Thursday, 26 January 2012

Solpertaine Map One

 Presenting the rest of the north-west. The Holy Empire consists of all of the lands south-east of Aquitaine, round the string of mountains at Neustria, then east again as far as Bernicia. Lysander dreams of it's former glories on the southern coast and many of the southern-most kingdoms are held by the Sulmaneesh. Eadelbraig, Cadwallon, Ys and Cordoba continue to ignore Imperial intrigues. In the north many Cilhadrai colonists cross the seas settling anywhere they can, even as far as Kairouan and further.

Solpertaine Map Two

The Northern Free States of Wintershiven, Durgabel, Silverhaven and Farfield can be found at the top left of the map. The edge of the Cilhadrai Territories creeps in at the top and on the coast of the southern sea, the Pomeraine city-states can be found.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Northern Free States

  To the north-east of the Tuel Heartlands on the coast of the Great Wyrm Sea, between plains of scattered nomad tribes, creature ridden woods and the mighty Tanglemire Forest that separates the Cilhadrai Territories from the world, lie the Northern Free States. Isolated and self sufficient, this collection of rural townships struggles by year after year but have built up communities that have lasted against all the odds. The Free Men and Women are a hardy, tolerant folk who like nothing more than to be left to their own devices, which in the main are hunting and fishing, farming their small holdings and praying for small mercies from the gods. The lands are cold, hilly and blasted by bitter northern winds which sweep in from the Dragonspine Mountains across the water but they do provide enough pasture and woodland to support a growing populous and the climate in the warmer months is surprisingly pleasant. Because the harshness of the enviroment, people have been forced to band together and those bonds have become very strong indeed. Families, clans and religion govern most people's lives and set out the duties and responsibilities of all that dwell here. Many are the warlords who have tried to impose their will on the people for personal glory and a place in history only to have found their schemes unstuck, or to have become suddenly deserted on the battlefield due to a misreading of their follower's temperament. During the Reign of Tears many refugees from the Tuel Heartlands formed caravan trains and made their way north on an epic trek led by the rebel lord Barradine. These settlers have bolstered the Free States with new skills and prosperity which has led to the building of many new structures using carved stone blocks instead of the traditional wood and dry stone Cilhadrai technique and also the creation of many new businesses and trade guilds. This has led to some conflict with the established order but many are working to bridge the gaps and integrate these newcomers and so strengthen the States even further.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

