Friday, August 12, 2016

Nation Spotlight: Quesaras


The forested lands around the Quesar mountains have been the homeland of the Elves for millennia. The Ophiduans have records of the Elven people prior to that, speaking of graceful people with angled eyes and pointed ears. The elves settled into the region as the Ophiduans withdrew from the cooler forests for the warmer jungles of the north.

The elves began to settle the region, slowly leaving the forests for the safety of the plains around the base of the Quesar mountains. over time, elven culture branched off into three subcultures that have managed to stay aligned. Elves do not seperate themselves into societies, they consider themselves as one society of people walking different paths.

The elves were almost completely untouched during the breaking, as no natural disasters struck them, and they took no part in the war. Why the dwarves were so completely decimated, and the Elves remained free of divine retribution is something that has puzzled scholars for the last few generations.


Describing Quesaran culture is to describe three distinct subcultures that are slightly blended. It is not unheard of elves to leave their home and instead live amongst on of the other cultures, or to blend the two cultures into one of their own. Elves do not believe in tradition over ones own needs, and the one unifying theme of each culture is the belief that each individual must walk their own path.

The elves slowly split into three distinct groups. First are the Ilthunwé, who are traditionalists that have stuck to ancient ways of tribalism and druidism. They inhabit the Ilthun forest which surrounds the Quesar mountains, and they are the wardens and first line of defence of the Elves. Most outsiders consider them primitive and animalistic, but in reality they have a deep connection with nature and their lands, and are fiercely protective of them.

The second and most numerous group is the Quesaran. These elves have made beautiful towns and cities of the plains that exist in the spaces between the forest and the base of the mountains, as well as carving settlements into the base of the mountains themselves. The Quesaran are the type of elf most commonly encountered outside of Quesaras, and have even begun to spread into the world.

The final group are the Ascetics. They are the smallest in number, and leave high amongst the peaks of the mountain range in the bitter cold, their monasteries carved directly from the stone, hanging over precariously in some instances. The Ascetics have a monastic tradition that has recently been coupled with new psionic influences, and the Ascetics are some of the most gifted and focused psions in the world.

Language and names

The language of the elves is called Queshtallan, a breathy and flowing language, often described as somewhat musical. The Ilthunwé tend to sound more gruff, and the Ascetics tend towards a more soft and breathy accent, but the language is otherwise unchanged between all cultures.

Names are a more complicated affair. You can easily tell the culture an elf was born to by the name they bear, as each subculture has different naming conventions.

The Ilthunwé have given names, tribe names and place names. Their given names are chosen by the tribe, the tribe name is simply the tribe they were born to. The place names are a name chosen by the individual on maturity, denoting a place that holds their spirit, and where their spirit will live in the afterlife.

Quesaran names follow a simpler convention of first name and last name, similar to humans, except the last name comes from the month of their birth or holiday they were born on, rather than being linked to a family.

Ascetic Elves have one name, preceded by a title to denote their progress on the path to enlightenment (represented by their level in certain classes). Those that do not follow the path to enlightenment simply have the title "Follower" in front of their name.

Male Names (Ilthunwe): Alham, Banad, Bhaval, Dhalhev, Eloham, Hamal, Ilehal, Jhaham, Kalehv, Mhanal, Rhaval, Vhalan.

Female Names (Ilthunwe): Anhali, Aelhora, Bhenama, Evhala, Ghellana, Imharim, Jhellesi, Lhiamari, Lhomora, Maharem, Naharem, Yalhalla.

Tribal names: Ashelltara (The broken river people), Ashellmhar (River runners), Callazhatar (Tree singers), Dhomharav (Mourning wanderers), Ellamhash (Warrior Hunters), Holhamah (Stonebringers), Ilvhunara (Dream walkers), Jhamosh (Death bringers), Khovhalla (True-seers), Lonashta (Plains tender), Mharhallash (People of the cave), Ollahar (Knives and bow),  Queshanna (Those who returned), Rahameld (The silent), Yonhllarna (Ever Bonded).

Male Names (Quesaran): Amhan, Bhoshan, Cadhal, Ellanon, Hlan, Hemhan, Ivhanar, Jharosh, Khallam, Ohlam, Queshtam, Rhaniv, Tlanhon, Umar, Zinhav.

Female Names (Quesaran): Amarhaea, Anathae, Beravhae, Dhelvaea, Ellha,  Ghelhraea, Inathae, Jhamhalaea, Lhahrashi, Mhoramaea, Nhairae, Rhinnihalhae, Tlhynhylae, Ynhlavae.

Male Names (Ascetic): Anshou, Barvhanum, Dharmhav, Elhavor, Ghandorhu, Hlanathtar, Ilvunhar, Ishlhunar, Khaaniv, Lhosadan, Mhorovhum, Palhashtar, Rhojonhar, Thlhanthar.

Female Names (Ascetic) Aanhura, Anhavari, Bharvara, Dharmana, Elhomhira, Ghanari, Hlondi, Illhunara, Khelharma, Lasvhani, Nhavhala, Rhanvili, Vhaneera, Zharhamani.

