Discussion in 'General Fantasy' started by GrimWarlock, Oct 31, 2013.
The Quetzal sound really cool! And like someone I definitely don't want to run into on a dark night
Why thank you. I was just thinking of the quetzal, because, I was using them in a short story. I really enjoy making these races of animal people. World building is the funnest part of fantasy writing, even though it's far from the most important.
I agree, although I think sometimes the world building can be just as important as character building because it adds a third-dimension to the story. It makes it feel like a real place. To me at any rate
Well reading your books I can say that you're good at world building. Now excuse me while I make up more animal peoples.
Yes, keep creating! Just be sure to keep sharing!
Name-Nagan Empire of Patala
Real life inspirations-Ancient Hindu civilizations like Ankor Wat, old Indonesia, and especially India.
History-Lazy and divided, the Naga serpent tribes were amongst the weakest of all the reptilian race. Then their rainforest homes were conquered. The warm blooded tribes of harpies, humans and felids came to loot Naga civilization and run, but soon found themselves seduced by sophisticated Nagan religion, art, and most of all writing. The conquers became obsessed with preserving the Naga people and their culture. They formed a centralized empire to do so, and they found that Naga were best suited to administrate this new empire, for they were the most intelligent people in it. Today the warm blooded beings have become mere laborers, the Naga are their rulers, and neiboring states brace themselves as the Patala empire expands.
Biology of the Patala empire-Naga look like humans from the waist up, with dark skin, and black or purple hair. On their own Naga can do little more than think and reproduce, while warm blooded beings have difficulty coping with Mu’s suffocating heat, yet combined they make what could very well be the most powerful empire in all of the continent of Mu. Humans, harpies, and felids do the manual labor, and the fighting, their surplus labor supporting a vast population of inventing, and amusing Naga.
This wasn’t planed by the invading warm blooded beings, much less the vast numbers of Naga who resisted them. Rather, biology determined that each species was best suited for certain task. Naga are poorly suited for physical labor due to their frail, cold-blooded, bodies, but their brilliant minds are perfect for crafting prudent state policy, brilliant works of art, and captivating culture. The warm blooded invaders were fearsome warriors with strong, active, bodies, and an encyclopedic knowledge of animal domestication, but did not have the awe inspiring culture that the Naga had. The combination of physical and mental makes for a powerful empire, but it ensures that Naga are the ones in charge even if they don’t always seem to be.
There are two other aspects of Naga biology that determine their domination. One is the ability to mass reproduce. Their serpent bodies allow for wider birth cannels, ensuring that they can reproduce even at young ages with only slim chances of death via child birth. It is normal for a Naga couple to have thirteen or fourteen children, starting at the tender age of twelve. Since Naga are cold-blooded, a population of Naga needs only one tenth of the food, needed by a population of humans the same size, so Naga are always more common than their warm blooded counter parts. The other determinate of Naga domination is by far the most bizarre; hybridization.
Naga can mate with humans, Harpy, felids, and several other species to produce hybrid offspring. No one knows how this works, only that Naga can seduce other species, and the resulting offspring almost always sympathize most with their serpent parent; they’re the ones with the advanced culture after all.
Despite the dominance of the Naga race in their empire there are beings of other races that occasionally obtain positions of power. Those few humans, harpy, and felids who prove to have intelligence rivaling Naga, can find their way into such positions. Indeed the Naga go out of their way to make this possible.
Government- The leaders of the Patala Empire are always thinking of expanding, especially since they see the benefits of assimilating other races, but instead of military conquest they rely on diplomacy, cultural assimilation, and a flexible governing council that concedes seats to non-Naga. Members of this governing council can choose their own heirs, before retirement. Usually government workers must rise through the ranks to have a prayer of being chosen, but members of the council sometimes use their potential choice to entice another tribes into the empire. This ensures the potential tribe will have some voice in governing. Mermaids are the most prominent example of tribes being assimilated in this manner.
There have been several times in history where Naga were a minority in the governing council, but this is hardly a problem. Whoever is in the council will still need intelligent Naga advisors to assist them, and plus every race has assimilated into Naga culture so far. Plus Naga mass reproduction ensures they are always the majority.
What does this governing council do? When its members are not arguing over nothing, they provide defense from attackers, law and order, road construction, and maintenance of the nation’s many aqueducts and irrigation systems. In all these duties the council of four hundred is slow and unwieldy, but in its true purpose, of maintaining the delicate balance between all the races it rules, it is extremely successful.
Religion-The Naga, as a whole, have never worshiped any particular gods, but they have always felt a strong spiritual connection to water, hardly surprising since they are semi-aquatic river serpents. As such, they have many purification ceremonies, and ritual bathing. With this connection to water comes a philosophy of flow that underlies much of their thinking. Spirit energy called Ka, is claimed to circulate through all things, connecting the tiniest pebble to the greatest stars. Understanding this flow of energy is said to be key to success and happiness in life. This philosophy is applied to everything from irrigation to medicine, to traffic, for understanding the flow of water, blood and people is vital for all these things.
Since the Naga never had any gods, the other races of the empire have always been free to worship whatever deity they like, yet since these races are so busy with physical labor it falls on Naga priest to conduct many of their sacred ceremonies. Most often, the other races will just request a priest conduct a normal Naga ceremony, but will ask that the name of their deities be interjected. For example a Nagan house blessing ceremony is a dance asking that good fortune come upon the home, but before the new races came the ceremony never specified who was being asked. Now in the empire they can request their own gods be asked. The philosophy of flow applied to religion.
Enemies-Not all races are willing to be annexed by Patala, peacefully or otherwise. In the low land swamps there are the Varina, a tribe of proud and intelligent lizards who see Naga as food, and believe in a life style dedicated to hunting. Being a xenophobic people, they see all kinds of hybridization, and assimilation as a perversion. Skirmishes have become increasingly frequent as a growing Naga population pressures the empire to expand into Varina territory.
In the deserts, the Naga are resisted by Laima. Though they are serpent beings closely related to the Naga, their warrior culture dedicated to sacrifice makes it impossible for them to be assimilated peacefully, and they actively resist the empire at every turn.
But by far the Patala’s greatest enemy is the Quetzal empire of the mountains. A people with cultural achievements that rival the Naga’s and a proud military tradition, the Quetzal once feasted on Naga as though they were live stock. The Quetzal now look with apprehension at their former food source rising to power, and it does not help that the Naga claim the Quetzal plagiarized their writing system. Writing was one of the great achievements that Naga used to seduce other races into their empire, but the quetzal insist they are true inventors of literacy. This argument has even been known to erupt into battle.
Finally there is the crystal water tribe, a tribe of humans, who were not assimilated into Patala and see their assimilated brethren as slaves to be freed. This tribe will make war on the Naga. They will make war on all reptilian peoples.
This sounds so magnificent. Just reading your summaries makes me want to travel to your word. Do you plan on sharing more about the Crystal Water tribe?
It's the people I am going to do next.
The Cold Wind invasions.
For twenty seven thousand years Reptilian, and amphibian beings have ruled the continent of Mu, while the tiny populations of warm bloods have been slaves or forced to hide the in icy peaks of desolate mountains. Then one thousand years ago, cold winds blew from the north and south, bringing with them invaders. From the frozen south came hordes of barbarian humans. The humans have tamed horses, saber-toothed cats, and mammoths, while conspiring with the nature its self to reduce reptilian civilizations to ruin. These hordes of humans have come together into one tribe. The crystal water tribe.
Real life inspirations-Upper Paleolithic peoples, Neanderthals, and hunter gather tribes.
Physical appearance-Those of the Crystal Water Tribe are never higher than five foot six, but even the women of the tribe are made massive by hulking muscles, and dense bones. They all wear the skins of beast, some of which they once used as mounts. Everyone in the tribe makes sure to have at least one animal at their side or underneath them, for it is these strong animals that often give them the advantage in battle and assist with survival in peace.
Disposition-The people of the crystal water tribe will kill a reptile person on sight. A reptilian being can only be spared if someone in the tribe will vouch for them, but this is extremely rare. Even other humans should be on their knees, and have their hands empty of weapons, if they desire to avoid conflict with the tribe. This being done, other humans will be treated as guest, and over time can become members of the tribe through marriage.
