Deep in the South Sea stands a barrier of stone that leaves a jagged line on the horizon. Waves crash against its surface, spray dropping back like rain from the sky. Birds by the millions dot its surface, diving into the turbulent waters to feast on what the sea brings them. Carcasses of beasts and ships sit on serrated rocks, only revealed as the waves recede, like the gaping maw of some horrid monster.
Rounding this barrier, the jagged mountains slowly drop towards the sea, finally opening onto a wide white beach that is bordered by a vast jungle, from which few who enter ever emerge. The white sands run for hundreds of miles, rounding a vast island continent, where it finally reaches a rocky shore that looks out up at a land shaped like an immense bowl tilted upwards.
The island continent is Nalren. Its inhabitants live high up in the mountains, away from the great jungle that encompasses most of the bowl. They are a people in touch with the elements and descended from the World Aspects, carrying on that war among themselves until the Malikal Empire came to their shores.
Beginning at the base of Nalren, the crescent of gleaming white sands, broken only by masses of black and dark gray stone, mark the only hospitable areas for a vessel to make landfall. While the beaches have a tranquil look, they are a deadly way-point between the sea and the jungle, teaming with monstrous hunters from both domains. Beneath the crashing waves deadly creatures swim and crawl in a vicious cycle of life and death.
Rising out of the sea, forming unsightly blotches on the pristine beaches, are irregular hillocks of broken black stone, some of which stretch the width of the sandy coastline and disappear into the dense jungle. The nature of these stones is unknown, but they are extremely heavy and splinter into shards under pressure, making them useless in construction and a poor base upon which to build.
Formed by a pair of tined peninsulas that that extend out on long sandbars forming a deep harbor, these reyyis form the basis of a ribbon reef that extends along the outer edge of each tine. The depth of the harbor and sloping sandbars make it one of the most practical places to dock boats across the entire length of the beaches.
One of three settlements on the Reyi Beaches, New Santhari was founded in year 1046 of the Emperor’s Rule, and has grown into the largest city on the island continent, as well as its accepted capital. It was built between the reyyis hillocks forming the Reyyen Harbor, using stone excavated from four different quarries.
The site was selected because the deep harbor provided a safe place to land ships. While being settled, the first fort, called Harborton, was fortified against threats from both the jungle and sea. Fishing off the peninsulas proved to be a valuable source of food, and in time the city added four additional boroughs, Stonehaven, the Mason Quarter, Easthold, and Redrock.
Situated between New Santhari and the fields on the edge of the jungle is a small, fortified village surrounded by farmland. After clearing away a section of the jungle and turning it into farmland, it was used by soldiers assigned to protect civilian farmers who trudged back and forth to the city each day. As the expanse of the farmlands grew and threats from the jungle intensified, black walls were constructed of reyyis, allowing farmers to establish permanent homes.
The village is little more than a gathering of rock and wood hovels surrounded by black walls, with two entrances and a tall stone garrison at its center, but it’s presence is seen as a tribute to the hardiness and perseverance of the people of the empire.
A combination trading post and farming village, Woodville sits on the edge of the fields, roughly a half days travel from New Santhari, and marks the start of the Geroa Trail. Composed of a watchtower on a hill surrounded by a spiked wall made from the trunks of trees, it is primarily used as a way-point for caravans entering and exiting the Geroa trail and to signal threats from the jungle with mirrors and fires. Although it’s well established, the constant upkeep required gives it a rustic, frontier feel.
Where the beaches of Reyi end in the northwest, the stepped bluffs of Geroa begin. What starts as a gradual rise gives way to a steep series of wide plateaus that resemble uneven giant steps, with sheer drops on either side into jungle and sea. These ragged mountains climb the western edge of the island continent, forming one side of the bowl shape. The windblown, granite gray uniformity is interrupted in places with bands of small trees and brush, most often running along fast moving rivers and surrounding cold lakes.
The range is broken into four distinct zones that support a wide variety of predators and prey. The Bloody Brae is the only part of the range that intersects directly with the Bel’mal jungle, it marks the beginning the Geroan Trail and is home to a multitude of vicious predators. Emerging from the brae, stands the Godsteps, a series of plateuas that appear to climb up to the sky. After winding up the Godsteps, the trail continues through the massive series of interconnected canyons that make up the Twisting Tiers, before arriving at the Veiled Cliffs. This seaside searies of peaks merge into the Rinri Mountains and are covered in the wide forests and cold lakes that are home to the Geroan people.
