Alaran Races: Amen-Kathar

In the swamps beyond Asernaiar, they lurked for millennia. Horrid, twisted forms, evil to the core and voraciously hungry. The Amen-Kathar. A race of degenerate squid-faced beings that, for eons, were quite content to devour each other in the endless swamp south of the Civilized Lands.

That changed with the coming of Larad. It is unknown where it came from, or how it came, but it took control of the Amen-Kathar and led an attack on the elf city of Asernaiar. Now, half of the elven lands have been taken by the Amen-Kathar and rechristened New Aldar. New Aldar is a battleworn land, with constant battles being fought between the Amen-Kathar, the Phoenix Guard, and the Hand of the Alliance.

The Amen-Kathar are a degenerate form of a powerful ancient race known as the Aldari. The Aldari, it is said, ruled over the entire world at the peak of their civilization. They were mighty warriors, powerful wizards, and brilliant philosophers. No civilization that has come since has matched that of the Aldari in terms of power or sophistication. So long ago was the reign of the Aldari that almost no records remain of their reign, only a single book, kept within the bowels of the Library of Asernaiar: the Danari. Unfortunately, as Asernaiar is currently overrun with squidmen, the Danari is unaccessible, and thus almost nothing is known of the Amen-Kathar’s powerful ancestors.

The master of the Amen-Kathar, Larad, is rarely seen by its minions. It sees only a few, the most brilliant underlings it has. They report it difficult to describe, but note that it always wears a necklace with what appears to be a shard of incredibly aged stone on it.

The Amen-Kathar are split into two main races: the Katari and the Narathi. The Katari are traditionally the masters of the Amen-Kathar, because, quite frankly, they’re far smarter than the Narathi.

The Katari
The Katari make up the bulk of the Amen-Kathar. They are roughly five feet tall when standing erect, but they are horrid, hunched creatures, and thus don’t often stand erect. They have overlarge, bulbous heads and pupil-less, solid white eyes. At the bottom of their face, replacing their mouth and chin, emerge four tentacles. These tentacles are constantly in motion, and it is thought that the Katari move their tentacles as a kind of nervous twitch while they think. The Katari have long, spindly fingers, ending in claws. Their skin can be any shade of sickly green, purple, blue, black, or white.

The Katari are cold, calculating creatures, quite capable of enacting devilish plans and things such as that. Most have some small skill in magic, and the leaders of their race are often incredibly powerful sorcerers. Before the arrival of Larad, the Katari lived in tribes, each led by a powerful sorcerer and usually formed along racial lines: all members of a tribe would have roughly the same skin color. The tribes fought and killed each other often, never uniting. Though the Katari are now technically united, they still split along tribal lines. All Katari use their tribe as their first name, and in any given argument, Katari are bound to take the side of their tribemate.

The swamplands of the Katari are a mysterious place. They stretch for miles, filled with odd ruins whose origins are unclear. Certainly, the Katari did not build them; while intelligent, they focus far more on killing each other than on building grand things. Perhaps the ruins are a remnant of the Katari’s noble ancestors, the Aldari.

Average Katari wear form-obscuring rags, adding to their sinister looks. The more powerful among them wear richly colored robes as an expression of their wealth. Powerful Katari sorcerers often wear rings on their long fingers.

Katari reproduce asexually. Somewhere near their twentieth year of life, a Katari produces a sac full of larvae. These small creatures are then thrown into the wild, expecting to survive on their own. Those that survive grow larger and larger, usually by feasting on their fellow larvae, until they pupate into fully-grown Katari. These stumble back to the tribe, finding them via internal compass, and are subsequently accepted as full-fledged members by the rest of the tribe.

Katari architecture is incredibly strange. Most Katari villages are formed by a group of Katari colonizing a large landmark, such as a particularly big tree or medium-sized hill, and making it their own by having their sorcerers summon large, tentacle-like things to entwine around their chosen home. A Katari village is incredibly creepy. The ruins left by their ancestors are favorite places for the Katari to create a village.

Katari religion is a form of ancestor-worship, unsurprising for a race of beings who have seen grander times. This worship consists mostly of blood rituals, the sacrifice of anything that comes near in an incredibly disgusting display of appreciation for those that came before. When the Katari fight with weapons instead of magic, they most often use primitive spears.

The Narathi
The Katari degenerated from their ancestors in terms of size. The Narathi retain their large stature, but have lost almost all intelligence. The Narathi are just plain stupid. They stand roughly fifteen feet tall, looking much like their smaller cousins. The difference lies in the fact that the Narathi are much bulkier, and their tentacles hang limp.

The Narathi may be stupid, but they are incredibly strong. A single Narathi can uproot a good-sized tree if it feels angry enough. The Narathi belong to no tribes, wandering around the swamps of their homeland alone. Often, they are enslaved by the Katari, who are intelligent enough to work in numbers to combat the Narathi’s superior size and strength. By being so enslaved, the Narathi got caught up in the Katari’s unification and subsequent invasion of Asernaiar.

The Narathi are used for the Katari’s grunt work; they build, clear roadblocks, and guard. Often, a scout party of the Amen-Kathar consists of three Katari and one Narathi to take the blows. This is the configuration they are most commonly encountered in. When engaging in larger battles, the Narathi are the vanguard of whatever army they are currently in; they take the blows while the Katari hide behind them and cast spells.

It is unknown how Narathi reproduce, as they do it in private and they’re certainly not telling. This might be because they are incapable of speaking actual language, and mostly communicate with grunts. There are rumors of tribes made up entirely of Narathi far in the swamps, but these are mostly discounted.

The Narathi don’t truck with ornamentation, the most common form of clothing for them is a simple loincloth. A Narathi fights with a club or simply with its clublike hands. Recently, Larad, the enigmatic leader of the Amen-Kathar, has started to control Narathi breeding in an attempt to produce an intelligent Narathi, as it is obvious that an intelligent member of the giant race would be dangerous indeed. Narathi have no religion, as it is beyond them.

Important Amen-Kathar:

Haren Kat’azz is one of the most powerful Amen-Kathar. It is a Katari, and was the leader of its tribe in the time before Ladar. Kat’azz is an alchemist. Its most useful contribution, and the reason it is one of the most powerful Amen-Kathar, is its brilliant experimentations. Kat’azz makes regular experimentations on what it calls “the lesser races,” i.e., all sentient beings that aren’t Katari, Narathi, or Aldari. Chief among its curiosities is the sense of smell of the lesser races. The Amen-Kathar have no noses, and thus no sense of smell. Kat’azz keeps shelves full of disembodied noses in its study, and regularly experiments on brains to discover the part that deals with the sense of smell. Any member of the lesser races that entered the study would probably be overwhelmed by the stench produced by Kat’azz’s studies.

Although it finds the study of smell most interesting, Kat’azz’s most useful contribution to the Amen-Kathar would be its invention of the Anari. These small creatures finally answered one of the most important questions of the Amen-Kathar conspiracy: beyond illusion magic, what way was there to spy upon the lesser races? The Anari answered that question handily. Small, wormlike creatures, the Anari could burrow into the brain of a captive creature and take them over completely. None minded that the creation of the Anari required the sacrifice of Katari larvae; the Katari cared little for their young. After several months, the creature would speedily transform into something looking quite like an adult of the Katari race, except for its skin, which would remain the metallic hue of one of the alchemical metals used in the creation of the Anari. This several months was plenty enough time to spy upon whoever the master of the Anari wished.