History-People have been trickling in from the southern continent for a millennium, for the ice mountains grow from the south pole. They once had knowledge of agriculture, architecture, and organizing civilization, but war with the reptilian natives forced them to trade this wisdom for savagery, and so the crystal water tribe was born. People of the crystal water tribe have been repulsed by reptiles, sentient or otherwise, since the day they arrived on Mu, all the more so since reptilian peoples subjugate humans. As the crystal water tribe grew they marched north, reducing Dessert Naga civilization, and the island lizard civilization to ash. Their march was finally halted by the great crocodile King Sundatta who defeated them by uniting his own divided people under on rule.
Reptilian peoples came to see the crystal water tribe humans as barbarians, impossible to civilize. Sundatta once attempted to civilize Crystal water humans by stealing children from their parents and having them raised as reptiles. Far from being civilized, the children grew up to be beggars and thieves. A few even founded a new tribe of bandits that plague the crocodiles to this day. Today the conflict between human and reptile still simmers.
Society-The crystal water tribe is subdivided into family groups called clans. These clans usually functionally independently of one another, and elect a chief to moderate meetings. It is through these meetings that a clan can arrive at a consensus to decide on important matters, like when to move to a new hunting grounds, and whether to go to war. Some of the more prominent clans are;
Bear clan-A clan of hardened and brave warriors. The Vanguard of any assault.
Oak clan-Known for its herbalism and mixtures of medicines.
Wolf clan-A clan well known for its paintings, and a sense of closeness that impresses other clans.
Sabercat clan-A jack and master of all trades. It is by far the biggest and strongest clan, though it is most famous for its spiritual wisdom.
Though, the clans usually function independently, the clans will unite if there is a threat to the tribe as a whole.
Technology-In many aspects technology has regressed for the crystal water tribe. They even refuse the bow and arrow, preferring the spear and addel, but there are areas where they have advanced, and by doing so have become powerful.
Herbalism-A typical Crystal water tribesman can memorize the properties of hundreds of plants. A typical Shamen, thousands. Even in some of the harshest areas of Mu, they can find food, disinfectants, weapons, shelter materials, and medicines for many diseases. So long as there are plants in an area a Clan can survive in it.
Animal training-Many beast that are too wild to be domesticated by advanced societies, can be taught obedience by the crystal water tribe. Mammals such as wolves, bears, and horses are the preferred beast, but if circumstances are dire they may rely on reptiles, birds even some species of giant amphibians. The tribe keeps its unique animal training techniques to its self. What is known, is that some beast are easier to train than others, so the cost and benefits of training must be weighed carefully. In an epic battle against the crocodile people, Sabercat clan once fielded a Tyrannosaurs rex. The battle was won, but the tyrannosaurs was freed and such a great beast has not been used since.
Sea faring-The tree Canoes of the tribe may seem rickety, but combined with island hopping they are sufficient for carrying people from the Southern continent to the continent of Mu. Their reading of the stars and sky is superior to the sedentary reptile peoples. No matter where a member of the tribe is he/she can always point to where the southern continent is, for in his/her head is a map more detailed than any on paper.
Cold death-The source of the name “crystal water.” Water, ammonia salts, and a mysterious mineral are combined to create a chemical reaction so cold that it turns water to crystal. Reptile peoples, being vulnerable to cold, can be harmed if the chemicals are combined and thrown at them. It is an extremely inefficient weapon, but reptile peoples fear it regardless, for they think it some form of evil magic.
Religion-The people of the tribe believe in animism, the idea that all things have a spirit. Animals, plants, pebbles, even forests, have a spirit. Shaman are appointed and trained to communicate with these spirits through works of art, such as songs, poems and cave paintings, so they gleam wisdom and become profits. It is claimed that if one goes into a trance, creating a work of art, it means that the spirits have taken control of your body to complete it themselves. Some Shaman work patiently to bring on the trance, others induce the trance with special medicines.
In battle-With animal mounts, but no agriculture, the tribe makes up for small numbers with mobility, striking where the enemy is week, then scattering into to wilderness if the enemy is reinforced. Pursuing Crystal water barbarians is a futile effort, for the harsh wilds are their ally. Troops will surely be sniped by the barbarians, if they are not consumed by beast, or run out of supplies. The only hope of defeating the tribe is to cut off routes of escape with superior numbers. Even then it may be a hard earned victory, as barbarians and their beast have been made rugged by the harshness of the wilds.
The battle strategies of the crystal water tribes have often been effective against reptiles, but will they be effective against the other invaders? The invaders from the north.
Appearance: Large, four-legged elemental of molten lava and stone, breaths superheated smoke, has prehensile tentacles about its face looking like a "mane" that it can use for grasping and manipulating objects.
Habitat: Large and dormant/active calderas with high temperatures
Life-span: 500 years to 700 years
Means of Sustenance: It eats the lava-fish elementals and farms the crystal hedges that thrive about the rim of the caldera
Favourite Food Source: Its favorite foods are derived from crystal hedge-roots and lava-fish heads, prepared in supremely hot lava and served fresh.
Major Competition: Stone bears and fire-dragons compete with it for the lava-fish
Mating Rituals: They create elaborate costumes of woven crystal branches, then have the males fight one another in duels on the most delicate parts of the caldera. Whoever falls into the lava first loses. Winners then must display their costumes to the females, who can ask questions before making their choice. The Argonyx mate for life.
Reproduction: The Argonyx have a three-year cycle, which begins about a century and a half after birth and marks adulthood. At the end of the second year in the cycle, an egg is produced, brightly glowing and encrusted with diamond. It takes the next year after that for the baby to develop fully, and during this time the egg must be protected from predators and incubated at exactly the right temperature. After the end of the third year, the egg shatters, and the baby Argonyx emerges. The mother takes care of her young until adulthood. Up to three Argonyx cubs are born at a time, so populations are generally stable, neither increasing nor decreasing.
Organization: The Argonyx are very much social creatures, forming villages and clans and choosing a Placet to lead them. Household affairs are looked after equally when there are no cubs, but if the female is pregnant, she will stay within the village as the male goes to hunt and farm. All adults pitch in to gather the food and defend the village, and when the leader dies a new one is chosen by the entire clan.
Other: Argonyx are highly intelligent, though their technology is primitive. They are capable of learning all manner of language, but it is difficult for them to comprehend such concepts such as "to have a fever". Their language is based very much around fire and proverbs and sayings concerning fire, and sometimes it can be difficult to know what an Argonyx means unless one is familiar with the legends and stories associated with the terms being used.
Appearance: Small yet powerful bird of prey with deadly sharp claws, about the size of a house-cat and extremely intelligent. Fully developed beak and larynx capable of speech, strong wings that allow it to fly extremely fast.
Habitat: Tall forests, cliff hollows with overhanging arches. They build homes out of adobe, round and remarkably complex, with individual rooms and an insulation of straw. Their nests are matted dry grass woven into soft mattresses, though they prefer to use sunlight and not fire for lighting.
Life-span: 60-70 years
Means of Sustenance: Most non-sentient creatures such as deer, cattle, boars, lizards, and wolves. They are capable of hunting dragons.
Favourite Food Source: They love to hunt fast-moving and dangerous creatures such as dragons, and enjoy the thrill of taking down animals many times larger than themselves. They make a point of using every part of the kill, whether for decoration and tools or for food.
Major Competition: Griffons compete with them for smaller game.
Mating Rituals: The swiftclaws have elaborate courtship rituals involving the building of intricate nests and homes and the crafting of beautiful jewelry from simple items. Creativity and wit is greatly admired, as is a good singing voice. Females choose their mates for their ability to improvise and weave together multiple skills into a story, and mate for life.
Reproduction: The swiftclaws mate for life, with the female staying within the adobe hut from conception to the hatching of the eggs. The male hunts for food and feeds the female and the chicks. Both parents teach the chicks until they come of age.
Organization: The swiftclaws hunt in packs but allow couples to have their privacy and rule their own lives. There is no particular "alpha", though elders are respected by chicks. During hunts, they generally make decisions based on an informal vote, and then share the spoils evenly out of an unspoken code of conduct and etiquette. Their songs are intricate stories, each note having significance, and their writing is the same, though they appear to be little more than scratches in stone to other creatures.
Other: The swiftclaw is extremely intelligent, and it is wise to show proper respect. They are also extremely jealous with their mates; it would be wise not to insult or make jests about their rituals. A swiftclaw while hunting is very dangerous, though they appear and sound very cheerful and talkative. Their song-language is developed around intricate meanings that can be very obtuse for outsiders, and it is important to note that cheerfulness does not mean calmness or lack of danger. Swiftclaws are cheerful even in the most dangerous of circumstances. If you see a chick outside the nest, do not make any threatening moves. Inform a nearby swiftclaw, and the matter will be taken care of.
