By Uthar the Traveler
In the Beginning the gods created the People. Male and female they made them, even more human than human. It is said Saint Sebastian assisted Ty Rel, the King of the gods. They first created the Aethir, Children of the gods, the First of Creation. Then they made the other races, placing them on Peess, the northern continent.
But the evil Malkorp twisted their holy work, corrupting it to create Orgs, Gobs, and Silurians. He tried to conceal his wickedness on the southern continent of Saitoo, but Ty Rel is a jealous, all-seeing god. You can’t hide anything from him, oh, no. And so there was war in the heavens between Good and Evil.
Philosophers debate whether this war continues. Believers say the gods are no longer seen because they’re too busy fighting, but they will someday return to reward the faithful and judge unbelievers. Believers have an extensive, organized priesthood with temples. Their principle is “peace, love, tranquility” and their symbol is a triangle, signifying the three principles.
Ownlies don’t think the gods are coming back. We’re on our own. There will be no judgment. They say, “The gods help those who help themselves. They put us here to learn to be self-reliant.” The symbol of the Ownlie religion is a circle. They have no organized priesthood and don’t get along well with Believers. Each considers the other infidels.
Followers of Malkorp think the gods will eventually return, but that the evil gods will be the ones who triumph and thus the day of judgment will be a time of chaos and fire. Followers revel in wickedness and depravity. Followers are a secretive, mostly illegal, underground cult except among the Dark Aethir, who practice it openly.
Of other religions, the Prophet says he speaks for the gods, that they have returned and are watching from the moon like spectators in a cosmic coliseum. The war between the gods is to be settled by the actions of the People in this world. For total victory and to usher in Paradise, all unbelievers must be destroyed. His symbol is a crescent moon, with which he adorns his war banners.
Regardless how the world came to be, it consists of two continents—Peess, the northern one, and Saitoo in the south. Peess is temperate and is home to the People, with a civilized core surrounded by more primitive and barbaric hinterlands. Saitoo is much harsher, a land of jungle and wasteland inhabited by hostile inhuman tribes.
Aethir (A) Typically two meters in height, Aethir stand tall, willowy and blonde, the very vision of what a human should be. Highly cultured, with a sense of style and decorum far in advance of any other race, the Aethir are truly the very image of the “children of the gods.”
The Dark Aethir are swarthy brunettes that favor black or red fashions but otherwise are indistinguishable from other Aethir. While a few are natural brunettes, most are the typical blondes who dye their hair. Dark Aethir serve Malkorp with vigor, being known for their cruelty, outrageous entertainments and decadent depravity.
Canis [C] – The typical Canis is about 1.6 meters in height. Gregarious and friendly and superficially resembling dogs, they weigh, on average, around sixty kilograms. They are upright bipedal carnivores covered all over except the palms of their hands in short fur. Mostly nomadic barbarians known for their loyalty and fidelity, they are sometimes found in civilized regions as herdsmen and mercenaries.
Div (D) are fur covered barbarians similar to the Canis, but with pointed ears and a different nature. Fastidious, they despise open water, preferring to bask in the sun. Famed trackers and hunters they make good scouts. They live in various clans: the Black Panthers, Leopardmen, Purrshah, Siamese, Lionmen, and Tigermen.
Gnomes (N) were created by the gods for maintenance work—and made small so they fit into confined spaces. Adult Gnomes stand no taller than a meter and a half. Stocky, they are strong for their size and quite mechanically inclined and clever. Renowned as craftsmen, they favor tall, conical hats that make them seem taller than they actually are. They deny this, insisting the brightly-colored hats are “traditional.”
Mustela (M) Tall, slender and covered in dark, luxurious fur, the Mustela are famed as dancers, but also for their sneaky, conniving nature. They are disdainfully referred to by other races as “weasels.” Often taking the role of thief, footpad, or spy, the Mustela tend to be short tempered and volatile. Their homeland, Mustela, is distainfully called Weaselvania by outsiders.
Ursidae (U) Heavyweight furred humanoids of bulky but powerful physique. They inhabit the northern forests. Well known for their huge appetites, they’re more or less the opposite of the Mustela, being thoughtful, deliberate, and trustworthy. Ursidae are rather ungainly riders and therefore prefer chariots to cavalry.
Gobs (B) are Gnomes corrupted in the Beginning by Malkorp. Skilled craftsmen known best for their booby traps and infernal devices, they are barbaric, crude, untrustworthy and cannibalistic. Avoid them.
Orgs (O) are horrifying, barbaric creatures with green skin and red eyes. They vary greatly in size, with hatchlings being the size of small children. Since they never stop growing, larger Orgs are typically older. Orgs are not “human” as most other races. They are not inter-fertile with other races and lack sexual genitalia. They don’t breed in the usual sense. Instead, when an Org dies, within a few days “hatchlings” emerge from the corpse—feeding upon the rotting flesh. This is the origin of the legend that one must burn dead Orgs to prevent their regeneration. They don’t actually come back from the dead, although hatchlings will sprout and you’ll soon be plagued by more Orgs—thus giving rise to the legend they regenerate.