Kat’azz has experimented far more than this, but most of its creations are not yet ready to see the light of day. Though Kat’azz does not wear anything that would signify its stature, all Katari know it for its green shade of skin and the odd scars covering its face; the remnant of some accident from years past. Kat’azz is one of the few Amen-Kathar that is granted regular audiences with their master, Larad. Kat’azz relishes in this privilege, and uses its position of influence to obtain new experimental subjects regularly.

Kuggun is the result of Larad’s Narathi breeding program. Nobody knows exactly how it was accomplished, but Kuggun is the most brilliant Narathi any of the Amen-Kathar has ever seen, or, indeed, heard of. It’s still a bit of a dullard by Katari standards, but it can grasp elemental concepts of strategy, and even has shown a strange ability to perform magic, something previously completely unheard of among the Narathi. Kuggun is seen as the first step in the resurrection of the elder race, the Aldari. It has been given the position of General of Larad’s Narathi forces. The other Narathi have been much better fighters since its appointment, as they are more loyal to one of their own.

Kuggun is a force to be reckoned with. Its limited amount of intelligence has greatly helped it grasp concepts beyond “squish” and “eat”, it has even shown progress in learning to speak the language of the Katari. In battle, Kuggun is ruthless and cunning, using its intelligence to plan battles beforehand which, together with the fact that it’s fifteen bloody feet tall, does some very scary things indeed. Though Kuggun still only wears the traditional loincloth, it uses a massive broadsword, as opposed to the usual club. Kuggun is regularly seen by Larad, who has impressed upon Kuggun the necessity of not dieing, and thus continuing to breed more intelligent Narathi. Kuggun is fanatically loyal to its master.

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Alaran Races: Satyrs

The forests of Selvern. At first glance, they’re quite like the elven forests of Elenaiar, away to the west. Trees. Birds. Deer. All that foresty stuff.

And then, you see them. Crashing through the trees, scaring little children, and generally not being nice. Satyrs. Half man. Half goat. All spiteful, world-hating sadist.

The Satyrs are a race of goat-men (if you don’t know what they look like, I seriously suggest you brush up on your Greek mythology… and for the love of god, don’t look them up on wikipedia. Statue of a goat-man with a GIANT boner = NO). They are usually around seven feet tall. They primarily live in and around the forest city of Selvern. The Satyrs are the only race devoted in their entirety to the cause of the Twelve. They are born of evil, and their stated goal is to subjugate all other races and force them into servitude. They’re kind of nasty.

A Satyr’s hair is always the same color as his fur. Satyrs do not truck with boring hair colors such as blond or brown. A Satyr’s hair can be red, blue, green, black, whatever. A Satyr’s eyes usually glow the same color as his fur. Satyrs are innately magical creatures, and all of them have a talent for sorcery. In Satyr society, all Satyrs study some variety of magic based on what their fur color is: black-furred Satyrs study necromancy, red-furred Satyrs are basically pyromaniacs, etcetera. It is unknown whether fur color affects a Satyr’s magical potency or whether it’s just tradition.

Satyrs traditionally walk around completely nude, as fur covers their naughty bits and thus clothes are really rather pointless. This tradition is flouted by those in a position of power, who often wear robes. These robes are usually of a color that contrasts nicely with the Satyr’s fur color. It doesn’t hurt to look good while torturing the innocent and plotting the subjugation of all other sentient races.

Satyrs work with a single-mindedness that frightens other races. While all Satyrs practice sorcery, most also practice some other method of annihilating their enemies sometime in their long lives. Among the Satyrs live fierce warriors, “devoted” clerics, and crazy-ass monks. Seeing a Satyr fight is among the scariest things you will ever see, ever. If they get too worked up they drink the blood of their enemies. It’s scary.

The Satyrs wage a constant war on the Rhokari, who live in the World’s Edge Forest near the forest of Selvern. The only reason the Rhokari have not yet been completely annihilated is because of the fact that Satyrs are both clumsy and horribly heavy. Thus, trying to climb through a near vertical forest? Bad idea. Mostly young Satyrs just gather around the edge and send fireballs into the trees, which mysteriously do not catch on fire. We blame the druids. Damn druids.

Amazingly, the Satyrs are very in-tune with nature. Their capital, Selvern, is a series of tree-houses linked together with rope bridges. This is seen as something of a paradox to the elves, who regard love of nature and being good people as basically the same thing. As such, elves hate Satyrs passionately and will attempt to kill them on sight. The Satyrs reciprocate this, but also have a habit of toying with elves before they kill them, because they are horrible, horrible, people.

The city of Selvern is a city on three levels. On the top level, high in the trees, live the Satyrs, perfecting whatever art they chose to dedicate themselves to and occasionally incinerating something by accident. Well… usually on purpose. They’re not very nice. The lower levels of the tree-city are the dwelling place of the slaves, thousands upon thousands of humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, and rhokari that have been captured by the Satyrs and forced into servitude. On the lowest level, on the actual ground, is a tent city, for the city of Selvern is the major staging place of the army of the Twelve. This is resented by many of the Satyrs, but they mostly keep quiet about it, seeing it as another step in their gradual subjugation of everything.

Rumors abound of a rare, silver-furred race of Satyrs who are good instead of evil. These are usually discounted, for if they existed, someone surely would have seen them by now. Right? …right?

Important Satyrs:

Warlord Nassijathan is a member of the Twelve. He is one of the two Satyr members, and is really only in it for the wholesale destruction. Nassijathan has red fur, and thus practices pyromancy devoutly. He wears black robes, the better to go with his red fur. At official gatherings of the Twelve, he is prone to toss a fireball from hand to hand when bored. We think he has compensation issues. Nassijathan is one of the more upfront and unsubtle members of the Twelve, and is prone to suggesting they just mount an allout attack on Wyrmspire. He is looked upon in disdain by the other Warlords, who see him as really rather stupid, and wonder what possessed them to initiate him to the Twelve in the first place.

Nassijathan is, depending on how you look at it, either more than he seems or less than he seems. He is quite literally in it for shits and giggles. While maintaining his dumbass facade, he works behind the scenes to turn other members of the Twelve against each other. It’s not that he’s against the Twelve, it’s just that it tickles him pink to see Garth and Latia yelling at each other instead of concentrating on the task at hand. He has a network of devoted minions in all the major cities of the Civilized Lands (minus Asernaiar, now that the Amen-Kathar have taken over). Their sole purpose is to sow political discord, just because he likes it. Nassijathan doesn’t care a whit for the Satyr ‘vision’ of a future with them as kings, and thinks that working toward it is an intolerable waste of time. He lives to amuse himself.

Despite this, Nassijathan is an incredibly powerful sorcerer, and not to be trifled with. Anyone who messes with him is usually burnt to a crisp, and then fed to his pack of ravening howlers. Did we mention he has a pack of ravening howlers? Yeah, he does. We’re not sure what a ravening howler is, but with a name like that, we bet they’re fuckin’ terrifying.

Warlord Jarithariss is, on the whole, far more sinister than his younger counterpart. Jarithariss is incredibly old, and is the oldest remaining member of the Twelve. His fur is pure white, which is unheard of in Satyrs. Add to this his pale skin, and Jarithariss looks really, really creepy. He emphasizes this by not wearing the traditional robes. He is well over nine feet tall, a giant of the Satyrs. In most meetings of the Twelve, Jarithariss can be seen standing in a shadowy corner, observing the goings-on. When he does weigh in on issues, he is always listened to, for he is respected by all members of the Twelve.