The elf explorer Lafeil- Few people have left such a profound mark on Mu, as to be known throughout the whole continent. None are as universally beloved as Lafeil the elf. Originally, a woman so aloof, and cold that royalty found her unapproachable, Lafeil set out on a journey to find a lost legendary civilization, under the guidance of sabercat clan. Along the way, many “primitive” tribes provided hospitality that her own people never would. Touched by kindness, Lafeil's heart slowly warmed to others. She learned to heal the sick, to defend the weak from monsters, and broker peace between tribes. She married, and bore a child with a human from sabercat clan of the crystal water tribe. Even reptilian peoples, who hate all things humanoid, learned to see past her relations and recognize her kind, generous, spirit. Lafeil never did find the legendary civilization, but came home a kindler gentler person. Indeed she had change so much many of her own people thought her mad, and locked her in an asylum. Still, elves were inspired when she wrote of her adventures on Mu and determined to make their own journeys to the Southern continent. Now many peoples, both warm and cold blooded, look forward to the arrival of more of Lafeil’s people. There are tribes, however, who realize that most elves are not nearly as kind as she is.
From the North!-For twenty seven thousand years Reptilian, and amphibian beings have ruled the continent of Mu, while the tiny populations of warm bloods have been slaves or forced to hide the in frozen peaks of windy mountains. Then one thousand years ago, cold winds blew from the north and south, bringing with them invaders. From the frozen North come the elves. Guided by science and reason, the elves have built an advanced civilization of steal and steam, even as the rest of the world has degenerated into savagery. They have conquered many lands, but only now that the world is cooling can they finally set their sights on the far south. Many in Mu welcome the elves for their vast knowledge and advanced technology, but there are many tribes who rise against them and their desire for conquest, even if it means taking a stand before guns and cannons.
Real life inspirations-Almost everything about the elves is copied from 1860s England. The two exceptions are the history and the language. The elves speak Sindarian, and other elf languages created by Tolkien. Their early history is inspired by the Celts, and pagan religions of ancient Europe.
Physical description-Elves almost always tower above six feet from foot to crown, but their bodies are so naturally slender that they are like feathers in their density. They are humanoid in many ways, but their pointed ears, highly reflective eyes, fair skin, and greater average intelligence distinguish them from humans. They were evolved to be an acrobatic people, their light bodies swinging through the trees without braking branches, but today they plow the trees aside for cobble stone roads.
Disposition-Even as the rest of the world falls backward into time, the superior intelligence, and discipline of the elves has allowed them to propel far into an industrial age. They have collectively taken it upon themselves to spread the gifts of their civilization to other races, through peaceful trade if possible, but at the point of the rifle if necessary. Like their machines, they have been proven stalwart even in the face of nature’s great challenges. Before the elves, diseased swamps are drained, dark jungles are plowed aside, mountains are bisected to make way for railroads, stormy oceans are traversed, enemy tribes, and beast are massacred, and vast lands are conquered.
As fearsome as the elves are, they are more than living war machines. They are also seekers of wisdom, endowed with genuine curiosity of other cultures, keeping records and conducting archaeological studies to understand them and their history. Flora and Fauna are also examined and books about wild explorations sell out as elves back home consume them with insatiable interest. While it is true that elves see themselves as the most advanced race on earth, it is possible for other races to earn their respect by demonstrating great works of civilization. Works of art, cities, roads, coined currency, are but a few of the metrics that impress the elves. There are also a few individual elves, who do not need to be impressed as they do not put themselves above other races.
Religion-In the old days the elves worshiped trees, but have now cast aside all spiritual concerns. Only science and reason fill the void.
Relations with other races-Ironically many of the reptile peoples who hate humans, do not hate their cousins the elves. The elves are seen as a force for order, and as harbingers of civilization. The elves recognize that many reptiles do have appreciable kingdoms. The Naga have even been making attempts to hybridize with the elves. The Quetzal bird people have also come to respect the elves. Still, rising signs of distrust have begun to form as the elves prove to be arrogant and controlling. Likewise the elves have always found the reptiles repulsive, and grow frustrated at the slow pace of adopting their ways. There is still little chance of outright conflict, however, as elves and reptiles have a common enemy in the crystal water tribe.
The crystal water tribe knows the elves better than any other race on Mu, and refuses to be measured to their ridged metrics of civilization. Sabercat clan in particular is resentful for Lafeil being locked up, and her child being stolen away, for she became family upon marriage. Indeed any tribe fearful of losing their nomadic life style to Elvin conquest hoist their spears against them.
In Battle-Riffles, Gatling guns, cannons, and battle ships, are but a few of the advanced weapons that the elves can field in battle. Even in close range combat, the elves unsheathe their swords with such speed, that throats are cut before an eye can blink. No army in the world can face them in a fair fight. The only way to defeat them is to lay down traps, and approach them unseen, and unheard. Unfortunately for the elves, their enemy tribes are good at this.
The relationship between humans, youkai, kami and Old Ones is strange yet manageable in the lands of the Rising Sun. The relationship dates back to ancient times, before the coming of the Eldritch. Since the very beginning of creation, the kami, manifestations and guardians of such things as mountains, rivers and forests, have protected and sheltered the earth of the great islands. They presided over the appearance of the first youkai, or nature spirits, who became their friends and servants. it was then that the oni, or trolls, came to be protectors of mountain kami domains, and other relations between youkai and kami arose. Upon the arrival of humanity to the jungles of what are now known as Okinawa and Hokkaido, the kami and youkai benevolently extended protection to them as well. Feeling rather indebted, humans began to establish a healthy relation with the kami and youkai, sharing technology and exchanging harvests or products for wisdom, and later constructing homes for the spirits. However, when the Old Ones of the west came, destroying and enslaving as they went, the people of the Rising Sun rallied together.
In the first years after the Coming, rumors of chaos and death from the lands to the West caused panic throughout Eastern Asia. The Emperor of China himself, along with millions across the continent, fled in boats to the landmass populated centuries before by the Emperor Qin. At this time the Rising Sun was still a disorganized rabble of quarrelling Daimyo and Samurai, but the sudden influx of refugees and new culture suddenly presented all present with a much greater threat than petty disagreements. This led directly to the unification of Japan; during the first years after reaching the landmass the former leaders of the major human groups came together in what would be known as the Council of the Five Kings.
The Emperors of China, Korea, Thailand, Tibet and the Rising Sun discussed the serious ramifications of having so many people living in such a small amount of space. An agreement was quickly reached regarding matters of state; among the five, only the Emperor of the Rising Sun had an unbroken lineage, something which was viewed as extremely important in maintaining a sense of stability in these troubled times, and so he was elected to be the figurehead of the new Empire.
After this came the issue of governance, and for nine long years the refugees and natives waited in nervous fear as more rumors of the terrible creatures of the West floated over the Western Seas and one applicant after another was rejected as Shogun. In the tenth year, around the time the Ancient Goat, Parent of a Thousand, was claiming China as its own, and the Czar Unanswerable was claiming the Northern Regions, a consensus was finally reached.
The young Tokugawa Ieyasu, a fine general of the Rising Sun military who had outlasted both his strongest rivals through an unbending patience, was finally named Shogun by the Council of the Five Kings, and with this the Council was disbanded. The Emperor of the Rising Sun moved with the other Kings to the old city of Kyoto, naming them his chief advisors and opening the city's palace as a home to the former kings and their courtiers.
Meanwhile, the Shogun cemented ties with the former nobles of the refugees as well as the Daimyo, the Samurai, and especially the Youkai and Kami who still watched uneasily over the rapidly changing land. With these connections he united and distributed the 100 million people in an innovative government, based in Chinese Confucianism and a combination of different ideals from the various governments from which the new citizens hailed.
His son, Tokugawa Iemitsu, stabilized and unified the Imperial economy and established the civil service system. A Mongolian-based language, which utilized a combination of Chinese characters called Kanji and a new dual-alphabetic system called Katakana and Hiragana, was created and taught to the populace in order to facilitate communication throughout the Empire; all currencies were confiscated and converted to a single, decimal-based system revolving around a new unit called the Yen in order to facilitate trade.