A malkean city that serves as the primary trade point between the Empire and Geroans, it is carved into the walls of Skybolt Canyon in the Twisting Tiers. Bisected by the Bearded River, named for the thick black moss growing along its western bank, the eastern side of the city is known as the Lower Banks (or Long Beard), while the west side is called Shadowspire. The rest is carved into the canyon wall, an entire undersground city known as the Darkspire Mines, or just the Mines, by the locals.
Villages of Geroa
Villages extend from the Skybolt Canyon out to Land’s End, the furthest point north on the cliffs. Most of villages have a traditional layout that’s been used since the cliffs were settled. The central area is a rounded park that serves as the spirit of the village, with the Villar’s manor to the north, the shaman’s manor to the south, a public area to the west, and the jailhouse to the east.
Outside of the square, are homes based on role in the community. Landowners and merchants live to the north, crafters to the south, laborers to the west, and the markets are to the east. Farms, both agricultural and ranching, circle the village, with roads that lead into the city serving as the property lines. This layout represents the divine order of gods to guardians to the people. From the start, all of the Geroa villages were planned, so there’s very little variation between them.
Situated on the far north end of the Veiled Cliffs are a series of villages running along the rapid Candle Falls River, named for a waterfall whose spray turns a fiery red in the dusk light, even as the water plummets to the sea far below. Hot springs feed the river, producing a thick fog in the mornings and evenings for weeks before and after the torrid season. Among the earliest of the Geroa settlements, whenever a gathering of Villars occurs, one of these villages hosts it.
At various points along the Geroan Trail, the Empire built small forts to maintain supply lines, but they evolved into caravan stations. The largest of these are Waywyrr Garrison sitting at the base of the Godsteps, Windward, which is situated halfway between the Bloody Brae and the Twisting Tiers, and Fort Eyebolt, which overlooks both Skybolt Canyon and the Cliffs.
An imposing range of mountains to behold, Rin Ridge has shear sides that drop to the sea and down into the Bel’mal Jungle, looking like a serrated blade on the horizon. This range links the Geroa Mountains on the west to the Falian Mountains on the east, though travel through it is perilous at best.
Clusters of peaks rise up from the immense base to form a jagged crest with deep chasms, gorges, and ravines. Several trails run through the range, though no single trail is safe at all times of year. Between weather changes, wind shifts, and arachnid and avian migrations, travel along any of the trails must be carefully scheduled, as even minor delays can be lethal. The three most used trails are Tranquility Trail, Fire Breath Trail, and Deep Shadow Trail, but the only one that actually crosses the entire range is Tranquility.
Deep in the high peaks, the Rinrin built the hanging city of Oarinrin, far away from the evils of the Bel’mal jungle. Sitting on the jungle-side of Rin Ridge, it extends hundreds of miles and is covered in immense qiousa (kees’a) trees,and is known as the First City of Nalren. Early settlers lived in groups of toedos, simple wood and canvas structures that hang down from the limbs of the trees, and offer protection from predators.
As the population grew and moved to other trees, a council was formed, represented by the qiousarchs. The first tree, named Flera, became the template all the others followed, and the five founding qiousarchs, established the ruling trees, Flera, Grena, Beron, Verte, and Kishi. During the war with the Falian, Wind Wardens from the Temple of Winds took control of the Council, but it didn’t last. After the war, the people insisted on the power returning to the traditional Council, though most suspect that the Wardens still have a hand in ruling the city.
Oarinrin is not friendly to the other races, either politically or structurally.
Positioned on the outer slope of Rin Ridge, south of the city and overlooking the jungle, is a small mining town founded by Falian during the Conquest of Fire. It had grown into a small fortress city, where the Falian made their last stand. This final siege marked one of the bloodiest points in the history of Nalren. When it ended, the fortress was left abandoned.
The empire took over the fortress and it has since become the preferred waypoint for caravans traveling across the ridge. It is a gateway to both the Deep Shadow and Tranquility trails, with the most diverse population outside of New Santhari. Because it’s largely ignored by the Rinrin and so far from the controls of the empire, Mineral Ridge is a rough frontier town.
