On the Continent of Erea, a fragile peace reigns. Though there are many nations and peoples, three powers stand above all others.
The largest and most powerful is the ancient and most noble Empire of Navan.
The Empire started in the city of Navan, its ancestral capital. Though still an important port city and the home of the Paladin Orders of Abadar, Sarenrae, and Erastil, its glory has diminished. The Government moved to a new city called Skyreach, specially constructed for the purpose of housing the government. The Empire today takes up almost all of the Southern Coast and most of the Center of the Continent and the rich mines therein.
The Empire grew slowly by defeating and absorbing many nations and peoples leading to a fractured, cosmopolitan people. The Imperial policy of inclusion and pluralism is what keeps the Empire together even today.
Military: A traditional mix of light and heavy infantry, devastating heavy cavalry, and the largest force of Divine Warriors (clerics, paladins, warpriests, etc.) The Elite Chevaliers are among the best cavalry in the world. The Warmages of Navan are taught how to ride and cast making them a dangerous mobile support force.
Government: Constitutional Monarchy.
Ruler: Emperor Laius Tavoularis
The Imperial Senate handles most civil matters. They are voted in by citizens who all have the right to vote. Foreigners have an easier time getting citizenship in Navan than they would anywhere else. Though any citizen can hold office, it is unpaid work making it practically impossible for a poor citizen to hold office. The Senate is led by a member of direct family of the Emperor (Brother, Sister, Cousin, etc.) chosen by the Emperor. The second child of the Royal family is granted a special seat and must serve for at least 5 years unless something happens to the Royal Heir(ess).
The War Council handles all military decisions including when to go to war. The sole exception is treaties. All Treaties must be handled by a joint committee selected by the Emperor consisting of equal membership from the War Council and the Senate. The War Council is headed by the Emperor himself. The first child of the Emperor holds a special seat in the council as an adviser and cannot vote. (S)he is expected to learn rather than rule until they have ascended to the Throne.
A relatively new faction in the Navan Government is the Foreign Tribunal. Navan has many vassals who serve as buffers to the other two powers. This is incredibly important for maintaining the status quo so the Navan gave them their own voice in the government. This shocked the other powers whose own policies towards vassals aren't nearly so beneficent.
Patron Deity: Abadar
Stance on Slavery: Enslavement of Humans, Elves, Half-Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Aasimar, and Tieflings is forbidden on pain of death. Enslavement of other sentient races is frowned upon culturally but is still legal.
Places of Note:
The Hold of the Inheritor – Also known as the Hold, it is the largest fortress in the continent and possibly the world. Home of the Paladins of Iomedae.
The Deep Mines – The largest mines owned by Humans. Working there is a terrible punishment reserved for only the absolute worst criminals e.g. rapists, serial killers, serial arsonists, those who committed successful treason.
The Pantheon – The only grand cathedral to every major god (save Rovagug). Also holds many smaller shrines to lesser gods, Empyreal Lords, and Archdevils. Considered by many to be the most beautiful buildings ever constructed.
The Fields of Gorum – The training ground for Navan’s army. It has a large open field where units can practice large-scale mixed tactics such as cavalry charges with magical support. The Navan are also proud of the Mess Hall which they claim has the best food in the world and not just for army food. But the crown jewel is the Forge of Gorum where the swords for the highest nobles and strong troops are forged and enchanted. There may be forges that make better swords and enchanters who make stronger enchantments but you’ll never find a place that does both so well and so efficiently.
To the North of Navan lies Syrissia. The newest nation on the continent, it is considered an upstart among the more established nations.
Its history begins with Nyx, the so-called “Empire of Blood.” It was the first empire on the continent to rival Navan. They were an empire of anthrophages ruled by Vampires. They warred with Navan for decades and lost many of their southernmost lands. But the cold and dark North was too good a strategic position for horde of undead and monsters. It seemed like they would never be defeated for good until the Great Crusade.
An army of warriors led by the Hand of the Inheritor and the Spirit of Adoration themselves (hearlds of Iomedae and Shelyn respectively) led a final charge into the Nyx heartland and routed the hordes. The leader of the Paladins of Shelyn, Rosaline, personally defeated the Vampire Lord in the final battle. The Crusaders decided to found a new nation to replace Nyx. In thanks for the divine intervention of Shelyn, the new nation was named after one the titles of Shelyn, Syriss. The Entirety of Shelyn’s Church moved to the new nation. The Paladins of Iomedae founded a smaller chapter in Syrissia but they couldn’t leave their great fortress lest it fall to unworthy hands.
