Sunday, April 30, 2017

SUBLANARYAN CALENDAR (WIP)


Using donjon's awesome tools, I created a simple calendar for Sublanarya.

The moonths ("months") are named after the core family of the Naryan pantheon and the days of the week are named after the nine planes with a tenth day for worship. The moons are each named after one of the moon gods but the discworld of Narya, that completes a complete "turn" 360 degrees in 400 days, has other moons and cosmic bodies. This calendar even includes moon cycles and other cosmic events.

Stay tuned for holidays and other additions.





Friday, April 28, 2017

The Twin Empires of Hamutia: Ptah-Hamut and Raj-Hamut

Today's subject is of two lands. Separated by a sea, each empire claims dominion of the world: in the east, where the sun rises, is the lush tropical mountainous river-princedoms of Raj-Hamut [rahj-ha-moot], also known as the Emerald Empire for its natural riches and, across the sea to the west, is the cradle of human civilization, built along rivers in a harsh desert, the Empire of the Divine Sun, Ptah-Hamut [puh-tah-ha-moot]. These two states have opposed each other for over two millennia, even pitting their gods against each other, in a struggle for power not only in the material but the spiritual spheres. These two empires, the twin empires of Hamutia, or simple the Hamuts, were once one in the same.

Three and a half millennia ago, on a habitable green spot of land along the River Yor, a small settlement grew and flourished in the inundated plains until it became established as the first Sublanaryan human city of Aneb. The peoples of Yor River built their burgeoning empire upon the ruins of civilizations lost to time or record in a place they call the Valley of Dead Kings. Building upon this history, in the land they called Ptah-Hamut which translates to "the divine lands,  they created their own empire with their own god-king, the first "pharaoh", Namor-Ra.

Namor-Ra's descendants would be treated as living gods, directly receiving their authority from Ptah-Horus the Sun-Wielder himself, and protected by their will. To venerate their gods, those of heaven, Hamut and the underworld, they built great monuments to the gods and impressive tombs to house the remains of the pharaoh and his subjects.

To build these wonders, the Ptah-Hamuts used their wealth of resources to feed great armies and enslaved the "lesser peoples" of the continent. Eventually, their conquest spread across the sea to the east, they conquered the fallen kingdoms of Sindahar and established the second part of their empire-- Raj-Hamut "land of princes". This was a means to an end:

In the third and a half millennium of the second epoch, the god-king Herezbek had twins: a girl T'Chalthra and a boy Magarda. The former was born first and therefore it seemed her birthright was to be his successor. These twins were not the first royal twins; the god-king's line had seen many twins born to Hamut before and, inevitably, there was conflict. Assassinations, attempted coup de tats, and even small civil wars had been fought over the throne. Herezbek's solution was to create a new kingdom for his son to rule. This prevented civil war and, to further protect the throne of Ptah-Hamut, the eastern continent became a land split between princes, also called rajahs or sultans, with a maharaja or grand sultan at the top. By dividing the roles of leadership, this created more positions and less intense rivalry for the position of god-king among the royal line.

From that point onward, the first born of the god-king was the heir to the throne of Ptah-Hamut. If the god-king had twins, the second born would become the heir of the reining maharaja. The majaraja's firstborn would be his heir, if not supplanted by the pharoah's twin child, and/or his other sons would be rajas of small princedoms of Raj-Hamut. The rajas battle for control of their small kingdoms but all under the command of the maharaja in the capitol of Kuthkuta.

This created a unique balance of power between members of the royal family that would last for several centuries until the god-king Nexret had twin daughters Wadjet and Nekhbet. This was a problem for a variety of reasons.

In six centuries, the religious practices and beliefs of Raj-Hamut created a culture that was much different than the home culture. The native religious beliefs and stories were reincorporated with Ptah-Hamutian beliefs. The rivalry between princes and disdain for the "rule of the foreign god-king" created a rift that was reflected in their religious beliefs and cultural customs. And, in all that time, Raj-Hamut had never had a female ruler and the maharaja Bara, with the backing of the armies of the princedoms of Raj-Hamut rebelled against the ma'at or "divine order" of Ptah-Hamut's reign. The resulting civil war lasted for decades and had many epic battles. By the end,  Bara, Wadjet and Nekhbet were all slain, as well as many other princes and royalty. The result was that the two empires permanently split, bitterly, and remain rivals to this day over dominion of the divine kingdom of Hamut.