It is unknown what drives Jarithariss. His ideas are always good, and benefit the Twelve, and it is thought that it was he that brought the Satyr to the Twelve, but no one knows. It’s possible that he was the founding member of the Twelve, but as he’s the only one old enough to remember, no one can figure it out. While he certainly serves the Twelve, no one can figure out why. Does he see it as his duty, continuing to serve the Satyr vision of a world enslaved? Does he hate the Alliance for some secret reason? Is he serving it as a service to a dead companion, carrying on his vision of the world? Or does he have some secret, unyieldingly sinister reason for persevering? No one knows.

Despite this oddity, he is well respected, and not only because of his seniority and his sound ideas. No one knows what branch of magic Jarithariss practices, but his enemies tend to disappear completely. Jarithariss has turned the tides of battles, but oddly enough, none of the survivors could remember how. He is a complete and total enigma, one that keeps some of the Twelve up at night in curiosity. We’re not gonna name names, but let’s just say a certain dwarf is slightly curious. Only slightly.

Alaran Races: Rhokari

Sorry for not posting for the last few days.  First there was Harry Potter seven, which demanded my immediate attentions, and then there was laziness.  And then there was watching the entire first season of Scrubs in one day.  That was fun.  By the way, the “About” page now has my email address (like all the people that even notice this blog don’t already know it) so if you want to email me, I’m available.

Anyway, in this post, I shall diagram the Rhokari (pronounced roe-KAH-ree).  The Rhokari are bird-like humanoids.  They stand roughly six feet tall, but have feathers, wings, beaks, and all that BIRD stuff.  I’m not entirely sure yet if they have talons or actual feet.  I think I’m gonna go with talons.

As the Rhokari are very birdlike, their feathers can be a plethora of colors, as with actual birds.

Most Rhokari worship their own pantheon of gods, of which very little is known.  Some scholars have tried to perform studies, but the Rhokari are rather evasive.  When they are convinced to worship the human pantheon, most Rhokari worship Rudolphus or Zaran.

Rhokari live on the edge of the world, and are thus very close to the Cloudsea.  Though their wings cannot support them in actual flight, the powerful winds of the Cloudsea give them enough support to transport themselves readily between their cliffside villages.  Rhokari are rather frail, as their bones are hollow, giving them the aforementioned gliding ability.

World’s Edge Rhokari
The majority of the Rhokari in the Civilized Lands live in a place called World’s Edge Forest.  This forest is very far removed from most of their allies in the Alliance, as it is near the Satyr city of Selvern.  The horizontal forest that covers much of the Civilized Lands here goes right over the cliff, becoming the world’s only known vertical forest.  Trees sprout from crags and cliffs, jutting out into the Cloudsea at awkward angles.

Here, the Rhokari live in tribes of several hundred.  They are born, hunt, and die in the World’s Edge Forest, living their entire lives in the bizarre vertical place.  Most of the time.  Recently, the Rhokari have joined the Alliance (in an attempt to gain defense from the vicious Satyrs), and thus joined the struggles of the greater world.  This is resented by many of the older generation, but the young find it exhilarating.

World’s Edge Rhokari mainly have dull brown feathers.  As this makes most of them look basically the same, they have taken to distinguishing themselves by dying their feathers to create tattoo-like things, mostly on their faces.  Rhokari have a very Native American-like culture.  Despite the dull plumage of most of them, the chiefs of the various tribes always have some kind of special plumage to distinguish them from the flock.  This differs from tribe to tribe, but the most common plumages are red and blue.  This plumage is passed down genetically, so the leadership of a tribe is traditionally passed down from father to son.  Every tribe also has an elder, a religious leader, whose plumage is usually white.  As elders can be anyone in the tribe who shows promise, it is unknown how their feathers turn white.

The World’s Edge Rhokari have their own pantheon, little of which is known to outsiders.  Recently, the worship of the gods of the above world has leaked in, and more and more Rhokari have turned to the worship of Rudolphus or Zaran.  This is discouraged by the tribe elders, but they’re old, so nobody pays attention to them.

Cloud Rhokari
Far out in the Cloudsea, there exists islands, far out of the way, that very few members of the Alliance have seen.  Atop these islands dwell the Cloud Minotaur, massive, outlandish pirates.  On the sides of these islands, however, dwell the aloof Cloud Rhokari.

Cloud Rhokari live in the caves of the outlying islands.  Unlike the World’s Edge Forest, there is very little vegetation here.  The Cloud Rhokari live mostly on the tough grasses of the cliffs and the odd fungi of the caves.

Cloud Rhokari are slightly smaller than World’s Edge Rhokari, and have white feathers.  Unlike the dull plumage of the World’s Edge elders, however, the cloud Rhokari have feathers of brilliant, shining white.  Their beaks are white with a streak of sky-blue, as compared to the World’s Edge Rhokari, who have either brown or black beaks.

The paths of the Cloud Minotaur and the Cloud Rhokari rarely cross, and when they do, conflict never follows.  Both races are far too whimsical and peaceful to hurt their neighbors, and both know that if blows were shared, the resulting war would devastate both Minotaur and Rhokari.  The Cloud Rhokari see little of their cousins on the edge of the mainland, and are regarded with suspicion when they do visit.

Cloud Rhokari have their own pantheon, who they worship devoutly.  No Cloud Rhokari worship the pantheon of Archus, and they consider the Cloud Minotaur silly for their adherence to Zaran.

Important Rhokari

Ihka’a Fharnhassat ith Gertik is the chieftain of the Fharnhassat tribe.  It is by his hand (wing, whatever) that the Rhokari joined the Alliance.  He seeks to bring the Rhokari into the modern world.  In this he is mostly succeeding.  He has not yet been offered a position on the Council, but it’s definitely coming soon.  He is without a doubt the most influential Rhokari of the World’s Edge Forest.

Ihka’a stands of average height for a Rhokari.  As he is a chieftain, his plumage is rather unique.  His feathers are pitch black, with red markings on his wings.  Ihka’a inherited the position of chieftain from his father, Ruth’ta Fharnhassat ith Gertik.  His father then retired and became the tribal elder, his feathers turning white.  His father is one of the more liberal elders, fully accepting the new gods.

Alaran Races: Minotaur

In this post, I will go over the various intricacies of the minotaur race. It shall be wonderful.  I’m not yet sure if the plural of minotaur is minotaur or minotaurs, so I’ll just wait and see what sounds best.

The minotaur are a race of seafaring bullmen. They stand roughly seven feet tall, not counting their horns. Minotaur fur can be all shades of brown and black, very occasionally going into red or white. Minotaur do have hooves (this is just to clarify, ’cause I’ve seen minotaur with people-feet before, and they were distasteful.

Minotaur are natural sailors, very adept at things involving ships. Their size and strength makes them highly skilled fighters. It also helps that they’re always armed (HORN GORE!!!). Minotaur distrust magic heavily, and only very rarely become wizards or sorcerers. Minotaur worship either Jurgan, Zaran or Archus.

The Minotaur Empire
The Minotaur Empire is formed out of the two islands to the south of the civilized lands, as well as several other island and mainland colonies. It doesn’t really seem to be an ’empire’ as such, but the minotaur have always called it that and they don’t want to stop now. In older times, it covered more than twice the space it currently cover, and the minotaur ruled with an iron fist, and took slaves and stuff. They’ve mellowed considerably.

