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.