From this war sprouted the divine Cult of the Two Ladies. This cult says that Wadjet and Nekhbet ascended to godhood as consorts of Ptah-Horus and that they watch over the royal family of the god-kings. They are represented in the headdresses and iconography of the pharaoh as a vulture and cobra. They are also considered to represent the promise of a reunion of the two kingdoms.

The war also sprouted the first slave rebellion. The slaves that fled during the civil war formed the first wave of colonists of modern Zafaria along the Nadjabadi coast.

It was during the following between the following period, between the 57th and 60th centuries, that the cult evolved so that a serpent, the supposed descendant of the cosmic serpent and Wadjet, calling itself Apep II became the new pharaoh of Ptah-Hamut. Snake cults are a constant in Hamutian history and this one managed to sit itself upon the throne. Apep II was a serpent of gargantuan size, power and intellect. Only through a rebellion led by slaves, who would later become modern Zafarians who settled in Jalatia, was the snake cult overthrown and the pharoah's line properly restored.

But the god-king's empire has been in decline ever since that indignity.

It was during the post-split that came the era known as "classic Raj-Hamut". During this time period, there were many legendary wars fought between demons, gods, and heroes in the style of the Wyrd Wars Sindahar civilization. For example, Krishna the Beautiful who was a sage prince who overthrew a cruel raja and tutored other princes on appropriate behavior. Such education, via a spiritual awakening from rediscovered history of ancient Hamut, reformed the spiritual lives of Raj Hamut with teachers like the latest avatar of Sahasranama, Prince Siddhartha the Awakened Soul.

This cultural revolution has allowed Raj-Hamut to flourish as an empire of individuals. But have they too began to fall behind the rest of Sublanarya?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Character Crunch: Vanara (Monkey-Folk)

In southern Raj-Hamut, deep in the Dandaka Forest and between the Ondon Mountains, hidden in mist and legend, is Kishkindha, the kingdom of the vanara: the "forest people". The vanara of Kishkindha resemble monkey-like humanoids. They are mostly known to be clever, curious and playful creatures that might irritate less patient creatures with their constant questioning and almost naive honesty. While vanara often admire the accomplishments of human society, they find human's comparably uptight customs and rules amusing. They prefer to play tricks upon people rather than resorting to violence to expel them from the sacred sites, such as temples and burial grounds, they often make their homes. That doesn't mean they won't defend themselves.

The vanaran patron deity Hamuman the Mighty is famous for the feat of lifting an entire mountain with one hand and leading armies of vanara to assist the 7th Avatar of Sahasranama. They are known for being impressive warriors who use their unmatched agility and bestial ferocity to overcome their foes. And their foes are, usually, evil, which vanara oppose universally. Vanaran heroes prefer martial arts whether they be masters of force like barbarians or fighters or instead prefer the subtlety of rangers or thieves or choose to find a balance with a monk.

The heroism, loyalty and bravery of vanara warriors is legendary.



Vanara are rarely found outside of Kishkindha but they are not unheard of among veteran adventurers who have ventures to the south-eastern continent of Raj-Hamut. They are usually drawn into a life adventure by curiosity and loyalty; many a human adventurer has found themselves Kishkindha on a divine quest and befriended a vanara. Perhaps the human save the vanara's life or better yet their tribe and so, out of devotion, obligation and/but mostly out of the desire to join them on their quest, they join the hero on their adventure and become adventurers in their own right.

Vanara come in two distinct varieties on a spectrum of more monkey-like to more human-like in appearance. They both often intermingle and are more alike than either are with monkeys or humans. There are mountain and valley vanara.

Preferring to live in hills and crags of the Ondon Mountains, the mountain vanara could almost pass for humans or elves at a glance.

They usually are built similarly to elves-- tall with slender builds-- with similar facial structures and even have point ears. Unlike elves, their pointed ears tend to be much more pronounced and bestial. The biggest give away to their vanaran nature are their prehensile simian tails, long fingers and toes, and pronounced canines. They often have lighter hair from blond to brown to red hair that matches the fur on their tail and some even have thick fur-like hair on their bodies as well.They have the same range of eye colors as humans that flash to red when angry or in battle.