Tucked into the end of a hidden river valley that is accessed by traversing cliff trails and navigating unmarked caverns, is the sanctuary of Harmony. On one side peaks drop into a sheer chasm, on the other they fall into the sea. Most of the valley is a long grassed, ice-cold mire, with short pines rising up the sides and ending in a cold mountain spring lake that is rich in fish and a floating ivy that bears fruit. The crescent shaped lake surrounds a monastery carved into the mountainside, its every face decorated with a series of interlinked terraces.
The heart of magic on Nalren, the labyrinthine monastery is home to Rinrin, Falian, and Geroan casters who keep the knowledge of magic. It is also rumored to hold one or more of the Elemental Essence andis speculated to be the original placement of Gejeranos.
Moving from Rin Ridge into the Falian Mountains is so abrupt that it’s like stepping into a different world. The stone is scorched black, with only the barest hint of grass and brush, and no trees for as far as the eye can see. Burned by Falian fire walkers during the Conquest of Fire to drive Rinrin from their mountains, nearly half of the range is scorched land.
Standing out among this sad excess of petty vengeance is perhaps the single greatest marvel on Nalren – the Falian Road. Referred to as the Great Road in Karn, this architectural marvel runs from the edge of Rinri down to the Reyi Beaches in as straight of a line as the mountains allow, using arch bridges to span massive gulleys. With four-foot-high walls on the jungle side and a multitude of secret passages and tricks that can be used against invaders, this road can be used to move armies or trade caravans with relative ease and safety.
The Blistered Rise
Being the last lineage to retreat to the mountains, the Falian struggled to find purpose without the constant quest to reassemble Gejeranos. In time, magic teamed with artisan crafting to enhance the quality of their goods. Great forges, powered by elemental fires were constructed, but the fuel requirements were overwhelming, leading them to take axes to the surface forests with reckless abandon.
Swaths of forests were cut down, leading to the discovery of Rinrin invaders, after which forests leading up to Rin Ridge were burned, leaving mountains north of the gates of Karn scorched clean as the Blistered Rise. Though the land has begun to recover, Roadwrights – those who protect and maintain the Great Road – keep trees from growing to keep the Rinrin out of their lands.
The Kingdom of Karn is not an underground city or even a series of underground cities, it encompasses the entirety range of the Falian Mountains. There is no place in or on the mountains that the Falian do not claim.
The great city that most refer to as Karn is a collection of shaped, interlinked caverns that stretch for miles beneath the mountains. Each of the caverns is named for a great Falian epoch and as a collected whole holds the majority of the population. Entry into the city is made through the Irongate, a sixty-foot portcullis that’s opened at dawn and closed at dusk. Controlled by a pair of giant mechanical winches that require forty Falian each to operate, opened or closed, it serves as an imposing sight.
North of the Black River Chasm is a population of Falian that is second in size only to the halls of Karn. Living in a series of tiny communities spread across and under the massive forest, they are miners and artisans dedicated to peaceful craftsmanship. Four times a year they deliver caravans of raw and crafted materials to a point on the Great Road, where the merchants purchase it to take either up to Karn or down to New Santhari.
These communities are centuries old, carved into the mountainsides with designs and landscapes that work with the natural flow of the forest. It is a place on Nalren beloved and appreciated by the Silverbourne, but because they have open crystal pits in many of the villages, none but Falian are welcome there.
Black River Chasm
A single outpost guards the path from the jungle into the Kingdom of Karn that the Falian followed. On the jungle side of the Black River, cut into the lower edge of the chasm that splits the primary range from the lower bluffs sits Bastion Black. Those stationed there are the Gilded Watch, a volunteer posting with a high loss rate and a chance to strike back at the Sauria, which alone makes it a worthwhile posting.
Twice in the long history of the bastion has the fortress been overrun by Sauria and all of the soldiers lost, their crystals shattered, which is something that all recruits know. Whether it is for honor, wealth, or just the chance to vent their frustrations by crushing lizard skulls, there is never a shortage of volunteers for the Gilded Watch.
The Falian Bluffs
Referred to as the Lower Bluffs by the inhabitants, along the Great Road is a series of reinforced stone and steel strongholds that house soldiers and Roadwrights. Each of these is set seaside and built up to the same height, with wide stone walls, reinforced with iron beams, spackled with a layer of clay, and covered in a foot of dirt. The upper level is a communal living area with few private rooms, and the closed-off lower level is used for weapon, plating, and crystal storage.