The Empire is based on rigid social codes. Minotaur are expected to enroll in the military for a few years when they come of age. At the heart of the Empire, in its capital at Tartaras, is the arena. This massive circular structure is used for many things, such as crowning new Emperors and civil ceremonies. Mostly, however, they throw a few minotaur in and have them bloody each other up. It’s great fun.

The stated goal of the Minotaur Empire at this point is to conquer the entirety of the civilized lands.  This doesn’t seem to be going too well, especially considering the fact that they’re allied with half of it.  Minotaur of the Empire are of average height for minotaur, and their fur can be any shade of brown or black, with occasional red.  Their fur is never white.

The Empire has a very active temple of Jurgan, and worship of him is considered a major part of Minotaur culture.  They also revere his father Archus, and minotaur sailors (of which there are many) pay tribute to Zaran.

Rebel Colonies
A few of the northernmost colonies of the Minotaur Empire have recently renounced their allegiance to the throne and put themselves behind the Twelve.  These colonies exist on the mainlan near the lands of the Twelve, and also on the northernmost parts of the northern island of the Minotaur Empire.  Being on the same island as the capital has led to some interesting conflicts, and there’s currently basically an all-out war going on twixt the Empire and the Rebel Colonies.

Minotaur of the Rebel Colonies often have darker shades of fur than their southern counterparts.  It is the custom among the more vicious fighters to hang mementos of previous victims from their horns.  Some even go so far as to hang lit sticks from their horns, making them look like they’re on fire.  It’s scary.

Minotaur of the Rebel Colonies worship Jurgan predominantly, but with a healthy respect for Anator.  They don’t bother to worship Zaran, which is probably going to bite them in the ass at some point, as they sail around just as much as the next minotaur.

Currently, the minotaur emperor has hired some dwarves from Below to deal with the Rebel Colonies.  They’re considering some method of detonating the island and splitting the half with the capital of the Empire off from the half with the Rebel Colonies.  This is not being taken very well by quite a lot of people who don’t want any mishaps to happen to the land beneath their feet, but it’s all in the name of science so it should be fine.  Science is win.

Cloud Minotaur
The Cloud Minotaur reside on the outlying islands, far away from all other civilization.  They are incredibly experienced sailors, and spend most of their lives sailing.  Even when they are not on ships, they live in villages on the edge of their islands.  Cloud Minotaur gain their name from the fact that they are always near the Cloudsea.

Cloud Minotaur stand at least a foot taller than normal minotaur.  They have white fur.  It is customary among them to tattoo themselves, and they do it in a way that dies their fur as well as their skin.  They also carve symbols into their horns.  As such, a Cloud Minotaur is really a walking piece of art.  They very rarely interact with outsiders, however, so it’s very rare to see them.

Cloud Minotaur worship Zaran devoutly.  It is said that Zaran sails around the world on a ship, and that ship is crewed entirely by Cloud Minotaur.  They consider themselves his chosen people, and they’re probably right.  Cloud Minotaur are treated with fear by many outsiders, mostly cause they’re bloody huge.

Other Minotaur
Minotaur quite often become pirates.  Like, a lot.

Important Minotaur:

Emperor Tordek I is the current minotaur emperor.  He is slightly larger than most minotaurs and has dark brown fur.  He is a prominent member of the Council, and very, very bloodthirsty.  He is constantly urging the Council to war, much to the annoyance of other prominent members such as Benedict IV and Queen Ellesmera.

Tordek took power in a bloody coup, which is the traditional method of leadership exchange in the Minotaur Empire.  He deposed the previous emperor, Kartas V, beheaded him, stuck said head on pole in front of the imperial palace, slaughtered his family and his clan, and then stuck their heads on poles too.  His daughter, Latia, escaped, something that has irked the emperor for years, mostly because it’s mostly her fault that the Rebel Colonies left the Empire.

Tordek I has not done too much to help the Empire yet, but he’s working on expanding the Empire with more colonies across the Cloudsea.  This has put him at occasional odds with the Cloud Minotaur, but they’re too mellow to mind too much.

Warlord Latia dún Kartas is a member of the Twelve.  She’s the only female member, but she’s also considered one of the most important ones, as she was the power that brought the Rebel Colonies to the Twelve.  She’s completely and totally bloodthirsty, bent on revenge and wading in hatred for Tordek I and what he did to her family.

Latia stand slightly shorter than average for female minotaur, but makes up for it with muscle mass.  Her fur is about as dark black as you can get.  She hangs the fingers of her important kills from her horns.  In combat, she’s an incredibly fearsome opponent, wielding two swords with mind-numbing ferocity.

Latia is a devoted follower of Black Hundriss, and is also a sorcerer, a rarity for a minotaur.  This makes her even more fearsome in battle, as two swords wielded by a crazed female minotaur are scary, but two swords that are on fire wielded by a crazed female minotaur are even scarier.  Did we mention that the female minotaur is devoted to the ideal of chaotic death, and spreads it wherever she goes?  Scary shit.

Latia is totally devoted to the cause of the Twelve, as well as the cause of avenging her family and bringing down the Empire.  She frightens most of the rest of the Twelve, even Garth, who is really pretty creepy too.

Alaran Races: Underfoot

In this post, I shall cover the Underfoot, the halfling ripoffs of Alara. Woot. Or maybe weet… I always thought weet would make a great band name (you know, like korn) and the two e’s would be backwards, because that’d be sweet. I think I’ll go photoshop a cover…

Anyway, the Underfoot. The Underfoot are smaller versions of humans. As such, they look like humans, only half the size. They average around three feet tall, and can have hair and eyes all the same colors humans can have. The one difference is that Underfoot cannot grow beards. Mostly cause… what? Halfing beard? Uggh.

The Underfoot are called the Underfoot for several reasons. Foremost is their stature: quite frankly, they’re bloody short. They are also referred to as the Underfoot because of their political state. They really don’t do much. They don’t have any lands to themselves and aren’t a major force in politics. They are, in a way, under foot.

The Underfoot are not really a very religious people. Most of the time, when they worship people, they worship either Helena or Omora Agabai (in her aspect as the goddess of luck, not the goddess of magic). They also occasionally gather behind charismatic Underfoot and proclaim them gods. This is looked down upon by most temples of every bloody god ever. The Underfoot do not worship Archus, as they see him as a massive spoilsport.

The Underfoot of the Alliance Lands
The Underfoot often live as a sizable minority in cities such as Wyrmspire, Irongate, and Below. They are often regarded as lower-class citizens, as they commonly live in the crappiest part of town, are often homeless, and are incredibly, incredibly mischievous. They live as rogues, stealing things for a living and often either belonging to the local Thieves’ Guild or simply being ignored by it as they pose no major danger. Despite being rather low on the totem pole of society, they are valued as spies and diplomats by various feuding nobles and politicians: as spies because they’re small and sneaky, and as diplomats because it’s hard to be rude to a diplomat when you can’t take him seriously.

The Underfoot of the Alliance rarely bother with religion, but when they do they worship Helena. This has permeated their lifestyle further than most of them notice, as it is considered good luck among the Underfoot to have a pet cat – the animal of Helena. Cats are also helpful to the Underfoot because they’re rather unobtrusive, and a well placed meow can warn an Underfoot that the owner of whatever he’s currently trying to filch is coming around a conveniently placed corner.