Mountain vanara are known to be a little more reserved than their valley kin and tend to build small villages, usually around a sacred tree or spring or in or around an ancient temple, where they can live simply and carefree lives. They tend to be the most pious and most vanaran priests for both the mountain and the valley vanara. This doesn't mean they are not known for their trickery and playfulness but they do tend to be more responsible when it comes to duties.

Valley vanara are noticeably more ape-like than their mountain cousins.

Valley vanara, covered in a coat of white, grey, black, brown or orange fur, with elongated muzzles, large lip-less mouths, big, round ears and facial fur, more closely resemble the "monkey-folk" that are described in popular legends. Some have non-prehensile tails and other have either extremely short or no tails. They tend to have slightly longer limbs than their mountain cousins and their eyes are usually only black or brown in hue that also flash red when enraged.

Valley vanara are hunter-gatherers who live in small family groups usually sharing territory around a central point of interest. They have a more laissez-faire lifestyle, doing as they please, and relaxing away most of their days. Due to their more wild environment, they do have to contend with predators and evil creatures more frequently than mountain vanara. For this reason they have more of a reputation as warriors and hunters than their cousins.

Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity increases by 2.
Age. Vanara have lifespans equivalent to humans.
Alignment. Vanara
 Size. Vanara are similar in size and stature to humans, standing between 5 and 6 feet, with slender builds. Your size if medium.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Tree Climber. Because of your monkey-like hands and feet, you are almost as well acclimated to climbing as walking. You have climbing speed of 3/4 your walking speed rounded down (minimum 20 feet).
Primal Pounce: You may use Dexterity when determining your jump distance.
Extra Language. You can read, write, speak and understand common, Vanaran, and one extra language.
Subraces. There are two subraces of vanara; the mountain vanara and the valley vanara.

Mountain Vanara
Ability Increase. Your Wisdom increases by 1.
Skill Proficiency. You have proficiency in the Acrobatics skill.
Prehensile Tail: Can pick up and carry small objects but not use as weapons. Can use Sleight of Hand with tail.

Mountain Vanara
Ability Increase. Your Strength increases by 1.
Skill Proficiency. You have proficiency in the Athletics skill.
Bite. Your jaw is a strong natural weapon, which can be used to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d6 + your Strength modifier.




I wanna note, Vanara are found elsewhere and there is more than one "monkey king". I hope you guys enjoy my take on this classic race from hindu mythology and Oriental Adventures.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A House Divided: The Hamutian Religion

First, let me clarify the nomenclature involved in describing Hamutian subjects:

Hamut means "kingdom" in Hamutian, the Hamuts are the two kingdoms,  Hamutia refers to both kingdoms and all territories they control, and the people and all things from Hamutia, collectively, are described as Hamutians. Hamutia is split into two kingdoms: Ptah-Hamut to the west of the Hamutian Sea and Raj-Hamut to the east of the Hamutian Sea. Peoples from Ptah-Hamut are called Ptah-Hamuts and peoples from Raj-Hamut are called Raj-Hamuts. They speak Hamutian and their gods are collectively part of the Hamutian pantheon.

The Hamutian religion is one that focus on creation, preservation, and destruction of everything from the universe to the individual.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Gnomes Just Wanna Have A Good Time: The Creation of Gnomes & Gnoldo the Mushroom King

The gnome's patron god is not an overbearing or grandiose father like Iaur of the elves or Urd of the dwarves. Gnoldo the Mushroom King, or "Father Mushroom" as he is often affectionately called by his children, does not demand they carry out any crusades or live by a strict code. If anything, Gnoldo just wants his children to have fun.

As the story goes, gnomes are from the Twilight Realm of Dawn, where all feyfolk originate from the silliest pixie to the nobles elf. Gnoldo's creation is rarely a topic of discussion among gnomish priests or scholars but most would say that Gnoldo was born from the smile or laughter of the Mother. It is then postulated that he became trapped under the ground during the cataclysm that destroyed the clay peoples and remained their for eons before the sound of a single drop of water splashed upon a pool in the cavern, that the gnomes call the Cavern of Souls, made the sound of tittering laughter and awoke him.