Various clans exist inhabiting portions of the jungle on Saitoo. Orgs are mostly foragers but sometimes practice a primitive form of agriculture. Avid scroungers, their craftsmanship is enthusiastic but sloppy. They don’t produce metal, but do rework metal obtained from others, usually into weapons of some sort. Ruled by warlords, Org culture is oriented around battle. It’s their favorite activity.
Orgs have a grim, gloomy and unforgiving god, Deeodee, ever watching from the heavens, ready to pass a disapproving judgment upon all. Deeodee values courage and tenacity, grants his followers strength and endurance and has no patience for weakness. Deeodee does not answer prayers. His followers believe it is best not to pray and draw his attention as that can only bring trouble. His name is typically only invoked in curses. Orgs believe Deeodee is the supreme deity. Ty Rel and Malkorp are merely Deeodee’s two favorite footstools. This is, of course, blasphemy.
Silurians (S) are scaled, bipedal reptilian humanoids sometimes referred to as “Lizardmen.” Like Orgs, they are not inter-fertile with other peoples, laying large eggs. Heavily muscled, they stand about two meters tall when full grown. Carnivorous, they prefer “human” meat but aren’t technically cannibals since they aren’t actually human. There are several clans: Dragonmen, Draconians, Raptormen, and Saurians. Related to Silurians, Gar’golim are smaller, lighter with gray skin and large bat-like wings with which they can fly.
Silurians have a rather strange religion. They believe the gods don’t exist. You might ask then, how did the People come to be? The Silurians’ bizarre idea is that natural selection caused lower forms of life to evolve into higher, more complicated ones over millions of years giving rise to the current races. Their credo is, survival of the fittest.
A matriarchy run by Aethir women for Aethir women, they have a different and rather backwards custom that the Queen rules and her oldest daughter inherits.
Race: Dark Aethir
An “empire” dedicated to world domination and the subjugation of “lesser” races, the Aryans guard the purity of their blood to ridiculous extremes.
A trading port at the mouth of the Vile River ruled by the Doge. Upon his death, the notables elect one of their own as replacement. Located on an island at the mouth of the river, they rely mainly on a strong navy for defense.
Renowned for their wine, this feudal kingdom relies on heavily armored, mounted knights for defense, and vast numbers of impoverished serfs for labor. As is common in most places, the knights ride chocobo, large flightless birds typically two meters in height. Chocobo are have been domesticated across the known world to pull plows, wagons, chariots, act as cavalry mounts, and provide a tasty food source. (They taste like chicken.)
The Canis inhabit the northern steppes, living in great felt tents and herding chocobo. There are several clans, each basically independent: The Bulls, Mongrel Horde, Golden Horde, Wranglers, and Wolfen.
The Great Koufax Desert is the home territory of the Div, a barbarian race of furry cat-headed humanoids who shun water. They prefer solitude and rarely settle in larger than family groups. Renowned scouts and trackers, they are great enemies of the men of Tindalos. There are six major clans: Black Panthers, Purrshah, Siamese, Tigermen, and the Leopards.
Emperor Franz Welf
Heirs to power, influence and wealth, the Empire once stretched across the known world like a colossus. But centuries of decline and revolt and ineffectual rulers have left it bereft and weak. Little remains of its once proud heritage save legends and titles. Tall and blond, Imperials consider themselves a separate, superior race, more cultured than the “mongrels” of the surrounding kingdoms. Axis is the capital, so called because centuries ago it was the center of the world. Now just a large but sparsely populated city swollen with heritage and ruins, the glory days of ruling the world just a memory. Colossae, once the site of a gigantic bronze statue of an emperor that long ago collapsed in an earthquake and was broken up for scrap. They specialize in bronze work still. Balindrome, formerly the emperor’s personal estate, is now an ordinary market town. The imperial preserves, once a wooded parkland is now a tangled wild wood haunted by charcoal burners and poachers.
Once a great seaport, Frigia now lies idle due to the pirates. Renowned sword makers, their blades are highly prized. The northern wastes of the kingdom are infested with carnivorous snow wurms.
A realm of debased, cannibalistic troglodytes who worship Malcorp in fearful rites performed by the light of the full moon. The Gobs are uncivilized, existing by raiding their neighbors.
Race: Dark Aethir
A dusty city-state on the edge of the desert famed for its slave markets, offers slaves for all purposes: prostitution, menial labor, slave-soldiers, slave mentors and more. Everything here has a price and nothing is sacred, as long as you have the coin to pay.
Known for their orchards, Hastur cider is exported across the world. In honor of this, their king traditionally is garbed entirely in yellow. A peaceful land, the inhabitants live without walls or gates.