As problems arose with the passage of massive amounts of populace over the old roads, stringent laws were enacted dividing the Empire into three hundred Tudofuken, or prefectures. Travel between prefectures was restricted, and passports were issued to each and every citizen in an attempt to maintain order. Restless Daimyo and former nobles were given specific responsibilities as the new Daimyo of each Tudofuken, and each was assigned a battalion of former soldiers promoted to the position of Samurai in order to maintain the peace according to the letter of the law.
With this strict order came even greater concern as to the potentially devastating effects of the Eldritch West creating chaos in the fledgling Empire. This proved to be a valid concern very quickly, and when the Czar Unanswerable from the north sent an armada of touched (eldritch-gifted) and half-bloods to conquer, the Shogun convinced the kami, and most importantly, Susano-O of the winds, to raise up the winds of the four corners and created a wall of mists and roaring waters, sealing the land from foreign contact. The wall became known as the Kamikaze, the Divine Winds. With this wall the Shogunate prevented access to the Empire by anyone save the Indians, and later the Dutch, and even then only through the port of Nagasaki.
The isolation and peaceful order allowed a flourishing of culture and knowledge made even stronger by the presence of literally millions of new people and cultures from all over what had once been Eastern Asia; from the Chinese and Korean scientists came gunpowder, fireworks, silk, tea, calligraphy, music, other arts, medicine, and most importantly, clockwork technology. From the Indians and the Koreans came ferocious new martial arts, which were further developed on the southern island of Okinawa into such arts as Karate, Kendo and Jujutsu. From the Tibetans came knowledge of chi flow and magic, strong enough to possibly even defeat the eldritch threat. Kabuki plays, novels, and the newly-developed manga surged in popularity. Streets and transportation infrastructure throughout the empire were cleaned and paved with stone tiles; copper, gold and silver yen coins flowed from merchant to merchant like water; and the middle class boomed, especially in the new cities.
Kyoto, the Emperor's city, became a place of order and a symbol of the strong legal traditions of the Rising Sun, burgeoning to several hundred thousand bureaucrats and lawmakers. Edo, the Shogun's city, became a place of new ideas and flourishing culture, also rising to several hundred thousand entertainers and artisans; its notorious Ukiyo pleasure districts became a favorite gathering place for the rich to bed with sophisticated maidens or sit in serene silence writing poems while feeling the calm of a Zen garden fill their mind. Osaka, the merchant's city, became a place of bustling markets and loud auctions; trades were made, new banks flourished, and people from all over the Empire came to sell their wares.
Even Nagasaki, the only open port in all the Empire, experienced explosive growth, becoming a city of Rangaku, or Western Learning. Daimyo would often secretly send samurai and shinobi to the city in the hopes of learning of the strange technologies and was of the Eldritch West, and scholars from all over the Empire would be attracted to the insanely complex anatomy, chemistry, astronomy, physics and magic books which occasionally got past the blockade and Imperial Censor. Hiroshima became a city of religion, being home to the island of Miyajima, the home of the kami Amaterasu and her faithful human and youkai miko.
For well over a thousand years the Empire of the Rising Sun rested and flourished in this isolated peace, necessarily dictatorial though it was. However, even with all this development the land remained vulnerable. Peace had begun to curtail development of military technology and lull the samurai class to such an extent that some even began neglecting to so much as learn to wield a katana. More and more, energy was being put into development of the arts and furthering the economy, and warships continued to utilize technology centuries old. All this would come back to bite the Empire upon the dawn of the 19th century after the birth of the old Roman Christ.
He Who Presides over the New World, the President, became interested in forcing open trade with the isolationist state. Eldritch governments had already conquered nearly all other areas of the world, and the Rising Sun stood out like an un-hammered nail in the now blood-red seas of Asia. Next to nothing was known of that world, but tantalizing glimpses of a land wildly different yet strikingly orderly, something which vastly contrasted with the "primitive" and "barbaric" human cultures the Eldritch had previously genocided, floated through the mysterious port of Nagasaki. In fact, the Rising Sun seemed so orderly that some Eldritch anthropologists speculated that it might be ruled by an Old One who had become too human. This, of course, proved not to be the case, but at the time it seemed a near certainty among Eldritch scholars.
Finally, to settle the nagging questions and teach the upstart nation a thing or two about who was the civilized race, the President sent Commodore Matthew C. Perry to the Rising Sun, ordering him to bypass the Kamikaze entirely utilizing the newly-developed New Worldian dirigible technology. His arrival created a panic throughout the previously isolationist Empire; samurai unaccustomed to fighting found themselves several centuries behind technologically, and even greater shocks awaited as the black, smoke-belching dirigibles forcibly landed directly in the Shogun's court in Edo. With the monstrosities arrived terrible news of the technological power of the West: Gatling guns, trains, difference engines, and even such fearful Eldritch medicines such as Vitae Elixirs, which were said to revive the dead, brought shock and dismay to the people of the Rising Sun.
The situation was exacerbated with the death of the concurrent emperor from smallpox, a horrid eldritch disease. The shock of the situation also caused the concurrent Shogun to fall gravely ill, and within weeks the Empire found itself leaderless except for the young successor to the throne. However, the young man would not despair. Seeing opportunity where others saw defeat, he declared his reign to be the start of a new era of reformation and advancement, the Meiji Restoration. Defying tradition, he took the name of the era as his own while still alive, becoming Emperor Meiji. Wealthy samurai and shoguns began sending scouts to Eldritch universities to learn the ways of the strange technologies. Upon returning, the newfound knowledge revolutionized the land.
The roaring, steam-powered Shinkansen flashed across the countryside carrying goods and people as fast as the dragons could fly. In Nagasaki, massive refineries converted raw ore into steel, and loud factories produced everything from clockwork automail, which was developed from improved versions of Eldritch prosthetics, to clockwork military exoskeletons and tesla-based lightning staves. In Edo, which was renamed Tokyo, the "eastern capital" which Emperor Meiji decided to make his new home, the Miyazaki family, inspired by the "moving pictures" which the Old Ones used to keep their minions content, developed the anime and manga as a means of conveying information without needing many words. Radios, telegraphs, telephones, trollies, electric lighting, plumbing and even automobiles for the very rich were imported, reverse-engineered, then improved upon and adapted to the Rising Sun aesthetic.
The culmination of these events came in two parts. First, the Emperor declared that every human, kami and youkai were to be educated to the fullest extent; within a year of the pronouncement, the literacy rate was increased to 99.9% through the development of the school system, from primary to university level. Uniforms modeled after the most efficient western clothes, the army uniform for boys and the sailor uniform for girls, were mass produced and distributed throughout the land.
Secondly, the engineers of the emperor finally managed to construct a dirigible after years of research and espionage. Armed and, for the first time in history, formidable, the Rising Sun was terse, firm and uncompromising the next time an Eldritch power entered. That power proved to be the Czar Unanswerable, the Eldritch of the North. Outraged at the response of the Rising Sun to his demands, he immediately attempted an attack on the nation's territories. To the dismay of the world, the first human superpower in existence defeated the Czarist navy in a no-loss victory. This defeat was so shocking, the Powers actually agreed through a series of treaties to completely withdraw military presence from the territories claimed by the Rising Sun. Within four decades, the Rising Sun was able to do what was thought impossible: to drive back and intimidate an Eldritch power.
With the first human military victory over the Eldritch came the rise of the Restorationist Movements across the world. Beginning in the Balkans in Russia, humans who wished to "restore" human control to the world and drive back the Eldritch created an intricate network of resistors throughout the surrounding areas. Eventually, the movement came to international attention, especially as more and more demonstrations and violent acts were perpetrated by the organization in an attempt to attract attention to its cause. The followers of the movement became known as Reds after they chose their flag. Its background was red, representing the red blood of "pure" humans who refused Eldritch transfusions, and its foreground featured a golden hammer and sickle, symbols of the pre-Eldritch world.