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Broken world has a year consisting of 370 days, broken into 12 months of 30 days, with 10 days set aside between certain months. Every three years, an 11th holiday is added to the calendar to keep it in synch with the seasons. The common calendar is the Imperial Standard, which names all 12 months and holidays, but the truth is that it is merely a renaming of the old Ophiduan calendar. The elves also have their own names for each of the months, as well as the holidays. The dwarves for the most part have abandoned their old calendars, adopting the Imperial standard. Most other races has adopted the Imperial standard now out of convenience.

(please note that certain nations may have their own holidays of important dates for them to be determined at a later date.)

The months are broken into six weeks of five days. The days of the weeks are:

The months and holidays are:

Holiday: Leaping: This is the first day of the year, celebrating the first day of spring and the end of winter. It is usually a time of celebration and of making new friends. The Ophiduans call it Mass'hissta, which translates to "Awakening", to represent the end of the cold times of torpor. The elves call it Nahamaea, which translates to "Rebirth", a time when the forest begins to grow.

Month: Dyash: Named after the first Emperor, founder of the Imperium. The first month of the year is traditionally a time that planting of crops begins, as well as the breeding season for most species. The Ophiduans call the time Shess'tissar, which translates to "Quickening" a time that the females of their species might enter the fertile period. The Elven Calender refers to this month as Ahaenan, which translates to "Green Bud", to represent the plants coming back to growth.

Month: Astorus: Named for the Imperial family, this month marks when the Imperial government sits to debate laws and policy. By this time spring is usually in full swing, and the lands light up with growth and greenery. The Ophiduan name for this month is  Ha'shassas, which translates roughly to "Shedding", as many Ophiduans make a yearly shedding of a layer of scales that flake off individually throughout the month. The Elves call this month Nayaeam, which means "Open Leaves".

Holiday: Manare: This Holiday takes its name from an ancient Imperial story of a man that pursued his lost love through the world, only to die happy in her arms the moment he found her. It is a time to express love and joy, and often lovers will exchange gifts with each other. The Ophiduans call this day Iss'thissis, which roughly translates to "Day of rest" indicating the day of the year that Ophiduans traditionally ceased any form of work for quiet introspection. For the elves, this is called Ohaemhar, which translates to "Dance of life".

Month: Shennia: This month is named after the wife of the first Emperor. In Umbrachtlan, it is the month that the Penumbral Brotherhood measures the shadow boundaries to determine if their theory that the eclipse is growing in area is correct. The Ophiduan name for this month is Sisp'issias, which means "Hunting", though this is not meant for hunting prey, but for those newly mature to hunt for their purpose in life. The elves refer to this as Ilthunias, and it is a holy month for the Ilthunwe Elves.

Holiday: Sunbeam: This holiday represents the first day of summer, and is the most joyous of the holidays on the Imperial Calender. It is coupled with festivals throughout the Imperium, and the practise has started to spread over the last few decades to other nations and peoples. In contrast, the Ophiduans call this day Iss'ashassas, which translates to "Warm-blooded" and is a call to action for work. The elves refer to it as Mahalem, which means "Sun's kiss", and it is a day of peace.

Month: Invaris: This is the first month of summer, named for Empress Invaria, granddaughter of the first Emperor. It was briefly named Oskas after her father, but their antogonistic relationship is best seen by her renaming of this month after his death. The Ophiduan name for this month is Hass'oshasra, or "Steaming", referring to the time that the jungle begins to warm and become more humid. Lhaerama is the Elven month which means "Butterfly" as the Quesaran Monarch, the largest species, emerge from their chrysalis and take flight in this month.

Holiday: Sandoth: This holiday celebrates the life of the Military hero who subjugated Northire, though now it is an excuse to wear fake military inspired costumes and tell children stories. Most other nations outside the imperium do not celebrate this holiday, merely marking it on the Calendar. For the Ophiduans, this day is Esha'oassas, which translates literally as "Aggression Bite", but indicates a time to tackle challenges that have presented themselves. The Elves call this day Naythaue, and it translates to "Heart eternal" and it is a day of family, friendships and romantic love.

Month: Helion: This month is the hottest month of the year. It is traditionally seen as a month of indolence for the Caliphate of Bax, as in the wastes the heat became unbearable. This tradition has continued despite the abandonment of the wastes. The Ophiduans call this month Orsh'isassa, "The Shade", which is a time that they avoid midday sun. Sehelum is the Elven month which means "The Gleaming", which is taken from the reflected sunlight from the eternally snow covered peaks of the Quesaran mountain ranges.

Holiday: Brightmoon: This holiday is celebrated by a raucous and drunken revelry in most human lands, and other races have adopted this tradition too. The Ophiduan name for this day is Oss'Rushasst, which is "The Mourning" and is a day that the Ophiduan mourn those useful individuals that they have lost. For the Elves, this day is Ehamile, "Beauty" and is a day of art and music.

Holiday: Brightsun: This holiday is an official rest day through most human lands. In Tenchnocticlan, it was a day to honour the Sun deity, but now in Umbrachtlan, it is a solemn day to remind them what their hubris cost them. The Ophiduans call this day Vess'istassa, "Blooding", after a traditional day that hatchlings are given their first live prey. For the elves, this day is Bahelaya, or "Sun dance" and is a joyous celebration of the summer months.

