipwrights of the known world.
Magoria is an oligarchy. It is ruled by four families: the Bestroika, Yataslav, Laxnessu, and the Shostakov. The eldest member of each house is known as a prime. At the top of the vampyre social structure are the primes and the high priestesses of Lialu. Next are the members of the four ruling houses, then the members of the 12 noble houses. Next are half-breeds, then commoners.
The commoners are mostly slaves, usually humans, but some other races also reside in Magoria. Human slavery is accepted in Magoria as the norm. Slaves who escape to other countries are usually hunted down. Altoria offers haven to runaway slaves. Lastly, there are the thralls and zombies.
The court system in Magoria is representative. The judges are harsh and the penalties for crimes are severe, especially if you are not a Vampire. There are several laws of note to keep in mind while traveling in Magoria.
- Impeding the work of a thrall or zombie constitutes fine.
- Theft and murder charges are handled by a trial of the primes.
- Mages must check spell books and scrolls at magavas at each city.
- Barbarians are not allowed in the country.
- Rovers are not allowed in a city for more than three weeks.
Humans and others living in Magoria are pretty much happy with the way the country is run. Even the slaves have a pretty easy life, they are usually artisans. They dont have to do dirt work, because the zombies and thralls do that.
Husk zombies and thralls do most of the dirt work and farming in the country, which frees the human population to create masterful works of art. An exceptional artiste would fetch a high price on the slave market.
The Magorians are best known for their ship designs. The zombie work force builds close to 10 galleons a year. These galleons are sturdy, well made, and readily purchased by many different kingdoms. The Magorians import wool, gems, precious metals cloth, and exotics. They export sailing vessels, vodka, and artwork. Magorian merchants travel widely.
Magoria is currently at war with the barbarian kingdoms to the east. There is a centuries old enmity between these people. They take barbarian women and children as slaves. Campaigns have been launched against the Ogre kingdoms, but as of yet they have proved to be unsuccessful.
There are some rumors of increased goblin activity on the borderlands. The barbarians seem to have a great fear of the goblins. Some Magyars hope this will be of benefit to them.
The Elven Kingdoms
Elves of the Old Forest & the Sea Elves
Elven player characters must choose a tribe. Most Elves are very ethnocentric and stay within their own lands. Some tribes encourage the youths to venture out among the other races as part of their education. There has currently been much political unrest among the Elven tribes. Some elves have chosen to stay out of the tribal turmoil by relocating to other countries and living among the other races.
The Elves expect guests to know and abide by their laws (as does any culture). Elven laws are simple:
1)Theft is forbidden
2)Murder is forbidden
3)No treasonous acts
4)Warriors shall obey the Laws of Honorable warfare (only enforced in Elven wars)
5)One does not harm or threaten a bard
Violation of The Laws is treated as a question of personal honor and resolved with a duel to first blood. The Chieftain fights for the state if a champion is required. If s/he is incapable his/her heir takes his/her place. If the accused is guilty of Laws 1 or 4 he/she is banished. If he or she is guilty of Laws 2, 3, (or 5 if unwitnessed) the sentence is death. It is customary that any member of a warband that witnesses a violation of Law 5 kills the offender on the spot.
The Elven forest (also known as the Old Forest, or, by the Elves, simply as 'the Forest') is a large stretch of old growth that lies along the rugged northern coastline. The adjacent coastal area, with its windswept beaches and secluded coves, is inhabited by the Sea Elves.
The Sea Elves and the Bavall tribe of Forest Elves have the most interaction with other races. Although reserved in their dealings with outsiders, they are less isolated from the other races of their new home than the other Elven tribes.
Sea Elves are primarily traders. Most of the Sea Elf villages are located on the Coastal Road. Merchants of other races are allowed access to this road, though there is a toll charged. The Tollgate at the head of the road is heavily guarded. The Elves want no enemy force on the Road, which is flanked by hills. A perfect place for concealing bowmen . . .
Nathireun mercenaries usually take the Road Patrols. Those that stray from the Road into the Forest often fare ill. The Elves are intolerant of trespassers who do not obey the laws of their lands. Any trader who frequently ventures along the Coastal Road can usually tell which tribe they face by the arrow's fletching. The Bavall use white feathers, the Valios gray and the Nathireun green.
