Imagine a world of vast empires, tall towers, shining castles, crowded harbors, festive bazaars, well traveled roads. Cities having a million people with enormous crowded cathedrals, stadiums with horse races, gladiator fights, and circuses. Fertile farms growing every food you can imagine as far as the eye can see. Now imagine an apocalypse of global proportions. Every castle, every city, every town, trampled and burned. It’s people forced into hiding, scrounging for food, fearing the monsters that rained down from the heavens. Devils and Demons roamed freely torturing and killing at the commands of their dark gods. People were transformed into half beasts, or born inhuman monstrosities in the wake of the Apotheosis. The world was turned upside down, the stars fell to earth, the moons heralded only sorrow, few survived.
After a generation of torments, the dawn rose slowly. Perhaps the demons sensed their prey needed time to recoup, time to repopulate so that they could be tortured again. Perhaps those survivors honed in the battlefield, tempered in the starless nights, sharpened on the stones of adversity proved enough to send the Fallen into the shadows.
It has been several generations since the long night. The stars have returned to the skies. Green has returned to the fields and forests. In some places the wild have returned a hundredfold, thick woods have grown where lonely heathers lay. Roads smooth with wear have been transformed to thick hedge rows, impenetrable to all.
And the peoples of Malaan have crept back into the sun. Many have fled their ancestral homes to start fresh far away. Others have cleared ancient towns and villages, and recycle the cut stone to make new. Others still have built atop the ruins of their grandfather’s keeps.
A mere fraction of its former glory, and still swarming with evil, Malaan is slowly recovering. The majority of people are still shy and fearful that any stranger may in fact be a Fallen Godling come to wreak havoc. But some brave souls are working to venture out, and reclaim the world.
A BRIEF History of Malaan
The Ages of Malaan span 6500 years of recorded time. Most of these records from human scholars. Elvish recorded history is potentially older as this covers only six full lifespans of elves. However the chaotic and unreliable nature of Elven oral history makes it less then useful for pinpointing specific events in history. Dwarvish written lineages are often used as a means to date certain historical dates. Augaries and Extra-planar scrying are less than accurate and are rarely used to identify actual events. An actual date on the age of the world is unavailable, perhaps thousands even million of years have passed while the Elder Gods ruled and man was yet to be born.
Dates are represented by two letters expressing the epoch, a whole number representing the linear date in Malaanese years and a decimal number representing the month, then when needed a slash followed by the day of the month.
ex. EA:250.06/14 (Eonii Ex-Apotheoci, year 20, sixth month, 14th day.)
The Dark Ages:(Eönii Huræ) (The Age of Shadows) These days are described as the time where the elder gods yet roamed Malaan and chaos ruled. Mankind was a speck in comparison and could only hope to achieve a state of slavedom to the powerful creatures. Small humanoid settlements grew from the mostly nomadic tribes. In this age there was little in the way of true human civilization. There were however creatures that established cities. It is believed that the remains of these cities may yet exist in far away lands or deep beneath the earth. There are scattered fragments of indecipherable texts and bizarre constructions which attest to non-human civilization. Little else is known of the general world in that time. It is believed that great wars between the powerful beings that existed at the time, destroyed whatever lived back then. It all came to a climax sometime about 4000 years ago. When a war of epic proportions ended the rule of these creatures, these gods, on Malaan. From then forward Man becomes the dominant race on the planet.
The First Age:(Deh’ Eönii)(The Timeless Age): With the world in their hands and the great beings gone, Mankind grew rapidly. The population of Malaan grew and spread out across the land. The people established cities and began to trade amongst themselves using a gold coin as a standard. Without their masters Humans had to establish their own culture and religion. The first religions were the worship of their old masters, the Elder Gods, the Old Ones who had left them. During this age Humans first met the other humanoid races and wars began between them. After a few hundred years the wars began to shift from racial wars to political and religious wars. By the end of the Age, Man had settled the great Vashung and Valan Valleys. Perhaps they had arrived there from the northern coast or some continent across the Boiling Sea. By 1000 DE a dominant polity had been established in Valadonia. The city attracted several thousands of people. Other City-States began to arise in certain areas near the mountains and across the continent. Large Tribes of people migrated across the land into the Coastal areas of what is now the Mare Porsche and the Inner Sea.
The Second Age:(Eönii Sorcé) (Age of Magic): As Mankind began to spread out across the land, the peoples began to diverge and change. The Valadonians found it more difficult to retain a firm hold on their people. Some groups felt free to move about to greener pastures. Cultures and languages changed and split into the three major human cultures. One group (although this is disputable) began to study the planes and alchemy (perhaps studying ancient texts) they developed the schools of Magic. The eight schools were much the same as we have now. The Devin (traditionally attributed as the first users of magic) spread the knowledge of magic throughout the lands and with it began to increase their horizons. It is unknown exactly how they developed magic since so little of their history remains. Ancient Kaemen texts suggest however a disturbing possibility. Just as now Wizards are oft accused of consorting with Demons, the Devin might have, as it were, ‘sold their souls’ and the souls of their people to obtain the powers they sought. This suggest that another power perhaps an Elder God (or several) was around then to provide the knowledge of magic to them, perhaps it came from another race entirely (the Illithid for example). Meanwhile back in Valadonia the power of the City-State grew as its territories became numerous. A kingship was established in Valadon and various families fought for possession of the Crown. The wars end in 1526ES and King Kulitien took the throne. This succession war marked the first use of Magic in combat and its catastrophic power became poignantly apparent. It is unknown when during this age the Elves, working with the schools of Magic, found themselves able to create a single school that could use magics from all the different ones. Thaumaturgy, combined the schools in a less powerful but more generally useful sense. Now a single Magic-User could duplicate the effects of five or six Specialists although to a lesser degree in each. It also appeared that Thaumaturgy was more flexible and potentially more powerful in itself than Specialist magic. By the end of the Second Age however, Specialist Magic was still the rule, Thaumaturgy the exception.
The Third Age:(Valaru Eönii) (The Great Age, The Age of Heroes) This is the period from which much of the ancient works of art and literature lasts. The Age of Heroes was one in which the Kingdoms of Valadonia expanded their control over the whole continent. After one hundred years of rule the Second Succession War led to the establishment of the Ruhrian Empire. This was a somewhat loose collection of city-states centering on Valadon, Donburg, Rassalin (Now Ghetti) and Chandra. The various rulers of these Cities waged war with the Barbarians that lived in the outskirts of their cities, as well as on each other, on occasion. Each fought for position amongst themselves to establish the strongest city. During the reigns of the stronger Emperors, the Ruhrian Empire expanded and consolidated its people, a common tongue was used (Tesouvi). During reigns of the weaker rulers it split and great wars took place. Quests of religious and political import took place and Thaumaturgic Magic grew in power and prominence. Sometime around the date 750VE the Devinkin people ceased their communication with the rest of the world. No one can do anything but speculate as to the reason for this. Speculation ranges from the possibility that the beings who taught the Devinkin magic collected their due, to an assault by Valadonian Forces or even a terrible plague. Traditionally it is believed that the Devinkin wrought their own death. By the End of the Third age the Empire came upon a period of weakness. The Third age ended with a great compromise. The Empire was organized into the ten realms(825VE) each was given to a Duke to control. This lasted for another three hundred years before this compromise caused more unrest than it saved. The Third Great War of Succession was an attempt by the Dukes of Valadonia and Fey Por to succeed to the throne. This war was also known as the Mage Wars for in it dozens of wizards plied their strength against each other. The Arch Mage El’hasea of Fey Por was considered preeminate up until then, he perished in the Battle of the Three Suns. It ended with the upstart city-state of Rassalin thereafter known as Capital winning the seat. From then on the Empire was in the hands of House Ghetti which clung to the throne for another two hundred years before the Empire collapsed. Also during this age first contact was made with the Suni people of Sun Tsien.