Month: Gostus: Gostus is named after an ancient hero of mythology of the imperium. Gostus was said to have driven the "Scaled ones" from the lands that would later become the Imperium. Ophiduans scoff at this idea, saying that a decline in their population led them to withdraw from their western holdings. The Ophiduan name for this month is Esho'hassasos, "Culling", as this is the month that any eggs that fail to hatch after a decade are left in the sun to either hatch or perish. Elves refer to this month as Ilhorim, "Seeds", to denote when many plants begin to release their seeds.

Holiday: Reaping: This holiday denotes the beginning of Autumn and the harvest season. It is also known as the day of the dead, and a time when malevolent spirits must be warded away with loud noises and masks to confuse them. The ophiduan's have similar traditions for this day, claiming that they originated them. Their word for the day is Liss'oorassra or "Cloaking" and is actually in reference to shielding ones mind from dark thoughts. For the Elves, this day is Ihalilahm, and is a solemn day where resolutions are made to better one's life.

Month: Caldus: This month is a time where harvest season begins, as well as testing crops for dangerous mutations and poisons. It is named for Caldus Tastors, a poet that penned Ode to Astorina, a work extolling the virtues of the Imperium. Ophiduans call this month Kess'ossal, "Gorging" and many Ophiduans that seek to enter torpor begin to gorge themselves to store energy for their inactivity. The elves refer to this month as Oolhanar, which has no direct translation, but roughly translates to "The orange time" which refers to the moment where trees begin to lose their green, and a slight yellowing of the leaves begins.

Month: Veshon: Named for Veshonnia, a high ranking noblewoman who uncovered a plot against the Astori family and subtly maneuvered the plotters into exposing themselves. This month sees harvesting begin in earnest, as well as grain and crop traders busiest season. Ophiduans refer to this as Koss'kassasis, "Sated". For the Elves, it is Hlahlanar ,"The red time", to indicate the leaves turning red and brown.

Holiday: Ascatarre: This holiday is a time when farmers pay taxes in human lands. It is not truly marked by any celebrations by most, though some wealthy and noble families have recently begun to hold private dinners to celebrate their wealth. For the Ophiduans it is Ki'ss'isashla, "Darkness" to indicate when those entering torpor begin to shun the light of day. For the Elves, this day is Tlhahanalath, "Pain and suffering" which is a time to remember the hard times that you have experienced, but also to celebrate getting past them.

Month: Essma: This month is an ancient name according to human historians, but in truth it may be a appropriation of the Ophiduan name of the month Ess'massosis, "The time of preparation". It is so named as those seeking to enter torpor will meditate to prepare their bodies and minds for the slow slide into inactivity. For the Elves This month is named Livhanira "The Falling" when the leaves are shed by the trees and the days shorten and become colder.

Holiday: Sightfrost: This holiday marks the coming of winter. It is a time when the rich traditionally give to the poor, and it can be a mark of status as to who donates the most. It is also a time when children are given small gifts of toys and sweets. For the Ophiduans, they too give gifts to the young. But for them, the gifts during the holiday of Sess'kossasma  are tools that may be useful in upcoming studies and careers. The elves give gifts to children also, calling this holiday Mhakhonosh "The giving time".

Month: Nevar: Named for the Nevarra family, an extinct noble line that gave service to the Imperium for centuries. Nevar is a cold month that shows the first signs of frost and the first falls of snow. The ophiduans call this month Siss'missash , "Heating Pit", which is a time the Ophiduans begin to stoke coal fire pits in special heat cabins throughout their cities and settlements. The Elves call this month Shalhevh or "Snowflakes".

Month: Bifrast: This month is named after the sacking of a Hastrix fort Bifraat centuries ago during one of the many wars of independence. It was considered unassailable during the deep winter, but the Astorini convinced a local Archdruid to melt the ice and snow on the path up to the gate, and the wooden fort was burned to the ground. It is the coldest of the months, and even the deserts of the wastes can experience frost and snowfall at times. The Ophiduans call this month Liss'ossmas which translates to "Vigilance", which is a time do guard against the cold, as well as enemies that may attack the Ophiduans who are in torpor. The elves call this Qeulhentha, which means "Avalanche", for this is the time of the year that the high peaks of the Quesaran mountains can shed large avalanches down the mountains.

Month: Welvond: Welvond is named after the myth of the Frost lord Welvond, whom the gods banished to allow the world to flourish. It is a cold month, but it shows the world beginning to warm ever so slightly, as if winter is slowly being banished once again. The Ophiduans call this Res'ssomiss which translates to "Burned", referring to an ancient Ophiduan city that burnt to the ground due to careless tending of the heat pits in the torpor chambers. For the Elves, this month is Roshlhanat or "Gleaming white" and refers to the sun shining off the white snow of the mountains at the end of the winter months.

Holiday: Crouching:This is the final day of the year, and a time that is used to reflect on the year, and to give up on any ill will or grudges. For the Ophiduans, it is Or'sillassasi which means "Final breath", which is not in reference to death, but rather the final deep slow breath during torpor before the body rouses. The elves call this day Tlhanabhaal, which translates to the "Cascade" as the snow begins to melt and rush down from the mountains.

