Hunters of Sedis
[SPOILER=“Regions of Sedis/Amun”]Domus: The Northern Continent
Ferros: The Empire of Iron. The greatest military power in the known world. Starting from the island city of Ferra, they have conquered most of the norther continent. Often called Ferrosi by foreigners, the Ferrans were the first to develop steel weapons in the second age. They long believed that they had a divine right to conquer the entire world, even their word for the planet “Sedis” means throne. In the last century their conquest has slowed almost to a standstill and for the first time they have started to focus more on trade than war.
Races: 80% Human, 15% Half Elf, 5% Dwarf
Naming Scheme: Latin
Aquitan: Once called the Jendea, the people of the river lands were conquered by the Ferrans nearly three hundred years ago. Their culture become deeply mixed with that of their conquerers, and talk of rebellion has been almost unheard of for generations. Often simply called “Rivermen” by those outside the empire, the Aquitani have rich farmlands and rivers full of fish. Though they may not be the richest area, hunger is quite rare.
Races: 75% Human, 10% Halfling, 10% Half Elf, 5% Dwarf
Borrea: The thick green forests north of Ferros, called Waldheim by the natives (or Waldmen as they call themselves) fought off and on for two centuries to keep the southern invaders out of their lands, but 40 years ago Chief Wulfsige (called Vulsigus in Ferros) surrendered to Decus Imperium upon his defeat at the Battle of Bärenfels. In the years since, the Ferran army has established themselves in the souther part of the forest, but persistent unofficial rebellion has check their progress in truly seizing the north.
Races: 70% Human, 20% Dwarf, 10% Half Orc
Orichal: A string of rocky islands between Between Ferros and Lustrum. Known for their excellent magical craftsmen, they allied with Ferros near the dawn of the third age. For joining the empire so early on and on friendly terms, they’ve enjoyed more freedom and lighter taxes than any other region of the empire (excluding Ferra itself.)
Races: 90% Gnome, 10% Human
Lustrum: The great eastern lowlands, mostly a long saltwater swamp, are known for being uninhabitable and impassable. The only residents are the strange tribes of frogmen who rarely venture out from their marshy home. The Undine caravans are the only traders who are able to make their way through due to their amphibious wagons and the giant Axolotls that pull them. This allows them to be the only direct trade line between Ferros and the unknown of the east.
Races:Undine, Grippli (Population uncounted)
NS:Hindi (Undine) ??? (Gripli)
Meath: The smaller of the two large islands off the coast of Aquitan, it is called “Mide” by the Dwarves and is officially designated as “Cervisia” on Ferran maps, though the latter name is rarely used outside of official documents. Meath is often overlooked by Ferros due to it’s small size, many consider it a part of Aquitan though they have completely separate local governments. Though slightly colder than Aquitan, the island has equally rich farmland and possibly the best orchards on the continent. The walled dwarven city of Baile (often called ‘The Baile”) may be the oldest continuous government in the world, many claiming it was founded before the end of the first age, acting as Dwarven outpost before the cataclysm. The Baile has acknowledged Ferran rule and pay a yearly tax, but retain their own government and do not allow Ferran troops within their walls.
Races: 50% Human, 50% Dwarf
Strahna: The cold lands of the north east, with Borrea to it’s south, the impassable mountains of the Stone Belt to the east and nothing but the frozen sea to the north and west, is almost completely cut off from Ferros and their conquest. Strana has no central government or major population centers. Their very survival is regularly threatened raiders who come down from the mountains and leave them with barely enough to get by. The Strana people are known to be exceptionally hardy and seemingly humorless. A coalition of town elders once came together and made an offer to Ferros to be incorporated into the empire in exchange for protection from the raiders, but it was decided nothing could be done until Borrea could be brought to heel.
Races: 70% Human, 20% Catfolk, 10%Half Orc
Hemjord: home of the Varingar or Ashmen as others often call them. These warriors hale from the frozen peninsula north of the Cursed Mountains. Their lands are nigh unreachable by land and so they have become masters of the sea. They excel at near land sailing and raiding coastal villages. People know very little about them other than their attacks, though they have made peaceful trade on rare occasions with larger better protected cities. It is known that they follow a queen and often their ships and shields will bare her image.
