Part of the Unified Setting for /tg/
The homeland of the Humans in this setting. It is a continent fraught with religious bickering, politics, and other stuff. This is the worst summary description ever. Someone please fix it.
- 1 Geographical Regions
- 2 Political Regions of Solaris
- 2.1 Federated Kingdoms of Solaris
- 2.2 The Holy Orders of Aurel
- 2.3 Osroene
- 2.4 Moesia
- 2.5 Furnshakt
- 3 Adventure Hooks
- 4 See also
- Olympia - the central area of Solaris, mostly wide plains, rolling hills and shallow valleys with the occasional geographical feature like a mountain.
- Elysia - northern region comprised mainly of wide flat fertile grasslands.
- Tartarus - southern regions, mostly mountains and rocky hills.
Political Regions of Solaris
Federated Kingdoms of Solaris
Solus is the central authority of the Federation. It is a land of many districts ruled by noble knights and their great King. The capital of Invicta is a monumental fortress-city built in a vast lake formed in an extinct volcano.
Vyntril has historically been one of the more post powerful nations in the Federation. Recently, that power was turned inward in a violent revolution. The former despotic regime was deposed, and has been replaced by a more open form of democracy. Vyntril has had nearly half a century to recover from the economic ramifications of this, and with the help of its flourishing on naval trade, it can be safely said that it has done so. At this point, Vyntril is looking to expand their territories in the nearby marshlands and the Human Colonies.
The capital city is called Illyria, and in some old and outdated maps the entire republic (formerly kingdom) is referred to as such.
Baetica is a collection of several dozen farmsteads, towns and ports under a loose pseudo-communist leadership. They happily overproduce essential goods for the rest of the Federation in exchange for exotic imports from Vyntril.
Gorgossa is a militaristic state resentful of membership in the alliance. They wish to expand their holdings in various regions but are currently restrained by their neighboring states. Some would say they are on the verge of a minor war with Vyntril over ownership of several small island chains, but it's also possible that these issues will be resolved diplomatically.
Aurelia is a theocratic authoritarian aristocracy. It is the smallest of the ‘major’ nations, but holds massive political power in the Federation and abroad. This is where Aurel lived and taught, and it contains what is arguably the greatest temple in the world. This also where the primary lodges of the Holy Orders reside.
Thrace is contested territory claimed by both Vyntril and Gorgossa. It is populated primarily by trading settlements from Vyntril, but Gorgossa won a major battle there during the War of Achaean Succession, and consider themselves to have conquered it.
Achaea is contested territory claimed by both Vyntril and Gorgossa. It contains some cities which bear allegiance to one of the two sides, but most are independent city-states.
The Holy Orders of Aurel
The Holy Orders of Aurel were founded by four of Aurel's closest followers after his death. They were given breeding pairs of four fantastic beasts by the elves, as a condolence. They used these creatures far more than the elves had ever expected, and their Holy Orders are now always mounted on these creatures. In the War of Achaen Succession, the Holy Orders refrained from combat, citing a vow to never harm a true follower of Aurel. As such, they exist virtually unchanged since their creation.
- Order of Asiurtes: This Order, founded by Asiurtes the Just, has vows involving defense and the destruction of undead. They ride Manticores and have a reputation for somewhat callous. They wield long-handled spiked mauls.
- Order of Duren: This Order, founded by Duren the Mighty, is stereotyped as being for hotbloods. They favor heavy lances and swords, and ride Griffins.
- Order of Kenati: This Order, founded by Kenati the Shrewd, are the lightest armored of the Orders. They are also the only order that suggests it's initiates learn some magic to support their hit-and-run tactics, which the Drakor excel at.
- Order of Reli: This Order, founded by Reli the Passionate, espouses archery and light lances, and its initiates are restricted to armor made of living or once-living material, as that is the only way to extend the power field to a unicorn's rider.
Osroene was a province of Solus for a very long time. After the Vyntril revolution, there was considerable clamor for self governance among the ethnically distinct Osroenan people. After considerable debate, Osroene was eventually legislated by consensus as a neutral nation by the individual members of the Federated Kingdoms and the foreign Elvish peoples. Solus was the only nation to vote against Osroenan independence. Understandably, there remains considerable tension on the situation. Another, now more relevant concern, however, is whether Osroene will join Federated Kingdoms of Solaris. Internal factions vie for control of the country's representative house, and possible membership is the hot topic of the day. Of course, all the vying for position means nothing if the King doesn't approve the house's decisions.
Moesia is a fledgling nation initially founded by Vyntril traders. It was later claimed by Gorgossa and then by the Silvorian Empire. Currently, it is an independent state under contention.
"Furnshakt: An uncivilized region of wilderness inhabited by bandits, raiders, primitive tribes and beasts." - Entire entry in the Encyclopedia Solaris (Universal Export Edition, Approved by the Aurelian Commission for the Prevention of Moral Decay), Baetica Publishing.
That is the official line at least. Other races are a bit confused as to why the humans are spending so much effort establishing overseas colonies when there is a large, unclaimed territory on their own continent.