The Underfoot of the Alliance are classic roguish homeless people. They often perform as street musicians, and also often use their performances as cover for somebody going around pickpocketing people. There have been petitions from various noble houses of Wyrmspire to get them evicted, but Benedict IV is said to have soft spot for them stemming from some adventuring companion of his when he was younger that saved his life. As such, some Underfoot have actually achieved a spot on the Council, although it’s rare.

The Wandering Underfoot
An older class of Underfoot, the wandering underfoot live a gypsy-like lifestyle, wandering about the Alliance lands and those of the Twelve, living off the land and occasionally the donations of pleasantly inclined passers-by. They are a notable exception to Elenaiar’s rule against the admittance of foreigners, as they play excellent music and aren’t inclined to stay long anyway. Nobody knows exactly how many there are. They wander around constantly, and as such are hard as bloody hell to count. They used to be welcome all over the civilized lands, but New Aldar has recently become inhospitable to them, as the Phoenix Guard consider them spies and the Amen-Kathar just try to eat them. Damn illithid ripoffs.

The wandering Underfoot are often slightly taller than those of the cities. Their skin is slightly darker and they often have darker shades of hair. Most are skilled musicians, and it’s traditional among them for every child to learn to play an instrument before age twelve. Composers and highly skilled musicians are revered among them. They travel in family groups referred to as caravans. Most caravans have at least one priest, who is usually a devotee of Omora Agabai, although they respect Helena as well. Omora Agabai has a similar significance to the wandering Underfoot as Helena does to the city Underfoot, and crows and ravens are common pets of wandering Underfoot.

Wandering Underfoot look upon their city cousins as little more than scallywags, and are disinclined to be in their presence. This is, of course, entirely ignored if the city Underfoot is a skilled musician. Wandering Underfoot are not so snotty as to ignore someone’s skills just because they don’t like their demographic. Although it is rare, occasionally a city Underfoot with skill in a musical instrument will leave the city and travel around with a caravan of wandering Underfoot, being adopted by the caravan as an honorary cousin.

Some incredibly xenophobic denizens of Wyrmspire and other cities see the wandering Underfoot as part of a grand conspiracy, a group of people traveling around the land robbing people blind while distracting them with music and good looks. While the wandering Underfoot will steal if times are hard and it’s either that or starve, they look upon it with disdain and use it only as a last resort.

The Darklings
The Darklings are a race of evil, twisted Underfoot. Legend says that they were created when a group of wandering Underfoot got stuck in a cursed forest and were twisted beyond recognition. Others think that they were created by ancient magics pervading some old temple that the Underfoot broke into at some point. Most think a wizard did it. Damn wizards. Always, you know… doing things.

The Darklings live deep in the wilderness, never coming out of their deep forests and deep caves. Their skin is exceedingly pale, and they almost always have black hair and red eyes. Outsiders caught are often sacrificed to the gods. The gods in question are usually Anator and Black Hundriss, as the Darklings see chaos as the natural order of things and the most important aspect of everything ever. Ritual murder is frowned upon (too lawful), but randomly flipping out and killing your friend is considered an important part of Darkling society. As such, battling the Darklings is kind of disconcerting, as there’s a chance someone will take the chance to settle a dispute and stab a fellow in the back, leading to the entire group falling in on itself while you watch.

Other Underfoot
Underfoot are far more likely to become pirates than to become bandits.  They’re naturally agile and very suited to working aboard a ship.  Underfoot mercenaries are incredibly rare; the lifestyle of a mercenary is far too rigid.

Important Underfoot:

Allarus Thistlebrow is a bit of an Underfoot celebrity. No one’s sure exactly where he came from, but he’s incredibly charismatic and has a habit of even turning larger races to his side. He dresses in rich robes and gaudy jewelry, most of which he probably stole. There are whispers that he was an adventuring companion of Benedict IV before he was king, but these are probably just rumors.

Allarus wanders around the countryside with a band of his followers. Wherever he stops, Underfoot congregate in great numbers, hoping to see him. He’s a famous rogue, and also a pretty skilled musician, playing some CRAZY lute and being able to sing with a very pleasing voice. Even the wandering Underfoot like him, despite him being “one of those city rogues.” However, it is only an assumption that he is from the city. He is a perfectly average Underfoot, standing roughly an inch over three feet tall and with dark brown hair and brown eyes. He could be a tall city Underfoot or a short wandering Underfoot, or perhaps even a reformed Darkling. This mystique only adds to his popularity.

Allarus is fond of proclaiming that he is going to become “the god of rogues”. According to him, on one of his adventures when he was younger, he came across a scroll detailing a ritual that could bring one godhood. He plans to do this, mostly because he wants “to screw Helena”, in his words. According to him he has not done this yet because some crucial elements of the ritual he has yet to find. How he’s finding this is a mystery, as he spends his time wandering around being popular.

Alaran Races: Elves

In this post, I shall go over the elves of Alara. It shall be wonderful, and the elves shall be haughty. Hurrah!

By the way, I should mention that walking around a golf course at one in the morning when it’s all misty out is one of the best experiences ever. Go do it, imaginary pawns of my self-deluded blogpire.

I should also mention that if you people don’t start commenting on these posts, imma go castratin’. I’ll be sure to bring my rusty spoon.

The elves of Alara are, in many ways, normal elves. And yet… they are not. BWAHAHAHAHAHA. …okay, note to self: weird sleep schedules + really loud metal + italics = maniacal laughter. Good to know.

Anyway, the elves of Alara are fairly standard elves. They stand roughly five to five and a half feet tall. They have hair that can be either blond or black, but brown is forbidden for some reason… damn elves. They can have blue or green eyes, but again, brown is considered in bad taste… I think the elves might be nazis. Shit.

Elven culture is very mixed in with human culture these days in the Civilized Lands. There is a substantial elven minority in Wyrmspire, and the elves of Elenaiar are even thinking of removing the ban on foreigners from their city. The elves and the humans have more in common then either of them would like to admit, as each one shares a healthy disdain for the other. This common-sharing has lead to the occasional mixed-pair offspring, commonly referred to as half-elves. These half-elves are fairly common around the civilized lands. By “fairly common”, we mean “more common than half minotaur, half rhokari are”. Shit, that’d be weird.

Elves are very religious. They usually either worship Rudolphus, Helena, Omora Agabai, or White Aretha. Elves have a deep respect for magic, and many of them take paths of wizardry or sorcery (though wizardry is usually considered the best option, as sorcery can get messy… sorcerers tend to be kinda pretentious, and humans tend to beat pretentious elves with sticks. Pointy sticks.) This respect for magic also leads to a distrust of technology. Despite the very desegregated nature of Below, there are almost no Elves there, simply because they don’t like the whole technology thing. Elves live for several centuries and mature very slowly.

It is written that, long ago, the Elves had an empire of their own that stretched across twice the space that the civilized lands currently occupy. This is mostly written by elves. As such, most don’t really believe it. It’s quite possible that it’s true, as there’s quite a lot of ruins spread about the place that really just beg for an explanation. But then, one sees an elf freaking out when his flowers get eaten by deer, and it puts everything in perspective.

The Elves of Elenaiar
Elenaiar is one of the two primary elf city-states of the Civilized Lands. It is a grand place, with much fanciness abounding. It is solely populated by elves, as they have an actual law prohibiting entrance by foreigners unless they are A) a diplomat or B) “sufficiently elfy”. We’re not kidding on the phrasing of that bit. It’s in their actual legislation.