Caravans that move along the Great Road resupply the strongholds and rotate personnel and crystals for those who have fallen, as well as bringing goods for sale.
Although the entirety of it is called the Bel’mal Jungle Basin, there is much more to it. This massively forested area is made up of five specific zones, each with particular terrains and conditions that suit different creatures. Because expeditions into the jungles rarely if ever return, much of this information is based on the historical accounts of the native lineages.
Encompassing the northeastern area of the jungle, border by the Twisting Tiers, Veiled Cliffs, and Lake Tebolith these hot rain forests grow upwards of 300 feet tall with seven layers of vegetation. The ancestral home of the Geroans who were pushed southward when the Ilik outsiders appeared, the air here is always hot and wet. Although a lack of sunlight reaching the jungle floor means little undergrowth, the land is soft, marshy, and full of predators.
Stories abound that a dragon has taken up residence in the massive caravans near Tebolith lake and that it feeds on the Ilik, but then stories exist to entertain, not to necessarily be truthful.
Home to the Serpine, this area encompasses a large area of the northwestern jungle, bordered by Rin Ridge and a portion of the Falian Mountains. Also extremely tall and hot, the land in this part is far more solid, with little undergrowth to hinder movement, but so dense that visibility ranges around ten yards. Predators in this area are more likely to come down from the trees than up from the ground.
A marsh surrounds the island-filled Black Lake in the northern corner, which sits perpetually in the mountain shadows. These islands were once home to the various Sauria races until the Serpine enslaved them.
By far the smallest of the five zones, the Tel’mal includes the area around Lake Tebolith. Mostly composed of scrubs and thorn forests that grow over sharp hills and over narrow ravines, it is an inhospitable land. The freshwater lake raises and lowers almost eighty feet through seasonal changes, but is deep enough that sunlight does not reach the bottom in most areas.
Unlike every other part of the jungle, there are no animal predators in the Tel’mal and none of the native races claim it or have attempted to settle there.
Extending from the Falian Mountains to lake Tebolith and reaching up to the base of the Falian Bluffs, the Bel’mal covers a vast portion of the jungle, which is the reason the basin is named for it. Home to the Sauria races, it combines monsoon forests – whose two levels of strata are upwards of 160 feet tall down to around 18 feet tall – and tropical savannas with grasses that grow around eight feet tall between small clusters of trees. At near-zero visibility with a multitude of ambush predators always stalking this area of the jungle, it is remarkably dangerous without encountering the Sauria.
The rough terrain lends to a significant number of freshwater swamps in low-lying areas, which happen to make perfect homes for the Sauria. While Crocin prefer marshes, Bullywugs are drawn to well-hidden bogs, and Iguani claim fens. Many of the lowland areas have aspects of all of these where they live together in a hierarchal structure based on strength.
A wide strip of jungle that runs from the Yeyi beaches along the Bloody Brae to the top edge of Lake Tebolith, the area is covered in semi-evergreen forests and tangled masses of vegetation. Beneath it is the massive Formicid colonies whose primary source of food is the sweet tangles that hold a sugary syrup. While it is unknown how many colonies inhabit the area, the Myrme Colony is closest to the Reyi Beaches and has an estimated population in the millions.
The Malikal Empire has ruled Kendi for more than fourteen centuries. While, its influence encompasses nearly two thirds of the known world, this vast dynasty had humble beginnings in the small coastal fishing village of Malika, where a peaceful race of men were attacked and enslaved by a tribe of orcs. Forced to labor and fight as entertainment in the pits, in time they rebelled and overthrew their captors.
Not content with freedom, they hunted the orcs, taking their lands and forcing them into the same kinds of slavery. For decades, men raided the surrounding lands, conquering tribes of orcs and expanding their influence. It was during these raids that Malkean men purged orcs from the northern range of the Steel Hills, freeing a race of dwarves. Long enslaved by the orcs, these dwarves readily joined with the Maliki men, and together felled the orcin empire – driving all that remained into the deep north.
The Empire Forms
After defeating the orcs, a civil war spawned over control the conquered orcin lands. The victors of this bloody war, claimed control over the plains and northern hills, with its leader taking the title of Emperor. With men and dwarves living and working side-by-side, cities were founded under a feudal state, with an appointed council put in place to run the empire, called the Emperor’s Ministry – known as The Coffer for the way they leverage taxes.