Gnoldo found the pool, a pool of the mother's tears shining like a rainbow, and saw a reflection of himself. Amused, the god began telling himself jokes and, with each punchline, the pool bubbled up. Each bubble was so beautiful and unique that Gnoldo scooped them up and, to his surprise, they were beautiful gemstones beyond compare. He told jokes until he had so many different colored gems he had to use magic to create a bottomless bag of holding to carry them all.

It is said that these gems, called "Soul Gems", contain the unborn souls of every gnome, born of the Mother's tears and the gnome-father's jokes, and that every newly born gnome is a gift from Gnoldo himself.

Gnoldo was so proud of his gems that he told everyone in the Dawn realm about his treasure and showed them off in the Fey courts. This way a mistake. Several powerful feylords and beings tried to steal the bag away. Eventually, one of Gnoldo's card game partners, a clever kobold named Zomokar Wyrm-Tongue managed to steal away the bag while Gnoldo nodded off during a game of Turnips.

Zomokar stole the gems and took themto his home under Wyrm Hill. There he planted the gems and gnomes grew like mushrooms in the soil. He dug them up and had them slave away in his mines. Zomokar became rich and powerful beyond his wildest dreams. His mines were so impressive that even the gods grew envious. He ignored their requests until Tiamat, the dragon queen herself, asked for a tour of the mines.

Zomokar and his kobolds worked the gnomes into overtime to prepare for the visit, sweeping every bit of dirt from every hall and shining every gemstone until the halls of Wyrm Hill were a divine sight to behold, and prepared a great feast. Tiamat arrived in the form a of a beautiful woman with dark hair wearing a dress of red, blue, black, green and white scales.

The kobold was quick to try and impress the goddess. He gave her a grand tour and many gifts, including the bag of soul gems. She seemed impressed. At the feast, she requested he invited every kobold and gnome into the great hall that the kobold had set up by digging out a large cavern in the middle of the mines. With the room filled with gnomes and kobolds, Tiamat asked to stand and speak a few words.

Tiamat began telling jokes, mocking Zomokar, much to his frustration and confusion. As she did so, the gnomes and kobolds began laughing. The laughter was so great that is shook the very walls of the dining hall. The laughter was so great that it echoed through all the halls of the mine and shook the supports of every tunnel. The laughter was so great that the whole mine came crashing down.

After all, it wasn't Tiamat at all. It was Gnoldo in disguise. Just as the hall fell in around them, Gnoldo revealed himself and Zomokar cursed him. The cave in killed all the kobolds of Wyrm Hall, even Zomokar who's hatred of Gnoldo ascended him to godhood but trapped him in his collapsed mine (leading to the rivalry between kobolds and gnomes to this day), and, with Gnoldo's mercy, the gnomes were returned to gem form. Gnoldo dug each of them out of the collapse hill, scooping them into his bag, and took the bag with him to the material plane to give them a second chance.


The gnomes split into two groups: the gnomes that had been reverted to gems after being slaves became the rock gnomes and those that had remained in the bag became forest gnomes.


Rock gnomes live in burrow settlements built in hillsides. They are known to be more social among gnomes, particularly setting up profitable partnerships with dwarves, and are known for being friendly, inquisitive, and energetic. Rock gnomes embody the inventive nature of Gnoldo, making toys and machines both for their own amusement and profit, and are some of the most clever peoples in the world of Narya. They are usually difficult to differentiate between forest gnomes but rock gnomes are known to have more natural hair and eye colors and are built taller and more solidly than their forest counterparts. They are much more likely to come to conflict with neighboring enemies, especially kobolds, and have a warrior culture.


Forest gnomes live in secluded villages built in forests. They are known for being shyer than rock gnomes and often go so far as to protect the locations of their homes with powerful magic. Indeed, the forest gnomes are just as curious and friendly as rock gnomes, but are usually more cautious than their rock kin. They seek to maintain peace and tranquility, avoiding conflict when they can, and ally themselves with unusual creatures to maintain their peace. Forest gnomes are extremely playful, making games out of their farming and crafting work, and are known for being childlike. They also stand out due to their brightly colored hair, from bubblegum pink to neon green, and matching bright clothing. They avoid conflict by using illusion magic and clever tricks.