The Empire of the Rising Sun thus survived into the modern day. After the Restorationist Socialist party, headed by the charismatic and anti-Eldritch Adolph Hitler, died a glorious death at the hands of the Powers, the world slipped into a Cold War in which the frightened and paranoid Eldritch nations watched in dismay as the Reds managed to assassinate the Czar Unanswerable, drive back the Thousand Young, and defeat the New World forces in both Korea and Vietnam. In the south, Reds overthrew Eldritch colonies and formed new Restorationist governments in South America, Southeast Asia and Africa. Reds in the Middle East declared holy war on the Eldritch military peacekeepers. The Rising Sun became a feared power rivaling that of the New World; a literal "Cloudy Curtain" had fallen on the map, dividing the Eldritch West from the Restorationist East with a new and improved Kamikaze. Throughout the Eldritch nations fear and paranoia of Restorationist spies and agents grew, especially during the era of McCarthy, a Loyalist in the New World who ordered thousands of innocent humans imprisoned on no more basis than suspicion of treason. Propaganda was spread through the moving pictures and wireless telegraphy transmitters of how Reds could be anywhere, even in the home and the school.
The issues grew even more serious as human civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Junior and Mahatma Gandhi spoke out and revealed the atrocities being committed everywhere by the Eldritch governments, especially the lynching and consumption of humans. The tensest moment came when the Rising Sun and the Restorationist Cuban governments were revealed by spy-dirigibles to be setting up massive alchemical sigils, of the size capable of banishing or even binding an Old One. After several weeks of tense moments and phone calls, He Who Presides over the New World managed to convince the Diet to remove the sigils. However, even to this day the Rising Sun is no friend of the Eldritch. The results of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Horns of the Half-blood Palace proves that the enmity is strong, even through it was a middle eastern Restorationist group that claimed responsibility.
(Note: the Half-Blood Palace was a pleasure house created for doting on the desires of humans who had willingly replaced their own blood with the blood of Eldritch or were born of consummation between a human and an Eldritch; it was known as the Top of the World and was built in the shape of a goat's head, with the famous Twin Horns holding thousands of half-bloods and their concubines. It currently lies in a heap of transmuted mud, the remnants of the alchemical attack from 9/11.)
(The following is an excerpt from the "Traveler's Guide to the Rising Sun," published by the New World traveling company Asian Experiences. Readers should note that the company is suspected to have Restorationist leanings and is being investigated. Digression is advised. –New World Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Relations between humans from the Rising Sun and Eldritch Nations seem to be rather polite. Although the refusal of the Rising Sun to print newspapers, signs or menus in any language besides Rising Sun, and the occasional refusal to serve touched (Eldritch-gifted) or half-bloods may be slightly uncomfortable for the average Eldritch-loyal family, the traditional Rising Sun customs of politeness are satisfactory in maintaining civility during business meetings. Although travel in and out of the Rising Sun and its territories may be inconvenient due to the continued existence of the Kamikaze, the beautiful landscapes, exotic entertainments, and extremely comfortable public baths (not seen in Eldritch lands since the coming of the Old Ones) more than make up for the wait.
Modern Rising Sun is a world of contradictions. It remains, at its root, staunchly Restorationist, yet also embraces international trade due to its relative lack of resources. Daily life is a mixture of old and new as well. Although people in Eldritch nations may call them "old-fashioned", "low-tech", or "unenlightened", the truth is that the typical Rising Sun family is often just as sophisticated, and as national stereotypes go, sometimes even more hard-working and well-read than the typical Eldritch-loyal human family. The Rising Sun is, after all, the birthplace of anime and automail, and a typical household may very well enjoy all the comforts of an Eldritch-loyal home, such as telepohonoscope sets, telephones, running water, baths, electric lighting, sewage, and, of course, that Rising Sun invention, the famicon, known here as the telepohonoscope gaming device, or the videogame. Although many Rising Sun homes still lack tenth-generation Babbage engines, such as the famously efficient lap-top personal difference engine, or laptop, as well as handheld wireless telephones and automobiles, the efficient customs of the nation often make up for the loss. In Tokyo, for example, the department store, supermarket and school are only a bicycle ride away, and the amazingly cutting edge Shinkansen rail lets one travel from the home place of anime to the mysterious land of martial arts, Okinawa, in under an hour.
Education is even more impressive, beating Eldritch-loyal scores by miles- the nation had a literacy rate of 99.99% at last count. Schooling is demanding and compulsory from shougakkou, or primary level, to daigakkou, or university level. Although daigakkou entrance exams are extremely grueling by Eldritch standards, over 70% of Rising Sun students passes each year. Students of Eldritch schools will be surprised to learn that the famous "sailor uniform" of anime fame is still being used, as are the draconian punishments of bucket-holding and smacking on the head (gently of course). Clubs are varied and far more diverse than typically available at most Eldritch schools: there are martial arts, anime, sports, calligraphy, poetry, art, soroban (abacus), geography and even Spawn-naming clubs. Yes, even in this Restorationist country, people amuse themselves trying to name the Thousand Young.
On weekends, trips to parks and temples are common, as well as monthly omatsuri festivals with fireworks and Noh plays. Home life is markedly mixed, blending traditional and modern just like every other aspect of Rising Sun society. For instance, there is an almost religious custom of removing shoes at the front door, to the point that corporate battles have been fought over the refusal of an unknowing executive to take off shoes. There is also the matter of politeness, of which there is an almost obsessive amount, complete with bowing, customary phrases for such things as eating and entering the home, and the manner in which a bathtub is used. Unaware travelers should be aware that baths in the Rising Sun are not used for cleaning, but relaxation; ignorance of this custom can bring troubles to no end to unwitting travelers who "dirty" the bath water by bathing without having first washed. The typical home also features a room with no real parallel in Eldritch nations: the tatami room. Matted with straw and sparsely decorated, it is used for everything from eating, playing, studying and tea ceremonies to sleeping. It is this last aspect which truly differentiates a Rising Sun home from an Eldritch home. Where in Eldritch homes it is considered lower-class or insulting to sleep in the same room as others on the floor, in the lands of the Rising Sun even the Emperor himself gladly sleeps in the same room as his attendants and family, on a low mattress or sleeping-bag and not a bed.
One notable aspect of Rising Sun culture which ought to also be mentioned is that there is a legally enforced lack of Old Ones, half-bloods and touched humans. Rather, replacing these crucial aspects are countless myriads of nature spirits and "gods" which continue to actively participate in the everyday life of the nation. A most fascinating variety of river spirits, split-tail cat spirits and other spirits in general crowd the streets daily, yet the relationship between these creatures, known as kami and youkai in Rising Sun, and mortals is quaintly informal compared to the Eldritch relations between mortals and even touched humans. Youkai routinely take up jobs as security personnel, office workers and even waiters, while kami are known to enjoy teaching young mortals the mystic arts (forbidden in Eldritch nations) for free while the government pays them for use of their territory and protection. One should not be surprised to be greeted by a humanoid frog spirit upon arrival at a restaurant or required to bow to the tengu circling above upon attempting to walk under a torii gate.
The medical traditions of the Rising Sun also bear mentioning, given their enormous difference from Eldritch medical traditions: the doctors do not use elixirs! Now some may debate the definition of an elixir, but it must be said that there do not exist practices which seem so crucial to modern Eldritch medicine such as Vitae Resurrection Elixirs, Eldritch Blood Transfusions, Brain Alterations, or even Frankensteinian Stitch-Surgeries! Rather, Rising Sun medicine is based on a mysterious biologic energy quite unknown to Eldritch medicine called ki, which is reported to be manipulated in various ways, from strange acupuncture pins to diet changes and herbal teas. Shockingly, there are rumors that even without any Eldritch medicine whatsoever, the average Rising Sun denizen heals at nearly twice the rate and lives nearly twice as long as an Eldritch-loyal mortal! Practitioners of ki manipulation are also renowned for being able to accomplish such amazing feats as breaking rocks with their bare hands, walking up walls and on water, levitating, and even more without ever being so much as Touched!
Very interesting, but I suggest braking it up with minor tittles. Right now it kind of looks like an overwhelming wall of text.
(work in progress, until this notice is removed)
Physical features: Standing on average around three (3) feet tall. They tend to be fair of face, with sparkling eyes. Tend to have earthy hair colors (different shades of brown, with the occasional red or blonde)
Culture: The whole race is split into two different 'castes'. There is the 'Proper' caste, which is the oldest and encompasses anything from an innkeeper to a seamstress/tailor, or brewer. And then there is the 'Warrior' caste, which came to be about five centuries after the Wolken found their home realm (more on that below). This caste is made up of the Hunters, Fighters, and any member of the community who knows which side of a sword is the pointy side (as they say in the inns). There is a king of the realm, though he only uses his title in times of trouble, otherwise most day to day governing is done by the town mayors or the heads of the particular family, depending on the seriousness of the deed. The Wolken enjoy large parties for birthdays, or memorial celebrations, but they also enjoy peaceful living, when they are able to enjoy a pipe and tea or working in their garden. There are three 'groups' of Wolken, not to get confused with the two castes, which are figured out by their style of home. The first and oldest group are the Erdmann (literally 'Earthman'). They tend to live in burrows, dug into hills and the like. The second are Steiners, who live in stone buildings. And the third and youngest are the Treles, who live in large treehouses. The Treles tend to be Hunters and healers, the Steiners are usually innkeepers or warriors, and the Erdmann are usually chefs and tailors/seamstresses. of course all the other professions fall under one of the three groups, just not as much.