This began an era of expansion. In the year 187 of the Emperor’s Rule, a trade route between Malika and the Dourengar dwarves of the southern Granite Mountains was founded. After just over 50 years of extremely profitable trade, the Barony of Dourengar joined the Empire in year 241 of the Emperor’s Rule.
The Dregs Attack
In year 347 of the Emperor’s Rule, three and a half centuries after they’d been defeated, the orcs returned as part of the unified savage tribes called the Dre’giin. After a series of vicious attacks on northern outposts and cities, a militia called the Emperor’s Legionnaires was organized and sent to deal with the threat. The attacks continued and wagons filled with the decapitated heads of Legionnaires were delivered to the gates of the capital city of Malika, instigating six centuries of war in the north.
Already an autocracy, the Empire evolved from a feudal to a military state, using citizenship to compel military service. Though initially reticent of this change, the need for quality armor and weaponry brought significant wealth and power to the Dourengar, and in turn they provided well trained soldiers to defend their Imperial allies.
A Second Barony
In the year 691 of the Emperor’s Rule, a second war erupted, this time in the west and involving a previously unknown race of elves. This war began when a Dourengar led troop, seeking a path to flank an orc fortress in the northern hillocks of Hagganlor, crossed into new territory, and mistook the inhabitants to be of orcish blood, primarily due to their pointy ears. Fifty years later, a truce was reached with the Silverbourne Elves and in the year 743 of the Emperor’s Rule, they joined the empire as the Barony of Silverbourne.
The Dreg Conquest
Though bad blood between dwarves and elves continued (with elven ears still serving as a point of contention between them), having a common enemy in the dregs brought them onto the same side of the war. With these new allies, it still took two more centuries for the Empire to bring the dregs to their knees, formally surrendering to the empire in the year 954 of the Emperor’s Rule.
Afterwards, the Malikal Empire expanded to encompass the east all the way to the foothills of the Aerthin Mountains and all but the far north and the lands in the northwest. Forts were built in the mid-north to keep alert of the Dregs, and so began an era of peace and discovery.
Exploration to War
For hundreds of years before the Dreg Conquest, shipping had been an important part of trade in the Empire. It grew from the oar powered, single mast and sail cargo ships, to the triple mast haulers fifty or sixty feet long, and by the start of the millennia, these haulers could be found in most of the coastal cities and traveling around the southern edge of the continent.
In year 1041 of the Emperor’s Rule, five galleons set out from Malika to explore the seas. Two of these ships returned – the Bald Petrel had found an island continent in the far Southern Sea called Nalren, and the Gallivan, that discovered a vast land in the Eastern Sea named Almathia. From the other three galleons nothing was ever heard. The Elset III and Inqui were sent to explore the Noliana Ocean, and the Conquest I had gone to explore the coasts of the north along the Caelod Strait.
Orc raiders are typically blamed for the galleon lost to the north, while a combination of raging storms and tales of sea monsters are assumed to be responsible for those lost in the western sea. Over the centuries that followed, many charters had been issued to uncover the fate of these lost galleons, but none ever actually launched.
Encounters with the people of Almathia did not go well. All attempts at establishing trade failed and each began to see the other as a threat to their way of life. In year 1204 of the Emperor’s Rule, the Malikal Empire and Soelzen Confederacy of Almathia went to war.
During this same period, the empire colonized Nalren, with hopes of making this strategically vital locale another Barony.
Before the fall of the World Aspects, there was a single landmass on Klaea named Thanolea. While many myths surround the fall and continental breakup, ancient Nalranean lore speaks of a great war against spiders who climbed down the sky. This War of Anoji ended the reign of the World Aspects when their essence was channeled into Gejeranos unleashing a destructive might that destroyed the Spider Dominion and forever changed the face of Klaea.
Before the Empire
After the war, Thanolea was left shattered, broken into five continents. Some children of the World Aspects were lost and others changed. The lineages that found themselves locked together on the smallest continent, called Nalren – the site of the last battle in the War of Anoji– rediscovered Gejeranos and continued the battle for control of Klaea in the deep jungles. Drawing the attention of horrors leftover from the Age of Aspects, three lineages were forced to retreat to the mountains.