Special holiday: Waiting: This holiday is inserted between Crouching and Leaping every 3 years, and keeps the calendar in synch with the seasons. For humans, this was always a simple marking of the Calendar. However, some have started celebrating it as the birth day of Delan, even though there is little to no evidence that he was born on this day. Ophiduans, displaying practicality, call this day Moh'ssissasserass'aama'sor'hassa, which translates to the phrase "A day added to keep the balance". For the elves, this day is called Ehlha, or "Blessing" for the extra day given to a person in a year.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Region Spotlight: The Salt Marshes


The lands know known as the Salt Marshes were once the bulk of eastern Sytheria. These new lands were born when he tidal wave that smashed over the coasts of Sytheria and washed inland began to recede. Ancient Sytherian cities had been levelled or abandoned, and the once lush jungle was poisoned with salinity, withering away in a matter of years, forcing the survivors into the untouched lands of Sytheria and Sytheros to the east.

This tragedy, however, was seen as a blessing to a people that had almost been driven to extinction by the Sytherians: The Saurians, also called "Lizardfolk" in a derogatory manner. Once a proud shamanistic culture, they had been oppressed, and in some dark times of the past, culled, by the Ophiduans. Prior to the breaking, they eked out a miserable existence on the southern edges of Sytheria, reduced to a handful of tribes competing over meagre resources.

After the waters receded, the tribes cautiously began to move into these new lands, and found they were perfectly adapted to the marshy lands and mangrove swamps that began to form. With their shorter lifespans and fecundity, the Saurians have increased their number 10-fold in the last 200 years, becoming a dominant force in the Salt marshes. Saurians have a culture based around Shamanism, druidism and atavism, with places given spiritual significance as much as spirits or animals.

The Saurians are not the only claimants to these new lands, as the rapid adaptation of some species of aquatic creatures has brought new monstrous denizens to the Marshes. The Salt Marshes are an untamed and brutal lands, full of natural dangers and lost Ophiduan treasures.

The most dangerous claimant to the marshes are a race long thought to have gone extinct, the Dhashou, a race of Amphibious humanoids that were an ancient enemy to the Ophiduans. It was assumed they had been wiped out seventy thousand years ago, but now some Dhashou settlements have been sighted along the coasts and the archipelago of the Shattered Isles of the north east. The Dhashou have a fanatical belief that they are the only sentient species, and every other race is a lie sent by dark spirits from a metaphysical space they call Mharakhour. Dhashou are also psionically mute, and have a natural resistance to psionic powers, though they are not immune. They do wield a form of divine power that is similar to that used by clerics and paladins, but as yet no deity has ever claimed the Dhashou as worshippers.

Nation Spotlight: Sytheros


The lands of north western Sytheria had long held a more martial and insular people, especially within a small sect of political dissidents known as the Fangs of Shamshas. This sect believed that the normal Ophiduan tactic to wait for the younger races to destroy themselves was a mistake, and that Sytheria should be increasing their armies and reclaiming their lands by force.

This sect entered torpor as the tensions that would become the war had only begun to rise. They decided on a torpor of 5 decades, and fell into a psionic slumber. When they awoke, they were horrified to see a world in chaos, with millions of Ophiduans killed from the fallout of the "Human war". The Sytherian council had consolidated their position over most of the remnant of their lands, but the Fangs of Shamshas were able to wrest control of the northern portion of their lands, tapping into a disaffected populace, angry over their races near extinction.

The new nation of Sytheros


Whilst in many ways similar to their sister nation of Sytheria, Sytheros does have some important differences. Their is no council of elders, but rather it is ruled by the Twin Fangs. These are 2 psionic, albino twin Ophiduans, Shess-kolass and Esh-tassa. They are egg-mates, hatched from the same single egg, and they claim that the natural order is for Ophiduans to rule the entire continent once again. Their rule is unquestioned, and Esh-tassa has broken with tradition, keeping her own egg from her recent breeding, intending to raise the offspring herself to rule the nation one day.

The ruling class consists of members of the Fangs of Shamshas, as the sect seized control over a disaffected populace searching for guidance. The Fangs are claimed to be equal, but actually have a strict hierarchy based on the trust of their superiors in the Sect. Those that show ruthlessness and dogmatic conformity are openly courted to join the organisation. To be a Fang is both prestigious and dangerous, as many liken it to a den of vipers all watching one another for a chance to strike.

Outsiders of other races are allowed into the borders, but they are never made fully welcome. It is not unheard of for merchants to have their stores closed and goods confiscated for somewhat dubious reasons, or for a member of the Fangs of Shamshas to openly proselytise in the streets for the Ophiduans to rise up in an event called "The Wave", an allusion to wiping humanity off the map, much like the tidal wave that killed so many Ophiduans 2 centuries ago.

Sytherosi are more distrustful of outsiders than Sytherians in general, and they see their southern neighbours as misguided. However, the two nations are closely allied, as they are the only Ophiduan nations of any size left in the known world.

Language and Names.

The main language of Sytheros is Sissthassian, and their naming conventions are identical to neighbouring Sytheria. Their names have started to take a more aggressive form of description when translated literally into other languages.