The Fourth Age:(Brüuz Eönii) (The Lost Age, The False Age) During this age the there was much strife amongst the lords of the so called Ruhrian Empire. The Emperors turned their attention away from worldly events and pulled in slaves and vassals and innumerable amounts of peasants from around the neighboring countries to Capital. The hope was to create a City-State much like old Valadon, which had all but disappeared in the last four hundred years. This one however would be a hundred times its size and power. Ghetti II demanded that all trade pass through Capital and massed a huge navy to crush, capture or pirate any other trade going on. Capital became the center of all civilization and grew out of control. Soon the emperor had to spend more and more time controlling the very city in which he lived. At 185BE an attempt to put down the empire failed but did succeed in weakening the emperor’s control over the rest of the world. By 240BE the other duchies had grown in strength enough to challenge the control of the empire yet again. This time the Duchies of Kuuzmac and Fey Por led the assault. The scale of the war was incredible and each side built huge armies and navies. To finance this war much money was borrowed from investors in the few realm spanning banks that grew in the age. Soon the banks had to borrow money to support this and the economy of all Malaan waited nervously for a winner. The Fifth Succession War did not end. There was no winner. Emperor Ghetti IV was dethroned and the realms were given control over their individual holdings. War had ruined most of the world’s economy. There was no one able to pay back the huge debts that had festered in the war. As a result the banks failed. Most notably, the Bank of Vashung crashed leaving most of western Malaan penniless. The weakened world was in no shape with the horrors that occurred in the next age.
The Fifth Age:(Neh’ Eönii) (The New Age, The Crazy Days) For some unknown reason almost directly after the end of the Fifth Succession War strange things began to happen in the north-western world. The dead began to walk at an alarming rate. Nearly all of those who died rose up more powerful than before and made war on the populace. With the political systems in ruins and no economy to speak of, humankind was in no shape to fight back. In response to this event known as the Unleashing hordes of people fled and thousands of others banded together under the cause of Living to fight off the hordes of undead. Soon it was discovered that the River Vashung itself was responsible for the anagenesis and great Lake Khuras fell to the Nabon. Priests banded the population together under the worship of Auteil, the preserver of the dead, and the Nabon were forced back. Soon it was discovered that the Nabon were clever and as intelligent as normal living humans. The Nabon were very successful in their campaigns. They would conquer an area and convert the dead soldiers, slain in battle to Nabon such as themselves. After they took the large city of Khurahaen, it was decided by the High Priest to plea for divine intervention.
The Rending: The God responded in 88NE by pulling up the land by its roots and flooding the Vashung Valley. This annihilated many of the Undead and evened up the war. In addition climactic changes already underway were sped up destroying the Valan Valley making it the desert it is now. The new geography made a natural barrier between the north and south. This wall extended from the Scattered Sea to the edge of the Great Wall Mountains. The only areas where large troop movements continued to take place is in the During Valley where a string of human castles protected the lands of the living from the undead. To this day skirmishes along that border continue. The New Age signaled a change in religious belief as Auteil and her kin became the most prominent of all gods worshipped and the economies of most cities have stabilized. The world has returned to a state where mostly individual cities rule over themselves. The only powerful unifying force is the Deh’wheri religion.
For the next hundred years the worship of the Deh’wheri faith was to grow and dominate the world. In the year only NE94 the Uruhrian King Walnse II declared holy war on the pagan religions. In the next fifty years the Deh’wheri armies swept across Malaan and brutally but successfully converted thousands even millions to the faith. In the process they destroyed the Sand Kingdom of the Far East and the civilizations of the Kuuzmac. But because of the turmoil in Ghetti and elsewhere the Church was unable to do more than keep the religion in control . Political power still rested with secular sources. To this day political strife is primarily. Religious wars were fought only in the far northwest in the area of Enduir where Deh’wheri forces battled constantly against the Nabon forces of the Grey Wanderings in the so-called Mortality Wars. Recently, NE22, the forces of Life as they are known defeated the Nabon forces and conquered the area up to the city of Mudvi now renamed Irrefas. Almost immediately following the battle for Irrefas civil war between forces in Enduir and the armies of life broke out. NE:223 the Elvish Ultimate claimed the lands that were described of the declaration of Blackmoor before the Rending. These lands extended from the Evlish wood to Kuuz bay. The inhabitents of that land, the Capish barons, resisted and war broke out. Forces still skirmish on the shores of the Vashung river. NE:224 the disorganized and unruly forces of Fey Por without real leadership pushed the well trained and equiped Uruhrian forces to the Zuri River. An armistice was signed granting self-rule to the Fey Porians though it is unclear who will rule there. NE:225 the vast city of Ghetti after a year of plagues, harsh winters and now constant earth-quakes has seen a mass exodus. The diaspora of Ghetti have fled to the countryside of Uruhr and to other cities throughout Malaan. Even the King of Uruhr was rumored to live in his summer castle on the Vine River.
In NE:238 everything changed in the Apotheosis. As prophesized, the Blood Key, and artifact of legend was used by Cantiarch Lombard of Velrey to summon the gods back to Malaan. They started arriving beforehand in fits and starts, but when she summoned her gods to her palace, Irrefas in Holy Lands, the world was turned upside down. The stars shown for the last time above the Malaanese skies. After that, the only light at night was from the ethereal moons who are now more visible in the dark night skies. No one really knew what to expect, and in truth for many their lives changed little. The gods, devils, angels, dead, and all other Outsiders came to be on Malaan. Most were reborn of mortal parents.Their animal or humanoid parents either raised them in ignorance, banished them as horrific mutations, or were devoured by their own hellish offspring. Most of these creatures instinctively sought the shelter of areas on Malaan that most resembled the realms from which they came. They hid in deep caves, atop high peaks, in the darkest forests, or the deepest seas. Some resembled their parents enough to live in the world and find their place in civilization. Some of the misfits sought the shelter of like beings, many made a pilgrimage to Ghetti, whose vast walls offered some degree of safety at least from the outside world.
With the Apotheosis other changes arose. Divine magic was deeply affected limited to the area of worshippers or in the presence of their gods. Most clerics either abandoned their robes, or went into the holy lands themselves where they could serve their gods directly. In general most people lost faith in their gods, who for all intents and purposes abandoned them as well. The lands of Malaan found themselves visited by others from outside Malaan as well. Travelers from Wendera and the Scattered arrived, and the Giants of Aelin began to travel to the rest of the continent. The world is now poised on the edge of either calamity or greatness. In some realms the Gods guide their people to build a vast empire and rule with peace and prosperity. In others, the people abandoned and even captured or killed the fallen gods, and enslaved them. Thus harnessed their power was turned to build powerful cities, and another empire.
The Apotheosis brought much change to the world . The talk of gods roaming the lands, the recall of the templars and priests, the fall of the house of Ghetti, the wilding of the countryside. The births of fallen children, misshapen, or possessing strange abilities was another change. Many were killed, others were orphaned to the Circus, still others managed to eke out a living among normal folk.