There are also Deep Gnomes who, in Sublanarya, are remnants of gnomes who escaped giant slavery by going deeper into the Underdark

Deep gnomes are hardy, secretive, and serious. They are actually at odds with the stereotpical gnome personality. It is believe that their optimism and cheerful demeanor was beat and bred out of them by the giants. They are mostly unheard of but some have made contact with dwarves and gnomes in recent years briefly. While shrewd, sullen and even suspicious, they seemed well-meaning in these meetings, trading well-crafted goods and information about local threats in these exchanges, before disappearing back to their secret cities. They have ashen grey skin and dark eyes. Males are remarkably lacking in hair or beard, while their females wear their white, grey or black hair short to their heads. Svirneblin are used to fighting the many horrors and foes of the Underdark.

Gnomes are often called the "forgotten folk" because of their emphasis to avoid meddling in or being meddle with by other creatures affairs.

If there is a "doctrine" of gnome religion it is pretty simple: have fun.

Gnome priests emphasize that, while life can often be difficult and challenging at time, a good attitude will help you weather any troubles. A good sense of humor and sharp wit will help you overcome obstacles. Friends and family are greater treasures than any gemstone.

Pessimism and negativity should be rejected and over-seriousness and self-importance should be avoided. It is important to promote optimism and positivity.

You should work to keep everyone in good spirits. Everyone in the community should work together to make sure that everybody is happy and healthy. The greater good of the community should always be considered.

Do not fear change, embrace it. Do what works.

If there is any criticism against gnome ideology, particularly by their dwarven friends, it is that gnomes often seem to just ignore their problems rather than confront them directly and that they don't take anything seriously. Gnomes always prefer compromise over conflict. This can often lead to gnomes allowing something to get out of hand because they believe that the problem to just go away.

Despite the criticism, it is clear that have successfully avoided the wars and catastrophes that have devastated Sublanarya in recent history.

An important side aspect of gnome priests, often jokingly called "mushroom farmers", is the importance of the "magic mushroom" to gnome culture. "Non-magic" mushrooms are grown as food by gnomes living in cavern or forest. The mushroom is considered a gift from Gnoldo.

Magic mushrooms, on the other hand, caused those who eat them to hallucinate. Gnome priests believe it is possible to see beyond the material plane and into the ethereal and divine by proper use of these mushrooms. In fact, those that manage to master these "trips" are said to be visited by Gnoldo himself.

Magic mushrooms are grown recreationally and for special religious holidays. In fact, it is considered an important rite of passage for a young gnome to take magic mushrooms on his name day. Usually, they are given as a gift by the gnome priests and the experience is supposed to give the young gnome their first taste of responsibility. That said, magic mushroom abuse is a problem in some gnome communities. Gnome priests are supposed to regulate and oversee the use of the mushrooms to prevent abuse but it still happens.

Furthermore, as the magic mushrooms have made it out of gnomish communities they have become highly prized commodities among intellectuals, spellcasters and nobility wishing to "meet the mushroom king". Magic mushrooms are actually illegal unless by gnomes in special gnome ceremonies in lands controlled by the Iaurdin Empire. That has done little to slow the spread of this popular drug.
It is said there are still gnomes in the fey realm, diminutive as pixies, that live amongst Gnoldo's mushroom fairies. If there are, they've learned to hide over the millennia from the dawn fey and would likely be even harder for those native to the material plane to find their ilk. Especially if they are being guarded by the mushroom fairies.

Mushroom fairies are said to grow wherever Gnoldo goes. They are usually peaceful and easy-going creatures, prone to a little mischief when they are small, but otherwise gentle. That is until someone or something threatens their young or they are riled to protect their homes. Mushroom fairies can grow to incredible sizes and know powerful fey magic that make them a serious threat to any forest or caverns under their protection.

Gnomes consider them to be sacred creatures, some gnomes priests even inviting them into their villages for special festivals, but most marking their territory as sacred places off limits.