Nation Spotlight: Sytheria


The homeland of the Ophiduans, Sytheria, is an ancient nation, full of rich and proud history. At one point, Sytheria covered the entirety of the continent, though over millenia, other Ophiduan nations began to splinter off. These nations slowly fell to the predations and expansions of the younger races, until for the last 2000 years, Sytheria was alone as the homeland of the Ophiduans once more.

The Ophiduans state that the empire of Sytheria was the third great empire of their people. The last two empires were the ancient Qunori, and the prehistoric Umshtalli. Ophiduans are not just a long lived race, they are a truly ancient culture stretching back over a hundred thousand years of recorded history, and some Umshtalli writings speak of 4 ancient empires of their own.

Prior to the breaking, the Ophiduans were biding their time. They controlled the north east of the continent, and were content to wait for the humans to provide their own downfall so that they could reclaim the continent again. Ophiduan patience proved to be a mistake however. Though they watched with some interest during the war, even providing some minor support to the Faithless, they simply assumed the humans would wipe themselves out, allowing them to begin to spread back out to the world again.

When the breaking commenced, they cried out in horror as a tsunami smashed against their coasts, driving miles inland and washing ancient cities away, wiping out almost half of their species. Even as the waters receded, the land of lush jungle had given way to brackish marshland. The lizardfolk (E-tar-i in the Ophiduan language), degenerate throwbacks to their past, claimed these new lands that were perfectly suited to them.

When Sytheros also broke away, Sytheria became a nation on the brink of extinction. The ophiduans of both nations now desperately search for a way to increase their fecundity, lest the "lesser" races outbreed them in this dangerous new world.


Sytherian culture focuses on self reliance and is a ruthless meritocracy. Every member of their society is expected to show some use, or risk becoming a total pariah. Those that succeed are rewarded, whereas failure is treated with disdain. The Ophiduans as a people do not believe in good or bad luck, so success or failure is always attributed to skill. When hatchlings are going through formative education, they are closely monitored to determine if any show promise towards particular skills, and then those skills are fostered aggressively. This means that most often a life path is laid out for them before they have a chance to choose one.

Sytheria is ruled by a council of elders. To be selected to the council is a high honour, and is usually the culmination of a lifetime of achievement. The council votes on each new member, and tends towards a conservative view. However, those that research ways to increase Ophiduan birth-rates are seen as potential candidates should they achieve success.

Sytherians do not have a sense of family, as females lay 1-2 eggs during fertility cycle in a communal chamber. Once hatched, the hatchlings are taken to brood-keepers and raised until they have had their first moult. After this, the younglings are taken into class, and intense psionic training begins.

Sytherian culture has always had a focus on the psionic, as Ophiduans as a race are naturally psionic. It is not uncommon to see Ophiduan psionic masters teaching classes to young members of their race, eager to allow their skills to be shared amongst their people. However, the concept of monetising their skills is a relatively new idea to them, but one that is beginning to take hold. The Guild of Psionics now has many Ophiduan members sharing the deep psionic history and secrets of their race.

Language and Culture

The official language of Sytheria is Sisthassian, a sibilant language punctuated with trilling clicks and growls. It is a difficult language for non-ophiduans to replicate, though Dromites come close to it with their clicking mandibles.

Sisthassian names are usually sibilant sounding, with the symbol " - " representing a trilling click or growl depending on the individual name. The closest most non-Ophiduans can come to this sound is a poppping or click with the tongue. Sisthassian names are very descriptive, and may change slightly over the lifespan of the Ophiduan, as someone's successes or failures may add qualifying descriptions.

Names are gendered, with female names always beginning with vowels or the letter y and male names always beginning with consonants. They always contain sibilant S sounds, sometimes multiple times. Ophiduans names are mononymous.

Male names: Bass-ssistas, B-shallass, Cass-ssasas, Dossas-sor, Gussoss-is, Ha-ssossos, Joss-osses, Kassis-aress, Losho-ssir, Quoss-lossh, Rississ-mos, Sshas-siras, So-sslostis, Tsils-shosor, Vash-tashas, Xi-ss-sathish, Zoshi-missos.

Female names: A-ssossusa, Ashi-shassa, Assu-saess,  E-sselessus, Ees-shalaes, Ess-isisthra, Ishtassish-as, Iss-orsisser, O-oshass-shi, Oonsha-ossars, Uisha-ssanssa, Usoss-ussassa, Yiss-anthrass, Yolshashassa-sa.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Nation Spotlight: The Caliphate of Bax


The Caliphate of Bax was a desert culture tied to the four oases of the northern wastes: Shahna, Mahamur, Envallah and Nakhmek. The Caliphs warred between themselves for centuries, before being united 600 years ago by Emir Ohankha Al'Mharoumha Mahamur. Ohankha brokered a power sharing arrangement between the 4 emirates , where the post of Caliph would be shared amongst the families. Even though the Al'Mharouma family later reneged on this deal and kept the title of Caliph for themselves, the nation had prospered so well under Ohankha that the other families accepted their rulership on the conditions that they maintained autonomy over their own lands. Ohankha had managed to take 4 squabbling caliphates and unite them under a single shared idea; that the Emirates were stronger together than tearing each other apart.