The gods are now creatures of this world. These things vary in strengths and forms. They are typically either big monsters, or powerful humanoids, or secretive beings living outside the realms of man. There are some notable exceptions. Gerius, the dark beast master of the Heroic Cults rules the once populous city of Ghetti, now known as the Circus Menagerium (a zoo-like Mecca for the inhuman spawn or fallen astrals.) Also in the holy cities of the north are the Gods of the Deh-wheri faith led by Velrey from her citadel in Merasalaam built in the ruins near ancient Valadon. There are also rumored to be gods bound by the fell magics of the dreaded Witchqueen of the great Eastern Empire of Fey Por. More pressing is the furor of the dread master of the southern wind Ymir, god of the Giants whose wrath on the kingdoms of man have wrought much woe. On one hand, this change in the heavens has caused a great weakening of the temples of Malaan. Some temples were abandoned when their priests journeyed to the Faithful Realms to join their gods. Others became suspicious and angry at the religions that failed to protect them from the darkness. Temples were sacked and burned, and many turned from the traditional churched, either away entirely, or back further to the ancient beliefs still kindled somewhere in their family traditions. While this happened other priests and pilgrims appeared peddling their strange gods and beliefs, sometimes offering succor from the ills of this new ages, sometimes offering answers. A few of these new religions gained enough supporters to attract followers to make-shift temples, or even to occupy old Deh-wheri temples in the open. But most keep quiet and mysterious. A cleric in this world is a follower of some god or religion, but more likely a sort of mystic and prophet occasionally gaining insight from the strange power of the god.
The Sixth Age: (Eonii Ex- Apotheoci) (After Apotheosis) In the year NE 238, the apotheosis called for the creation of a new age. Since then there have been many changes. Most people who live neither in the great Faithful Realms or in the blossoming Fifth Empire live in small counties and communities ruled directly by knights and lords with no superiors. This has led to many small conflicts, bordering on wars, but of too small consequence to mention here. Another factor of the change was the appearance of Planetouched people, beings reborn from the dead, and restored to life, sometimes unknowing of their past lives.
There have been some major political upheavals. I will provide a new map but here are the new major powers and the fates of the old ones.
URUHR This great kingdom suffered a double crisis, First the death of King Yassir in NE236 and the battle for succession. When Duke Alestos (Kiruni) threw in with the budding 5th Empire and recognized the child bride Alys (married to Prince Al-Etz) as the true heir to the Uruhrian thrown civil war broke out. It has been going on since then, although in the last first years it has cooled somewhat. Second, the Major houses, and some minor ones, have brought their knights back home and contest for power among themselves. The Empire did not swallow Uruhr, but it did chew it up a little. The major houses still act as though they could reinstate the throne, but most realists deem that unlikely. What was once a great feudal empire is now a balkanized collections of aligned and warring castles. It has become known as the Low Kingdoms (since some of the castle lords have declared themselves erstwhile kings).
FEY POR Several things conspired to bring about the prophecies of the Fugitive Prince. The Clandish Paekinor Warlord of several orcish tribes was assassinated and the orcs descended into anarchy. The mannish cities under their sway threw in with Al-Etz and helped grow the fledgling empire so that it encompassed a realm from Bachti to Merusheck to Chandra. When Kiruni threw in with the Prince, Accalaum was added. All of Fey Por except the original troll kingdom was part of the Empire. The Prince married the sixteen year old Alys, a direct descendant of Emperor Torcirun. She was already a keen practitioner of the new magics and was poised to rule. The Aged Prince, he still rejects the title Emperor, still does much and rules, but he finds it harder to resist the charms and suggestions of his bride. But under their joint rule the empire has thrived. Lenos has recovered as a great city, waymeets were constructed in the major cities to facilitate transit for the Empires armies and other forces. And most notably, gods were captured and imprisoned in the great wards below Lenos. There they toil under the bidding of the Wardens, former heroic cultists who invoke these sorry gods in spells that coax power from them, and power the magics of the Empire. The northern part of Fey Por, once known as the Mage Wastes is now mostly transformed into a mystic garden paradise known as the Homespun Realm. Home to many non-humans and humans alike this realm is deeply influenced by the Fey. They have manipulated the very laws of nature to create a world of perfect harmony. The edges of their realm are heavily guarded and cloaked in illusion. Some say the entire realm is illusion the enchants the inhabitants and makes the willing slaves to their faerie queen.
THE CAPE ISLAND Little has changed in the cape. It is much the same as it was before the apotheosis. The temples still stand, and their roles are much like that of before. They send their worship to the north and pray in the temples. The war with the elves ended. No one is really sure who won. When the Apotheosis severed the continent creating the Sea of Swords from the Nabos, the issue was mostly settled. The elves kept on the Eastern Continent. The Capers, to their new island. There is still much strife among the barons, perhaps more now that the threat of the elves is past. Candu faired the best, in the war, but it is believed that they conspired to betray the rest of the cape in exchange for being let go easily. So while it thrived, indeed even to the point of being recognized a great house by the Blue Blooded Uruhrians, it feels much animosity from the other baronies of the cape.
ENDUIR (Faithful Realms/Western Theocracy) This land of religious warriors became the resting place of the Blood Key and the society able to summon their gods to them. The gods arrived in the Apotheosis and claimed their kingdom. In their honor six cities were built Tielkrassis was dedicated to the Mother deep in the woods of New Garden. Merusalaam on the outskirts of Valadon on the eastern shores of the sea of swords dedicated to the Lady Velrey. Kanboru the city of Norbin is really a small college found on the grounds of the monastery of the cup and vine. Jureline is the city formerly known as Kuuz or Kutzama, now an island across treacherous shallow seas, it is dedicated to Peruul. Naru Blyne is a nomadic city traveling around the outskirts of the Faithful Realms in honor of the Hawk, Finally Dol Amarok is a city on the isle of the dead. Much of it is under the dark seas but the city is still there
DEICAESELDE [Everwood] The elvish empire grew considerably during the short reign of the Ultimate Ellesreld. They grew to the new edges of the continent and managed to create small ports on the new west coast, all this despite losing his battle keep Blackthorn to the destruction of the Apotheosis. They also occupied Talis and pressed the Goblins into submission. But this expansion wore out the empire and its armies dissipated after their victories. The elves, no longer interested in conquest began to move on to different things. Some of them traveled to the Homespun Realm, others entered the service of the Lady in the Faithful Realms, Still others began a peripatetic lifestyle wandering from place to place in search of what no one knows. But whatever the cause the autumn realm ended quickly and quietly. Now there is talk that the empire is run by the aged Scholarchs of the Glade. Though an empire it is no more, there are scarcely settlements in the great wood and many of the natural predators have returned to claim that realm. The Elvish woods, once dangerous to non-elves are now dangerous to all.
AL-MAN [The Silver Theocracy] The Eastern Coast of Malaan was colonized by the Lundri, a red-skinned race of humans from across the Scattered Sea (Wendera). They are unskilled in magic but somewhat more advanced in alchemical and certain other trades. They are expert sailors and possess air-ships in addition to sea-going vessels. Having conquered Al-man they made it their capital and then began to build several small cities and keeps along the north-eastern coastline. They are monotheists who believe that their god Enaach still reigns in the heavens having kicked out all the pretenders (the variously apothian godlings loose on Malaan now).
The sixth age promises much, but there are great challenges. There are two growing and powerful empires of loyal and prosperous peoples: The Western Theocracy and the Fifth Empire. They are building anew, and developing new ideas and new thoughts for the first time since the fall of the third empire. On the other hand, this is the first time in thousands of years that humans have to compete with the inhuman races, and more frighteningly the dragons and gods.