In reality the land is claimed, by the inhabitants. The Federated Kingdoms try to ignore Furnshakt and derisively refer to their heathen southern neighbors as furriners, a term which has also been applied to other races as shorthand for outsiders. Those from Furnshakt are called barbarians due to their their attire, fighting styles and beliefs. Mostly their beliefs. The people of Furnshakt are the only societies on Solaris who do not follow the northern Aurelian sun-god religion. They stay true to the old ways and worship the spirits of nature.
This has naturally caused a great deal of friction (not to mention major wars) in the past. The north and the south have successfully ignored each other since the founding of the Federated Kingdoms, though factions in Aurelia, Gorgossa and Vyntril have all agitated for a more aggressive policy for varying reasons.
Life in Furnshakt
While their northern neighbors plot and scheme amongst themselves, the barbarians of Furnshakt go about their daily business, which mostly consists of survival. Life in their mountainous land (dubbed Tartarus by northern geographers) is hard. It is made harder by the fact that the small villages that survive by farming, ranching, and hunting are all enmeshed in a violent, complicated social structure dating back centuries. Interlocking and overlapping family, tribal and clan loyalties and grievances require every Furnshaktian to be ever-ready for combat. While utterly opaque to outsiders, the inhabitants are always aware of the identity, location and skill at arms of their allies and enemies at all times.
Despite the lurid publications of the north, these ancient grudges rarely get out of hand. Furnshaktians know the price of combat first-hand. They instinctively organize their lives to avoid death, if not bloodshed. It is considered normal and healthy for younger members of a clan to do battle and hone their skills with each other, but maturity and skill brings the wisdom to avoid fights that aren't necessary to defend your hearth and kin.
Furnshakt does not lack for such fights. In addition to feuds between clans and tribes that are unavoidable, the continent is under attack. While the threat of another Aurelian-inspired crusade still looms, new menaces have arisen. Due to their proximity to the Sea of Ghosts, Furnshakt is frequently beset by necro-storms which awake the hungry dead. Devout northerners point to this as proof that the Furnshakt religion is no better than foul necromancy, echoing a common belief that necromancy attracts the storms. In recent years a new danger, the squid-headed illithid wielding nightmarish lobster armor, have begun to raid coastal communities.
The people of Furnshakt are ready and eager for these fights. Their culture and religion hone the legendary battle skills that have kept them independent from the north for centuries. There are few universal constants amongst the tribes, but one is the trial of adulthood. No child, male or female, can be considered an adult unless they have bested a fearsome opponent. The ways this is interpreted are numerous. Some tribes hold annual moots for the sole purpose of allowing their children to batter and bloody each other. Others require the pelt of a dangerous animal, the killing of an enemy in combat, destruction of a hungry dead, undertaking a vision quest or in some rare and decadent cases, a significant wager in a test of skill.
Moots deserve some comment as they are the closest thing to a Furnshaktian government recognizable by their northern neighbors. A moot is a meeting to settle an issue. Anyone can attend, though they usually have regional scope. Moots affecting a few villages can be common, while moots affecting all of Tartarus are legendary and are called once a century at best. A moot is sacred ground and no violence can be done there, nor to anyone marking themselves as traveling to or from a moot. Violation of this law means death, as does abusing the markings of a moot pilgrim.
A moot is presided over by a council of elders, selected by mutual agreement amongst those who have a claim to the title. The jockeying for position on a moot council can sometimes take days. This is one of those rare occasions when groups violently opposed to each other can drink, marry off sons and daughters, and trade together in peace. Once a council has reached agreement on its membership the moot is opened and the question is argued before the council by all who wish to speak.
Oddly enough, the sacred moots have only one power and that is to dismiss the issue. In these rare cases the council declares the issue null and void. All factions are required to abandon their advocacy, take no further action and ignore the issue if it comes up in the future. Such rulings are rare though. Instead the moots provide a forum for an issue to be raised, under the examination and questioning of the wise, for all to hear and decide upon. Once a moot is finished each individual, family, tribe and clan is to decide for themselves where the course of wisdom lays.
Most moots are called only to settle disputes, and to provide a gathering opportunity for clans and tribes that don't normally interact. Legendary moots have provided a forum for warchiefs to inspire and unite all of Furnshakt behind them in mighty wars against northern aggression.
Religion of Furnshakt
If the people of Furnshakt only lived (and comfortably so) under an anarchy that would make a Vyntril pamphleteer blush, that might be enough to turn their northern neighbors against them. Instead it is a difference in faith that has lead to the most friction.
Furnshakt rejects the Aurelian faith. While tribes differ on the existence, power and respect due to the solar deity, the northern religion holds no attraction to them. Instead they worship the spirits of nature, who dwell in their midst. This is sensible as these spirits are wise, powerful, live right next to them and are terrific.
Terrific, as has been mentioned elsewhere, means to inspire terror. Nature-spirits are not lovey-dovey hippie shit. They are nature, red in tooth and claw. To appease the spirits of nature requires you to enter their world. It is a world that knows no bargaining or reason. There is no pity or remorse or fear. There is only survival or death. It has been said that the people of Furnshakt are hard. In comparison, their shamans and vision-questers are pure diamond.