Plagued by dragons from the Dragonwood, they have become renowned bowmen using two-meter long bows few others can handle. Ulthar is famous for its cats. Inganok is built entirely of onyx.
A religious order of knighthood sworn to defend civilization from infidels. Their Grand Master rules a fief along the barbarian frontier.
Famous for their anthracite, a mystical mineral that releases vast amounts of heat when burned, this city is tenacious in defense of their independence.
Ruler: Baal Hammon
A city-state ruled by Dark Aethir priests, exists to worship the White Worm, a "divine" being others might better characterize as a demonic monster.
Lauff, a seaport of notable size, lies along the shores of the sea at the mouth of the Riparian River. Fish is considered an abomination to them. They prefer the flesh of chocobo, served with pickled cucumbers.
Religion: The Prophet
Home of The Prophet, Makka is a dusty barbarian realm on the edge of the known world.
Commonly known as Weaselvania, Mustela is home to the furry humanoids others commonly refer to as “coons.” Bloodthirsty maniacs with short tempers, they frequently find employment as mercenaries, assassins, bounty hunters and enforcers. Weasels love to dance. They also despise the men of Tindalos, who consider them “fine pelts.”
A realm of necromancers and ghouls, obsessed with death and the dead.
Onset, said to be the original home of Man, hosts ancient ruins, great temples, vast pyramids and the enigmatic sphinx. Lying along the Vile River (so named for the foul things that drift down with the current from Stygia upstream), Onset borders Nubia, an oft war-torn province that changes hands regularly between Onset and Stygia. Cryptos is home of ancient tombs, many beneath huge pyramids. Carex is a swampy province known for paper making.
They rely on tamed Mammoths as draft animals pulling enormous wagons or plowing entire fields at once.
Once merely hiding places for outlaws, these islands grew from loot and now seek to become respectable.
Magnus, the Inscrutable
A city-state of Dark Aethir famous for its sorcery. Stygia lies at the mouth of the Vile River, so called for the abominable things that float their way down it to the sea. Powerful sorcerers live in a mountainous realm surrounded, it is said, by vast, untamed wastelands filled with fantastic beasts. Their main export is lotus blossom paste, a narcotic often used (and abused) in pain medication.
They began as simple woodcutters but branched out into all types of intricate woodworking.
The city-state of the Archbishop, spiritual head of the Believers. Home to the Temple and headquarters of the dreaded Witch Hunters.
A land of Dark Aethir renowned for their dog breeding skills. Dog fighting is their national sport. Known for street vendors selling “hot dog” sausage sandwiches. (Just don’t ask what’s in the sausage—it’s yesterday’s loser.) Famed hunters, they value the pelts of Mustela and Div.
A land of fire and iron. Fanatically anti-magic, their state inquisitors root out and burn anyone with magical residue (and scores of innocents as well). To their mind, there are no innocents, only varying degrees of the guilty. They rely heavily on state control and indoctrination, as well as technological progress, to counter their lack of magic. Their armies well known for their heavily armored infantry, the invention of the "crossbow" and their iron discipline.
A group of seven nominally independent city-states acting in close alliance:
Named for the smith of the gods, the Kingdom of Vulcania is known for their metalworking. The Caverns of Mordia pass entirely through the mountains, with one entrance overlooking the Scythian Plains and the other the forest of Nephilwald. The caverns are ancient mines that produce iron work of exceptional quality.
This kingdom lies at the mouth of the River Styx. Descendants of pirates, their King dwells in Castle Roguefort along the sea.
The forest home of dragon lizards, huge mammoth-size carnivorous lizards. Contrary to your bedtime stories, these dragons do not breathe fire, nor can they talk and they’re just as likely to devour a slut as a virgin.
The giant spiders produce a silk so fine it defies description. But they also produce a poison that stuns even large creatures for long periods. Thus the forest is uninhabited and rarely visited.
The “island of the gods” lying off the southern coast of Peess. The gods are said to have lived atop Mount Olympus in the center of the island. Few explorers return from the place, none that dared climb the mountain.
Saitoo is divided in twain by the Mountains of Madness. The Orgs inhabit the jungles to the west, the Lizardmen the eastern regions. Lizardmen are “civilized” or at least aren’t as barbaric as the Orgs.
Home to the Chameleons, who eschew clothing for body paint indicating rank, status, wealth, and mood.
Sage Chilon of Draconia
Home to the Draconians, known for their intricate metalwork.
Home to the Dragon Men, a mutated race of humans with scaly skin and reptilian features. They insist they are not human, which therefore makes their taste for human flesh "not cannibalism."
Raptors are famed hunters and the only “uncivilized” clan of Silurians.
Saurians are famed alchemists and herbalists and the originators of the evolutionist heresy. Never turn down a chance to taste Saurian brandy.
Org clans include Da Bois, Da Best, Da Crushers, Da Furst, Da Green Weenies, Leathernecks, and Simplify!