There are three major continents which form trade and cultural connections as well as several island groups. These are Malaan, Wendera, and Sun Tsien as well as the Lundri Archipelgo and the Isles of Contest. The world is an infinite plane, and there are countless continents and lands. Life exists primarily in the bands of light and heat provided by the existence of suns in certain areas. The Malaanic band includes the three above continents, and several others mostly thousands of miles away.
MALAAN: This continent is approximately 2200 miles across and 1600 from north to south. It is mostly temperate, but there are extremes in various locations. It boasts extremely high mountains, deep lakes, vast navigable rivers, sandy deserts and other varied climes.
THE LOW KINGDOMS – Also known as Uruhr. This collection of castles and farms was once the last great kingdom on Malaan. It once sported the largest city that ever existed, Ghetti, and dominated its neighbors. It collapsed just before the Apotheosis and is now in turmoil. The fertile lands of the Low Kingdoms are tended to by mostly the same peasants that did so for hundreds of years. The knights who once protected them, still for the most part do. The barons and counts that ruled them, still for the most part do. Any yet the kingdom is vastly different from what it was. The once vibrant temples now lie empty and falling apart, or occupied under the cloak of darkness by secretive cults following mysterious fallen gods. There is still a sense of chivalry and nobility in the land, and the nobles make every effort to live on, as though they the world is the same.
Thelessa : A medium sized port city and once home to great shipyards. With the environmental changes that made the seas rough and all but unnavigable, the port has become a vast graveyard of ships. Thelessa was probably the most powerful duchy in the Low Kingdoms, but the arrogance of House Lessa, and the loss of its naval value has made it unpopular with its lesser houses and feudal subjects. It
Venrami : A small city in the cold south. The city is notable for a great pit just off the city. Few have explored the depths of the pit.
Sanam : A small city in the grain rich center of the low kingdoms. The Duke Sanam is one of the most respected lord of the Low Kingdoms. Although Sanam is small, there are numerous villages and castles aligned to it.
THE WESTERN THEOCRACY (Pays Sacres) – Also know in as the Faithful Realms. This is the largest country in Malaan both in terms of population and size. It is most notable for its single religion and zealous piety. This country arose from the old Enduirian Kingdom which was for many years engaged in a lengthy war against hordes of undead. For years, it was considered a hard, spartan place where only the battle hardened could survive. When the Apotheosis occured, it was under the direction and auspices of the priesthood from Enduir, and that gave them the power to summon their gods to them, and remake the world somewhat in their image. As a result, the Theocracy and its people are wealthy and powerful. The Autumnic Gods are officially the rulers of the Theocracy, but in reality, it is the priesthood who directs the daily running of the world. Robbed of their cleric magics by the Apotheosis, the priests have exchanged those powers for political and military might. The Theocracy maintains a large army and navy, they jealously guard their lands, and maintain a war readiness despite having few if any active enemies. The Theocracy is currently lead by Deh Malaan Huolon who is in his sixties but still youthful and vigorous. Ironically, in his youth, he lead the armies of the Undead, before joining forcses with the Deh’wheri and solving the riddle of the Blood Key. He is a ruthless, and birlliant leader. He is machiavellian to the extreme and uses diplomacy, intimidation, subterfuge, and leadership to maintain an iron grip on the reigns of the priesthood and control over the realm.
The Theocracy spans most of the western continent and has a varied geography. The north east is characterized by harsh barren rocky desert lands. It borders the Sea of Swords and maintains a small navy of fast galley to patrol the region and prevent pirates, and other invaders from the Eastern Continent. In the southeast, there is a small mountain range, know as the East Wall. Some of these peaks are high enough to be perpetually snow bound and are steep and craggy. There are swift rivers running through this area and small settlements inside. This area is also fairly wild, the armies of the Theocracy being unable to adequately patrol and hunt down the Ogres, and other creatures who make it their home. The central south area is a occupied by grassy plains known in their ancient language as the Kanokta. These plains are home to many herd beasts, and the creatures that prey on those including large numbers of dinosaurs. The savanna is also home to semi-autonomous tribes of centaurs who war among themselves and sometimes upon the Theocracy. The southwest is occupied by volcanic mountains, and lava plains. There are some rich farmlands on the plateaus north of the Ash mountains, but in general the area is sparsely populated. The central part of the Theocracy is the most heavily populated. There, the fertile plains (steeped in the blood of ten generations they say) are the bread basket for the Theocracy. The During River winds through the plains, and splits one fork heading due west, the other south west. This river is the highway for most trade in the country. The west is fairly uninhabited save for a few comfortable chateaus that serve as vacation homes for the noble class and upper eschelon of the priesthood. The northern regions are hot and inhospitable, and sparsely inhabited. The New Wood is a water soaked swampy forest that coveres several hundred square miles.
There are five Divine Palaces in the Theocracy. Tielkrassis is the beautiful white wood lodge deep in the center of the New Wood. It is home to the queen mother goddess Auteil who was once the sovereign of all the gods. Now she is tended to by her priests and acolytes as well her her many divine servants in both planertouched and spiritual nature. Naru Blyn is a normic palace of silken tents which moves around the country mostly in the southern plains. It is home to Remaht the hunter. From there he launches safaris into the savanna to hunt big game. He is served by animal-men which he has reanimated from the dead to serve him, and priests and rangers who help him dominate the wilds. Jureline is a moss covered tower on a coastal island inteh southern part of the Sea of Swords. It is home to Peruul, the god of the sea. He is served by mermen and other aquatic folk as well as sailors and the navies. His followers fight hard to maintain control over the seas and defend them from the occasional assaults stemming from the Lundri who see Peruul as a heretic pretender god (Peruul also goes by the name Enaach). Merusalaam, is actually found on the west coast of the eastern continent. The most fanatic of the worshippers of the Warrior Queen Velrey serve her there in the sands of the Valan Parch. Her coppershone city glints and shines in the desert sun. She is served by fire elementals and efreet as well as her human followers. From this citidal they launch attacks on Al-man and other Lundri holdings. So far, these have but skirmishes, but she is planning an assault of epic proportions. Kanboru, is laid out like a monastery, a vineyard, simple cells for the monks, and the God Norbin lives there among the monks as one of them. They possess a great library and prodce some of the lands best wines. The monks store knowledge and continue to study the world, though their initial task, to find the one true religion, has already been settled. Dol Amarok, is a bleak castle atop an island in the Sea of Swords, during the day it stands empty but for the chambers of the dark God Och. He sits alone in a barren throne room apparantly sleeping through the days. If awakened the vengeful god is merciless and punishing to whoever he sees. At night the castle it is said that the castle comes alive with sounds and sights of countless ghosts. But this is only rumor, as no one has everreturned from the island after spending the night.
There are six major cities in the Western Theocracy:
Bourge: The city of five rings. This beautiful city is conscribed by five large circular walls, getting larger as one approached the inside of the city. The great tower at the base of the rings (where all the walls meet) is four hundred feet high and visible for miles. Bourge was once the capital of Enduir, and is still the economic center of the Theocracy.
During: This is a port on the west coast. There is little trade to the west, except a few ships which head to the Isles of Contest or elsewhere. During is more famous for its beautiful homes and recreational activities. It is home to many pleasure crafts, theatres, and other distractions.
Irrefas: The capital of the city dominated by a huge citidel and military base. This is also the home to the Cardinal Navy and a decent port although little merchant traffic goes through the port. Irrefas is built on a muddy swampy land, so there is considerable construction for diverting waters, canals and dams to channel the water table away from the city. The citidel is a formidible and stoic structure (originally constructed by and for undead) but the city is somewhat more lively and ornamental.