Races: 90% Human, 10% Half Orc
Quarr: The Souther Continent
Tarkhan: The largest and most prosperous nation on the great southern continent, perhaps the world. The Tarkhani capitol, Kheftis, is known as the City of Gold for the incredibly ornate golden castle in it’s center. Their ruler is chosen by their religious leaders and is seen as an extension of the church. While most of the land is dry and arid, the soil near the huge Khefti River is dark and fertile. This quality farmland and the rich gold mines of the Oxyr Mountains have made this kingdom incredibly rich and even the lowest of peasants. enjoy a fairly high quality of life. They were briefly at war with Ferros, but peace was achieved when Titus Imperium married the sister of King Djedhor. The two great nations have become close trading partners since and both sides have benefitted from the cultural exchange
Races: 75% Human, 10% Half Elf, 15% Nagaji
Matjara: formally the Cities of Matjara, but most often just called the Trade Cities. This collection of self ruled city states was controlled by the same Naga empire that controlled Tarkhan during the first age. They do great trade with Tarkhan, Aquitan, Ferros, and even the mysterious east. They are known for their shrewd business sense, strong belief in justice, and their unparalleled seamanship. Each city is ruled by a governor and sends one representative to a counsel that makes intercity decisions.
Races: 50% Human, 10% Nagaji, 30% Ratfolk 10% Half Elf
The Great Sand Sea: The inhospitable desert that makes up a large portion of Quarr, split between Tarkhan and Matjara. Many have travelled through it and lived, but many have not and among those that have there are a disconcerting number of eerie stories. The only inhabitants are the birdlike Tengu people refered to almost universally simply as Crows. Their ramshackle dessert camps are avoided by those who travel the dunes, but can be a last resort if death is otherwise imminent.
Non-cultural regions of interest
The Cursed Mountains: Once called The Dwarven Mountains, they were abandoned during the cataclysm of the First age. Many say they are inhabited by all sorts of evil creatures, while Ferros maintains that the deaths associated with them are due simply to the cold and cliffs, and call them the Crowns.
Ysbrydion: The island northwest of Meath, once the capitol of the elves. Unlike Dwarves, they did not abandon their city when the cataclysm happened, all contact with them simply stopped. Most people who try to visit what might remain of their home do not return. The few who have made it back tell tales of poisonous mists, hostile flora and fauna, and murderous spirits leaving most of their crew dead.
The Stone Belt: The eastern mountain range that makes travels to the east nearly impossible for most. There are stories of raider clans and groups of orcs making their homes among the inhospitable terrain, but only Strana has had any regular contact with groups of this description.
The Oryx Mountains: Though the golden city of Kheftis lies at their base, and the Tarkhani have mined the lesser peaks for years, much of them remain unexplored since the first age when they were said to be home to Dragons and their worshippers.
[SPOILER=“Playable Races”]Humans: The most numerous race on either continent, they control the two most powerful nations of the known world. They are also found in nearly every other inhabited land. Their appearance and culture varies greatly depending on where they hail from. (Book standard)
Half-elves: Not the direct offspring of a human and an elf, but a human whose bloodline once mixed with the Elves back in the first age.They are found in small numbers in many different lands, they tend to form small tight nit communities in stable human lands with major cities. They also make up a large percentage of the Ferran Arcane University. Though there are no laws against them in either empire, a half-elf has never held the throne of either, nor any of the other top positions. (Book standard)
Half-orcs: Much like Half-elves, they are largely humans with some Orcish blood in their ancestry, though there are some who claim to be descended from Orc clans who survived the end of the first age and still hunt in their ancestral lands. They make up a small percentage of the population several less developed cultures, especially those with a strong warrior culture that are close to the mountains the Orcs once populated. (Use the ‘Human-Raised’ alternate racial trait by default.)