All agree that the Nathireun are the ones to be most wary of. They take their responsibilities to the Elven tribes very seriously and have little mercy for those they perceive as enemies.
The Bavall tribe has their territory in an area of the Forest that borders the lands of Altoria to the east, and the Sea Elves to the west. Of the Forest tribes, they are the friendliest to outsiders. They host the Bavall Trade Faire for three months in the spring. The Bavall trade with non-elves at no other time. Outside those three months, any non-elf in the Forest is considered a trespasser and potential enemy.
The Valios hold the northern portion of the Forest. Bordered by the mountains of the Dwarven Kingdoms and the lands of men and Magyar, they keep to themselves. Anyone traveling through Valios lands must have a token of vouchsafe from a member of the tribe. They allow no Magyar entrance into their lands.
The Nathireun hold the deepest part of the Forest. Bordered by the Wildlands and the central coast, their lands are the most forbidding of the Elven holdings. They never allow traders, or any non-elves for that matter, into their territory. If seen outside their territory, it is invariably as a mercenary for the Elven tribes. They rarely have dealings with any non-Elven race. Sometimes small groups of Nathireun will trade at the Bavall Faire.
The Forest Elves and Sea Elves trade with each other for necessities. They seek metalwork, often trading leather to their dwarven neighbors for this. The Sea Elves have trade with San Wan. They also trade for various alcoholic beverages, spices, and the kahves of the Rover tradesmen. They value the beauty of the dragon glass of San Wan and the glasswork of Qabara. They scorn any Magorian goods.
The San Wan Island Nation
Not available as a place of origin for player characters.
On a clear day, from the cliffs of the Magorian city of Astrid, you can see the faint outline of islands. They seem to appear and disappear, as though part of a waking dream. Many legends surround this ephemeral archipelago.
There are those who still hold to the old stories; that the islands float between our world and another, inhabited by a race of evil dragonlords.
Few people have been to the gray, mist shrouded islands of San Wan. Impenetrable forests close in on rugged, rocky beaches. The black sands of the sheltering coves only serve to heighten the forbidding appearance of this ancient lair of the San Wan dragons.
The inhabitants of the seven islands of the San Wan nation, isolated by the wurm infested Sea of Luriel, have had little contact with other nations of Ereth. Their ways and customs are shrouded in myth and conjecture.Even the Rover Mershk Clan shuns the Sea of Luriel. Great wurms, the Lurias, arise from the depths and devour any craft attempting to brave the crossing to the islands. Only the dragon boats of the Sanwanese cross unmolested.The islanders claim to control the great wurms and all dragonkind by right of an ancient prophecy. Legends claim the first Emperor of San Wan, Merasawa, saved the last
female dragon from death. Cursed by Volcan, keeper of the sacred mountains, all of dragonkind had sickened and were dying. Merasawa brought the offerings of his people to the base of Mt. Cascadia, dwelling place of the gods on Ereth, and begged audience with their Council. His eloquence on behalf of the last dragon moved the gods to reconsider the dragons' plight. Volcan was forced to remove his curse, but with the provision that the dragons must serve the royal family of San Wan for eternity.
The fearsome dragons of Ereth must faithfully bow to the will of the Sanwanese emperors, forced to work for their keepers, or again face the wrath of Volcan. Only on San Wan are the dragon-forged metals, Argent Steel and Dragentium wrought. With the intense heat of dragonbreath, the vitrification of the durable and exquisite dragonglass of San Wan can be accomplished. Only of dragonglass can the scrying balls of the priests of San Wan be formed. When hatchling dragons first emerge from their eggs, the soft filaments of their down covering is harvested by weavers of the famed San Wan dragoncloth. This beautiful, lightweight fabric is produced in all the myriad colors of dragonkind. Impervious even to magical flames, and as strong as mithral chain, it is formidable armor, coveted by all. They also blend the threads with silks, linens, cotton, and wool to create exotic fabrics sought after by the wealthy classes of all the lands of Ereth.
Trading these unique wares has filled the coffers of the royal family of San Wan. They have built many temples to Mamonsan, the god of wealth. The trade goods of San Wan are the most sought after wares of any merchant.
The dragons, winged, finned, or burrowing, forced to live within the confines of the San Wan archipelago and the surrounding Sea of Luriel, pay their debt to the royal family with their continued slavery.
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