As for Father Mushroom, he is said to travel the planes playing pranks, looking after gnomes and growing new mushroom forests. Plus he still has to contend with enemies like Zomokar and Dezmar the White Mole.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Faiths of Sublanarya: Aequitas the Invisible Hand

Aequitas is the daughter of the prince and the stolen bride responsible for the War of the Golden Apple. The apple that Erys had created was imbued with divine powers that could tempt jealous gods to compete for the attention of a mere mortal and so, when consumed by the pregnant bride, she gave birth to a girl who was as radiant as gold. Her beauty rivaled that of any god or goddess and so it was that the gods take turns wooing the unimpressed goddess, Aequitas.
The result of a war that devastated the mortal realm, as the gods wooed Aequitas they gave her so many treasures that she became the very goddess of wealth itself, and her personal collection is a testament to her wealth. It is said that she lived in a heavenly realm with seas of gold. Despite the strife that greed causes, Aequitas is a goddess that promotes peace. While merchants compete with each other, those who pray to Aequitas believe the market is best when merchants follow rules of conduct and ethics, when contracts are upheld, and when the trade is fair. 
So valued is the goddess's peaceful presence that many banks have statues in her honor, often depicted holding a balanced scale with coins on one side and a heart on the other, and they also print currency with her visage.

There is also a famous story in which Aequitas taught a wealthy king a very important lesson about greed and priorities.

King Midas of Izbarda was the wealthiest king in all of the mythical sea of Geleda. And yet, no amount of wealth seemed enough for the god and his greed pushed him to overtax the people, force his armies to fight profitable wars, and to turn the markets in the favor of the crown. Greed had turned the kind-heart of a king into that of a tyrant.

One day, a satyr with golden horns, hooves and fleece was found in the garden of Midas. The satyr had become drunk and passed out from his festivities. The guards of the king went deal with the intruder but, upon recognizing the satyr as a servant of the trade goddess, the king commanded them to take care of the satyr. The satyr was given a place to sleep and given good food & drink upon waking the following morning. Aequitas came to collect her companion and, when she did, she asked Midas to name his reward.

Midas had seen the satyr turn the roses he had slept upon into gold and asked for that power. Aequitas warned him that the power should only be used lightly before giving him the golden touch.

The king ignored her warning.

King Midas turned his entire palace estate to gold: every brick and tile, every door and mirror, every piece of furniture and decor, every tree and bush, every bit of every into glorious and vibrant gold, all the while he grinned like a maniac with insatiable avarice in his heart. It seemed his greed was boundless as he turned everything to gold. He forgot and ignored the goddess's warning.

As the king sat before his dinner feast, all carried out golden dishes and accompanied by golden goblets and pitches of wine on a golden table cloth covering a table of gold, he rested and basked in the radiance of his work. His daughter, upset that her roses had lost their scent and became hard to the touch, came to he father to plead with him to obey the goddess's warning and use his gift more carefully. As he reached out to comfort her, he accidentally embraced her with the golden touch and, to his horror, she turned to gold.

He cursed the gods and begged for help from his servants. To his anguish, he no longer could control his golden touch. When the servants saw that their king had turned his own daughter into gold, they abandoned him. He was left in his palace, surrounded by his wealth, and soon he began to starve for, though the kitchens were plentifully stuffed, every piece of food he pressed to his lips became gold too. He had chose to disobey the goddess's warning.

And so the king would've died, wasting away in a tomb of gold surrounded by useless trinkets and treasures, and haunted by the visage of his own daughter. His heart was heavy and he wished to take his own life. And, as he suffered for his greed, he may have gone mad with anguish but his wails and curses and begging rants aimed at Aequitas were answered.

The goddess returned and asked the king what he wanted now. The king begged to have the goddess's gift taken back. She explained that taking away the golden touch was easy enough but it would not undo his handiwork. He begged that he would trade away his riches, his crown and even his life to just see his daughter returned to her living form. This seemed to please Aequitas.

She told the king to take everything from the palace, every piece of gold, every golden statue, every golden bench and brazier, and every golden brick and tile, down to the sea and toss them into it at once. The king obeyed. Midas threw all of his riches into the sea, every coin and every treasure, until the place his palace had stood was but dirt and rock. Lastly, he was told to take his daughter to the sea and to set her in the shallows. The king had grown weary but he dragged his daughter's golden form to the sea and collapsed just short of the tide. He feared he had not been strong enough, that his greed had done him in, and that he would die having failed his daughter. But the gods took pity upon him and fair Delphina washed a wave over him and his golden daughter.