Dwarves: Driven from their Holds beneath the Cursed Mountains during the cataclysm of the first age, the dwarves are now spread across Domus. Their largest population is in the City of Baile on the island of Meath. Their huge walled city is said to still operate according to the laws of the Holds and was allowed to remain self-governed when Ferros conquered the island. Dwarves largely harbor some level of mistrust for magic and though few are privy to any knowledge of their old civilization, it’s a rare dwarf that isn’t certain that the old ways were better. (Use the ’Stoic Negotiator’ alternate racial trait by default.)
Halflings: These small, clever humanoids hold no true lands of their own and tend to mostly be nomadic caravaneers, moving goods and supplies all over Domus. A fair number also have more permanent lifestyle, living in Aquitan and working as river guides, a profession they are naturally quite suited to. Road Halfling and River Halflings get along as though there were no difference between, aside from the occasional rivalry among their famous boxers. (Book Standard)
Gnomes: The native inhabitants of Orichal, Gnomes are natural craftsmen and scholars. They are rarely found outside of the islands that make up their provence or in Ferra itself. They try to stay out of politics outside their borders despite their loyalty to Ferros. When called upon to lend aid, they prefer to send ships, weapons or other supplies rather than men. (Use the ‘Master Tinker’ alternate racial trait by default.)
Catfolk: Once a small closed off society onto themselves, the catfolk have integrated almost completely into the human villages of Strahna. Even now, a hundred years since the last of their clans joined forces with the humans in the name of survival, they are still suspicious and secretive with humans, doubly so with those not from their home country. Usually it is only a major traumatic event that can drive them from the land of their ancestors, something that leaves them unwilling or unable to return home. (Book standard)
Undine: The mysterious tradesmen from the east, these human-like beings are known to have a natural connection to water, some say due to ancestors hailing from the elemental plane of water. Their amphibious caravans travel between Ferra and a city far to the south-east called Tattva that many claim they hail from, though they spend little time there. Within that great city’s rigid hierarchy their caste is that of merchants. They favor colorful clothing and decorations, as well as spicy food. They also place greater value on their axolotl mounts, the more brighter their coloring. Almost every young Undine will leave their caravan for some time when they first reach adulthood usually to experience the world outside that life and to find a spouse. Most return, but some find that their new life suits them. (Use the ‘Amphibious’ alternate racial trait by default.)
Nagaji: These snake like humanoids are a left over from the Naga empire that controlled Quarr in the first age. They trace their lineage to the human slaves who interbred with their Naga masters. While it is widely accepted that the humans could not have overthrown the regime without the help of the Nagaji, they still face some level of mistrust in Tarkhan and are barred from high ranking positions for fear that they will grab power as the Naga once did. They face less discrimination in the cities of Matjara and their population which was once centered in Kheftis has slowly migrated to them. (Book standard.)
Ratfolk: Native inhabitants of the southern coasts of Quarr, Ratfolk are shrewd and enterprising. The Naga viewed them as large rodents and did not allow them to join society while the region was under their control. So for the early part of history they were simple nomadic fisherman. They helped wipe out the Naga in the southern lands and joined the humans in building the great coastal trade citiies. The ratfolk soon found that they had a knack for sailing, navigation and mapmaking. Some of their trading companies now even do business with the mysterious easter lands in addition to their trade all over the north and south. They are notoriously tightlipped with any information they have gathered about their trading partners and keep their trade routes a closely guarded secret. (Use the ‘Cornered Fury’ and ‘Market Dweller’ alternate racial traits.)