A Brief History of Mine

History of Solpertaine

-135,000          Humanity appears in the Burning Lands
-100,000          Tribes migrate northwards
-90,000            Humanity in the Sulmaneesh
-75,000            Humanity reachs the Eastlander region
-40,000            Humanity reachs the Tuel and Pomeraine regions
-20,000            Glaciation at it's height
-17,000            Humanity reachs Cilhadrai region
-13,000            Farming begins in Sulmaneesh
-8,000              End of glaciation, rapid rise in sea level, villages form in Sulmaneesh
-6,500              First city formed (Ur in the Sulmaneesh)
-4,300              Megalithic structures built in the Tuel region
-4,000              Farming has spread north to Cilhadrai
-3,800              Bronze invented in Sulmaneesh
-3,650              Wheeled vehicles invented
-3,500              Writing invented, Burning Lands formed from fertile plains
-2,630              First pyramid built
-2,350              Code of Laws introduced in Sulmaneesh
-2,300              Farming reaches the Eastlander region
-2,200              Empire of the Lotus formed
-2,100              First ziggurats built
-2,000              Major megalithic structures in the Tuel region, Pomeraine civilisation begins to rise, Gilgamesh the King rules in Sulmaneesh
-1,600              First of the Pomeraine city-states formed
-1,500              The Exiles appear in southern lands
-1,200              Agamemnon rules in the Sulmaneesh
-1,400              Iron production begins in Sulmaneesh
-800                 Founding of Carthage
-750                 Founding of Lysander, Pomeraine alphabet developed
-700                 Metal coins forged in Sulmaneesh
-650                 Founding of Viristanium, Pomerainians forge coins
-600                 Meroe, capital of Kesh in the Burning Lands formed
-500                 Lysander becomes republic after the Tarquin Kings are expelled
-475                 Iron use reaches the Eastlander region
-460                 Democracy introduced in Pomeraine
-440                 Temple to Aeris completed
-430 - -400      Pomeraine wars among the city states
-400                 Lysander begins expansion
-350                 Crossbow invented in Eastlander region
-340                 Hecate becomes patron of Viristantium
-330                 Lysandan empire invade Sulmaneesh
-320 - -280      Lysandan empire breaks down into smaller states
-260                 First gladitorial contests in Lysander
-260 - -240      War between Lysander and Carthage
-170                 Paved streets in Lysander
-150                 All Pomeraine region under control of Lysander, Carthage burns
-140                 Direct cultural dialogue between Eastlander and Pomeraine/Tuel regions
-135 - -132      First Slave War (Lysander)
-104 - -99        Second Slave War
-73 - -71          Third Slave War
-58                   Lysander invades the Tuel region
-30                   Sundial in common use in Empire of the Lotus
0                      Emperor crowned in Lysander
64                    City of Lysander suffers great fire destroying half of the city
118                  City of Lysander's population reaches one million
220                  Three Kingdoms period begins in the Empire of the Lotus
284                  Lysanden Empire splits in two
291                  Rebellion of the Eight Princes (Empire of the Lotus)
330                  Viristanium becomes capital of the eastern half of the Lysanden Empire
363                  Lysanden/Sulmaneesh treaty
391                  Great Library destroyed by fire
408 – 410        Lysander besieged by Tuel tribesmen, Tuel invent stirrups
433 – 452        The Scourge attack both halves of the Lysanden Empire
449                  Metal horseshoes spread throughout the Tuel region
455                  Lysander sacked by Tuel who then settle in Carthage
476                  Odoacer defeats the Western Lysanden Empire and declares himself king
486                  Clovis unites Tuel and forms capital at Lutetia
524 – 532        War between Viristanium and Sulmaneesh
536                  Viristanium forces re-take Lysander
572 – 591        War between Viristanium and Sulmaneesh
590                  High Priest Gregory brings order to Lysander
598                  Coulter plough revolutionises farming in Tuel region
621                  Porcelain manufactured in Eastlander
644                 Windmill invented in Sulmaneesh
697                 Sulmaneesh forces attack Carthage
711                 Sulmaneesh forces attack Galacia
732                 Tuel forces defeat Sulmaneesh, halting expansion
765                 Crop rotation now established
772                 Reign of Tears begins in the Tuel Region
793                 Cilhadrai settlers begin moving south
804                 Reign of Tears ends
814                 Holy Emperor dies
832                 Holy Empire descends into rebellion
840                 Three sided civil war erupts between claims to the Imperial throne

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Deities of Solpertaine part Three

Nuada may have once been a mortal man as his worshippers claim, but if so it was long ago and from an unknown people. His symbol is a starburst of rubies and while he takes many forms (including that of a common yokel or white-haired mustachioed man in plate mail) he usually is shown with an oaken mace. He reacts favourably to other lawful non-evil deities. The words of Nuada are wise, practical, and sensible. The word of the Mace is law, and the word must be spread so that all may benefit from his wisdom. Weakness in faith and acting against his teachings are intolerable in believers. Unceasing effort should be made to bring unbelievers into the fold. Honesty, truthfulness, practicality, and reasonableness are the highest virtues. Nuada's clergy consists of three divisions that have different purposes: the Chapeaux, which seek to convert people to the faith, the Stars, which exist to retain doctrinal purity among the faith, and the Billets, which minister to and protect the faithful. Clerics of the Mace are stern folk who speak their minds plainly. They do not suffer fools and discipline those who backslide in faith. They train in the arts of war and keep themselves physically fit. The Chapeaux wear traditional crumpled hats, the Stars wear a starburst insignia of copper, gold, or platinum, and the Billets wear an oaken holy symbol.

Silvanus rules nature and the wilderness, and he is a friend to all who live in harmony with the natural world. He expects his followers to live in harmony with nature in all it's variety. Those who destroy or otherwise harm nature deserve swift vengeance in an appropriate manner, says Silvanus. Those who are one with nature, however, have little to fear, although the well meaning but foolish are sometimes brought down by a danger they could not avoid or divert. Silvanus teaches that the wilds can sometimes be ugly, dangerous or terrible, but that these things are a part of nature and should be respected as much as those that are beautiful, harmless or wonderful, for these characterizations mark a newcomer's perspective.