Rivefort: Still a pocket kingdom, or dukedom, this city in the mountains abuts a crystaline lake with rivers moving both east and west. It is a usef trading post, but harried by the wild creatures which make their homes in the mountains.
Sumersen: The largest port city in the Theocracy, sumersen sports a pleasant climate, and strong winds. The southern fork of the During River is navigable all the way to Bourge and northly winds push sailing craft all the way there. But most sea traffic from other parts in Malaan stop in Sumersen and transfer their good to river boats. This city sports considerable trade and is a more hetrogenous and cosmopolitan city than many others in the Theocracy since it caters to people from many other places. It also has a complex bureaucracy for the admission of pilgrims immigrating to the Theocracy. These are usually conscripted into slave like work groups to earn their right to live in the Theocracy.
Vashon: This bleak and surreal city was original the capital of the undead kingdom. It sports little commerce or life, standing more as a vast stone monument more than anything else. It does maintain a large castle and port, and possesses powerful war engines to defend it. Depending on the relations with other countries this city can be abuzz with activity or nearly empty and dead.
People: The Theocracy is made up of three distinct peoples. The Endurian natives who for generations faught to eke out a meager living in the shadow of constant war with the undead. They now control the vast majority of positions of power, own the land, and reign in various positions in the nobility military, and priesthood. The Naturalized citizens, are immigrants who have finished their service to the church when they immigrated to the land after the apotheosis. They can own land, hold positions in the military and priesthood and run businesses. They are often the most zealous defenders of the status quo. These are primarily Melkalundish and Uruhrian people from the southern parts of Malaan. Lastly there the Aspirants, these are newcomers to the Theocracy who seek asylum or service of the church. They live in new slavelike conditions for years at a time depending on the value they bring to the country. A skilled craftsman may serve only a year or two bound to service before being Naturalized. A common laborer or peasant may spend a decade or more in servitude. Former prisoners, converts from other religions, and non-human may need to serve their whole lives to prove themselves, but upon their deaths they are posthumously granted citizenship and their children are naturalized as well. There is also a large refugee and alien population in the Theocracy whichs lives here mostly at the mercy of the noble class. These are nobles from Uruhr, Talis or the Cape, who’ve lost their lands but either had friends and family here, or the largesse to make them.
Class: The theocracy is built on the remains of a classical monarchy and that structure still exerts consible influence on the polity. There is a blooded noble class composed of various noble ranks from Monsieur to Roi. The king of Enduir has no official role in the governance of the Theocracy, but he is the lord of Bourge which is the most populace city. The nobles vie for power with the priesthood and there is an uneasy relation between them. In some places there are contests of construction where the castle and church compete in height and grandeur, in others the Lord and High Priest are one and the same. Below the Noble classes are gentlemen, and below them are peasants. There is no freeman class in the Theocracy, but the rank of gentleman is so common that simple Coopers and Cobblers, soldiers and priests might also be Gentlemen as well. Still, the vast majority of the population are serfs who have only the Aspirants to look down upon.
THE FIFTH EMPIRE – Also known as Fey Por. This young country is much like its name. Optimistic, Arrogant, and Impudent. It started when a petty noble the so-called Fugitive Prince Al-etz, a Fer Porian with ties to the Pirate Nation, and the blood of emperors visited the Oracle at Illethia and discovered a prophecy that he could restore the great Ruhrian Empire. For years, his quest was single minded and he convince a legion of followers that he could do it. They eventually colonized the ruins of ancient Lenos and scrapped together a pitiful farming existence. He had some allies here and there, but was the butt of more jokes than anything else. Then, somehow the prophecies came to pass. The Orcs in Fey Por who were loosely allied fell upon each other and fell into chaos. There cities reclaimed by the Prince and his Allies. The Nobles under the thrall of the Trollking rose up, and with Al-Etz help overthrew their bonds. The great city Chandra sensing the change in the winds threw their lots in with the growing state. Then the king of a neighboring country died and several of his noblemen also swore allegiance to Al-Etz. When he married a young orphan and she turned out to be the direct descendant of another Emperor, the prophecies were fulfilled. The upstart nation secured a seven cities and all the lands within them. Riches from the war torn nations around it began to filter in, lost and exiled nobles living in distant lands returned to their ancestoral homes, and other factors led to its success.Although, it didn’t have any control over the Apotheosis, it gained from it as much or more than the Theocracies. The new empress, still a girl, had mastered magics which led her to hunt, kill, bind and even enslave the Gods that came to earth in Fey Por. She employed their divine strength to rebuild the empire in her own image. The city of Lenos rose from the ruins and became a shining jewel of magical might. This lured wizards from across the world to join her, and with their might they built a mystic realm beyond the dreams of the most optimistic minds of a generation before. Emblematic of the Fifth Empire are widespread magic, large scale projects (such as vast highways connecting the cities), and fear. The WitchQueen Alys, wife to the aged Prince Al-Etz, and mother to the future Emperor Taepathos rules the Empire with suscipicion and jealousy. She maintains a core of secret police who track down anyone who might be insubordinate and strikes against insurgences with swift merciless death.For the moment her eyes are turned inward, ensuring that the fledging empire does not collapse from its rapid growth. But who know how long her attention will be kept from the rich lands of Uruhr, and elsewhere. It is well known she einvisaged another continent spanning Empire like the previous four.
Accualam : Also known as Zuridown. This fortified port city is located at the mouth of the Zuri river, and home to the Empire’s navies. It overseas the vast high plains to the south, with numerous small keeps and castles. Some of the lord within that realm have never sworn loyalty to the duke or the Empire, so it is the sight of many skirmishes and sieges.
Lenos : The jewel of the empire. Lenos was once long ago the first imperial capital in Fey Por, and now it is once again. Built from the ruins the city has a strange mix of old and new. Lenos is a 24 hour center of activity. The city’s streets are lit at night with magic orbs, water is pumped to fountains, pools, and the homes of its inhabitants by god powers wheels, the gardens and orchards overflow with magically grown fruits, vegetables and flowers. Its people have adapted quickly to these changes and see them as proof that this is the new seat of a great empire. The Lenosians consider themselves the only true Imperial citizens, and the rest of the world their vassals. Strangers to Lenos are welcome and treated with a bemused and knowing grin.
Bachti : This city sits on the Pellor River on the northern border of the empire. It is constantly harrassed by orcish brigands and forced to spend much of its energy defending itself. It was built with defense in mind, so this is not too difficult, but the duke of Bachti is ambitious so his frustrations are often taken out on the people. Bachti is still under construction and hosts a unique feature, a team of combat engineers and constuction workers. The stone workers and carpenters are armed and ready to leap to the defense of the city if it comes under attack.
Chandra : One of the last remaining great cities of the old empires, Chandra still has its original aquaducts, domes, and ziggurats. Its wide avenues, stately mansions, and public parks are symbols of its age. Much of these are in disrepair and falling apart, but a recent tide of pride has come over the city and people are reinvesting in the city. Still, Chandra is a very independent city and although a part of the empire, it fears becoming just that. And the Chandrians have long valued their liberal unsupervised lifestyle, they are hesitant about allowing the Witchqueen oversight of their varies activites. Chandra is the largest city on Malaan, and the biggest center of trade. It is ruled by a senate with the nod from the empire, and the various guilds which have long decided its fate. It is a place where anything is possible, dangerous, but rewarding.
Kiruni : This is a medium sized port far from the center of the Empire on the edge of the Low Kingdoms. Kiruni is the largest bottler of wines and spirits, and therefore sacred ground throughout the continent. Its valuabel commidity makes it a wealthy little duchy, and its early support of Al-Etz and the empire earned it the support of the imperial armies when threatened by its neighbors. The Duke is also one of the more well informed nobles in the lands.