Grippli: The tribal frogmen of Lustrum are the only settled inhabitants of the great swamp. They have an understanding with the Undine caravan and have been known even to aid them in emergencies. Otherwise they avoid outsiders as much as possible, preffering to stick to their own ways as they have for as long as their history has been recorded. Since Ferros forced them to incorporate, little has changed for them as the empire has had more important things to worry about and the swamp has little to offer them. However, a few of the more northern tribes have sent a few of their kind into the outside world to bring back what information they can about their new ‘allies’ and the lands beyond their borders. The frogmen often find themselves overwhelmed when they find themselves in cities like Ferra that are larger than they had ever dreamt possible. (Book standard)
Tengu: The Crows, as they are more commonly called, reside in the great sand sea. They manage to eke out a living by raiding the ruins left of the Naga’s secret cities and temples, robbing the few travelers and traders that risk the treacherous sands to reduce their travel times, and by hunting the sparce fauna that can survive in such harsh conditions. They are excellent archers and nearly unmatched survivalists in desert conditions. Though most stick with the band they are born into, a rare few instead offer their services as guides through the dunes., and an even rarer subset seek their fortune outside the sands they were born in. (Use the ‘Carrion Sense’ alternate racial ability. Replace ‘Swordtrained’ with ‘Bowtrained’ Giving them proficiency with all bows including composite.)[/SPOILER]languages have two levels of fluency, what these two levels includes varies, but mastery requires two skill points in addition to the one required for fluency and may require some rp requirement to be met.. Some Languages also belong to a language family with one or more other languages of common origin. Mastering one of your starting languages or any language in it’s family costs only one point. Deciphering a language you aren’t familiar with, or communicating with someone who speaks that language is easier if you speak any language in the same family. All characters with at least 10 intelligence begin play with two languages of their choice before any other bonus languages from high intelligence or ranks in linguistics.
Ferran: The language of Ferros, uses the Draconic alphabet and is most likely derived from it. Fluency includes near perfect understanding of the common version of the language. Mastery allows one to understand the older, purer form spoken by the upper class. In the Draconic family. Sounds like Latin.
Aquitani: The language of the Aquitan region, a derivative of Ferran. Often seen as the commoner form of Ferran. It is often used as a trade language due to it’s ease of learning. No mastery level. In the Draconic family. Sounds like French.
Waldicht: The language of Borrea and the Waldmen. Uses an alphabet similar to ancient Dwarvish, but is otherwise distinct. No mastery level. In the Mannish family. Sounds like German.
Hemsk: Tha language of Hemjord and the Ashmen. Uses the same alphabet as Waldicht. In the Mannish family. Sounds like Scandinavian languages.
Glóssa: The language of Orichal. Fluency includesnear perfect understanding of the common form of the language. Mastery allows one to understand the older, proper form of the language used in Gnomish academia. No known family. Sounds like Greek.
Grippli: Spoken by the frog people of Lustrum. No mastery. No known family. Does not sound like any real world language.
Tattvani: The language spoken in the mysterious eastern city it’s named for and by the Undine caravans. Fluency includes a near perfect understanding of the version spoken by the Undine. Master allows one to understand the version spoken in the holy city. No known family. Sounds like Hindi.
Strahaniy: The language spoken by the people of Strahna. It’s a derivitive of Mannish mixed with Koshachiy. Belongs to both the Mannish family and the Strahna Family. Sounds like Russian.
Koshachiy: The language of the Catfolk tribes, still spoken mainly among their oldest members, but is dying off as the young tend to learn only Strahaniy. Belongs to the Strahna family. Does not sound like any real world language.
Tarkhani: The language of the golden empire, a direct descendant of the Naga language, with the same alphabet and other similarities. Mastery alllows one to understand older version of the language spoken in the church and used for their religious documents. Part of the Naga family. Sounds like Coptic/Egyptian
Matjaric: The language of the Trade cities. It is generally considered a mixture of Nagai and Fa’ar. Widely used as a trade language. Part of both the Naga and Matjara family. Sounds like Arabic.
Fa’ar: Spoken by the Ratfolk of Matjara. Mastery allows one to read the special code Ratfolk use on their maps and ledgers. Part of the Matjara family. Does not sound like any real world language.
Maeilge: The language of Meath, and the Dwarves of Baile. Almost a modernized version of Dwarvish, but with some influence from Draconic and Elvish. Part of the Dwarvish Family. Sounds like Scots Gaelic.
Shelta: A sort of hodgepodge language with many different sources spoken almost exclusively by Halfling. Mastery allows one to understand the extensive code of slang used by halflings. No known family. Sounds like Irish Traveller Cant.
Cuervol: Commonly called “Crow-Tongue”, the language of the Tengu people. Despite the geographical disparity, it sounds a lot like Ferran and Aquitani due to their shared Draconic roots. Part of the Draconic Family. Sounds like Spanish.