Territory: It holds the cold Northern part of the Continent but has warmer lands to the South that were once devastated by the Wars with Nyx. It is in those lands that the Capital of Syrissia, Lighthold, lies. Lighthold was once a staging ground for the crusaders and carries its legacy still. It has a military feel to it with its straight and wide roads, planned districts, and impressive fortifications. This is because it was built by Iomedaens. The Shelynites redecorated the city into something more befitting the Enteral Rose. Great museums, conservatories, dancehalls, restaurants, and academies make the city one the greatest centers of culture in the Continent. Only Skyreach can compete.
Military: The army carries on the legacy of its founding with a patchwork army that incorporates many different military doctrines. This makes them surprising and wily foes but makes it difficult to amass into a large fighting force like Navan can. Thus Syrissia prefers hit-and-run tactics with a greater emphasis on troop quality than quantity.
Government: A Full-fledged Democracy.
Ruler: Elder Celestia Lightborn
All citizens have the right to vote and all citizens can serve in the Parliament. Being in the Parliament is paid and therefore the poor can and often do serve in it. It and therefore the country are led by an Elder who is directly voted every ten years by the people with no term limits. The term elder refers to the experience the officeholder is supposed to have and is not necessarily reflective of the actual age of the officeholder.
Syrissia is famous for its Bill of Rights, something no other country can boast. After the first three Rights all churches of Good gods added a Right to the list.
1.The Universal Right for any citizen of Legal Age (16) to Vote.
2.The Universal Right to speak one’s mind even if it criticizes the Government
3.The Universal Right to worship from a list of State-Approved Religions (all Good and Neutral Major Deities plus Asmodeus, All Empyreal Lords and Archdevils, Green Faith, Diabolism)
4.(Shelyn) The right of love: all citizens may love anyone their heart desires and can express that love in a non-harmful way. Harmful love (rape, harassment, stalking, sexual assault, etc.) is strictly forbidden.
5.(Iomedae) The right of protection: all citizens must able to feel reasonably safe. The law is to enforced in a fair manner with trials by juries of the defendant’s social peers and misuse of power (police brutality, unjust punishments, etc.) is strictly forbidden.
6.(Cayden Cailean) The right of freedom: all forms of slavery are strictly forbidden.
7.(Desna) The right of travel: any citizen may travel anywhere within the borders of Syrissia without any restrictions. All criminals forfeit this right.
8.(Torag) The right to work: Those who would work cannot be unreasonably denied a job. Unreasonable denials includes, but is not limited to, racism, sexism, and classism.
9.(Erastil) The right of nature: poaching, deforestation, overhunting, and other forms of environmental destruction are forbidden.
10.(Sarenrae) The right of health: no citizen may be denied access to medicine or healing magic for any reason. Insufficient funds will be handled first by the Church of Sarenrae if possible then by the Government if not.
Patron Deity: Shelyn
Stance on Slavery: See item #6 in Bill of Rights.
Places of Note:
The Rose’s Blossom: the Grand Temple of Shelyn. It holds the most beautiful works of art in the world in as many different styles as possible.
The Everbloom’s Tower: Once a small shrine dedicated to Milani, minor goddess of freedom and revolution, it was rebuilt by the followers of Iomedae to be a huge watchtower. It symbolizes that peace and freedom must be maintained by vigilance.
The Death Trenches: The battleground where the Last Vampire Lord fell. It is said to be haunted by the spirits of the fallen crusaders.
The final Superpower is Caenar, the land of magic. This land was founded by a group of Navan nobles who felt that Navan’s restrictions on magical research impeded growth. They conquered or settled a large amount of territory in impressively short time. They are an empire build upon magic and so the Mages rule with an iron fist.
Territory: The first Canerans settled in unclaimed territory in the extreme East of the Continent but soon spread outward through minor nations and lands held by monstrous humanoids (orcs, goblins, etc.). The Magister Lords' feats during the initial creation of Caenar. are still told of in stories: enchanting whole armies and forcing them to surrender, crafting citadels out of the ground, building enormous engines of war to win without suffering a single humanoid causality. It is said they can do even more impressive feats and are simply biding their time…
The capital, Caneous, stands at a Fortress built on previously unlivable land and is sustained by magically created food. It is defended by magical traps and an army of constructs. It is considered impregnable.
Military: Mage divisions separated by school unleashing massive spells, supporting mundane troops charge into any gaps created and protect the mages. Caenar is the only power that can boast battleworthy constructs and bound Devils. The Church of Asmodeus provides almost all Divine Magical support.
