Welcome! Arceroth and I have been spitballing about starting a SMALL (2-3 more players are sought) fantasy nation RP with highly advanced standards. One of the goals of this RP is collaborative world building, and building a shared history between our nations before the RP even starts. To that end, Arceroth and I have cobbled together a fairly interesting background for the land in which this RP will be set.
The Ullessian Thearchy, a vast theocracy governed by a god and his powerful demigod underlings, is crumbling. The ancient dragon has returned, the merchant cities of the Rheinstaadt are restive, the Exarch of Valenvaryon threatens to seize all of the South for himself! And divine Ullessar has remain locked in his temple palace for a century, unheedful to the cries of the faithful.
You will RP as a faction, nation, kingdom, mercenary company, merchants guild, whatever you like. In creating your faction you will help to write the history of the world. Below are very rough drafts that Arceroth and I have thrown together of the world's history and some of the current factions. You'll also find a very rough looking rough draft of a map.
Who wants in?
Please note that what follows is a rough rough draft, and everything- everything- is subject to change once more players join and begin to help shape the world.
WIP map with no key and incomplete information Please note to hit the magnifying glass twice.
Imperial Year 1: St. Ethar the Founder unites the human city states of the Heartlands at the battle of Prathava and founds the Etherian Empire, which continues to rapidly expand to the south and southwest.
Year 45: the First Dwarvish-Imperial War takes place, the Dwarven Kingdoms repulse the Empire's attempted advance into their mountain holds.
Year 53: The Days of Fire. The mighty dragon Arcanthos descends on the Etherian Empire from the Northern Wilds and lays waste to all who oppose him. Tens of thousands perish before the dragon's onslaught, and the Empire teeters on the brink of collapse. Ullessar the Blessed, a bastard son of Ethar the Founder, defeats Arcanthos through cunning means, badly wounding the monster, which flees.
According to the teachings of the Ullesian Cult, Ullessar is granted divinity by the gods for his cleverness and courage. Whatever the truth of that, Ullessar does become immensely powerful after he defeats the Arcanthos, a mighty warrior and peerless sorceror. His half-brother, Emperor Ethar III abdicates in favor of Ullessar. The Thearchy is born.
Ullessar shares a fraction of his power with those noble families most loyal to his regime, making elves from men. To his immediate followers, a coterie of thirteen, he gives even more of his divine power, making them Demigods.
Years 55-84: the years of Reshaping. Over the first thirty years of his reign, Ullessar writes 57 tomes of philosophy and theology, collectively known as the Ullessian Way, detailing how all sentient beings can ascend through reincarnation to divinity. The Empire is reformed into a vast theocracy governed by a strict caste system.
Years 55-present : In accordance with the teachings of the Ullessian Way, those of mixed human and elf heritage are driven out of the Thearchy as abominations. They are hunted mercilessly by the Thearchy.
Years 55-100: Thearchy expands dramatically, its vast armies led by powerful Demigods and often by Ullessar himself. The powerful Rheinstaadt Confederation accepts client state status without resistance, and many other nations are brought under the Thearchy's thumb by intimidation, conversion or conquest. The Dwarven Kingdoms offer battle to the Thearchy three times over the course of forty five years, and are soundly defeated by Ullessar and his generals each time.
Year 64: The Kingdom of Valenvaryon is crushed in the naval battle of Tripantos, made into a province of the Thearchy. The demigod Tynath is named Exarch of Valenvaryon.
Years 100-110: The Ullessian Purges. Thearchy invades the Dwarven mountain fortresses and launches a war of extermination. After ten years of fierce fighting, the Dwarves are crushed. Ullessar drives the spirits of the Dwarven ancestors from their ruined cities, and decrees that the Dwarven cities shall remain depopulated wastes forevermore.
Year 111: With the end of the crusade agains the dwarves, half elves begin to use the ruins of dwarven cities to escape the Thearchy, forming the first communities of the "Exiled" as they begin to call themselves.
Year 112: Ullessar retreats into his vast Temple-Palace in his capital of Alma, leaving the day to day functioning of empire is handed to the Demigods and elven oligarchy. The thirteen demigods form the Divine Council, which becomes the executive branch of the Thearchy.