Dead Languages are not actively spoken and are generally known only by scholars that study the remains of their respective cultures. All follow the same rules for fluency and mastery. One level get you a parsing understanding of the language, enough to grasp the general gist of basic sentences with occasional gaps in more specific vocabulary. Mastery gets you a near complete understanding through study and context, as well as the ability to speak and pronounce an approximation of the language fluently.
Mannish: The language of the ancient humans inhabiting the norther continent. Their ruins are rare and their written records are even rarer. An usual language even among scholars.
Elvish: The language of the extinct elves. Very commonly learned by both scholars and mages interested in the Elven ruins scattered around the northern continent.
Dwarvish: Not commonly spoken even among Dwarves any more, except for the rare traditionalist in the Baile and the even rarer treasure hunter looking to find the abandoned holds in the Cursed Mountains.
Draconic: The language of dragons, more commonly used than most dead languages. It’s valued by both mages and dragon worshippers.
Naga: The language of the Naga Empire on the southern continent, valued by those who seek out their abandoned cities and temples.
Planar languages (the four elemental languages, Celestial and Demonic) are all single level and spoken almost entirely by the mages who summon creatures from their respective planes.
The Church of Tarkhan: Dualistic in nature, the Church of Tarkhan has two gods of equal importance: Aat, god of the day and Hannu goddess of the night. Both deities are worshipped as forces of good, with Aat leaning towards lawfulness and Hannu leaning towards chaos. Almost every aspect of life is divided up and seen as the domian of one or the other beyond their more obvious aspects. For example, while Aat presides over light and farming, he is also associated with war and drought, and while Hannu has sway over darkness and secrecy, she also claims healing and protection among her domains. The churches take turns choosing the Ruler of their nation, whose name is said to be handed to them directly from their god. The candidates for this calling are incredibly diverse in terms of class, the children of poor farmers and rich merchants alike coming up in prophecy, but the new ruler is never among the ranks of the clergy and they have historically always been humans. The two churches are often very competitive in their vies for power, but direct aggression is not tolerated. Most followers worship both gods and see both as absolutely necessary.
The Followers of Saint Sa’if: Sa’if was a spiritual leader in what is now Matjara near the end of the second age.While he did not hold a position of political or military power, he is often considered the leader of their revolt against Tarkhan, their rulers at the time. He had few resources outside of his natural charisma, speaking skills and the followers these gifts drew to his side. It was due to his influence that things were kept mostly peaceful. Though he was assassinated some days before Matjara became officially independent, his teaching became the basis for the Matjaric governemnt and legal system. Over the years he went from political figure and philosopher to the center of a new religion. However even his most enthusiastic followers do not see him as a god himself but rather as the true voice of a greater, benevolent being who created them. The story of his martyrdom, the clear morality set down in his speeches and the rigorous, far reaching trade of the Matjarans have all contributed to this becoming the fastest growing religion in the known world, though Matjara and Aquitan are the only places where it has become the majority.
The Heroes of Borrea: The Waldmen have long passed on the story of their first heroes, a huge story spanning several generations of characters and detailing the events of an ancient war. They claim it is entirely factual and dates back before the first age, though acknowledge that some facts may have changed in the telling as it was passed down only orally until the second age. They call the it The Epos der Helden or just the Epos. They identify several different characters from this sprawling tale as heroes, though some or more like antagonists, the central figures of the story. They claim that these larger than life figures reincarnate regularly and the major characters in all other tales and in their own history are the heroes reborn. Individual practicioners call upon the qualities of these characters in time of need, both for themselves and for others, rarely worshipping any one of them directly. They also argue over which character important people might be reincarnations of. Recently many were certain that Wulfsige was Ritter (the honorable warrior and great leader of the tale) reborn, but after his defeat most recanted and decided he must be Opfer (a martyr like character whose death leads to a greater victory later on.) Their priests tend to function more as storytellers than anything else.