Skadi is the wife of the god Njord, but is herself of unknown origin. Built like a dwarven woman but with the facial features of a gnome, she is worshipped by both of those races and humans. Her enchanted hammer Skull Ringer was forged on the same anvil as her husband's weapon. Earth elementals serve her and she can pass through stone. Her holy symbol is a mountain with a ruby heart; she places rubies in the earth as gifts to those who do her work. The hills and mountains are sacred and beautiful places, whether on the surface or within tunnels that hole them like veins. Working with stone for any good purpose is a blessed task, but cutting rock out of pure greed or evil intent is an abomination. The greatest gift the earth gives arc gemstones, each a tiny part of the earth's power and beauty reflected a thousand times upon itself. Skadi's clerics live on or in the mountains, protecting them from those who would enter for the sake of greed or evil. They protect their community, root out dens of evil non-humans, and teach miners and quarrymen how to spot the best places to work. They act as guides for those passing through their lands, travel to see other stony examples of the earth's beauty, and abhor slavery.

Taiia is fickle and passionate, giving and withholding her favours without evident regard for alignment or fairness. Her worshippers represent the whole range of mortal life: adoring devotees who seek mystical union with her light, fanatic assassins who believe they are carrying out her sentence of condemnation, and humble peasants who plead for bountiful harvests and mild winters. Different people and different sects emphasize one of her aspects over the other. A balanced view of them all is difficult to find, but it may be expressed best in the peasant view: “Taiia gives and she takes. We live and we die according to her will. The crops grow or wither under the frost if she speaks a word. Does she care? I don't know. But I know she hears the prayers I offer in the temple, and sometimes she grants what I ask. She is life. And in the end she is death as well, and she will eat my soul and let me be a part of her if it pleases her.” The religion of Taiia denies not only the potency but even the existence of other gods, and therefore it prohibits the worship of any other deity. Taiia's followers hope to be joined with her after death, their souls consumed to feed her eternal flames. Those she does not favour, for whatever reason, are condemned to remain in darkness, apart from her, for eternity.

Tiamat concerns herself with spreading evil, defeating good, and propagating evil dragons. She enjoys razing the occasional village, city or country, but only as a diversion from her subtle, world spanning plots. She is the villain who lurks in the shadows. Her presence is felt but seldom seen. Tiamat constantly seeks to extend the power and dominion of evil dragons over the land, particularly when her subjects find themselves embroiled in territorial disputes. Tiamat also unfailingly demands reverence, homage and tribute from her subjects.

Tyche has a variety of faces. She is the giver of good fortune and the bringer of evil, a goddess of whimsy and an emblem of inescapable destiny. Tyche propagates different dogmas among different people at different times, leading to a wide variety of views about her true nature. Some followers of Tyche believe that life is essentially a game of dice, where every situation's outcome is determined by chance. They offer prayers and sacrifices to Tyche in the hope that she will turn their dice to high numbers, allowing them success in their endeavours. Others believe that the course of life is all laid out by the gods in advance and cannot be altered – except by Tyche. Tyche, they believe, can liberate mortals from the fate that lies before them, freeing them from the tyrannical whim of destiny and allowing them to forge their own destiny. While many people humbly accept whatever fate the gods choose for them, followers of Tyche try to take their fate into their own hands.

Members of Uller's cult exult in combat, but they see no reason to fight up close when they can use their bows from a distance. When it comes to personal contests, they would rather compete at archery than with swords. The cult guides those who prefer melee to the worship of Uller's mother, Aeris. As a hunter, Uller teaches respect for wildlife and nature. He warns against interfering with the natural balance and urges his followers to act like predators of the animal kingdom, hunting the less fit and leaving the young to carry on and continue the species.
Vecna plots the destruction of the other deities so that he may take the world for himself. According to Vecna, there exists a secret that can destroy any being, no matter how powerful that being is. In the middle of every heart hides a seed of darkness kept hidden from all but the self. Finding that secret evil and exploiting it is the key to undoing one's enemies. Strength and power, says Vecna, come from knowing and controlling what others do not. He also admonishes followers never to reveal all that they know.

Woden is a distant deity who promotes no special agenda, except proclaiming magic the most important force in the world – more vital than good, evil, law or chaos. Most of his clerics observe strict neutrality. One missal advises Woden's followers to seek balance above good, evil, law, or chaos and to push back encroachments of good or evil. This steadfast moderation in political, ethical and philosophical affairs earns Woden and his followers few friends. Nevertheless, Woden's worshippers are respected for their knowledge and magical prowess, and their advice is valued (if not always completely trusted).