Traditionally, the elves of Elenaiar worship pretty much whoever they feel like. Scholars worship Rudolphus, roving minstrels worship Helena, wizards worship Omora Agabai, and necrophobes worship White Aretha. Worship of Anator or Black Hundriss is formally forbidden in their legislature. Who said being the good guys meant freedom of religion? Also forbidden is necromancy, any attempt at forming a stock market, and moose. Elenaiar is not a sanctum for the free.

The gods have a sense of irony. This is evident in the fact that Elenaiar is, in fact, the most Xenophobic nation ever, and they also have caves full of evil rat-people below them. Irony. The rat-people are also necromancers. They have a stock market and ride moose.

The Elves of Elenaiar are usually of average elfy height. They have blond hair and green eyes, almost uniformly. They have an annoying tendency to take up painting as a hobby. Those of them that live in lands other than their home city tend to have less of a stick up their ass.

The Elves of Asernaiar
Asernaiar is, or was, the second elven city-state of the civilized lands. It was just as prosperous as its cousin, Elenaiar, but a bit less xenophobic. That ended with the invasion of the Amen-Kathar. Rallied by a nameless evil, the evil squid-people invaded on what would have otherwise been a perfectly pleasant summer night. More than half of the population of the city perished, and the others were driven away. Asernaiar was transformed into the capital of New Aldar.

Today, the people of Asernaiar are scattered. A lot of them are dead. A few fled to Wyrmspire, where they live on the bottom rung of their respective social ring. Many remained in the woods of Asernaiar, where they joined their deposed queen in a rebellion, calling themselves the Phoenix Guard. They remain, fighting a hopeless fight. So far they’ve done pretty well.

The elves of Asernaiar have given up on the worship of gods. Hasn’t really done them much good so far, and they don’t really see it doing them much good in future. Cynical bastards. Elves from Asernaiar usually have black hair and blue eyes. Asernaiar was famed for having a massive library full of ancient and powerful books, but who knows what the damned squid-faces have done with that.

Other Elves
Elves outside of the influence of the two elven city-states usually turn to banditry or piracy to get by. A few wander around being roving minstrels. Elves are good at that.

Important Elves:

Queen Ellesmera Dawnsong is the queen of Elenaiar. She’s a bit left-leaning, and seeks to bring Elenaiar into the modern age, whether any of her subjects want it or not. Her subject have… opinions about this. They think she’s a very sweet girl, but quite frankly needs to stop screwing with things. She’s young and a bit naive (I refuse to search through the special characters list for that annoying i-umlaut thing). She’s a member of the Council, and uses her position to strive for greater unity among the Alliance. She’s not nearly as bureaucratic as most members of the Council, but her idealism gets in the way of her getting things done.

Ellesmera is an average elf. Roughly five feet tall, blond hair, green eyes. The only problem with all this is that, well, she’s a half-elf. The previous queen had a moment of weakness with the visiting king of Wyrmspire. This would technically make her the aunt of King Benedict IV, a fact that he hates, especially considering that she reminds him of it every Council meeting by saying “how’s my nephew?” to him. You would think that the xenophobic elves would have some law preventing a non-elf from ruling, but nobody thought to make a law, because the thought of their leaders mating with humans was just far too horrible to contemplate.

Ellesmera is really a very good queen, when it gets down to it. She’s done the people of Elenaiar a world of good, and may actually start denting their armor of elfiness soon. Despite this, the people still kinda would have preferred her older sister Ambrellis to take the throne. Oh well.

Queen Ambrellis Dawnsong is the current queen of Asernaiar. What’s left of it, that is. Ambrellis is currently hiding out in the wilderness, fighting a losing war against the Amen-Kathar.

Ambrellis achieved the throne of Asernaiar unusually. Technically, she is of the royal family of Elenaiar, but she fell in love with the visiting prince from their sister city, one thing lead to another, and she became queen of Asernaiar. She showed a remarkable aptitude for queening, and took the reigns quite readily when her husband died in the attack on Asernaiar. She was more conservative than her sister, which was ironic considering which sister got which throne.

Ambrellis is red-haired, something of a rarity among elves, and green-eyed. She’s a pure elf, having been spawned from the mating of the former queen of Elenaiar with her actual husband. That wouldn’t explain the red hair at all, but her mother insisted that no mailmen were involved.

Ambrellis heads a resistance group known as the Phoenix Guard. They’ve become incredibly fanatical, assuming that everyone is a spy for the Amen-Kathar. In all fairness, this isn’t entirely unreasonable, as the Amen-Kathar have developed methods for mind control that are well-known to the Phoenix Guard. There’s probably a better way to protect against it than lopping off the heads of anyone who comes near them, though.

Alaran Races: Dwarves

In this post, I shall go over the characteristics of the dwarves of Alara.

I would like to point out a new feature of this blog: on the sidebar, you will find a link called “Alara”. This page will act as an index of all things Alaran, so that you may find things easily and not have to skip around the mire that is this blog looking for things. You’re welcome.

The Dwarves of Alaran look like… well, you know what dwarves look like. Around four and a half feet tall, very stocky builds, hair ranging from brown to darker brown, but never really being blond, for some reason. Bearded. Usually have brown eyes.

Dwarves of Alaran are also very culturally similar to all other dwarves you’ve ever seen. They live in mountains, wear chain-mail often, drink ale, and have axes. Wonderful, wonderful axes. Dwarf culture is concentrated around the cities of Irongate and Below.

Dwarves often worship Archus or Jurgan, although they hold a healthy reverence for Plaggan, respecting the king of the afterlife.

The Dwarves of Irongate
The Dwarves of Irongate are fairly traditional dwarves. They live in their large mountain fortress, doing dwarf things like drinking ale and getting in brawls with various other dwarves. Dwarves of Irongate all belong to a particular family of dwarves, and this family defines them in very major ways (The family owns several mines? Well, junior, guess you’re gonna grow up to be a miner. Kiss those cherished dreams of going adventuring in the larger world goodbye!). Despite this rigid system, most dwarves are incredibly loyal to their families. Insulting a dwarf’s family is generally met with a duel to the death, thus making assassination in the dwarf lands really, really easy.

Religion is a major part of the average Irongate dwarf’s life, and several prominent families are devoted to the temple of either Archus or Jurgan. In the shadows, the worshipers of Plaggan lurk, not necessarily being excluded, but not exactly being invited to the metaphorical deity party either.

The Dwarves of Below
In contrast to Irongate, Below is a far busier, far less rigid city. No one cares whose family is being insulted at whatever moment, and as the entire population of Below is centered around the goal of technological advancement, the pressure on various dwarves to do various things is minimal. This could be because of the large population of humans and Underfoot in Below, but it’s more likely that constantly working on the edge of the world tends to do something to your priorities.

Dwarves of Below are often referred to as “Wind Dwarves” by the general populace, so as to distinguish them from other dwarves. The source of this nickname is their constant experimentation with the power of wind. Most Wind Dwarves glare angrily at anybody who calls them that, but we’re pretty sure they like it. It fits, too, constant experimentation with wind power has given most Wind Dwarves a permanent disheveled look, with messed up hair and a tangled beard. As a result of this, it is common among the Wind Dwarves to *gasp* shave. Shocking, we know. Wind Dwarves are fond of turning their nickname around, and referring to other dwarves as “Cave Dwarves”, just to piss them off.