The Small Gods of Strana: The isolated villages of Strana each have their own legends and local spirits. Usually it is the spirit of some major natural landmark ( mountain, a river, an exceptionally old tree etc.) near the town that is seen as the patron god of the town. The god’s nature, festivals and preferences for tribute are highly variable. Most Strana folk believe that all things in a nature have spirits of varying strength and dispositions. Those that leave their homeland usually leave behind the worship of their home town’s god. They will almost always remain cautious of natural spirits, but rarely take up worship of a new one unless it is the local custom.
The Angels of the Tattva: The Undine (and presumably the residents of Tattva from whence they hail) believe that the God (Ahura) who created the universe sent four angels to the city of his most faithful worshippers. These angels divided the people into their castes, set them about their tasks and taught each group how best to please their lord. The angel of the Undine was called Avan and they follow her teachings to this day. The main tennants are community, travel and purification through ritual bathing. They believe strongly in charity and honesty in all their dealings. They also believe that to keep the world in balance each individual must go out of their way to engage in good acts or ‘Hushvarta’. They do not have any sort of formal priesthood, but the wise and holy among them sometimes develop divine magic and are recognized as holy men of sorts. They do not believe that non-Undine can or should convert to their way of life as Avan’s teachings were meant for the alone and do not apply to those not chosen for this way of life.
The Queen of Hemjord: The Ashmen have worshipped an entity known as Helrunne for hundreds of years. They revere her as both their queen as well as their deity. She is said to be an immensely powerful sorceress who will plunge the world into an eternal frozen night if not sated. They worship her throughout the year, emblazoning her image on their ships and shields, but in the dead of winter, when the days grow short and nights can last a full week in the far north of Hemjord, they shower her with praise and tribute. The extent of her physical presence and direct interractment with her worshippers vary according to different accounts.
The Philosophies of Orichal: The gnomes have never held gods or religion in great regard. They tend to have an intrinsic sense of purpose that other races lack. Still among them there are those who have sought to better explain the great call they feel. They have broken it down into two driving forces, that they claim are the highest purpose of life. Discovery, finding new information to increase the knowledge of all living beings, and Innovation, creating something entirely new or improving something in a novel way. These very simple ideas are constantly argued over and refined by their gnomish adherents. They even give rise to the occasional divine caster, who usually doubles as a crafter or researcher.
The Ancestors of the Grippli: The frogmen of Lustrum almost without exception follow a system of ancestor worship. They believe that every member of their clan who has ever lived and died watches over them from the realm of the spirits. They also believe that every one has one ancestor in particular, always one who died before they were born that guides their path specifically. Family history is passed down orally and through pictures sown roughly into the hide walls of their dwellings with colorful thread and beads. Every young grippli study the tales of their forbearers to find patterns that line up with their own lives and reveal which ancestor acts as their personal guardian.
The Remnants of Dragons: In both the north and south, dragon worship was once the most common of all religious practices. It was especially common in lands where humans are the the most numerous race, the Dwarves and ancient Elves being the only ones known to reject it without exception. Even the early Ferrans are said to have worshipped a bronze dragon known as Pontifex who taught them the metallurgy and tactics which would lead to their great empire, though this is denied by all official imperial historians. Such worship steeply declined after they disappeared following the cataclysm of the first age. The only groups that still worship the dragons that once dwelled in their lands are the humans of Meath, who still hold out hope for the return of the gold dragon Vitus, and the Crows of the Great Sand Sea, who fear even now the ire of the blue dragon Cicero should he still be alive somewhere.
The Lady of Luck: The halflings, both the caravaneers and the river guides, worship Yondalla, a goddess of luck, community and protection. It is almost completely unheard of for any Halfling to join any other faith. Yondalla’s most important rule is that all halflings value each other’s lives and take care of one another. Disputes among them are often arbitrated by one of her priests, ensuring a peaceful resolution. Halflings from different clans and even completely different ways of life find common ground in her message of unity.