History: The first recorded record of the Wolken was about a century before the Golden Age of the Miirzanian race ended. As a whole they were very spread out, no more then two or three communities within the same fifty leagues. Over the years however the started coming together, until they settled in their current realm in the year 1E 1023 (the first era began at the fall about a millennia after the fall of the Miirzanian Golden Age). There are still small communities outside of the main realm, but not to the same degree as before. For the first eight centuries after the realm was founded and officially named a realm by the High Lord of Ulfgard, The small realm (untitled for now, gotta come up with a good name) lived in peace. In the year 1E 1974 the darkest period of the High Lords reign began. (Just a side note, the High Lord is the human, and his heirs, who brought together the realms and races of Ulfgard under one banner in times of strife. He governs the kings of the independent realms, and tries to keep the warring amongst them to a minimum, though he knows old hatreds are hard to quench, so he just tries to minimize the damage as much as possible, and acts as a mediator in truce talks.) For the next millennium, wide war was raging throughout Ulfgard. In this time, no realm, or race, went unscathed. One of the hardest hit were the Wolken, who were inexperienced in the art of war. They were nearly driven out of their land, until a small group of about sixty young males and females decided to try and fight back. This small group were the forebears of the 'Warrior' caste. They used any means possible to fight their aggressors. Any who were Hunters would lay in ambush and shoot down any enemy they saw, and any other member of the group would use anything as a weapon. this went on for a few years, until a company of Dvargs came upon the site of a battle and saw the Wolken standing there with pitchforks and crude hatchets, and even an odd club here and there. Since the Dvargs weren't in a great rush, they decided to use the master smithing skills to outfit this ragtag bunch with proper gear, and even left behind six of their own to train this short race in the proper use of such weapons. As the war went on, more Wolken joined the effort for freedom, and some new professions were picked up, like smithing, fletching, and bowmaking. But forever after, the descendant of one of the original Wolken fighters was easily picked out by the Dvarg weapon they possessed. After a few centuries, the Wolken were finally able to regain complete control of their realm, and sent a small company to aide the High Lord in his war effort. This company became known as the Royal Company, and throughout the Eras of Ulfgard, the High Lord had a company of Wolken stationed at his center of government. When the war finally ended in 1E 2083, the king of the Wolken decreed a monument put up in the Wolken capital commemorating the group who had loosed the first string and fought the first battle for the freedom of their small realm. At the unveiling of the monument were the descendants of that original group, them having died a few centuries before. Also mentioned on the monument, were the Dvargs who had helped outfit the small group and train them to be better fighters. It was also at this time that the 'Warrior' caste was officially made.
It was the land where Moses led his people. It was the land promised to Abraham and his descendents, of the brothers Israel and Ishmael. It was the land where Solomon asked for wisdom beyond measure, and rabbi mystics created golems of clay to do their bidding and captured the djinn in bottles to teach them civility. It was a land of alchemy, a land run on the mixture of magic and technology. It was a land where war had been fought for over ten thousand years. When the Eldritch came, Yisrael was prepared. Today, it is a theocracy and a nation of restorationists, run by clerics and defended by an army of paladins. Their war cry is Allahu Akbar, God is Great, and their weapons range from machine guns and bombs to sigils and holy workings which call on the power of the names of God and of demons, ever relying on the wisdom of Solomon preserved in his great Mines. Its cities are a mixture of old and new; paved roads are peopled with camels and shroud-wearing humans, while satellite dishes and alchemical sigils alike sprout from concrete buildings held together by straw and wood. Fire alchemists snap their gloved fingers to run the trains, and important automail-wearing steel alchemists clap their hands to repair roads and buildings. It is a land of contrasts, of alchemy and war. And it is the last stronghold of Humanity on the Arabian peninsula.
Union of Soviet Restorationist Republics (USRR)
It only recently began to experience the privilege of freedom from the cold (if rather hands-offish and relatively lax) fist of the Czar Untouchable. Run now by the visionary Vladimir Lenin, it has become a haven for the Bolshevik Restorationists fleeing the eastern portions of the UE. Despite the cold, the favorite weapons of the Soviets is the rather warm arcs of lightning spewing from the famous coils of Soviet inventor Nikola Tesla. Their leaders may be somewhat eccentric at times, sending bear cavalry and vodka tanks to random outposts in Siberia, but they have managed to create a worker’s paradise in their few cities. Their proximity to and peace with the Rising Sun has been of tremendous advantage to their people, and the cities of USRR are technological wonders second only to those of the RS itself. It is also the second-largest nation by landmass in the world, second only to Newia.
Timbuktu of the Songhai
In the world of the Emerald Star, one civilization seldom taken into account amidst the nearly constant cold war between Eldritch, Youkai, Kami and Humans is the humble Timbuktu of the Songhai. Although to outsiders and newcomers it appears little more than a hideous desert slum of dirt huts and unpaved streets packed with rhinos and goats, in truth it is one of the only places in the world, with the exception of Switzerland, where all sentient beings stand on level ground and consider each other equals. Mundane artisans work alongside youkai merchants and halfblood peacekeepers, while kami street cleaners chat with Eldritch herders. All this, along with the general look of poverty, occurs with good reason. Timbuktu, and the entire Songhai Nation, is the single force fighting to prevent the utter destruction of the world and all upon it by a nemesis known only to itself and the rulers of the world. All of Songhai’s resources have been diverted to the containment of this threat and the treatment or elimination of those already affected by it. That threat is known locally by its true name, Zalgo, and in whispers across the world as the Black Plague. The hive mind itself is still physically confined to the Outermost Realm, but its Eye, a singular black orb which is the origin of all Plague incidents, was unearthed by foolish half-bloods who thought to subjugate the area in the first centuries after the coming. This incident would have been of little consequence, had it not been for a combination of arrogance and stupidity on the part of the intruders, who failed to register the black stains around their eyes and mouths as an immediate and extreme danger to all they came into contact with. The sacrificial efforts of the ancestors of the Songhai using spears and poisoned darts allowed the Eye to be isolated within a replica temple, but the “adventurers” refused to be seen to by the shamans and fled to Italy. This began the horrible incident known as the Great Dying. All living things in the area were affected, and streets lay littered with corpses with black eye sockets and mouths. Some of the corpses reanimated, and roving hordes of these “Children of Zalgo” would lie motionless in wait for unsuspecting travelers to draw near before converting or devouring them. The Plague was so terrible that it killed over a third of the population of Eurasia, at one point even forcing Victoria Herself to retreat into a volcano to prevent Her own conversion. Since that incident, millions of troops from around the globe, even from opposing factions such as the Rising Sun and the New World, have been sent to Timbuktu to keep constant surveillance over the temple and its vicinity, executing any with so much as a sign of the plague. Unfortunately, the interior of Africa has already been near-converted, lending it the nickname of the Dark Continent. In the black depths of the jungles the trees reach out with black branches to feed, and swarms of black insects wait to disintegrate any living thing that crosses their path to dust. Even the very air itself had become black as pitch and thick as syrup.
The near-polar opposite of Songhai in terms of priority while almost identical in its mixture of races, it is known also as the Bank of the World, and its each and every citizen has always cared for one thing alone - money. Petty issues such as human or eldritch or Youkai superiority have no place in this nation of enlightened, capitalist merchants and bankers. To this day the nation stands as the only nation never to have been invaded, engaged in any war, threatened, or victim of a Black Plague incident. Its status dates back to before even the Coming itself, and after the event the Eldritch saw the wisdom of allowing a neutral nation complete autonomy. Its status has even lead to an unspoken and universally honored rule - no assassination inside the country. No diplomat has ever been so much as inconvenienced while within the borders. This, of course, does not preclude other acts of espionage, or the presence of espionage centers; for this very reason, its borders have occasionally been sarcastically dubbed the “ring of death”. Currently, it is universally understood that espionage branches from every single nation other than Songhai and Switzerland are present, including Restorationist branches. The nation is also often a staging ground for agent identification missions, and any operative who wishes to remain unknown has at least one nightmare of being reassigned here for a day and tailed the rest of his life. Those who do enter the nation almost always stay there, since leaving is near-suicide unless you were a merchant or a banker.