Mersey : A small city on the Pellor of passing importance. It does serve as a gateway to the Mage Wastes, a desolate, dangerous wilderness desert. It is also the closest city to the Troll kingdom and on constant vigil for attacks. Mersey is expanding its walls across the Pellor with several great bridges as well.
Merusheck : Also known as Missiledown. This walled city is perhaps the most fortified city in Malaan. Its walls are forty thick wide and one hundred feet high. It is bounded by swift flowing rivers on two sides and a deep moat on the third. It has siege engines designed to thrwat invasion and anti-ship devices based in the river.
People: Fey Porians are an odd lot. They haven’t been a unified nation for countless centuries, and then, they were part of a greater empire. But they do share many things. The first is a sense that the rest of Malaan owes them a great debt for all of the hardships they endured over the many years. This unites them as a people and motivates them to progress and advance, and defeat their enemies. Fey Porians are skeptical and suscipious lot. Even among their own leaders. The success of the Empire owes much to the ability of the Prince and Queen to back up their great claims with action. This skepticism has served the leaders of the Empire, because those that object to their actions have trouble gaining momentum, since they have little to back up their own promises to rule better.
Class: The Empire is less class conscious than most other countries. The Empire is fueled by achievement. It is not exactly a meritocracy, as the powerful tend to give powers and honors to their children and relatives, but the honorific titles of nobility is somewhat less important there, then say relations with the Praetorian Guard, and the Speculatores (special agents). However, there is an almost sub-strate of nobility in Fey Por. Many of the leaders of the various cities and towns were exiled nobles, and have returned. They accept the rule of Empire, but still consider their blood to be a more natural source of rule than the steel and spell of empire. Strangers travelling through the lands of Empire are required to provide travel papers and explain their reason for travel. The port cities of Chandra, Accaulam and Kiruni are considerably more relaxed about foreign visitors than the interior.
Religion: Apart from a small number of cultists the Empire is almost Areligious, anti-religious and profane. It is forbidden to worship any god, and the unwitting gods themselves that stray into the Empire are hunted and killed, or imprisioned and enslaved. This has had a lasting effect on the people of the Empire. They see the Gods as little more than game. When one is captured and put on display before execution or enslavement, a great crowd grows and watches with glee. The Fey Porians were never particularly religious, and since their ancient temples were destroyed by the Deh’wheri during the crusades, they have no love for them.
THE SILVER THEOCRACY – Also known as the Suzerainty of Wendera. The Lundri colonized the vast islands chains of the scattered seas hundreds of years ago. For the most part they had small settlements harvesting fish and pearls from the shallow waters. The Sona that they sent out to fish the waters often abandoned their jobs and lived freely in the simple islands. But, then after the Apotheosis, a cataclysm struck their homeland. The great and vast cities of Wendera was overrun by the wilderness. The jungles, and their inhabitants, covered the towers and choked their harbors. The majority of the people fled to the islands, and many of them moved to the Malaanese continent. The Lundri conquered Al-man and settled some of the ancient Valdonian cities along the coast. The invasion was relatively peaceful. The Al-mani practiced the same religion, and feared assimilation from the West. When the deal was offered for the Lundri to move in peacefully, they accepted with only minimal incidents.
The Lundri are technologically advanced, and known for two major advancements: the airships, galley-sized vehicles that soar through the air and give them a huge advantage over sea and land locked forces; the lead-throwers, missile weapons powered by alchemical charges that force the bullets through long tubes. What the Lundri possess in technology, they lack magically. The are fascinated by magic, but not very interested in pursuing it. The only spellcasters in the Theocracy are the Al-mani viziers, and a few Lundri apprentices.
Al-Man – A city of sands and surf. This small city is quite an oasis for those who travel the deserts, and was once the chief port of the vast Valadonian Empire. Today, it is a pretty, organized city. It is unique in all of Malaan for its large number of domestic undead. The Al-mani once employed human slaves, then one vizier who was very fond of some slave had him reanimated to continue his service. Since then the practice became commonplace. Eventually, they lost the need for living slaves at all, the renewable, untiring, team of undead served all their needs. These undead were created and treated with special spells and alchemy to keep them in good shape and near human in appearance and smell. Some have even been given rudimentary intellect to serve better. All of them are trained in domestic services. Al-man is ruled by a Caliph, who serves as the Suzerain of the Lundri.
Sri Lundri – The Lundri decided that they would rather coexist peacefully with the Al-mani than replace them, so they found an ancient ruined city south of Alman, and built upon it, an entirely new city. One that had Lundri architecture and technology. Sri-Lundri is not particularly large or impressive, but it is brand new and well built.
Sona Hei – When the Lundri fled Wendera, they expected the Sona to welcome them with open arms. The Sona showed a rare instance of back bone and resisted going back to their days of new servitude. The tired and weak Lundri agreed to their conditions and left that city roughly as it was. The Sona enjoy a hedonistic lifestyle there, and the Lundri consider it a sort of resort as well.
Kel Renai – The new capital of the Lundri Dominion. It was constructed hastily and not the Lundri’s normal standard, but they needed temporary housing and such from the Cataclysm. There are tumbledown houses and lodge style buildings. The Lundri are at work building a complex to rival any on Wendera, but their access to good stone and steel is limited, so they patiently build what they can, then wait for their next shipments of materials from Malaan and Wendera. They also have a makeshift shipyard where they build up their navies to combat the Western Heretics.
Santu Velin – A decent size city founded well before the Cataclysm and the center of trade of the Scattered Sea for centuries. It was always a little provincial by Lunri standards, but by now it is the most sophisticated and developed place in the Suzerainty.
Port Orda - The last stand against the wilderness. Port Orda was the southernmost city in Wendera of any size, when the Lundri, evacuated the continent, they left a garrison in the city with instructions to fight as long as they could. Even now their airship re-christened “Salvation” floats from the top of the great tower. But the army is still there. They live in a realm of smoke and ash having set fire to the jungles a mile or so outside of town and deforested the area in between. Even with that, they must harvest the fast growing wood and burn the underbrush every day to keep the wilderness at bay. Some of the wood they harvest possesses the gravity defying properties used in Lundri airships, and they have exported this to their colonies on the sea.
People: The Lundri are exceeding high spirited and confident people. They are completely at ease with people of other races or origins and see no problem talking about the ongoing aggressions, assuming that they are not engaged in the aggressions at the time. They are sometimes deemed a naive or shameless race, but in fact there are things they have difficulty speaking of. The main thing is religion. They are monotheists who hold their religion close to their hearts. They will speak only obliquely of religious matters, even those of other religions, those they speak harshly of, but without specifics, the very thought of which they deem shameful.
Religion: Although they are quiet about it, the Lundri are deeply religious. They follow the god Enaach, and rejecxt the idea that the gods fell to Malaan. They reject that such beings were gods at all. They deem such worship to be demonic and heretical. Enaach is a god of providence and judgment. Those he judges good, he grants success and wealth. Those he condemns, live in squalor and filth. The general zealousness of the Lundri increased after the Cataclysm which left so many impoverished. It also increased their covetousnesss.