The Faith of the Holds: Dwarves once had a pantheon of their own, back before the cataclysm drove them from their ancestral homes. Nearly all Dwarves agree that the gods are all dead or have abandoned the world. A rare few dwarves, nearly all based in the Baile, still pray to the head of their old pantheon, a deity called the Forgemaster. Though their reverence is more akin to mourning some kind of martyr than anything else, non-religious dwarves largely find the practice misguided at best or down right offensive at worst. [/SPOILER]
The Horned Hall: Also known as the Hunter’s Guild, a minor guild of Ferros led by Coll mac Morna, a dwarven mercenary and his second in command, Green Lucius, a half orc well known for his time in the Colosseum. While the guild often functions as more of a big game and bounties, kind of hunter’s guild, it’s stated purpose is hunting monsters and other unnatural creatures. Due to the lack of confirmed sighting since the last age, this is seen as dangerous and unsavory work. Guild contracts usually end with the killing of criminals or predators, rather than their stated prey.
The Council of Guildsmen: The governing body of the guilds of Ferros, they make the rules for all guild operating in the city and for the people of the Trade District. Every guild sends a representative to the council, who are led by the representatives of the three biggest guilds (The Even Scales or Money Broker’s Guild, The Golden Palm or Merchant’s Guild, and The First Forge or Craftsmen’s Guild.) The council also has a single seat on the senate, all members are eligible and every guild gets one vote to decide who their representative will be. While one of the minor guilds does occasionally get the position, it almost always goes to one of the big three.
The Ferran Senate: In many ways the true governing body of Ferra. While they cannot make treaties or declare war without the Emperor’s will, and he may over rule them on most everything else, most day to day decisions of the empire are made by the counsel. They are also have final say on which of the Emperor’s heirs will take the throne upon his death. The counsel has one representative from every section of Ferros, one from all the other major cities of Ferra (ones above a certain population size and paying above a certain amount in yearly tax) and one from every territory, with a few other honorary non-elected seats (such as a representative from the Arcane University, the Mage’s College and the Venatori. The senate is led by senior representative from Ferros, appointed by the Emperor known as the Consul. The current Consul is Drusus Caecina, a retired Legion General appointed by the previous Emporer. The position is for life unlike the regular representatives.
The Arcane University and The Mages College: The first is located in Ferros, is mostly human, and has a focus on the theory and mastery of magic. The latter is located in Orichal, is mostly gnomish, and focuses on the creation of magical items and the study of ancient magic. Both instruct new members in the use of Aterus Cruor as a source of magical energy. All wizards in the last several centuries have been trained at one or the other. The Venatori have a strong presence on both campuses and track down trained wizards who attempt to leave without an official release. While many wizards are given leave to travel on business and research trips for thei organization, none are given permanent leave save for those who have come down with Black Blood.
The Venatori: Also called the mage-hunters, this group was formed after the the Archmage’s Coup in the second age, where in the leader of the Arcane University tried to declare himself emporer and was struck down by Felix Imperium. Since then, all mages in Ferros have been forced to register with the Venatori and give them a vial of their blood which is kept in their gloomy cliffside fortress east of Ferros. The trained wizards of the AU and MC are kept under even more intense scrutiny as they are seen as much better trained and more organized than outside magic users. They have expanded in power greatly over the last few decades as more and more natural casters have been born. Their main duties are hunting down those who try to escape the magical campuses, finding and registering new mages, and killing those that use their powers unlawfully. While newer members often simple bounty hunters, the more trained among them have developed special techniques to detect and combat magic.
Aterus Cruor: The Black Ink or Arcane Ink, the source of a wizards arcane power, one way or another. Every young wizard is trained copying scrolls and spellbooks using this substance. The repeated exposure to it allows them to channel it’s power to fuel their spells. It’s production is a carefully guarded secret known only by the Archmage of the Arcane University and his inner circle. In the first age, it’s said wizards had no need of it, but after the cataclysm their power declined and they were forced to find new sources of magic. The biggest drawback of Arcane Ink is that it causes some wizards to develop a sickness known as the Black Blood. Most every apprentice wizard has black stains on their hands from using the ink, but they usually fade within a year or so after their training. Those that do not start to develop black spots on other parts of their bodies. They also occassionally cough up black liquid resembling the ink that caused it. The disease usually turns fatal once the spots begin to pop up on the face or chest. Few live longer than a a decade or two after contracting Black Blood, but it has little affect on their general health until the last few months. The disease also has it’s upsides, the caster no longer needs a supply of Arcane Ink to cast their spells and the Venatori afford them the greater freedom usually known only by natural casters.