Wind Dwarves are far too busy with their science to bother with religion. This causes no end of distress to the local Temple of Archus, a group of highly conservative dwarves from Irongate whose stated mission is to bring religion to “those heathens on the bottom of the world”. It turns out, the heathens don’t particularly want religion, and they’re not starving enough to trade their dignity for food. The Temple of Archus appears to be out of luck.

Other Dwarves
Dwarves rarely engage in piracy, as they really don’t like the whole “ship” idea. Some dwarves become bandits, but not very many. A greater amount of dwarves turn to mercenary work, as dwarves are natural fighters, and some veterans became upset with the quiet life after peace took hold. Some of these mercenary dwarves work for the twelve, although it’s considered bad manners among the various dwarf mercenary circles.

Important Dwarves:

High Baron Thaddeus Irongate is the current High Baron of Irongate. He comes from a long line of rulers (his family’s niche is “ruling”), and expects the line to go on after his death. As such, he’s a little conservative. Well, maybe a lot conservative. He’s on the Council, and as such has a lot of power, but he doesn’t exactly do much. However, he’s pretty intelligent when it gets down to it, so he can be helpful at times. Want to attack a neighboring country who poses a threat? He’ll help make the decision. Execute a serial killer? Sure. Slay a marauding dragon? You betcha. Initiate social reform? …not so much.

Thaddeus is a relatively average looking dwarf. He has hair so brown it looks black, a beard put into two long braids, and an axe. A huge farkin’ axe.

Chief Engineer Garran Hammerfall is the current leader of Below. I say “leader” because that’s essentially what he is, even if it’s not official. He oversees all scientific projects going on in Below, from the various methods of wind-powered transportation to the sixteenth attempt of the Explorer’s Society to reach the center of the continent. This position entitles him to a position on the Council, but he only bothers to show up once every three meetings. He’s busy. When he does show up, he often points out that much of the problems of the Alliance could be solved by wind-powered technology. The rest of the council then reminds him that most of the lands of the Alliance don’t have wind strong enough to power it. This is usually met with grumbling and various swearwords.

Garran is a fairly average-looking Wind Dwarf, standing four feet, five inches high. His hair is blond, a bit of a rarity among dwarves, though less so in Below, and his face is clean-shaven. He’s given up on trying to keep his hair from getting messed up, and so looks permanently shabby. The pair of overalls that he usually wears do not help this appearance.

Warlord Hidduk Hellforge is a member of the Twelve. He holds a deep and complete hatred for all things dwarven, although no one’s quite sure why. All anyone knows is that if any prisoners are found, he usually tortures the dwarves the most. No one’s even sure what family he comes from. As there’s no “Hellforge” family in Irongate, it’s usually assumed that he made up the name to seem more frightening.

Frightening he is, as his head is shaven completely bald (though he still retains the traditional dwarven beard) and he has odd blue tattoos all over his face. He speaks with an accent that nobody who hears it can place, although it’s possible he just fakes it to appear more mysterious. In battle, he is a fearsome opponent, wielding his warhammer with massive force. Most who encounter him either die or have several limbs crushed beyond recognition. He’s not very nice.

Alaran Races: Humans

In this post I shall go into more detail about what the role of the humans is in Alara, as promised in the last post. You should probably read all the posts prior to this before reading this one, or you may be hopelessly, hopelessly lost. In particular, you should read the post immediately prior to this one, “Alara: Politics of the Civilized World”.

In Alara, humans play a role majorly similar to the roles played by humans in other fantasy worlds. The humans are the political glue of Alara; without them everything would kind of fall apart. Also, every fantasy world needs a race that can be related to… i.e., humans.

Humans look… well, we all know what humans look like. Human skin is the normal pinkish color of Caucasianoids. Humans can have hair ranging from blond to very dark brown, and occasionally red. Human eyes can be brown, blue, green, or any of those dicky little sub-colors like hazel.

In terms of religion, humans differ greatly from one another, worshiping all sorts of gods or even none at all.

The Major Factions of Humans:

Alliance Humans
The humans of the alliance are varied. Most of them live in Wyrmspire or the surrounding environs, but a sizable minority live in other areas of the Alliance lands, such as the dwarven cities of Irongate or Below. The humans of Wyrmspire lead very interesting lives, full of political intrigue and all that kind of stuff. More rural humans lead more rural lives, often being farmers and such boring things.

In terms of religion, Alliance Humans basically worship whoever. It’s considered a good idea to worship Archus, but mainly because the last time he didn’t have enough worshipers in a city he threw it off the world. It’s socially unacceptable to worship Anator or Black Hundriss, so their worshipers are mostly members of various cults. Other than that, anything goes, although the worshipers of Plaggan are subject to some strange looks every now and then.

Humans of the Twelve
The humans under the Twelve live mainly in and around the city of Argan Vas. Culturally, they are very similar to their southern counterparts, what with the whole either farming or living in cities thing. They look, however, slightly more bulky than the humans of the Alliance, and tend toward darker hair and eye colors.

Religiously, they are very much similar to the Alliance humans, although worship of Anator and Hundriss is far more acceptable in the lands of the twelve. While taking a backseat to both Archus and Jurgan, both Anator and Hundriss enjoy a healthy following.

The Birchmen
The Birchmen are a race of primitive humans that live in the wild forest of the Civilized Lands. They take their name from the birch trees that they use for all forms of fuel, construction material, and all that stuff. If you wander about the caves in the forested areas around Wyrmspire, you’re liable to find a colony of Birchmen. Currentl, certain members of the Council are petitioning for their extermination, but they’re meeting sizable opposition, as genocide is considered in rather bad taste. The Twelve hold no such reservations, and the Birchmen are getting progressively rarer in the areas around Argan Vas and Selvern, although they still flourish in the completely uninhabited areas.

The Birchmen do not worship the gods of the civilized world. They worship a combination of various primitive gods and strange spirits of the natural world. Some scholars have suggested making a formal study of this, but most don’t care. And anyway, it’d be hard to find out more about them, as Birchmen are more liable to simple gut you before you get a chance to ask than to actually answer questions.

Other
Many humans also belong to various little mini-factions.  Among these are various gangs of bandits, and also quite a lot of pirates.  Although these lawless individuals seem rather uncultured, they are often very patriotic and will help their country of origin in whatever wars it choses to participate, albeit mostly for the fact that political stability is beneficial to bandit lords.

Important Humans:

King Benedict IV is the current King of Wyrmspire. This entitles him to a seat on the Council, making him one of the foremost political powers of the Alliance. This would allow him to do great good for the world, except for the fact that the rest of the Council usually gets in his way and coats him with red tape. He is fond of referring to the rest of the Council as “that bunch of stooges” “simpering idiots” or simply as “shnathgotten“, a word we think he made up that probably means something very dirty.

King Benedict is a fairly average looking human. He is roughly six feet tall, with brown, shoulder-length hair and brown eyes. He is in his forties, and took the throne twenty years ago upon the death of his father, King Carith V, on a hunting trip. The Alliance lands have come a long way under his guiding hand, and would inevitably have come further if not for the shnathgotten.

Warlord Garth Blödenhaar is a member of the Twelve. He is one of the youngest members, having assumed control when his father and mentor, Taeden Blödenhaar, was slain in a battle against the Alliance. For this reason, he passionately hates the Alliance, especially Elves… not because they had anything particular to do with the death of his father, just because, according to him, “they smell funny”. It aggravates Garth that he currently cannot avenge his father, but he understands the need for the Twelve to calmly build their power for a while. He has facilitated this to the best of his ability, sending many spies into Wyrmspire to sabotage the workings of the Council. Thus far he has been unsuccessful.