DEIÇAESELDÉ – Also known as Everwood. Deiçaeseldé is a huge forest of oak, birch and yew. The Trees thrive under the care of the Selaye Wood Witches and other caretakers and some reach sizes far in excess of normal. Oak trees hundreds of feet high are not uncommon. The is home to thousands of High and Wood Elves as well as a large number of sprites and other wood spirits. Deiçaeseldé is not organized as a state in the normal way. Rather a system of mutual cooperation and little or no coercion is used. The use a policy called n’aiva tasyakrten uin’arthé (amongst brothers (expect) civility, but not from others). Often this is shortened to n’aiva . To this end they are suspicious of non-elves and guard their borders fiercely. Within the forest itself there is little in the way of towns or cities. Most of elves congregate in small family groups and live outside or in natural tree houses. Adult elves often wander about meeting with others to hear stories or to tend the Selaye Shrines, it is not uncommon to find individual elves walking about deep in to the forest miles from any settlement. The elves consider it quite natural to ask a stranger to help with any project that is at hand even to the point of drafting them into military service if needed. Likewise elves do not consider it wrong for one to leave without reason at even the most inopportune moments.
Since the Apotheosis the Everwood has become a different, darker place. Some believe its dark copses have become home to dark fallen gods. Others blame the change on the last years of conquest the Elves tried to force. Whatever the cause, the gaiety and song that used to fill the woods is gone, there is a quiest solemnity to the place. The Elves accept this as the passing of the seasons, in this winter of spirits, it is a time of quiet reflection, of mourning, and of death.
CAPE ISLAND – Also known as Lower Melkalund. This was once a great cape attached to both what is now the Eastern and Western continents. After the Apotheosis, the Sea of Swords was created which severed it from the mainland. The Capish people were not over upset about this. They were nearly conquered by the Elves before the Apotheosis and when this occured they were able to push the elves off the island, and they had few contacts with the Western realms. The Cape Island is home to several barons who compete with each other for land and prestige. They are master horseman, and raise the best steeds on Malaan. The Cape is mild and temperate in climate.
Candu : The largest city on the island. Candu was carefully engineered with wide paved streets, a carefully protected harbor, and numerous civic projects. The most notable feature of the city is the stariway. This is actually a series of staircases, looping roads, and several impressive freight elevators (operated by counterweights). The Baron of Candu is fiercely indpendent from the rest of the Cape and has earned some animostity by aligning himself more closely with the Low Kingdoms than the other Cape Barons. Candu boosts one of the only major Deh’wheri temples outside of the Holy Lands, a small college of magic, and the Summoner’s Stadium (a sort of conjured monst gladiator pit).
Donnaley : A small wood walled city and center of the horse trade in the interior of the island. Donnaley is notable for being the primary point of defense against the Elves during the war. For that reason Donnaley has considerable esteem, and a power well trained cavalry.
Freeport : A pleasant little port to the north on the Sea of Swords. It has since become more important since the seas changed, it have become a bustling center of trade.
Verne : Deep a protected cove this city once sported a considerable magic trade, before the Apotheosis some strange force nearly annhilated the city’s major magical practitioners. Since then, there has been a general fear of this, and for the well being of such people, the Baron has mad ethe practice of Magic forbidden. Verne does still have an active technologist guild, where the craft construct such marvels as clocks, automata, and other curiosities. Verne does have an impressive hippodrome, but gets most of its income from fishers in the long bay.
People: The Capish are the direct descendents of the great Melkalundish Kingdom, once one of the great Kingdoms of the Empire. They are a proud people, and although by no means rich or powerful by Malaanese standards they like to think that they have survived culturally intact despite the years and hard times. They are very strict about class and social standing, as well as maintaining the Horse Law. Cavaliers, those who own horses are a special class. But to truly own a horse, you must have a special writ, these are rarely bequeathed on anyone other than the first child of a Horse Lord. But on occasionsuch a writ is passed on as a reward to some champion or hero. Other people may ride horses, but only at the mercy of their Horse Lord.
Religion: The people of the Cape are, for the most part, Deh’wheri. When the call from pilgrims came from Irrefas asking for all the Deh’wheri to travel to the North West, they politely refused. They continue to tithe and send monies to the Hold Lands, and many individuals travel there, only to return later. They refuse to give up their culture, and so far the Theocracy has allowed them this. A symbiotic relationship exists between the two, with the Capish acting as a sort of go between for the Theocracy when it needs something done that it can’t do itself (for political or religious reasons).
Rassalin (Ghetti, Labyrinth, Circus Menagerium) : Once the greatest city in all Malaan, this was once known as Ghetti, or sometimes simply Capital. It had dozens of walled districts, huge castles, two large harbors, and impregnable walls. The royal castle towered over the Straits of Molo the entrance to the Urasian sea. But after the Apotheosis, the city feel apart. It was already suffered the lingering effects of plagues and political strife. But the harsh consequences of the Apotheosis fell on the city. Some suspect that this was intentional on the part of the Theocracy. But for whatever reaons the city fell to beasts. The Evil God Gerius arose in the city leading an army of beastmen, and faught his way to the castle where he now dominates the city, such as it is. Planetouched people, animal men, and other types abandoned or feared by humanity have sought refuge in the city, now known as the Circus. It is a chaotic place where few normal humans feel safe for very long.
Barharkaha : The goblin capital. This city of mazes and strange towers is a twist of confusing passages, deadend streets, and other devices meant to confuse and delay invasion. The paranoid goblins did everything they could to require that anyone assualting the city would be unable to do so. High walls, secret passageways, and traps litter the city. Young goblins teach each other the ins and outs of the city.The Goblins do bring humans and others inside the city limits on occasion for meetings and business, but they are always kept in small areas and carefully guarded. Barharkaka sports the largest Selayé temple in all Malaan. The goblins like ‘big things’ so thec ity is full of tall towers, vast halls, and great monuments. The richest Goblins also take pride in having large creatures as pets, elephants, dinosaurs, and other creature, while uncommon, are not unheard of in the great city.
Forge : The great dwarvish city, it is ruled by their twin gods, Thau and Lelanye. The gods are solemn and virtually silent, so their wishes are interpreted by various priests and advisors. Forge is carved out of the mountain behind a great waterfall which powers a tremendous forge hammer (where the Majority of Malaan’s cold forged iron weapons are made.)
Crest : The city of books. Crest is more of a vast bazaar than a city. There are small three walled homes that serve as shops as well for the book trade. Ancient, modern, magical and mundane books on nearly every subject can be found. The place is hard to get to, only accessible during high tides, and then a real challenge to safely navigate into. The Ashlivi sellers are also willing to buy virtually any text in any form: scrolls, tomes, tablets, etc..
Dol Abatha : The Troll Towers, this is a great mesa, once the capital of the Troll kingdom, now the palace of Shale, the god of shadows. It is hidden deep in a sandy deserts and accessible to pilgrims by a raised highway. The servants of Shale are dark and evil (for the most part) and this place is a forbidding and dangerous site.
Talis : The sunken city. Once a city built on wooden docks with beautiful towers and many bridges. It was sunk by the Elvish forces after a pitched battle. It now lies almost entirely under water. The submerged building now house a colelctive of SeaElves that were displaced from their homes by the upheaval of the Apotheosis.
Other Regions in Malaan
Anarchic Lands – In this realm to the far north the laws of nature seem to have been suspended. There is a river that flows in a figure eight, a great beach where the sands get so hot the sea boils on its shore, a stretch of land that suffers wave like quakes and ‘tides’ of earth than pull and push it into different shapes. There are no permanent settlements in this region.
Valan Parch – This was once a fertile river valley, but some time a thousand years ago or so, the river dried, and the sands took over the land. It is a vast desert stretching from the Sea of Swords to the Scattered Sea. There are few places more desolate on Malaan, and few with as many ancient ruins. Since the apotheosis, there have been rumors of a vast underground river and civilization.
