The World

The World

Lands of the Burning Sky

The Lands are comprised of five nations, the Ragesian Empire being the largest. The politics and history of the region are relatively simple, though the recent power vacuum in Ragesia threatens to make things much more complicated. The Empire lies to the north, spanning several hundred miles north to south and east to west. To the southeast of Ragesia is the Shining Land of Shahalesti, a tenuous ally with whom relations of late have frayed. To the south lies the Exarchate of Sindaire, the Kingdom of Dassen, and the Khaganhold of Ostalin—three nations which have avoided being conquered by Ragesia.

Ragesia

The Ragesian Empire is located on central lowlands dominated by several rivers and lakes. While the core of the Empire is populated heavily by orcs and half-orcs, the outer regions have wildly diverse cultures and populations, the result of having once been many separate nations—all conquered by sword and torch. These overthrown states each contain a heavy military presence to ensure loyalty and peace. Ragesia is conventional in its political organization; mayors and town councils are found in nearly every community. What isn’t conventional is the focus of their governance: power and subjugation. Evil hearts are subtly encouraged to define and execute the letter of the law with scant regard for compassion or quarter—though mercy is occasionally given, if only to underscore the power of the Empire. Like the tribal beginnings of the orcs who now rule, strength and position is gained through depravity and guile.

An ocean borders Ragesia to the west, with jagged mountains marking its borders with the nations to the south. To the north is a high, frigid mountain range, separating Ragesia from the rest of the world. Those same mountains curve down to form the eastern border, rising high enough that Ragesia has looked towards easier prey first. The northern reaches are home to a people known as the Kelaquois, who live in glacial, ice-locked lands. The western plains were once the nation of Latia, their renowned ship-building now benefiting Ragesia and its navy. The southern lands are rugged, with cold rocky deserts dominating what was once Chathus, a land of nomads and traders who defended their lands with great vigor. The barbarians living there used cavalry and mobility to wage a protracted war, allowing their home to be the last conquered by Ragesia. The central heartlands once belonged to the powerful nation of Espartia, and numerous old castles, forts, and walls dot the landscape, defenses which were easily bypassed by Emperor Coaltongue.

The capital city of Ragos stretches along a vast lake and the imperial palace lies on a fantastically-defended island. At night, its walls burn with thousands of torches; the castle’s reflection seems to light the lake itself ablaze. Ragos seethes with unrestrained evil—plots and counter-plots float on intrigue-choked air, while the darkest of vices press in from all sides.

The Inquisitors

Dressed in multi-colored reptile skins, their faces concealed by dragon-skull masks, Inquisitors are the feared blade of Ragesia. They are experts in pursuing arcane practitioners and skilled at eliminating those who resist the Empire’s rule. They fervently serve Ragesia’s supreme Inquisitor, an aged witch named Leska, who until recently was a loyal servant of the Emperor. Now Leska desires to rule, and her mage hunters are a powerful weapon. Stories tell of Inquisitors who completely ignore powerful spells, or even turn such spells against their casters. The few who have been captured and yet lived to tell the tale, recount the horrors of torture and worse. Other rumors warn that Inquisitors can devour souls, stealing a mage’s power before raising the slain caster as an undead follower.

Shahalesti

On the far side of the mountains that mark Ragesia’s eastern border spreads the Shining Land of Shahalesti, ruled by Lord Shaaladel, a middle-aged eladrin who rose from being a military commander to the nation’s ruler during the ascension of the Ragesian Empire. Though Shahalesti was once in danger of being conquered like Ragesia’s other neighbors, it is said Shaaladel’s aggressive displays of force—including the conquest of nearby elven lands—are what kept his nation safe from occupation. During Ragesia’s annexation of its neighbors, Lord Shaaladel even lent his aid, participating personally in battles by Coaltongue’s side. A canny and charismatic commander, he is respected even by the Ragesian army, and many expected him to succeed after Coaltongue’s death.

Shahalesti is not entirely an eladrin nation. A small portion of the population is elven, but they live as commoners with little real power. The aristocracy is exclusively eladrin, as well as the higher ranks among the military. Despite a grudging alliance with Ragesia, orcs and half-orcs are despised and persecuted, unable to hold any public positions, and are often horribly exploited as slave labor. Shahalesti is viewed by most politically minded sages as an opportunistic country. It will ally and war according to advantages it sees through the weaknesses and strengths of its neighbors. In general, as the winds of war blow, it is perceived that the Shahalesti people will seize opportunities to advance itself, even to the detriment of its allies.