Monday, 9 January 2012

Deities of Solpertaine part Two

Hecate is portrayed as a stunning woman. She promotes the utilization of spells and magic items (though many of her followers insist she favours the creation of such things). Her allies are lawful gods while chaotic ones are her enemies (except Abarta, who is her lover despite their philosophical differences). She respects Woden, dislikes the beauty goddess Myhriss, and ignores most other deities. Her symbol is a full moon. Magic is the key to all things. Understanding, personal power, security, order, and control over fate come with the study of magic. Respect those who came before you, left their knowledge, and died to make room for you; there will come a time when your life is over and those who come after will honour your learning and your memory. Clerics of Hecate arbitrate disputes, give advice on magic, investigate magical curiosities, create magic items, and administer funerals. The more powerful clerics use their magic to fortify their temple and city. Clerics of lower level are expected to defer to ones of higher level at all times. Her clerics must get
her permission before restoring a weak or chaotic being to life.

The daughter of a demon and a giant, Hel was confined to Tarterus by the gods. She appears as a gaunt woman whose body is fair and lovely on one side, but dead and rotting on the other. Hel teaches no particular dogma to the living, focusing instead on her dead minions. She does have a cult devoted to her however. It's members feel that society unjustly imprisoned, exiled or ignored them, and often seek revenge for real or imagined slights. Hel is a goddess of death who receives the spirits of those who die by diseases or old age.

Helios is shown as a seemingly old man with leathery, wrinkled skin and young-seeming bright green eyes. His symbol is a wooden disc carved with the curved line of the horizon called the Sol Disc. He is the patron of those who walk or ride long distances (including travellers in tunnels, and as such is praised by those who must use mountain passes). People need to move about and see new things. Be open to travel, as the world may change overnight and you may be in need of a new home or perspective. Look to the horizon for inspiration—the far end of the world has new peoples, new cultures, new magic, and new roads to walk. The church is comprised of wandering clerics (who favour green and minister to those on the roads) and settled clerics (who favour brown and are usually older clerics whose wandering days are behind them). Clerics of Helios are encouraged to travel the world and see new things. They bless caravans, explore exotic lands, scout for armies, and record lore on distant places and people. Because they learn many languages and cultures, they act as translators and diplomats. Many aid in constructing of roadways and bridges, and a pair of shoes made by one of his clerics is held to last longer than any other.

Horus is shown as a tall well-built young man with a hawk's head, clad in a chainmail shirt and blue or violet clothes. He fights evil and oppressive law, so he sometimes opposes other good-aligned deities. All deserve life and the ability to choose their own place in the world, and those who would place others in shackles or control them with oppressive laws must be toppled. Train the common folk to defend themselves and their property should another wish to take their freedoms, if you are wronged, you are right to exact vengeance yourself, especially if none will help you. Because the faith praises individuality over standardized doctrine, each church has a different focus but is allied with all others. Horus's clerics are rugged individualists, never afraid to question authority. Those in cities instruct commoners in self-defence and recruit like-minded rogues and rangers for the cause of individual liberty. Those in rural areas act as scouts or spies against despotic lords or murderous non-humans. Both sorts keep close watch on Lawful religions lest they become too powerful. Horus is the son of Isis and a mortal.

Idun is the goddess of spring and youth and the bringer of arcane magic into the world. A cheerful and friendly deity, she takes great delight in seeing things grow and remain healthy. Idun takes the form of a spry girl in her early teens and her cults tend to be exuberant and passionate. Whatever they do, they do with full enthusiasm. Racially and culturally one of the most diverse religions in Solpertaine, they find beauty in magic and vice versa. Despite this, physical appearance is irrelevant to those seeking initiation but instead, they must demonstrate the kind of ardour promoted by the cult.

Isis is the most popular deity of the Sulmaneesh. She is a goddess of fertility, a patron of marriage and a goddess of motherhood. Her dominion over water represents the ancient rivers that are the source of fertility and life. In her purest essence, Isis represents the power of love to overcome death. When Tiamat killed her mortal husband, Isis searched the land to find his body and laboured to restore him to life. She is an approachable deity, for she loves her worshippers as much as she loves her husband, and she offers them the same gift she gave him: everlasting life in the peaceful bliss of Celestia. Naturally, Isis is a great enemy of her husband's murderer and encourages her followers to oppose Tiamat and her minions in the world.