The Land of War is its name, and it is quite fitting to say the least. It has been called the most badass land on earth, and apparently it is so awesome that even the combined efforts of all the old Ones could not make even a dent into the deadly interior known to its inhabitants as the “Outback”. The best efforts of the Eldritch have yielded only the outermost perimeter of the island-continent, with Sydney being the only notable area livable by those who have had any contact at all with alien blood. This land is a category in and of itself, with a vastly varied interior. Although on the surface it is a broiling desert filled with deadly animals and carnivorous plants, teeming with giant insects which could quickly trample cities, its underground is also filled with life, and holds the most precious resource of the land: humans. They are not like other humans either: they are the Forefathers, the Precursors, the People. Most, including themselves, prefer to call them simply the Aborigines. They are unmatched with their integration with the land, for their land is the land of the Dreaming, and their time is the Dreamtime.
New World (newia) - cattlepunk, slightly dystopian constitutional dictatorship
Victorian Angloland (Brittania) - Diesel-punk constitutional monarchy
United European Empires - Cyberpunk dictatorship/oligarchy
Misr Al Nyarlathotep (Aegypt) - biopunk theocratic dictatorship
New World (Newia, NW)
The Land of Contradictions is its nickname from Restorationists. Run by He Who Presides Over the New World, also known as the President, it has two parts to itself, at times even three or more. On the surface it is a utopia; one brochure put it this way:
“It's the middle of rush hour but there are no traffic jams; cars seem to melt away onto an endlessly complex yet amazingly straightforward set of tunnels. A monorail passes noiselessly above the street, casting a brief shadow of the setting sun. Around you is a vast tapestry of humanity, people chattering away happily in a dozen languages, never a harsh word passed between any of them. Walls of white and silver and blue mixed seamlessly with carefully tended plants, groves of trees mingling with works of art celebrating the achievements of humanity. Everything is so safe, so peaceful, and you feel like you are returning home.”
However, underneath this facade of perfection are horrors unfathomable to the average mind. This “face of the future” only occurs in great bubble cities of glass, where the perfectly maintained weather manipulation systems give the city blue skies and constant sunshine.
Even this perfect and orderly system is maintained through a merciless caste system not dissimilar to that of ants. It is a hive society. Each individual knows his or her purpose for existence. The Hatchery destines each fetus for a particular caste in the World State. The five castes are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon. Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon undergo the Bokanovsky Process which involves shocking an egg so that it divides to form up to ninety-six identical embryos, which then develop into ninety-six identical human beings. The Alpha and Beta embryos never undergo this dividing process, which can weaken the embryos. This facilitates social stability because the clones it produces are predestined to perform identical tasks at identical machines. The cloning process is one of the tools the New World uses to implement its guiding motto: “Community, Identity, Stability.” Alphas are the controllers, Half-Blood Nobles selected from the embryos by the President Himself and observing the cities from their offices atop the shining skyscrapers. Betas are the pleasure units, dressed in purple and serving as sex slaves to the Alphas and prostitutes to the lower castes. The rest fall into their own categories; worker castes build the cities, runner castes take messages from place to place. Indeed, this nation has truly become a Brave New World.
Outside the domes, the land is a charred wasteland. Mined, raped and pillaged relentlessly for centuries by the President, it is a land of fire and brimstone. Lava, spewing forth from the Yellow Mountain’s caldera, burns across the blackened remains of what was once the Great Plains. Clouds of acid and smoke ensure that no sunlight ever reaches the ground. The air itself is toxic; filled with vaporized mercury and radioactive particles, it kills the average Half-Blood in nanoseconds. One would almost expect a dragon to crawl up out of one of the dark pits, but there are no dragons; indeed, there is no life at all. There is no more green there. The Newians have killed their mother.
Culture is likewise regimented. It is indeed dystopian yet cattlepunk; but in this society, cowboys are at the bottom of society. Sure, people generally wear blue jeans and leather fedoras, but that is all part of the façade. It is a world of facades, after all.
The United Eldritch Empires (UE)
The first thing that comes to mind when viewing the UE from afar is the image of a machine. Indeed, that is exactly as it was designed to be: a machine made up of humans, metal and concrete, a perfect and precise unit built around the needs and desires of the Eldritch which rule the nation. An oligarchy ruled by the remaining Old Ones of Europe, including the Archduke Eldritch, Ferdinand the Terrible, it is a gritty cyberpunk befitting of the technological capital of the West. Faces are uniform in expression. Minds are controlled like transistors on a motherboard are controlled by the central processing unit. No police are required here, for there is no crime. It is a perfect system, wherein all knowledge is shared and accumulated, and hate, fear, jealousy, and anger are nonexistent. Each human and touched is a cog in the great machine that is the UE.
If it were possible to have a darker image than both the New World and Britannia, the UEE would be it. In appearance the undead, rotting fetus of the two, it is more aptly described as both their mother, for it bore the brunt of the very first Coming. Calling it a living machine run on fire and brimstone would be an understatement; indeed, that the restorationist movements nearly stated here under the quite frustrated and angered Adolf was quite expected.
Victorian Angloland (Britannia, VA)
If there were a midway point between the bipolar decadence of the New World and the rigidness of the UE, it would be Angloland. Ruled by the Old One Victoria the Queen, victorious over all Angloland, it is not quite as bipolar as Newia, while also not as rigidly uniform as the UE. Whether this is a good thing is up to the reader, or perhaps not. The trains run on time, at least. Neither Newian white nor Eldritch black, it is the grey which permeates everywhere here. The smoggy skies are grey, allowing some light to shine coldly on the grey cobblestone streets lined with grey tenement houses. Grey smoke spews out of grey metal factories, and stoic, yet unique, faces of thousands of grey-clad workers shovel coal into the great generators and pour diesel into the trains. Free speech is unthinkable, for freedom is slavery, war is peace, and ignorance is strength. The year is 1984. It is not 1950. It is 1984, for the Ministry of Truth says it is so. Those who say otherwise do not exist, for the Ministry of Love is always there to help the erring citizen see the Light.
Misr al-Nyarlathotep (Aegypt)
At some point maintaining the farce of benefiting mankind is simply too inconvenient, and may be discarded quite effortlessly with little difference in sentiment from the mindless drones. The Black Pharaoh knows this better than any other eldritch. Although he is known as the “most human” of the Old Ones, he quite delights in playing with the bacteria-like humans the way a scientist might play with lab rats, and the arteries of Aegypt are filled with the results of these experiments. I do not say “arteries” lightly or figuratively. If the UE is a machine, and Newia is a hive, then Aegypt is the warped biological extension of the Pharaoh’s twisted body. There are no “citizens” of Aegypt, there are cells. Even in Timbuktu, others are barely able to restrain from shooting these spawn on sight. The other Old Ones themselves will occasionally only half-jokingly compare Aegypt to the Dark Continent; indeed, Restorationists often say they would rather be airdropped into there rather than walk into Aegypt, for at least the Plague had the decency of killing your consciousness and self first before uploading itself. Those who are absorbed into Aegypt are not so “fortunate”, for the Pharaoh delights in toying with the minds of his slaves, forcing them to remain conscious throughout the entire transformation into a bloated mass of flesh, unable to self-terminate, unable to speak, unable even to move as the body their mind inhabits breaks all outgoing connections from their brain. It is with great difficulty that the soldiers even in Songhai restrain themselves from “purifying” the tortured flesh from the face of the planet.
Medinat Yisrael (Yisrael) - a Jewish theocracy where religion is magic and dungeonpunk magitech runs the systems, stretching throughout the Arabian Peninsula, although avoiding the lands of Aegypt and Babylon.