The capital of Shahalesti, Calanis, is built over a crescent valley carved by a waterfall. The city is forbidden to non-eladrin except by invitation from one of the royal family which, as of now, consists only of Shaaladel and his daughter Shalosha.

The Solei Palancis

The Shahalesti military is a small force, highly focused with elite warfare training. Most soldiers are equipped with weapons of arcane might, and magic in general is key to most of the nation’s tactics. Their most famed soldiers are the Solei Palancis—the Shining Legion—whose swords shed light as bright as the sun.

Dassen

The Kingdom of Dassen lies to the south of Ragesia and the southwest of Shahalesti, its borders defined by craggy mountains defended by hundreds of small dwarven strongholds. Dassen’s people—a collection of dwarf clans—cherish their land to the point that superstitious cavalrymen put dirt in their boots so they never have to stop touching the soil of their home.

King Steppengard rules a patchwork of eight feudal holdings, many of them controlled by distant relatives with claims to the throne of numbing complexity. To assure that he never has to worry about untangling these claims, Steppengard has a huge family with eighteen children, all legitimate on the word of his oath. There are no mighty cities in Dassen, only thousands of farms and towns growing out from the nine castles of the king and his dukes. The largest settlement, Bresk, lies on a major river beside Steppengard’s castle, and is a hilly community built both above and below ground.

Lyceum Academy

At the end of a swampy isthmus on Dassen’s southern tip, the town of Seaquen is home to a school called Lyceum, devoted to teaching magic of all kinds. Students of Lyceum are encouraged to learn a variety of magical styles, and are trained in spelldueling techniques. They were relatively unknown in the region until recently, when Simeon—headmaster of the school—sent out a call to the people of the Lands, asking for them to stand up against the threat posed by the Ragesians and their new leader.

Sindaire

The national government of the Exarchate of Sindaire is officially run by a representative from Ragesia, but in practice the Exarch has limited power. The people of Sindaire—mostly humans with some caravans of nomadic halflings—pay taxes to Ragesia, but maintain their own armies and laws. They take mild comfort in knowing that, should Ostalin—their neighbors to the south—ever attempt to claim more land, Ragesia will come to their defense.

Recently, a vocal group of city mayors in the center of the nation began to protest the taxes, even going as far as refusing to pay. Unlike the coastal cities, they benefited little from trade with Ragesian ships, and they have since called for the removal of the Exarch. Despite protests from the government ministers, the Exarch sent a plea to Ragesia, and Coaltongue’s army responded, traveling to the central prairies to put down the rebellion.

The large capital city of Turinn lies on two sides of a long rock spur; the western portion has ports on the sea, while the bulk of the city lies on the east.

Knights of the Platinum Shield

The Order of the Platinum Shield originally emerged in Sindaire a decade ago. Since then, small chapels that teach the order’s doctrine of mercy, sacrifice, and a fierce defense of life have sprung up throughout the lands of Ragesia and its neighbors. Knights of this order dress in white and silver tabards marked with the symbol of a large, empty shield with a azure background.

Ostalin

For many years, the island people of Ostalin—a swarthy assortment of human tribes—battled among themselves, before a warlord conquered his foes and proclaimed himself Khagan. He then led his people to the mainland, conquering territory from Sindaire until he reached a mountain range and met resistance from a clan of dragonborn. Impressed by the honor the dragonborn exhibited on the battlefield, the Khagan decided to learn from this strange race and vied for peace. The dragonborn accepted and the Khagan became a disciple of their culture, even changing his name to Barazar. During this time, Barazar had many children with many wives, but ultimately left the nation to his son Onamdammin, in whom he saw the same fire of obsession that led him to conquer. The Khagan hoped his son would be the one to topple Coaltongue and rule Ragesia, but it was too late before Barazar realized his son was not meant to lead. With deep regret, he denounced Onamdammin and fled along with his family to the mountains, vowing to correct his mistake.

The capital of Kistan is relatively small, having recently recovered from a fire that razed the city to the ground. The nation’s diverse landscape is renowned for its beauty, and Sindaire still seeks to reclaim it.

The Monastery of Two Winds

The Monastery of Two Winds lies in the mountains that form the main border between Ostalin and Sindaire, near the large town of Eresh. The monastery teaches two different approaches to harnessing the power of air magic: the gentle west wind style, and the fierce east wind style. Some monks of the two winds feel compelled to travel the world, letting the wind guide their journeys.