Garth cuts an imposing figure, standing well over six feet tall, above average for a human. His long blond hair forms a wild mane of sorts, and his piercing blue eyes shine with hatred. His face seems permanently contorted in a look of rage. Add to this the black ritual armor he constantly wears and his sword, nearly as big as him, and quite frankly he’s scary as shit. Rumors abound of his various ritual activities, and most of the population fear him deeply. In truth, many of the tales are false (he does not, for example, have a trophy room full of the stuffed and mounted bodies of those who opposed him contorted in various gruesome poses), but he has been known to drink the blood of virgins on occasion. Only on occasion. It’s not like he makes a habit of it or anything. Really.

Alara: Politics of the Civilized Lands

In this post, I shall talk about the three major factions that inhabit the civilized world of Alara: the Alliance, the Twelve, and New Aldar. There are those that do not belong to any one of these factions, but we don’t talk about them.

The Alliance
The alliance is made up of the six races mentioned in the “races” post from a few weeks back: Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Underfoot (I named the halflings), Minotaurs, and Rhokari. The Alliance is based around the human city of Wyrmspire, the dwarven city of Irongate, and elven city of Elenaiar. The minotaur city of Tartaras is less important to the Alliance, especially considering the fact that not all minotaurs consider the Alliance their allies, and even the minotaur emperor is dubious.

The Underfoot and the Rhokari do not possess cities large enough to warrant mention. The Rhokari live predominately on the side of the world, in small villages belonging to individual clans of only several hundred members. The Underfoot do not even have any permanent residences; more than half of the Underfoot population lives in human or dwarven cities, and the rest travel the countryside small family groups.

The main governing body in the Alliance lands is the Council, a group composing the wisest and most influential of all the races of the Alliance (although, currently, there are no Rhokari and very few Underfoot on the Council). The Council determines all major laws and standards set in place in the Alliance lands, and its most important function is to decide whether or not to go to war. More often than not, the council is made up of bureaucrats that impede progress more than promote it.

The Alliance are the effective “good guys” of Alara. As such, they’re also the most boring of the factions, because that’s just how things work. Good = boring. Sorry.

Many other races are also present in the Alliance lands, including a primitive race of humans, a dark, twisted version of the Underfoot, and a race of ratmen who refer to themselves as the Njorlghar and subsist in the filth of the larger human and dwarven cities.

The Alliance is currently undergoing a renaissance of sorts, centered around the dwarven city of Below. This city, quite literally positioned on the underside of the world, is a technological haven, and is inhabited almost entirely by scientists utilizing the power of wind for the better of humanity. This technological revolution is treated dubiously by most members of the Alliance, as most of them live in areas where the winds are not prevalent enough to power these strange machines.

The Twelve
The Twelve (also known as the Black Dozen, the Ruling Council, and the Gathering Darkness, depending on who you ask) are a group of powerful warlords. They rule the lands centered around the cities of Selvern and Argan Vas, and it is their stated goal to eventually conquer all of everything. This is a bit far away at the moment, so for the moment they content themselves with trying to conquer the Alliance.

The major races under the Twelve are humans and minotaurs with a dark bend, and the sadistic satyrs that live in the forests of Selvern. Almost no elves or dwarves ally with the twelve, and Underfoot and Rhokari are completely unheard of. The twelve themselves are a diverse group of characters: a few humans, one minotaur warlord, some satyrs sworn to the service of their blasphemous gods… there are even rumors that one of the twelve is a lich. This is probably true, as the twelve are basically the most evil people you could hope to meet, ever. In the event of one of their deaths, a new one is found to take the place of the old one, based purely on which candidate is the most powerful in whatever way they choose.

For quite a while, the Twelve waged relentless war on the Alliance. This has died down, as casualties on both sides got too high for either to continue their campaigns. The Twelve content themselves with sabotaging the Alliance politically, something the Alliance also do in return. The relative peace is fragile, however, and anything could tip the balance of the civilized lands toward war.

New Aldar
New Aldar is that something. A nation of beings dark and terrible, any action on its part could lead to the wholesale destruction of the Alliance, the Twelve, and all those that ally with them.

For millenia, the swamps beyond the elven city of Asernaiar held a dark secret. Inhabiting them were tribes of strange, deformed, tentacled things that referred to themselves as the Amen-Kathar (more commonly, they are referred to as “that thing with the tentacles”, “squidface”, or “what the hell is that!?“). Not much was done about the Amen-Kathar, however, as they seemed content to wander around their swamps, killing each other and occasionally having a satanic blood orgy. Silly illithid ripoffs.

However, sometime in the past decade, a great evil awoke among the swamps. This faceless evil rallied and unified the Amen-Kathar, and attacked the elven city of Asernaiar. The elves were driven out, and the evil took Asernaiar for its capital city. The new nation was dubbed New Aldar, though what Aldar was in the past, none know for sure. It expanded at an alarming rate, overtaking villages and cities in very short amounts of time.

And then, it stopped. No one knows why it ceased in its assimilation of its neighboring lands. The Council that leads the Alliance is fond of claiming that it feared their military might. Scholars theorized that the evil that controlled New Aldar could only exercise its control over the Amen-Kathar if they remained close to its source of power. But the most cynical of the population is sure that New Aldar is simply biding its time, preparing somehow for the eventual attack that will devastate the civilized lands.

Today, New Aldar is a torn land. The Amen-Kathar hold absolute power over the central region. In the outlying regions, the elven exiles of Asernaiar harass the Amen-Kathar endlessly, hoping to someday regain control of their city. Unfortunately, their anger has turned to fanaticism. Outsiders are treated to only slightly less suspicion than the Amen-Kathar, and are usually executed on the assumption that they are spies. Bandits roam the outlying regions of New Aldar as well. A small group composed of members of the Alliance constantly sets these various factions off against one another, thus delaying the eventual invasion of the Alliance Lands.

That’s all for today. Next I’ll diagram the various races in more detail. I’ll start tomorrow. See you there.

P.S. – Comment or the Amen-Kathar will get you. Grr.

Alara: Map of the Civilized Lands

Well, here ’tis. The first post in which I look at this world in a new way, free from the shackles of a tactical RPG. You might have missed that newspost, what with it only being posted four hours ago or something silly like that. Go look for it, should be right below this one.

Anyway, the major places that matter are presented here in stunning color. Obviously there are places other than this, but they don’t matter for the moment and I’ll talk about them later.

Light blue is the Cloudsea, dark blue is actual water, purple is elevation lines, which would be closer together if my mouse didn’t suck, dots are cities of particular importance.

Obviously, this map presents more questions than it answers. Which city belongs to whom? Who are the alliance? Who are the twelve? What is Aldar, and where’s the old one? Are there really minotaurs on the minotaur islands? If not, why the fuck are they called that? The answer to all these questions is: fuck off. I’ll be updating more in the near future, and each update will feature specifics on whatever thing I feel like talking about. The next post, for example, is going to be small chat about the state of politics in the civilized lands, who lives where and who hates whom. After that I’ll diagram specific races, cities, lands, whatever. It’ll be fun.

edit: By the way, I should mention that the best way to increase the rate of posting is to comment on posts. Just to let me know they’re being read. Of course, an even better way would be to send me money, but that’s got jack all chance of happening.

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