The Laws of Magic: A series of rules created by the Arcane University and upheld by the Venatori. The exact interpretation of each is up to the prosecuting Venatori, but there are general guidelines to what is and what isn’t off limites. 1-Thou shalt not use magic to take the life of another sentient being.(Generally speaking this applies only to direct Death magic. Conjuring fire which burns the victim to death would not break the general interpretation, but if done so repeatedly in cold blood, a Venatori may decide to execute a mage under this Law.) 2-Thou shalt not take away the free will of another sentient being. (Another murky Law. Small charms and illusions to garner a beings favor or force a them to take an immediate action would not raise much objection, but the longer any kind of mental control lasts, the more likely it is to be considered criminal.) 3-Thou shalt not raise the dead. (Fairly straight forward, though many would not consider it a crime to raise non-sentient beings.) 4- Thou shalt not disrupt the flow of time. (A bizarre Law to the uninitiated, it prohibits wizards from trying to use magic to change the past. It does not affect spells like haste or timestop which simply alter ones perception of time.) 5-Thou shalt not reach beyond the outer gates. (Perhaps the most misunderstood of the Laws, few even know exactly what it refers to. Those who ask about it are often told not to, as the less they know about it, the less likely they are to break it.
The Ages of History: The scholars of Ferra and Tarkhan generally divide history up into three eras. The exact start and end of each is not entirely agreed upon, but there is a common consensus for much of it. The First Age-Defined by the Cataclysm that is nigh universally agreed on as it’s end, every thing before that event are considered on era. Often called the Age of Myths or the Age of Elves. It was a time when magic and magical creatures were abundant, and humans were a weak, disorganized species with little to no power in the world. The Second Age- known by many as the Age of Strife. The centuries following the Cataclysm were unstable as many groups clashed and vied for control in the absence of the old worlds big powers. This Age is said to have ended with the either the founding of Ferra or the split between Tarkhan and Matjara depending on which you ask. The Third Age- The Ferrans call it the age of Steel, when their kingdom turned into an empire by conquering it’s neighbors. Others call it the Age of Trade, due to the increased trade routes and increasing peace, especially in the southern continent. This is the current age, so it is hard to say exactly what legacy it will be known for. The current emporer of Ferra, Caius Imperium, has declared that his coronation ushered in the Fourth Age, the Age of Gold. This has gained little traction outside his immediate circle and is generally regarded as a sizable overreach on his part.
The Cataclysm: One of the most defining events of known history, yet information on it is scarce. At the time, dwarves and elves ruled the northern continent and nagas ruled the southern continent. There was a lot of tension between the elves and dwarves of the time, a cold war where each slowly expanded their territory and flexed their magical might. In the weeks before the evenet, tensions were at an all time high and the elves withdrew to their island capitol. In the last days, the dwarves suddenly fled theirs. The weather became strange and sporadic for days, animals panicked, and arcane casters everywhere receied terrifying visions. A strange mist spread over Ysbridion that never receded, and the elves have not been seen since, though the ruins of their outposts are scattered through the lands. Dragons disappeared almost instantly and arcane casters found their powers greatly diminished if not gone entirely. Many races and creatures with strong supernatural links would dwindle away over the coming years, their powers also suddenly lessened. Without their powerful inheirant magic, the nagas were overthrown by the humans and ratfolk they had long subjugated. For hundreds of years, natural casters were rare in number and born with limited powers, though both slowly increased in the modern age. Still there is no consensus and few theories on what caused the Cataclysm, and many accept it’s origin will never be known. [/SPOILER]
[SPOILER=“Miscellaneous Rule Info”]This game will be using pure pathfinder. Starting level is 4 with a 25 point buy for the ability scores. Gunslinger and Alchemist are off limits as I feel their flavor does not fit the setting. If anyone wants to use an archetype of them that may fit better, it’s open for discussion. [/SPOILER]