Far north of Nalren, the tree city of Oarinrin was founded by the race of avianoids called the Rinri. West of them, the amphibious Geroans found a home among the numerous lakes of the Veiled Cliffs. And to the East, in a descending line of peaks, the clans of Falian elementoids retreated deep into the mountains, finally organized under one ruler deep in the mountains.
The shards of Gejeranos exist as four globes, each housing a specific element. Collected, they represent an unimaginable power that is said to have the power to remake Klaea. Before retreating to the mountains, the Falian took the Essence of Fire, the Rinri the Essence of Air, and the Geroans the Essence of Water. The Essence of Land is believed to be held by the Kaits, a race of Serpine who rule over the many species of Sauria. But it may be that the Ilik, a race of Illithid outsiders, is in possession of that Essence.
Fires of War
With each lineage seeking to gather all four Elemental Essence, battles raged between them. Between Kait raiding parties from the jungle, Ilik infiltrations, and constant skirmishes between the Rinri, Geroans, and Falian, the people lived in a constant state of fear, paranoia, and war.
In time, an alliance formed between the latter three, and roles began to evolve. Rinri and Geroans grew into keepers – curators seeking to protect the Essence they hold and keep it from being joined again. Trade began between them, with a unified defense against the Serpine and Ilik. With the beginnings of peace starting to flourish, the Falian discovered a Rinri village atop their mountains.
Believing this to be a betrayal, the elementoids set about burning away the village and all vegetation from above their adopted homeland. Battles between the Rinri and Falian resumed, and while the Geroans offered support in the form of materials and trade, they took a neutral stance in combat, fortifying themselves from attack. These wars raged for hundreds of years until the Malikal Empire landed on the shores of Nalren.
The Conquerors Arrive
When the Bald Petrel arrived on the shores of Nalren, the Empire claimed the land, colonizing it as the Province of Santhari. It took nearly a century before the Empire realized that their province had a native population. Forming relations with the Geroans, the land was renamed the Province of Nalren, with the intention of making it a Barony, but the Rinri refused and the Falian resisted.
Already established on the shores of the Reyi beaches and needing the resources and tactical position the island continent offered as hostilities with Almathia began to escalate, the Empire decided to impose their will by force. Two things they didn’t account for were the disadvantage of fighting three unfamiliar and battle-hardened species on their soil, and their use of elemental magic.
It was a desire to learn the latter from an influential order within the Empire that put an end to the fighting and reopened trade. This also allowed the people of Nalren to maintain their neutrality in the escalating war between ween the Malikal Empire and the Sunborn Hegemony.
With efforts still being made to bring one or more lineages into the Empire as a Barony, material operations delving into the edges of the jungle continued. Out there, the Empire came upon a population of Formicids (antlike insectoids), that made up the Myrme Colony. Finding that they had the ability to communicate, trade opened between them with the Formicids providing ores and lumbers in exchange for a sweetgrass native to Kendi and cultivated to grow on the farms surrounding New Santhari.
Velhovi Templars learned that the Formicids have a talent for land magic and discovered that they possess the Essence of Elemental Land magic.
Before the Empire came to Nalren, the lines of magic were very clear. Shaman’s guided by the power of the Elemental Essence learned to summon and manipulate the powers of Gejeranos. Tradition and a fear of influence from those in possession of the other essence kept each lineage practicing only one type of magic.
Among the Rinri (Air), Falian (Fire), Formicids (Land), and Geroans (Water), less than ten percent are sensitive to magic, with one percent of those able to master advanced magics. A separate segment of the Serpine also wielded Mystic magic, but they were corrupted by the Maeles and became a death cult that disappeared into the jungle. Of them, only the Ilik are magically barren.
Along with the Empire came Velhovi Templars whose studies proved that the Elemental Essence had no effect on the ability to connect with the realm and establish a Foundation Object. While this opened the way for Nalranian shamans to explore other realms of magic, it is considered rebellious or radical, and the Velhovi are looked at with suspicion for suggesting it.
Among the Rinri, magic is taught in descending groups to the (Divine) Touched at the Temple of Winds. Those with the talent for magic who want to learn are provided instruction, but only those who achieve each new level of ability move on and continue, eventually learning directly from the three Wind Wardens. This formal training entirely revolves around Wizardry, Sorcery, and Magus specialties.
Geroan Shamans take on apprentices with a talent for magic, teaching them elemental water magic. It is a very craft-like apprenticeship with the specialty taught based on the master’s skill. Although referred to as Shamans, this is a title in the villages, not a reference to the specialization.