Government: Absolute Monarchy within a Magical Meritocracy.
Ruler: Mage Emperor Darius XVII of House Solidor
The Empire is run by Darius XVII of House Solidor the descendant of the leader of the original Magisters that founded the Empire. His lightest word is law but he often leaves the day-to-day affairs to his Council of Magisters. This position is not hereditary. Instead, it is filled with the best Mage of each school of Magic.
This does not mean that all magic is equal however. Sorcerers, Summoners, Witches, Bloodragers, Oracles are put down. Sorcerers and Summoners especially are enslaved via special magical items designed for the purpose called Collars of Compliance.
The Church of Asmodeus is the state religion and exercises enormous political control. Though the Magister Council has the ultimate say in all non-religious matters, the average citizen of Caenar sees the Church of Asmodeus as the government as far as they’re concerned. The Church also runs the secret police.
Criminal justice is harsh in Caenar. The secret police, made up of investigators, slayers, and run by inquisitors, roams the countryside and the cities always on the lookout for heretics and lawbreakers. Crime is lower in Caenar than any other country and Hellmouth, the economic center of the Empire, is the only major city without a Thieves’ guild.
Stance on Slavery: No Wizard, Arcanist, Cleric, Inquisitor, or Magus of any race may be enslaved. All others subject to be enslaved at any time for any reason.
Patron Deity: Asmodeus
Places of Interest:
The Grand Academy of Caenar – The finest academy of magic in the world bar none. Though there are plenty more academies in Caenar, this is where the future rulers of the Empire are trained. This is where the best and brightest go to study magic in the presence of the best teachers. There are absolutely no restrictions on research even if it accidentally kills another student. Those who intentionally murder student or staff are ritually sacrificed to gain arcane secrets.
The Palace of Law – Called the Pit by the common folk, it is the center of Asmodeus worship in the Material Plane. It is here that criminals are sent to be executed, their souls taken to Hell by servitor Devils.
The Hyena’s Den – A small territory near the border of Caenar where Gnolls run the largest slaving ring in the Continent. The Caenar government officially disapproves of them but tacitly endorses them.
The Mage Factory – This is where Caenar puts its Sorcerers and Summoners. They believe that non-prepared spellcasters are too dangerous to not be controlled. They put the Collars of Compliance on them and send them to work. The collars choke off access to higher-level spells and any spell of the teleportation subschool. After they get the collars, they spend their days crafting magical items for the Empire.
There are other powers than the Big Three. The biggest are the Elven Lands, The Orcish Marshes, the Dragons’ Horde, and Highmountain, the land of the Dwarves.
The Elven lands hold the forests on the extreme west of the continent. Here they stay mostly isolated from the affairs of humans. They occasionally engage with the humans and always prove themselves to be canny negotiators. Many idealistic Elves left their homelands to join the crusade against Nyx. For this reason, Syrissia has the largest concentration of half-elves and Elves out of the homelands.
The Elven Lands are a collective name for a large amount of independent City-States that trade with each other. Their military contains the finest archers and the highest amount of Druids whose mastery of the forest ensures that no army would encroach upon the Elven Lands lightly.
They don’t hate any other race but still consider themselves to be the smartest, wisest, and most in tune with nature. They don’t trade very much but when they do it is only with Navan and Syrissia.
Patron Deity: Calistria
Ruler: Numerous Mayors without one central ruler
Highmountain is the highest and widest mountain in Erea. The Dwarves have maintained an advanced society there since humanity was in the Bronze Age. It was they who drove the Orcs out of the Darklands and into the light. The Orcs have never recovered their ancient numbers since their great defeat. It is traditionally ruled by a Dwarf of the High-Hammer clan whose leadership led the dwarves to their ancient victory. But trouble brews in the once stable kingdom.
The Earth-Singer clan under the leadership of Ragnar the Bold has marched out of their ancestral grounds and created a new city at the base of Highmountain. This so-called “Empire in the Sun” has created a city based on the collection of tolls and tariffs with the Dwarves in the mountain. The High-Hammers are furious at this move and war might erupt at any time.
Patron Deity: Torag (High-Hammer) / Gorum (Earth-Singer)
Alignment: LN (High-Hammer) / CN (Earth-Singer)
Ruler: Karola High-Hammer / Ragnar Earth-Singer
The Orcish Marshes is the common name for a collection of tribes and petty kingdoms in the Northeast of the continent. They border Highmountain, Syrissia, and Caenar and are at war with all three. Navan and the Elves are also officially at war with them for good measure. Though named after the most populous race in the Marshes, there are plenty of Goblonoids, Kobolds, and Gnolls to go around.