During the war, the Caliphs all saw an opportunity to claim the fertile lands in the southern duchies. The Baxish had a thriving economy based around the crystal and sands of the wastes that they traded to Northire and Sytheria , as the crystals of the wastes were excellent at holding arcane and psionic energies. However, the chance to seize fertile lands proved too much, and they blatantly began grabbing lands of the southern duchies during the war.

As of the breaking, the Baxish were in an excellent position. Their armies were still intact, and they held large swathes of land of the Duchies of Kile and those of southern Zene. As they shored up their gains, they turned their eye to Nove, knowing that even with their population of trained military personal, it was ripe for the taking. However, within 3 years of the breaking, the Baxish were finally struck with the horrors of the breaking. The lifegiving waters of the Oases began to foul, turning at first bitter, and then poisonous. The citizens of the Caliphate were forced to abandon their ancestral homes, fleeing to the newly claimed lands. Now, the Baxish live side by side with their conquered neighbours. Even 200 years later, tensions remain high as the Baxish are given preferential treatment by the ruling families.


Baxish culture is based around loyalty to ones family first. Nepotism is considered a way of life, and no one truly questions when a favoured son is placed as an ambassador or trade leader. The genders are in most ways equal, but it is expected for both men and women to marry and start a family as soon as possible. Those who choose not to marry are seen as untrustworthy or deluded. This has begun to slowly bleed into the Aexen society of the new Baxish lands.

Marriage between two Baxishi is a straightforward affair, with one of the members of the union formally joining the other's household. This was traditionally the wife, but with the changed world, nearly a full third of unions result in the husband joining his new wife's house. Marriage between 2 Aexen people is also considered straightforward, with their own traditions holding firm. In the occasion that a Baxishi married an Aexen, however, things become more complicated. The Aexen cannot join the Baxishi house, and the union, whilst legal, does not provide legal status of Baxishi to the spouse, but does apply to any children of the union. However, if the union is dissolved, the children may or may not retain their legal status as Baxishi. Those unfortunate people are known as "Mahsouma" and are a small but growing population of disaffected citizens.

Bax is also a land of Bureaucracy. Baxishi citizenship is a highly formalised legal status. You must be added to both the citizen register as well as the family ledger to be considered a citizen. Removal from one or both of these negates any prior citizenship. Baxishi are the only people allowed to hold business and trading license, and such licenses must be renewed on a biannual basis. Crimes against Baxishi are dealt harsher punishment, and the word of a Baxishi is considered twice as relevant in court to anothers.

Clothing styles are mixed in Bax. The Baxishi retain their traditional garb of long, flowing robes and headwear, including scarves, turbans, and veils. It is considered rude in Baxish society to not obscure at least some portion of ones face or head. The Aexen people have begun to slowly adopt some aspects of the style, with their own tunics and pants becoming looser and more flowing in appearance. The Aexen generally leave their heads uncovered, a clear reminder to the Baxishi that they are still conquerers of a foreign land.

Language and Names

The official language of Bax is Arasac, a melismatic and flowing language punctuated with "emphatic consonant" sounds and other unique sounds to the language.  The symbol ( ' ) is used to denote a brief pause in the middle of a name or word, and to show the following sound is unrelated to the sounds made before it.

Arasac names follow this melismatic quality for the most part. Baxishi have three names. A personal name, a family name, and then an emirati name. These are traditionally named for one of the four oases, but a new tradition of some families renaming themselves "Baxishahn" "Khilishahn" or "Zenishahn" or  has begun to arise in the last 50 years, to represent their formal adoption of their new lands.

Another quirk is that all first names are masculine. Female gender is qualified by the use of particular suffixes. This is a holdover from the ancient Baxishi times, when women were segregated and considered chattel of their male relatives.

(please note that with first names, ( ' ) can be added at any point to change the name to a different form. eg Alshamahk could become Al'Shamahk, Als'Hamahk, Alsh'Amahk, Alsha'Mahk or Alshahm'Ahk)

Male names: Abhour, Alshamahk, Amouzhir, Binsohmar, Dhulsomir, Ehnohim, Emshatahl, Faroukhar, Fahtimir, Hamoudhan, Hunhudhir, Jhanhoud, Khasoum, Khoushar, Lhakham, Lhozhahim, Mahmouhkz, Mohomhakh, Nazhoumam, Nohamouhk, Obashir, Omakahn, Pahkoum, Qiradhour, Qizhadahn, Vihdazhom Yodhouzh, Zazhoudh.

Female Suffixes: 'Akhoum, 'Khalv, 'Zha, 'Zhoum.

Family names: Al'Ahmahd, Al'Azhahad Al'Bahir, Al'Dhasouhma, Al'Faroukh, Al'Fatihr, Al'Ghahma, Al'Hamahkh, Al'Jhafon, Al'Khabohr, Al'Mharoumha, Al'Nazeem, Al'Nazhir, Al'Ohkan, Al'Qirazhj, Al'Rhakhmoud, Al'Tamukh, Al'Yabhan, Al'Zhihndar.

Emirati names: Baxishahn, Envallah, Khilishahn, Mahamur, Nakhmek, Shahna, Zenishahn.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Nation Spotlight: Nove


Nove was always known as the Unbroken Duchy throughout its existence. This title came from the fact that it always successfully repelled incursions from the Astorina Imperium to the west, as well as the Caliphate of Bax to the south. Novans were always fiercely loyal to their Dukes and Duchesses, and considered the borders of their own duchy, as well as the other duchies, to be sacred.