The rituals of those who seek to appease or seek the favor of nature-spirits are too gruesome for publication. Suffice to say there are many from Furnshakt who bear terrible scars with great pride, confident that the torment they underwent brought great blessings upon their people.
While utterly abhorrent to followers of the sun-god, even those of Furnshakt have begun to question their faith. Of late the nature-spirits have grown more demanding in terms of flesh and pain. Some have whispered that continual battering of necro-storms have driven the gods mad. The increasingly grim shamans who deal with the nature-spirits deny this. They claim instead that increasing Aurelian arrogance and assaults by lobster-armored illithids are signs of impending danger. The blood-thirst of the gods is not a sign of madness, but a sign that they are preparing for war.
Furnshakt religion would be dismissed as the backward practices of a land left unconquered by accident of terrain and climate, if it was not for the quests. Shamans and vision questers of Fursnsakt have received instructions from their spirit deities. Some who contact the spirit realms are told (or commanded to tell others) to leave their homeland and do things elsewhere. These instructions are often vague and open-ended. Shenka Varpin of the Raim Tribe and Otter Clan was notoriously instructed to "give voice to the tale that does not speak." After a decade of absence she returned with scrolls allegedly copied from the lizardfolk's Great Library of Rs describing the fortifications used by the elves of Vanawil in their war against the Silvoran Empire. These plans proved effective against illithid raiders against their coastline.
These quests would remain primitive superstition, if the oblivious questers didn't ask others about their ambiguous tasks at gatherings across the land. Unknown to most people, such talk is frequently scribed and forwarded by informants working for the intelligencers of the various kingdoms. Adventurers from Furnshakt are rare and respected, but over the decades the intelligencers of the various nations (and all worthy of the name have long progressed past Dee and Marlowe) have detected a pattern. Barbarian wanderers from Furnsakt often find themselves with companions seeking to unravel their mysterious quests with a fervor greater than their own.
Humans are not the only inhabitants of Furnshakt. In addition to terrible beasts, wild goblins also dwell here. Farming, living, raiding and occasional coastal trading, they are accepted by the humans as just another clan. Like their ghetto-dwelling cousins, the goblins of Furnshakt have adapted to the dominant culture and follow the customs and laws of their hosts to the letter, lest they lose a refuge needed by the sinking of their homeland. Humans and goblins have even married for the purpose of cementing alliances, though it is unrecorded if such marriages were ever consummated.
Rebels against the Federated Kingdoms have also found a home in Furnshakt. Cynics say this is nothing new and say the furriners are nothing more than the last batch of rebels who rejected the Aurelian sun-god and headed south to find freedom. This is never said near anyone who looks like a Furnshaktian. The rebels run the gamut from idealists fighting against the status quo to opportunistic criminals looking for a safe location from which to plot and raid. While various factions have raised alarm at such settlements, the wise heads of Solus prefer to wait, expecting correctly that neighboring tribes will deal with troublesome settlers themselves.
There are some naturalists who have claimed that deep in Furnshakt one can find evidence of Dwarven and Corgyn trade and influence. These are universally dismissed as the fever-dreams of madmen, unprepared for the rigors of exploration.
Furnshakt gets by far the majority of the necrostorms blowing in off the Sea of Ghosts. Skies darken. The air becomes alive with almost tangible amounts of magic. A faint scent of death travels on the strong gusts of wind and a general uneasiness blankets all withing its range. Then bad things begin to happen. Crops wilt. Foods sour. Freak accidents claim lives. Then at the peak of the storm Corpses rise from the grave and all sorts of undead flock toward its eye. Black motes of necromantic energy fall from the sky.
- Furnshakt Follies- The son or daughter of your patron read one too many pamphlets and ran off to join some rebel group hiding amidst the barbarians. Track them down and bring them back alive, willing or not, from the undoubtedly heavily-fortified and guarded compound. Try not to get whacked by the native tribes who aren't fond of intruders.
- Aurelia the Golden- An incredible amount of wealth flows into Aurelia, and very little of it goes back out. It can't all be being used to gild the roofs, right? Search for money in the richest and least forgiving of theft city in the world.
- Good Knight- A good and noble knight has died, and mentioned one of the PCs in his will. Did he really die of natural causes? Was he as good as his reputation says? In any case, Politics Ensue as the others at the reading jockey for loot, power, and heirlooms.
- Powder Keg- The streets of Thrace and Achaea have been dangerous lately. In fact, there are more soldiers on the streets now than the original wars of ownership, and only a little less fighting. Good thing negotiations are proceeding in the Grand Halls of the capitols. Your party has been hired to guard the delegates. Try not to influence them too much?
- Spirited Back-The spirits of Furnshakt, driven to bloodlust by repression from the north, raids on the shores, or just plain bloody-mindedness, have attacked Aurelia and Solus. Defend the north, claim the Altars of the Sun for the spirits, or just profit from the confusion.
- Drow perspective on humanity: There_goes_the_neighborhood