Year 100-200 Elven culture is increasingly defined over the next century by decandence and exess, while undercaste uprisings and revolts become increasingly common. The Rheinstaadt Confederacy begins renegotiating the terms of its client status, slowly worming out of the Thearchy's grip.
Year 200: The Dragon Arcanthos resurfaces in the ruined Dwarven capital of Janderhoff, and begins forming the Exiled into a nation. Rumor spreads of the Exiles' growing power and numbers in the south, and there are whispers throughout the land of the Dragon's return. Mention of such things becomes punishable by death within the Thearchy. Ullessar remains in his Temple, his Demigod lieutenants are either disinterested in the dragon's return, disbelieve the rumors, or too cowardly to act.
Years 215-26: The Ullessian Civil War, fought between the Demigods Ixetia and Samur and their armies and allies. Ixetia is defeated and killed, along with three other demigods. Nine remain alive.
Year 230: The elven aristocrat, sorceror and celebrated philosopher Athalus Odros leads a coup in the province of Valenvaryon, murdering the Demigod Tynath on his throne in the provincial capital. Odros proclaims himself Exarch of Valenvaryon in a impudent letter to the Divine Council, who reject his claims and denounce him as a revolutionary. Secretly terrified that one of their own could be killed so easily, the demigods dispatch an army to retake Valenvaryon and are soundly defeated by Odros' forces near the fishing village of Viiir. A peace is brokered in which Valenvaryon remains nominally a part of the Thearchy, with Odros as Exarch, but Odros is given almost complete independence. He wastes no time in dismantling the Ullessian Cult within the borders of his lands and organizing mass pogroms against the Ullessian devotees.
After Odros' victory in the South, the Rheinstaadt Confederacy refuses to pay its annual tribute to the Thearchy and threatens to declare independence.
St. Ethar the Founder forged a Great Empire of Men through his military brilliance.
Ullessar, his descendent, was a great battlemage who defeated the dragon Arcanthos the Destroyer in battle. The gods uplifted Ullessar to divinty, and Ullessar shared his gift with his Chosen, who become elves. Those closest to Ullessar, his thirteen blessed companions, become demigods.
The goal of each soul is to attain divinity through reincarnation into a higher caste. Obedience to the Thearchy and denial of the flesh will lead to reincarnation. So humans can hope to become elves in their next life, elves demigods, demigods gods, etc.
There are many gods worthy of worship, and the devotee of Ullessar may honor them all.
One should not marry outside their caste, to do otherwise is heresy, the path to godhood is purity.
Dragons are agents of chaos, tempting those without means with power and wealth. To accept these deals is considered a 'deal with the devil.'
Sorcery is forbidden to non-elves. Only the Chosen may study the laws of the Outside.
Necromancy is the greatest abomination.
Ancestor worship is an abomination. Worship only those who have ascended the ladder to divinity.
'Female' and 'male' are illusions of the flesh, there exists no gender in the soul.
'Half elves' (vermin, heretical, to be exterminated)
Aspirants: Human peasants, serfs
Enlightened (human artisans, merchants, clerics, warriors etc)
Uplifted: exclusively elves: aristocrats, buisness owners, estate owners
'Chosen' elves: nobles, dukes, thanes, sorcerors and other titles of nobility
Demigods: The 13 leaders of the Thearchy under Ullessar, extremely powerful and intelligent warriors, sorcerors, and leaders.
Humans: the base standard. Easily the most numerous in the world
Elves: Humans uplifted by the power of Ullessar following his defeat of Arcanthos. Physically superior to Humans in almost every aspect, also possessing far longer lives, less vulnerability to disease, faster reflexes and a generally higher intelligence. These attributes, especially their innate magical abilities, have been in decline since Ullessar locked himself in his temple for unknown reasons.
Odrossian Elves: Elves who have sworn allegiance to the rogue Great House Odros and it's undead lord, they have cut their connection to Ullessar and thus no longer suffer from the decline facing the rest of their kind. They are sustained, rather, by necromantic sorcery and continually drinking human blood. They are slowly becoming a race of liches.
Half-Elves: The offspring of a human and an elf. Generally superior to humans in most aspects, though not by nearly as much as pure elves. Their abilities haven't declined over the years, though they are still less than true elves.