A coalition of Falian casters called Brimstone, under the direct leadership of the Falian King determines who is to be trained and their specialty role. The role is dictated and not open to discussion, only those willing to play the part assigned to them will have a part in Brimstone, with those who resist finding themselves exiled. As such, there is a reputation for Falian casters living as hermits away from the halls of Karn and the influence of Brimstone.
In the Imperial city of New Santhari, elemental magic is taught alongside mystical magic. Among the native races, Life warden magic is taught only by the Geroans, and Death Eater magic by the Serpine, but the Velhovi teach all three forms, though both are carefully hidden from the public.
Within the colony, all Formcid magic revolves around druidic specializations, though Ellammar Library has seen the occasional Formicid in the halls learning other specializations. Beyond this, Rinri druids are known to live in the jungle, Geroan druids patrol their mountainous homes, and solitary Falian druids can be found wherever they want to go. In most cases, these druids have their own agendas and exist outside of their cultural norms.
With the exception of the Formicids who do not have a concept of religion outside of the colony Queen, the primary beliefs revolve around facets of those who guided the World Aspects. This includes a small pantheon of beings that symbolize abstract concepts and specific phenomena. While these divinities are worshipped, it is in a spirit of acknowledging thankfulness and praise.
The deities still worshipped are:
Apmrea – the unending sky, she who holds the world in her womb.
Beruume – the cloud crafter and rain bringer.
Elann – the force of life that carries all things from birth to death.
Falmina – the embodiment of lightning and vengeance.
Mistrel – the wind that turns the world.
Seros – The fathomless sea, sweeping rivers, and cold lakes.
Sterule – the unyielding rock that supports the world, upon which all others stand.
Uelkin – the limitless night that sparkles with the spirits of the dead.
Across Klaea there are some common standards of time:
With a specific cycles based on the region.
The formal tracking of time beyond current days, weeks, and seasons didn’t mean much until settlements began to form in the mountains and the roles regarding the Elemental Essence began to change. Each with their own perspective on the world, the manner in which they track time is unique to their cultures.
In addition to night and day, Rinri track seasonal changes, especially in regards to wind patterns. Using specific plants and animals, they observe living calendars for seasonal preparation, and mark significant events by planting, clipping, or cutting.
Among the Falian, the passage of time is marked pictorially and with construction. For them, it is less about the moment and more about immortalizing the event. Sequential standards set the order of events to mark the flow of time.
Geroans focus on cycles, tracking disks, dawns, and other celestial movements in relation to tides, water levels, and weather phenomena. They track history orally, with Villars responsible for ensuring that the traditions are passed on and kept intact.
The Formcid have strict cycles based on seasonal change and the Queen’s biological cycles that dictate everything the hive does and when, with little regard for tracking events in the past. Rogues often find the concept of history and tracking time to be fascinating.
All those who trade with the Empire or choose to live in their cities are required to acknowledge and follow the Imperial Calendar.
Coin and Commerce
Before the Empire came to the shores of Nalren, the natives bartered with food, crafts, and services as their currency. The values in each area were determined by necessity, practicality, versatility, and contributory. This put far more value on aspects such as food, protection, and construction and less value on aesthetics, comfort, and luxury.
Outside of areas controlled or frequented by the Empire, this is the way trade remains among the natives. Because the people of the Empire place a greater value on items of aesthetic, comfort, and luxury, it opened a new arena of trade for them. Though barter is still their preferred method of trade, the Imperial currency system can be found being used across Nalren.
Shards, staves, and chains are the only monetary system in the Empire, all the baronies have been converted to it, though there are a few variations in denomination and terminology. Dourengar use half-staves (5sp) and half-chains (50sp), which have also been adopted by the Falian. In Nalren though, they refer to shards as bits, and staves as sticks.
Weights and Measures
Before the Empire, there was little regard for weighing or measuring things. Natives took a more practical approach, measuring distance in days and weight by how many were needed to lift, move, or carry things from one place to another. Because people in the Empire require significantly more precision in all things, Rinri and Geroans have adapted to the Imperial Scale, but the Falian actively ignore it.
With this standardized form of measuring in the Empire, length is based on the yard or the base distance of a single step.
Weight is based on a pound of silver broken into 16 ounces, since 1 ounce is required to make ten shards.