Nove has never been a highly populated or prosperous Duchy, but it had formidable armies due to a mandatory conscription period for every citizen. Each citizen must enter their term of service between 16 and 25, and for a period of 3 years service, though these years need not necessarily be contiguous. In this way, Nove fields a well trained army greater than the size of their populace dictates, and in times of need, can call upon all citizens to defend their borders as needed. Though most return to their former lives, a significant portion remain in the army.

The war changed many things, wiping some Duchies from the map entirely. Nove's borders remain as they always have, but to say this nation was not changed would not be correct. Nove was deeply commited to the war, but only to the point of defending their borders and ensuring the continuing independence of the Duchies against the Imperium, Bax, and Zynos. When the comet struck, much of their standing army was vaporised instantly, and other forces were destroyed in the blast wave.

Today, Nove is like a time capsule to the past. They cling fervently to their old ways, and they speak of the world as if the changes are temporary, and that the true Duchies will rise once again. But the world has moved on, and though they still defend their borders, they have finally met an enemy that is slowly taking their southern territories from them... the expanding deserts of the Wastes.


After splitting from the imperium, the Novans embraced Aexen culture like the other duchies, and the concept of family and community is best shown in Nove. Poverty is less of a problem, as most Novans are unwilling to let a neighbour live in squalor and destitution if they have the power to help. Personal responsibility exists, but is applied as a sense of personal responsibility to ones family, community and nation.

Novans are a somewhat insular and wary people when it comes to foreigners, as they are wary of spies and of simply losing what little remains to them. However, should foreigners, even those of other races, manage to become a valued member of the community, they are embraced wholeheartedly as Novans, including the requirement to military service.

Clothing styles in Nove are of simple Aexen design, with men wearing darker colours and women tending towards pastels. However, these clothes are generally simple knee length dresses, or tunic and long pant combinations with little ostentation.

Language and names:

Nove has long embraces its traditional Aexen roots. Though imperial language is common, the main language is Aexen, as are most of the names.

Male names: Corid, Danior, Emberi, Fiori,  Isaari, Josifi, Liburin, Nostin, Osfiri, Petriop, Quelo, Umbare, Zeemod.

Female names: Aride, Benthian, Destara, Ferlarla, Giniarn, Herdione, Imnoe, Jennirafe, Raquine, Semniara, Xinifare.

Last names: Barnats, Bernit, Damtert, Fostar, Gernats, Gilbans, Herots, Haman, Karmons, Mottuns, Nerbents, Niven, Nomods, Rogars, Tomans, Virans.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Nation Spotlight: Republic of Mynar


The Republic of Mynar began under strange circumstances. When the southern lands of Zynos were deemed a burden on the rest of the Potentate, the ruler of the time, Hynyxys, declared them no longer part of the nation, and withdrew all military and officials from the southern end of the Potentate. The abandoned people banded together, and eked out a miserable existence.

This all changed when a rich deposit of gemstones and psionic resonating crystals were found in a seam near the crystal lake. When Zynos moved to reclaim the lands, it found the Zynese obedience had been abandoned for mercantile ruthlessness. The Zynese army was opposed by mercenary companies and citizen militia. Rather than risk the news of resistance, the Potentate ceded the lands permanantly, formally creating a new nation. The Potentate began a trading relationship with this new nation, claiming it to be a sister nation, and allowing a trade route to Zynos for the first time.

When the breaking struck, some Zynese refugees flooded into Mynar, which at first struggled to feed and house so many refugees. As the fresh water of the crystal lake became salty from being connected to the seas, water became a precious resource.

Now however, Mynar has stabilised and flourished, thanks to the twin cities of Mynyra and Arynyar, sometimes collectively called Mynyrarynyar by outsiders. These twin cities on opposite sides of the great divide gouged by the gods are famous for their Psychoportation waypoints both within each city and the connecting waypoint between the two cities, allowing goods and travellers to easily transport across within minutes rather than travel the treacherous waters of the Crystal lake or the divide.


Mynar is a nation of mercantilism, obsessed with personal liberty in direct opposition to their Zynese roots. A common question asked sarcastically when someone expresses conformity is "And what is your state name?", used to denote that the subject is a blind follower rather than their own person. though Mynar culture can best be described as Zynese, they have embraced the concept of multiculturalism. The "Mynarese Promise" is a concept that anyone who works hard can rise to the top, though in practise, the merchant council holds as much power as it can, and a new ruling class of wealthy merchant families is becoming established. In Mynar, wealth is power, and power brings you more wealth.

Foreigners in Mynar find that the Mynarese are a friendly people, but soon discover that wealth is the only true way to gain respect. The poorest members of society are assumed to be vagabonds or lazy, whilst the rich are held as paragons of industriosness and virtue. The fact that many merchants live lives of indolent luxury interspersed with periods of negotiations and trade, whilst the poor toil in destitution, seems to be ignored by the large middle class of trade workers, artisans and service specialists.