Istus appears as a Sulmaneesh woman of any age or stature, always carrying her mystical gold spindle (her holy symbol) with which she creates the strands of fate. She is aloof from all other gods, as she concerns herself solely with the fate of the universe and its inhabitants. Everything is connected to every other by invisible strands that push and pull over time. The choices a person makes in life affect the pull of some strands, allowing one to alter fate in a small way, but some of these webs of fate have a strong and inevitable pull that cannot be escaped. The perceptive can come to understand these strands and watch them to predict the future. Accepting your destiny is the greatest service you can make to yourself, for dishonesty about your role in the world leads to ruin and disaster. Clerics of Istus have seen the extremes of fate, from innocents dying horrible deaths and sadists controlling kingdoms to children recovering from mortal illness and despots felled by simple accidents. Because of this, most her clerics are cynical or stoic, but some kinder individuals serve her because they feel they were rewarded by fate. They are called upon to make predictions and divinations for important personage all over the world.

Lugh can best be described as the god of excellence, reputed to be not only the inventor and patron of the arts, but also an expert in such diverse fields as sorcery, history, craftsmanship of all sorts, storytelling and heroism. “The Shining One” is widely worshipped, with numerous monuments where followers pray to him for guidance in any of his many areas of expertise. A wanderer of the lands of his worshippers, consorting with the with the various goddesses of the lands that he meets, Lugh is a self-confident god, eager to keep his hand in mundane affairs. He keeps an eye out for fair play in mortal matters, stepping in to affect the outcome of endeavours within his own expertise.

Modi is an incredibly powerful god and is a hugely muscular man with long red hair and beard, wearing dragonhide gauntlets (white), boots (blue), and fighting girdle (red); these items form his holy symbol, although a star composed of spears and maces is popular. He fights with his intelligent dragon-slaying greatsword Kelmar, and when wounded he often enters a blood rage so intense only Istus can control him when he succumbs; because of this, a cleric of Modi will always defer to a ranking cleric of Istus. He is reputed to have dallied with beautiful humans, elves, or even giants, and tales are told of the great heroes who are born of such liaisons. The strong and fit should lead the weaker. Bravery is the greatest quality in any ruler. Scorn cowardice. Modi loves physical challenges and contests, and it is this love that inspires many barbarian tribes to use non-lethal sports as a method for resolving disputes. Modi's clerics are expected to be leaders. They train people to become stronger, organize athletic tournaments, and participate in challenging physical activities. Doubting their fitness is a grave insult, and they go to great lengths to prove their physical abilities (although they realize the difference between difficult and suicidal challenges). Wearing of dragon-hide by a cleric is a blasphemy, unless the wearer is a descendant of Modi. Clerics believe magic should be used to enhance allies rather than strike directly at foes.

Myhriss is shown as a Tuel woman just reaching adulthood, a garland of flowers in her hair, or else as a fair-skinned, dark-haired provocative beauty or a sun-blonde tanned woman of approachable prettiness. She is friendly and affectionate toward all benign gods but avoids those who are hideous, crude, or hateful. Although Hecate dislikes her, Myhriss appreciates the vain goddess for her obvious attractiveness. Love can cure the world's ills. Quarrelling rivals and warring nations can be brought together with a well-placed romance, and beauty can turn the heart of a dumb beast or a despondent tyrant. Beauty is often fragile, so protect it from accidental harm, as the destruction of something beautiful is a great tragedy. Beauty comes in many forms, for even the most evil red dragon is a sight of terrifying splendour when it is on the wing. Celebrate love, affection, romance, and beauty wherever you find it. Clerics of Myhriss are starry-eyed and always looking for signs of love and beauty in the people and places around them. They bless young lovers, perform marriage ceremonies, create works of art, and travel to see beautiful people and fantastic sights. A few take roles as diplomats, as their looks and charisma make even the most hostile folk stop to listen to them. Some are crusaders against hate and ugliness, seeking out those who destroy love or vanquishing those of repulsive presence.

Njord is a generally benign god, revered by people as the protector of those who travel on the water. He is compassionate, yet he is not averse to punishing those who offend him or disobey his laws. He is shown as a handsome robed man, a dolphin, a barracuda, or a sperm whale; the latter two are interchangeably used as his holy symbol. He wears no armour but is protected by a ring carved from a whale's tooth, given to him by the grandfather of all whales. The seas provide a bounty of food and a means of travel; protect the sea as you would your own home, or face Njord's wrath. He protects those who sail and their vessels as long as they respect his and abide by his laws. He guides vessels through dangerous waters and is the patron goddess of naval explorers. Those who defy his laws are punished by storms of ice, and it is said entire towns were wiped out because of serious transgressions against him. His clerics are skilled navigators and often become the spiritual leaders of communities that rely on the sea for survival. Many gain political power for themselves based on the need for their abilities. Clerics not tied to one place might travel a great deal by ship;though they feel awkward away from the ocean, they are comfortable enough near lakes or rivers to venture inland.