Ash Mountains – A range of active volcanic mountains, the skies are filled with smoke and ash, and there are rivers of lava in some valleys. The mountains are inhospital, and yet they are alleged to be the home of the Ashishi republics, utopias hidden deep in the forboding region.
Southern Steppes – These badlands are barren, rocky, and difficult to travel across. They are home to various dangerous beasts, but not home to any major settlements.
The world is a vast plane (Malaan is not a spherical planet, it is an infinite plane) which spins around a central point some 4300 miles from Malaan. The world is primarily the prime material plane, but somehow parts of the world are geographically distinct, and contain different pocket planes. Where, there are vastly different beings, or the influence of powerful creatures (fallen gods, mystic spirits, etc.) the world around them transforms and is different from the surrounding areas. One can get to these places simply by walking, so they are not so much distinct planes, but not exactly the prime material plane. The laws of nature and magic can differ in these regions, and no one knows what to expect when one enters a new one. The astral plane, is simply another dimension of the prime material plane. It is coextensive, but different, so one’s astral self, is a ghost-form on the Prime Material, but there is no where else to go.
There are no outerplanes. The closest thing to those is the pocker planes surrounding the powerful Fallen Gods. Magics that summon or banish creatures from or to other planes send them there.
The plane of Malaan spins through a fixed space called the Aether. It is inside the Aether that light, sound and all forms of matter or energy originate. There is assumed to be a great number of cracks and holes in the Aether from which our world was made. The earth, water and air has leaked through as it were. The Sun is an aperture to a section of the Aether where a great amount of fire exists. The Oceans where an aperture to a body of water exists. The moons and stars are also such apertures though smaller..
Due to the relative motion of the planes, the sun move across the sky (much as it does on Earth). It bursts forth a continuous amount of heat and light in a cone shape. If one had amazing vision the sun would appear at dawn to be a cone looked at from the side illuminating an ellipse of area on the plane below. As it approached the continent it would appear to point directly at it. At night it appears as little more than an exceptionally bright star. In addition to their rotational movement the planes move vertically relative to the sun. Winter consists of long days with cold weather as the plane moves away from the sun. Summer consists of short days with a lot of heat due to the proximity of the Sun to the plane.
Various other cosmic bodies pass close to the plane every so often. Huge Aetheral moons pass through the Aether close enough to this plane so that they are visible even though in another dimension. These move across the horizon or even sometimes they cross the land swallowed up by the oceans or continent. It is suspected that other bodies such as the sun or moons may exist far out of sight of the continent and allow for other areas to be illuminated like the area swept out by the sun. The appearance of moons around Malaan is almost always considered to be predictive of some portent. Only diviners and lunologists of considerable skill can predict the appearance of the moons.
The religions of Malaan are dominated by four major different groups. They are the Selayé, Deh’wheri, Cult of Enaach and the Cult of Heroes. In addition there are numerous cults dedicated to individual gods, however these cults do not have the wide reaching influence that the major four do. The Selayé religion is a predominantly non-human religion that is observed by nearly every demi-human and humanoid race, but whose influence varies from one race to another. The Deh’wheri religion is an amalgam of the midland religions of the fourth age (BE 75). The surviving pantheon revolves around the gods of death or those that could be considered reasonably related to Death. The Cult of Heroes dates back hundreds of years to before the age of heroes. The Cult of Heroes was ‘outlawed’ in NE:94 when the Deh’wheri king of Uruhr started a series of crusades that ravaged much of Malaan. Recently the religion has resurfaced in areas not controlled by the Deh’wheri church (i.e. Fey Por, Urasian Coast).
Religion in the lands outside of the Theocracies is not widespread. The people of the Fifth Empire, Aelin, and the Low Kingdoms are not particularly religious.. Almost all non-humans are Selayé, but the Selaye is more of a way of life than a religion, it hold no gods and has few tenets. Even those non-humans who do not actively participate in the rituals will admit to some belief in Selayé tradition. The Selayé is based on the notion of reincarnation and spiritual perfection. The Deh’wheri religion has as its base the notion of direct service to the gods as rightful Sovereigns of the world. By rigorous service and faith a person can win the favor of the Gods. The Cult of Heroes focuses on the conflict between Gods and Man, and chooses the side of man. They argue that Gods are evil and treacherous, and that they ought to be killed or enslaved, for their years of tormenting mankind.
There is no specific branch of magic called ‘Divine’ all magic is just magic. The Gods and their Priests may wield magics, thus making them Divine, but the mechanics of magic are no different for them than for any other creatures.
The terms “Priest and Paladin” once referred to the class of characters with Divine Magical abilities. These now refer to the occupations, tending to the gods, or defending them. There are many priests, but a priest might be a fighter, champion or other class. Those with skill and resources can perform magical rituals which use the power of worship and religion. These almost always require large groups of worshippers, or the actual presence of the God.
(The Elder Gods)
There are many myths as to the creation of the universe. Every race, religion and culture has a different concept of the creation. Generally however they all tend to describe the creation in terms of this universe being born of another. That is either creation in terms of one universe cycling into another, or beings from another universe creating this one. The Elves and their ilk are quite happy with that description. Many humans believe that Malaan was created by one or several elder gods in an attempt to expand their territory. They tend to suggest that the area near the center of the plane is the youngest and everything stretched out from it in time, so that the further from the center a land mass was the older. An analogy is of milk being poured into swirling tea. It spirals out about its center.
It is well known that for some period of time, Malaan was ruled not by humans but by a group of creatures known collectively as the Old Ones or the Elder Gods. Most of these are considered to be far from humanoid but at some point some five thousand years or so ago according to Elvish scholars humanoid life began to flourish. Before then all humanoid life (that continues to exist today) lived in hiding. The Elves can account for at least thirty thousand years on Malaan although it is unclear in what state they existed before recorded history became trustworthy. All signs point to some sort of cataclysmic change in the world rather than a gradual change. It is part of many cultures’ legends that a battle of epic proportions ensued those many years ago between the various Elder Gods. In the end of it, certain gods sympathetic to mortals called forth the Deliverance and banished all the gods including themselves beyond the silver gates into the nether regions. For this date forward the ages of Man begin.
One thing that is in speculation is the role of man and other beings in the time that the Old Ones ruled. Some speculate that man was enslaved by the dark beings, other suggest that man was entirely ignored by them, not considered worth the effort. It is still a mystery to most.
Most religions propose that their gods had critical roles in the Deliverance. The Deh’wheri myths even suggest that Och and Auteil (possibly children of Aurloch) combined forced to drive these Old Ones back. Others point to a group called the Dalas (The Dozen) a group of gods whose names are lost in antiquity, as the primarily forces behind the Deliverance. Some beings, it appears, escaped the Deliverance, the Spawn of the Elders such as the Illithid, Ixitxachitl and others are believed to be the descendents of the Elder Gods. Anything from before the deliverance including those beings which survived it are held in fear and hatred. They are reminders of the dark days when man feared the light of day.
It should be noted that although feared and hated by most the Elder Gods are neither forgotten nor ignored. In fact some cults still worship these beings from the time forgot and some magic-users invoke their ancient names in their ritual magics. It is believed that these beings seek to return to the earth and regain their thrones.
Most people thought themselves free of the threat of these foul beasts as they were hidden in outer planes behind the silver gates, unable to travel to Malaan. The Apotheosis changed all that. The world is now home to all formerly extra-planar creatures. The civilized world is not crowded with Elder Gods or their spawns however. One must presume that they either landed somewhere else, or they found locations more suitable to their inclinations (deep caverns, under the sea, etc..)