Language and names:

The official and main language of Mynar is Zynese, but most citizens speak at least one other language to facilitate trade negotiations or to serve foreign visitors. Mynar has a distinct accent compared to Zynese, and the inhalations and exhalations are much more muted, leading to many Mynarese to call Zynese "Wheezers".

Mynarese names follow Zynese custom, but negate the need for an state name. Most Mynarese have 2 names only, to avoid appearing as Zynese. Many Mynarese have begun to adopt foreing names, but with many of the vowels replaced with Y to blend into their own language.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Kingdom of Zynos


Once, Zynos was a glittering jewel. It has a culture that stretches back as far as the Astorina Imperium, and in it's own way was quite powerful. Unlike the Imperium, Zynos never sought to expand its borders, but rather simply defend them against any aggression. When the Imperium reached their borders, they defended them vigorously, but never retaliated.

Zynos has been ruled by an unbroken line of Eternal Potentates. Their authority has been unquestioned for millennia. Each Potentate selects their successor from amongst their children or grandchildren. Other heirs are appointed to important positions amongst the government. In Zynos, proximity to the bloodline of the Potentate ensured good position, and talent could only take you so far. Indeed, original thought and action was frowned upon, with dangerous radicals publicly put to death. This led to a den of nepotism and stagnation, a country trapped in its own past and unable to move forward.

When the War of Faith began, Potentate Marivsh banished the clergy that tried to inspire religious fervour in the population to try to force the nation into war. Zynos had always had a complex relation with the churches, as the churches had to walk a fine line between espousing the authority of the gods, whilst not diminishing the absolute rule of the Potentates. The clergy never held true power in Zynos, and their banishment, like most decisions by the Potentate, was not questioned.

Marivsh was not a fool however, and as the war progressed, he saw that the Astori were beginning incursions into the duchies. Zynos had much to lose if the duchies fell and a new unified Imperium arose as their neighbours. Breaking millennia of tradition, the Zynese armies marched on the duchies, and in the end, Marivsh sat upon the throne of Kile and declared himself God-King. This moment was the final important act of the war, as it triggered the events of the Breaking.

As the breaking began, Marivsh left Kile to return to Zynos after the God Vanur gouged the earth of Zynos, killing millions of his subject. He returned to his borders just as the Meteor of Nishtia wiped Kile from the world. With his kingdom in disarray but still with his armies, Marivsh conquered and claimed the lands that once belonged to the duchies of southern Bule and northern Zene, and resettled the refugees of his homeland in this new Potentate. The experience was a humbling one for the Zynese, who now cling onto their new homelands and some of the vestiges of their old lands with a ferocity that comes from surviving near extinction.


Zynese culture is one that focuses on obedience and knowing your place. In most cases, you are born into your role, and you stay there. However, Marivsh's successor, Nimtyor, opened the borders of the new lands, allowing trade and settlement of other peoples, as he recognised that their new lands were not like their old ones, missing key resources in abundance needed to thrive. This has slowly bought new ideas into the nation over the last 150 years, and not all of them have been of benefit to the Potentates. Whilst the Potentate still rules with absolute authority, they must be careful now to not incite rebellion, as any potential weakness could be capitalised upon by enemies within or without. The slightest hint of weakness could end with assassination by a possible rival that sees the chance to ingratiate themselves with their successor.

The people of Zynos are obedient and diligent for the most part, but tend to shy away from new ideas and concepts. Though some of their major cities have significant populations of foreign nationals, one would not call them cosmopolitan. Others are expected to take on Zynese dress, language and customs when in Zynos, and other cultures are viewed with hostility and suspicion. A common saying is "Obedience in all things" which is used as a reminder to oneself of ones place in the world, as well as a warning to another that what they have said or done could be seen as dangerous.

Zynese dress tends towards long, sleeveless robes for both men and women. The common folk wear browns and greys, whilst those with more status wear other colours with metallic thread trim. Women generally wear their hair long to their waist, and men generally shave their heads and faces smooth. Both genders wear makeup in differing patterns, with women accentuating the lips and cheeks, and men accentuating the eyes.

Language and names:

Zynese language is radically different from Imperial, and many who try to learn it struggle with the strange syllables that it forces together. Common sounds include those that are said whilst inhaling at the beginning of sentences, and exhaling sharply to denote the end of a sentence, but only with certain tense and word combinations.

Zynese names are agendered, and each person has 3 names. The first is chosen by a state official, the second by the family, and the last denotes lineage. The letter Y is used in most names at least once, though there are exceptions, and most non natives find them baffling to pronounce. First and state names usually have hard endings. Lineage names end with open sounds, are said breathily and with reverence.

State and family names: Anynvt, Aytynd, Chamxd, Cyvtn, Dramdys, Evynxtl, Emynyn, Gsymtyv, Hyftvyd, Iyiyiyn, Jvynxst, Kyntrtav, Oyrxyp, Pyqwstsht, Qvqyntr. Ryrdrv, Ttvtytt, Vyvtrtan, Xzxyz, Zymvyntr.

Lineage names: Auvynay, Byrety, Bisyphyny, Cyvyry, Eynynay, Firyoo, Hyvenya, Ionyuya, Lyrya, Novytyi, Oonya, Ryoorya, Teyrnayy, Vyshtyiy.