Caenar is so far the only country that ever been able to permanently conquer territory in the Marshes. Both Caenar and Syrissia adopt a slow encroachment strategy to beat them. This means they beat a tribe or two. Hold their territory, build the populace, and then move closer when the population of the conquered territory gets too high. Pushing them back too far and too fast pushes the monstrous races together and forces them to work together to become an overwhelming force, something Navan found out the hard way in the past.
Alignment: Any Evil
Patron Deity: Lamashtu
Ruler: Numerous and ever-shifting
The Dragons’ Horde is a small but powerful Nation in between Navan and Caenar. A group of Dragons Metallic, Chromatic , and Primal banded together in outrage over rumors that Caenar is enslaving dragons to serve as mounts. Most people believe them and it stands as an open secret. They do not march on Caenar due to disunity but they act as a powerful obstacle to Caenar’s territorial ambitions.
Patron Deity: Aspu/Tiamat/Dahak
Off the Southern Coast of Erea lies a strategic archipelago claimed by all three Superpowers. The laws of the Continent do not apply here. For example, the colonies of Syrissia are not a democracy and its citizens are not necessarily citizens of Syrissia. All of the colonies are at war with each other. This chaotic, ever-shifting political landscape means only the boldest and stupidest members of the nations come here. The parent nations use the colonies to vent their most bloodthirsty and hawkish citizens and ensure peace on the Continent. Piracy also reigns here and a vast fortune could be made if one is skilled/lucky.
Alignment: CN (note this is due the general lawlessness. This does not necessarily reflect the individual colonies or those therein)
Patron Deity: Varies.
Classes and where to find them:
Sorcerers: No nation has the clear majority but the best are in Navan due to Caenar's wastefulness.
Wizards: Caenar has the most and best.
Arcanists: Caenar is the only nation where they may be found.
Druids: Elven Lands.
Hunters: Elven Lands and Syrissia.
Investigators: Caenar for Evil ones; Syrissia for Good ones.
Bloodragers: Orcish Marshes but specifically in the lands that border Caenar
Alchemist: Navan for quantity; Caenar for quality
Barbarian: Syrissia for Good Barbarians; Orcish Marshes for Evil ones.
Gunslinger: Caenar (field testing in their colonies)
Magus: As Wizard
Cleric: In all Nations
Warpriest: As Cleric
Oracle: Navan has the most out in the open.
Shaman: No country has a great concentration of them.
Witch: As Shaman but enslaved when caught in the open in Caenar
Races and Restrictions:
Half-Elves: Have a Good reason to not be from Syrissia
Elves: You must be from the Elven Lands
Dwarves: unless you are part of a church or on an approved diplomatic mission then you are an outcast.
Half-Orcs: Expect prejudice.
Gnomes: Not allowed under any circumstances.
Tieflings: Devilspawn must be from Caenar or have a very good reason why they aren't. No other restriction. No need to take the feat for variant heritage. Expect prejudice
Aasimar: You are not from Caenar. Expect fear and prejudice should you go there
No Orcs, Drow, Goblins, or Hobgoblins
All other races must be approved by the GM. Please come to me before getting too far in the creation process.
Setting Details (More to come as I think of them)
It is incredibly rude to say the name of a god(dess)whose church you do not belong to. It is polite to use a title instead. Ex. The Prince of Darkness instead of Asmodeus. Worshipers may use the god's name freely but generally prefer to use titles when speaking to outsiders. The sole exception to this rule is Rovagug. His clergy doesn't care for niceties and not another single religion respects him enough to use his title. The title, when it is used, is more an expression of fear or disgust than respect.
Clerics and other divine casters are allowed to hide their faith and even use the holy symbols of other faiths. Should a paladin require stealth or deception then he may use the holy symbols of any Good god or Lawful neutral as per a divine agreement.
Most common folk are afraid of magic. If it's divine in nature and from a god they approve of, they'll get over it. Arcane magic is hated and feared by most peasants.
True Resurrection does not exist outside of direct Divine Interference.
Said Divine Interference is unlikely. Everyone is too scared of what happened to Aroden to manifest directly.
Resurrection and Raise Dead functionally normally the first time they're used. Afterwards it becomes steadily more and more difficult. Pharasma keeps a tighter grip on things here.