Dwarves: those who live below, at one point were as numerous as humans, but after the Ullessian crusades are now all but extinct. Few live on the surface, hiding in human villages on the outskirts of the Empire or so far below ground that no one knows how to find them. They universally hate the Empire as Ullessar purged their ancestor's spirits from their underground cities. Generally tougher and stronger than humans, also possessing some resistance to magic. They once possessed great magical ability, but this ability was tied to the spirits of their ancestors, and was lost as their ancestors were purged.
NPC: The Celestial Empire of Ullessar the Blessed, aka the Thearchy
NPC: The Rheinstaadt Confederation
Desc: An alliance of human merchant and mercantile cities named for the river Rheinstaadt. The Confederation has long existed as an economic and military alliance, and chose surrender and client state status when confronted with the power of the expanding Thearchy. For two centuries, the cities and lands of the Rheinstaadt have chafed under the yoke of the Ullessian Thearchy, resenting the demotion of their native gods and ancestral cults in place of the Ullessian Way and burdensome taxation, caste laws, and trade restrictions. The kings, princes, dukes, republican senates and lesser rulers of the Confederation wisely suppressed rebellious tendencies during the height of the Thearchy's power, fearful of losing what was left of their admittedly curtailed independence and of being subjected to direct rule by the Thearchy. As the Thearchy began a century of steep decline, however, the rulers of the Confederation were quick to accumulate an increasing number of concessions and freedoms from their overlords.
After the crushing defeat of the Thearchy near the small fishing village of Viiir by the Exarchate of Valenvaryon, the Rheinstaadt Confederation refused to pay its customary tribute to the Thearchy, and its member cities began dismantling the economically restrictive caste laws and the religious dominance of the Ullessian Cult. Thearchy administrators where exiled or imprisoned, and many temples to Ullessar were burned by mobs.
The Rheinstaadt Confederation is highly populous and wealthy, and is home to some of the best equipped and organized mercenary companies in the world. It suffers, however, from constant infighting and a lack of internal cohesion as the numerous minor princelings and merchant lords battle one another for influence and control. The lands of the Rheinstaadt are subject to almost constant, if minor, civil wars fought between rival cities by mercenary companies.
Faction Name: Exarchate of Valenvaryon
Alternate names: the Exarchate; Valenvaryon
Capital City: Zar Velym
Geographic Description: Rocky, mountainous desert, with highly fertile areas along the coast and down the length of the Varyon river.
Dominant Economic Activities: Agriculture
Secondary DEA: Trade
The Varyon River: Slow moving, silt rich and prone to flooding, the Varyon allows for exceptionally fertile farmland along its banks. This has allowed the desert province to sustain a high population and level of wealth. The river is also wide and deep enough that it serves as an excellent means of conveyance- both for traders and for armies.
Trade Hub: Despite being extremely arid, the Valenvaryon province has historically been one of the breadbaskets of the world, exporting vast numbers of agricultural goods and luxury spices and importing luxuries and necessities from across all Avera.
Mercenary relations: The Merchant Guilds of the Exarchate have historically hired desert tribes, foreign free companies, and pirates to do their dirty work, and have established good relations with all manner of cuthroats, sellswords and killers for hire.
Naval Power: A trade power needs a large and well maintained navy. The Exarchate has just that.
Resource poor: the Exarchate lacks much in the way of native timber, stone or heavy metals, and is reliant on imports for these and other necessities.
Inequality: The rich of the Exarchate are very rich, and though there is a large middle class of artisans and landholders, a vast number of Exarchate citizens, especially in the cities, are destitute.
Before the coming of the Thearchy, Valenvaryon was a rich desert realm ruled by a relatively weak king and a number of enormously powerful merchant houses. Valenvaryon enriched itself especially through trade with the Dwarven Kingdoms to its North, who it supplied with food in return for raw materials and heavy industry. The Kingdom of Valenvaryon was subjugated by the Thearchy in IY 64 after the disasterous naval battle at Tripantos.
The Exarchate of Valenvaryon became a major province within the Thearchy, and has historically served as one of the empire's primary breadbaskets and trade hubs. Since Ullessar's ascension, Valenvaryon was governed by the demigod Tynath, a fanatical and brutal warrior-king who punished the traditionally powerful great houses of the realm with caste restrictions and taxes. Discontent with the theocratic regime long simmered among the human plutocrats of the city, but- ironically- it took an elf to goad them into action.