Union of Soviet Restorationist Republics (USRR) - a schizo tech post-cyberpunk run by Vladimir Lenin, it is a haven for the Bolshevik Restorationists fleeing the eastern lands of the UE
People’s Republic of China (PRC) - a schizo tech post-atompunk run by the charismatic and freedom-loving Mao Zedong, it wars with the Thousand Young of the Black Goat using its People’s Liberation Army. Its cities are mixtures of old and new due to its relatively recent founding and independence; rice paddies farmed by hand are bordered by nuclear-driven locomotives and rails, and wooden houses in the cities of cobblestoned streets are fed with electricity from the nuclear power plants bordering the People’s Capitol. Nuclear missile silos constantly aimed at the lands claimed by the Black Goat sit beneath grassy fields of wheat. Being directly next to fellow Restorationist nation and liberator RS, the nation is slowly modernizing. Already, everyone from the lowly peasant to the provincial officials owns a cell phone, and modern bicycles line the roads.
The Empire of the Rising Sun - a post cyberpunk schizo tech crystal spire constitutional empire run by the Emperor Meiji, who brought modern RS into being. It is the pinnacle of Restorationist achievements technologically, and is well admired even in Elddritch lands for its amazing development as a nation. The last refuge of the ancient non-eldritch nature spirits known as Youkai, it is an orderly and shiny world of hope for the future of humans and androids alike. Just don’t try breaking the law here; the samurai peacekeeping forces use laser swords to enforce the law.
The Yakuza are the information-gathering department of the RS military. In the RS, there is no separation between civilian affairs and martial affairs; even the local police are militarized. The Yakuza are comprised of elite shinobi teams specializing in stealth and chi powers. After the breach of the Kamikaze, it became imperative to study the Eldritch West as never before. They are aware of the bionics, psionics and alien technology utilized by the West, but refuse to take part in such barbaric methods, instead turning to nanotech, the first integrated circuits, waveforce, androids and chi power. Their numerous battles in the Pacific arena, especially with the Black Goat, the Czar Untouchable, Oceana and the new World, exposed their forces to too many horrors to count, things that had no right to see the light of day. It is not for naught that the RS has a policy of shooting Eldritch on sight and forbidding any citizens from leaving the confines of the Kamikaze. Stowaways and smugglers are given no mercy. Some say the RS is like a black hole for information - everything goes in, and nothing comes out. Its Kamikaze now stretches well into geosynchronous orbit and beyond, and every person on the street knows everyone else’s name. In a world gone mad, security and safety are essential for the survival of the only nation in the world still run exclusively by humans and nature spirits.
Although drug use is inexistant in the Rising Sun, the money from its trade in other nations will pass through Swiss banks and occasionally appear in the Osaka underground. Equipment for its creation, distribution and use will also sometimes be manufactured or stored in Nagasaki factories and warehouses. Although the Yakuza occasionally work in the intelligence departments, the Black Goat’s Black Dragon Society and the UEE Mafias will show up in the darker alleyways of Tokyo. Leyline-based magic essentially ceases outside the Rising Sun, except possibly in the Tibetan mountains. However, all RS citizens are Chi Generators, biologically capable of creating and storing Chi. This allows them to accomplish such feats as fire blasts of energy from their hands at the cost of biological stamina. In fact, the chi abilities of adults in the Rising Sun, who by law are required to serve two years in the military, are so vast that feats like walking on water or up walls cost no chi, and levitation only costs minimal chi. However, Eldritch medicine is known to be detrimental to their health, even causing death on occasion. Only Rising Sun medicine can help a citizen of the nation, and availability of such resources is quite rare in Eldritch nations, which contributes to its isolationist stance. Likewise, alcohol and drugs, with the exception of Sake and other native-made substances, are known to have deadly effects on the health of citizens of the nation. Chi is essentially the lifeblood of the people, and draining it can cause such symptoms as lethargy, weakness, hunger, thirst, and a variety of other effects typically associated with prolonged aerobic activity. Actual physical strength, however, remains unaffected. Commonly, chi is regenerated through meditation, sleep, and other forms of rest. Chi can also be stored in inanimate objects and transferred from person to person, or converted from other forms of energy; for instance, and obese individual can use up stored fat to generate chi, and a well-trained shinobi can, with effort, convert electricity to chi. Chi has numerous applications in shinobi training. Teleportation, telekinesis, telepathy, mind control, shapeshifting, shadow manipulation, animal summoning, replication, illusions, and many other “jutsu”, or techniques, allow shinobi to do their work amazingly well. This, along with innate knowledge of martial arts, will often make shinobi seem almost godlike. However, their limited chi base, combined with their inability to use eldritch medicine, balances out their supposed strength. Most RS citizens have a complete knowledge of every pressure point, dim mak, and freeze points on all creatures. They are also able to perform summoning jutsu as a means of storing materials, induce accelerated healing, free run, catch projectiles, throw energy spheres, flash step, create blades of air, fly, gravity shift, levitate, and walk on water.
Wipers - memory-wiping company, legally-run organization whose goal is to “do what the patient wants”. Unfortunately, their technique is only physical, literally using electromagnetic waves to destroy whatever memories the subject wishes to forget. The process is unstoppable once initiated, and, possibly unknown to the organization, forces the subject to relive each memory, starting with the most recent and moving backwards. For the unconscious subject, the process is quite traumatic as they witness their own memory being wiped. After the process, however, nothing is naturally remembered, even provided that the subject attempt to store a memory in an unrelated location of the mind. Additionally, certain memories can become conscious and sentient, interacting with the subject and aware of the wiping process. Equipment includes van, clinic, memory identification and wiping tools, mind-access equipment, servers, incinerators.
Storykeepers - underground anti-wiping organization which keeps copies of the wiped memories and observes the procedure, offering the dreaming mind the opportunity to restore memories later or resist the wiping procedure temporarily. Never failing to implant a memory of themselves for after the procedure, their presence during the wiping process is nevertheless undetectable by the wipers, although they are fully visible to the subject and the living memory in danger of being wiped. Their real-world equipment includes vans, underground bases, memory restoration and storage equipment, long-range hacking equipment, servers, and dreamhacker access equipment. Their in-dream equipment includes “suitcase of memories” storage unit, “timefreezer” mind screwdriver, “mindwall” wipe barrier, “memory portal” escape equipment, “psike” rapid inter-memory transporter, and “truthlight” temporary restoration flashlight for fighting the faceless.
The 21st century AD (anno dominata) began with great technological developments throughout the world. Since the development of the pasocon by Ringo, a japanese startup whose name translates to “apple” in New Worldidan Anglish (Newian Anglish in modern slang), the information and telecommunications industries have exploded. Newian relations with the Rising Sun has improved dramatically since the 1950s, when advisor Nixon, who is hailed as a hero for exposing the Hellsgate Scandal, personally visited the RS. Asked to comment on the Kamikaze, or Divine Winds, he casually replied “One has to admit this is a very Divine Wind”, making him a minor celebrity in the nation for his good sense of humor. The development of the Internet by the New World military and subsequent utilization as an uncensored civilian communications network was hailed by RS politicians and businesses as a powerful symbol of NW potential, despite its “flaw” as an eldritch run nation. The President is taking less and less action in civilian affairs now, and the Internet was the latest in several visionary developments in the New World. However, at the same time the events of 9/11 revived old tensions between Reds and Loyalists. The President had ordered military action be taken in the Middle East, but in current day, after ten years of endless war, Newian citizens have grown tired of fighting, preferring peace and trade. Reds seem to have proliferated immensely in the nation, especially after the President declared that the NW would now have free speech, something previously unheard-of in eldritch nations. The removal of wiretaps and security cameras from the home has also given citizens a degree of freedom many have never experienced, leading to a sudden boom in the economic status of the NW in relation to other eldritch nations, a spike which economists call the Great Progression. It has pushed the nation forward to sixth in the world in technological progress, behind the top five (the RS, PRC, USRR, Sudan and Iran). Other eldritch nations like the United Empires are criticizing the New World, calling it a “traitor” to other eldritch nations. Tijuana, Mexico based Google sits smack in the middle of the “Crystal Valley”, as the wealthy and middle-class megalopolis is called. Its search engine is financed by Rising Sun and New World governments, and the company’s refusal to collect information on its users has boosted its popularity immensely. The PRC and RS have very good relations since the Nanjing Liberation at the hands of war heroes from the Empire’s military. Today, the People's’ Liberation Army often cooperates with Rising Sun Offensive Forces on liberation missions.
Not exactly sure what's going on here to be honest, but I am glad I finally met someone else who's heard of Songhai. It really was one of history's great civilizations, much like its predecessor nation Mali.
I'm rather sad this thread dwindled out. if anyone would like to look more into my stuff, I have a thread in the Scribes house that I'm kinda putting all my world building stuff into.
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