Athalus Odros, an accomplished elven sorceror and philosopher, understood and feared that elven strengths and longevity were diminishing in the absence of their god, and- eschewing the pieties of the Ullessian Cult- began experimenting in the forbidden magics of necromancy.
Odros, head of the powerful elven Great House Odros, who ironically were sworn to the service of the demigod Tynath, saw more clearly than most the threat to his kind, and the opportunity created, by the prolonged silence of Ullessar himself. He conspired with the human merchant houses and the heads of the Thearchan military establishment for decades, murdering or buying those who opposed him, and built up his power as the Thearchy rotted from within. To his fellow elves he promised the secret to immortality, immortality apart from their absent god, in exchange for their loyalty.
After the eruption of the Ullessian Civil War, which left the Divine Council dazed and practically paralyzed, Odros launched his gambit. His fellow conspirators were already in control of army garrisons throughout the Valenvaryon province, the Merchant Houses had mobilized their sellswords, and the populace was ripe with discontent against the Ullesian Cult and its burdensome caste system.
The only obstacle remaining was Tynath and the remainign elven loyaliststs. In a ferocious duel of magic and will, Odros killed the demigod in his throne room. Tynath was ill prepared for the dark and utterly forbidden magics Odros had secretly mastered over the course of centuries, but even so he nearly triumphed. Odros finished the duel by consuming Tynath's still beating heart, absorbing much of the demigod's power and completing his ascent to lichdom.
Meanwhile, brief but brutal battles erupted between elves loyal to Ullessar and those siding with House Odros. Odros' human allies, far more numerous than either elven faction, decided the matter, and the loyalists were massacred en mass.
The day after the coup, Tynath's broken body was hung from the battlements of Zar Velym, and the city's great temple to Ullessar was plundered as the remnants of Thearchy rule in the city was dismantled.
Odros himself sent a provocative letter to the Divine Council in the Thearchy capital at Alma, proclaiming himself Exarch of Valenvaryon in Tynath's place and a member of the Council by right of conquest.
The Thearchy assembled a massive force and sailed on Valenvaryon, a move Odros had intended to provoke. He met his enemy on an open field just outside of the small fishing village of Viiir, both sides commanding roughly equal numbers. Thearchy forces were resoundingly crushed, and the Divine Council was dealt a major blow it could ill afford.
In a stunning show of arrogance, Odros dictated the peace terms after his victory. Valenvaryon would remain a part of the Thearchy, with Odros named Exarch and offered a place on the Divine Council. Nevertheless, Valenvaryon would pay no tribute to the Thearchy, the Ullessian Cult was banned from its lands, and the Exarch was to be granted unprecendented independence in foreign and domestic policy.
The Thearchy swallowed this bitter pill as the price of peace, but the arrangement was clearly just a postponement of hostilities. The Thearchy needed to regroup and deal with threats on different fronts, while Odros needed time to consolidate his power after his daring coup and immediate provocation of the Thearchy.
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Majority Species: Human
Minority Species: TBD
Minority Species: Odrossian Elves
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Government: Mageocracy/Plutocracy. The Exarch formed a Grand Council composed of the heads of the human merchant houses after his coup and delegated a great number of perogatives to them. Meanwhile, the Exarch's own House Odros remains the sole community of elves in the province, and they are uncommonly skilled sorcerors and necromancers, no longer bound by the strictures of the Ullessian Cult. The elves of House Odros also lead the newly formed Exarchate secret police.
Religion: Practically all religions are tolerated and practiced in Valenvaryon, except for the Ullessian Cult, which is banned. Humans typically worship a pantheon of desert gods and spirits, while the elves have increasingly turned to darker forms of worship.
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Capital City description:
Dominant Economic Activity:
Nation Perks: 2 flaws/3 perks, max of six perks <- these, especially the flaws, have to have teeth.
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Social Values (Social engineering of your nation. Go into detail about it.)
Government: (What type of government do you have? Monarchy? Autocracy? Democratic?)
Economy: (What kind of economy do you have? Free market? Planned? Communist? Green?)
Religion: (What, if any, religious beliefs does your nation hold?)
Military: (What is the predominant method of military thinking of your nation? )
Ideology: (What, if any, ideology do your people hold above all else? Power? Wealth? Honor? Labor?)
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