His daughter pulled her father's head up into her bosom, crying and laughing, and the king realized that no treasure in the world was worth the simple pleasures of life.

Friday, April 7, 2017

The Free Markets & Free Peoples of Zafaria: Jalatia and Nadjabad

The infernal heat keeps the people asleep all day
and so, as night falls on Ersod,
the city and tourists come out to work and play.

In the City of Endless Nights, as the moon rises over the chilled sands, the glow of the gaslamps and magical braziers turn the cityscape a hue of violet as god-fearing merchants open their food carts to hung-over customers and wayward priests, from across the sea and desert, seek out carnal delights in the brothels-- taking part in act that would curl the beards of any king in Thule. Across the courtyard, a fire-breathing tiefling juggler collects coins from a crowd of children while his partner picks the pockets of their wealthy parents. And, as a gypsy tells the fortune of a young noble couple traveling on their honeymoon, a curious djinn watches and considers how he will benefit from the misfortune he is envisioning for them.

By the time the sun rises in the east, the city will fall all but silent again, until the day's heat wanes.

That is a Zafarian city today. But to understand the present, we must look to the past...

The two large southern continents of Sublanarya are referred to as Hamutia because, for thousands of years, both continents were under the hold of the Hamutian Empire. The Hamutian Empire was a polytheistic monarchal empire in which two kings, two siblings (male or female), ruled on either side of the Hamutian Sea. This empire was built on military conquest, control of valuable resources like drinking water and arable land, and the institution of slavery. It was a powerhouse that survived the Wyrd Wars and continued to dominate the region afterwords. But, as time came to pass, so did the union between Western and Eastern Hamutia.

A civil war broke out between two sibling kings; the western king Ptah-hotep and her brother Jahangari II. Even the Hamutian Pantheon itself split. To the west of the Hamutian Sea, the land became known as Ptah-Hamut, ruled by the all-mighty Pharoah, and to the east lies Raj-Hamut, ruled by the more democratic Rajah and his council of princes. As the war waged on, the slaves of the Hamutian Empire took advantage of the chaos to revolt.

The slaves escaped to the sea and colonized coasts to the north-west of Ptah-Hamut. They had no singular traditions or identity, having been bred from generations of defeated tribe speople and criminals from throughout Hamutia, and so they forged a new cultural identity. They called themselves the Zafarians or "The Unbending." They lived of the inner sea, which came to take their name, and became a prominent nation of merchants. They named their new home on the coast Nadjabad or "the Place of Hope".

And they weathered many small wars against Ptah-Hamut, especially as that lands became entrenched in an even more despicable state.

During the Second Dar Age, a snake cult took control of the pharoah's court and put their god-king, Apep, above all others on Narya. Eventually, the cruelty of the snake cult caused a second slave rebellion. They overthrew the insane cult and reinstalled the pharoah to his throne. As a reward for their nobility, they were offered their freedom. But many of the freed slaves did not wish to continue to be part of a system that continued to perpetuate slavery and instead left for Zafaria. This second wave, bringing their engineering and combat skills, from being forced to build complex architecture and fill out the armies of the snake cult, built walled towns and forts in the mountains of Jalatia on the south-western peninsula of modern day Albyon.

They joined the nation of Zafaria and together the free peoples of Jalatia and Nadjabad have become a small but powerful nation by controlling the Great Western Isthmus and the Zafarian Sea.

Today, the Nadjabadi and Jalatians are one of the most progressive cultures in all of Sublanarya.

Freedom is the promise of Zafaria. A collaboration of former slaves who rebelled against their masters, Zafaria, made up of the mountainous peninsula of Jalatia and the desert coast-line of Nadjabad, is a place where all peoples are free and equal. People are free to live their lives, as they see fit, without the oppression of government or gods, and every man, woman, and child can seize the opportunities that come with this freedom. Few nations welcome outsiders so willingly. Especially the beaten, the tired, the poor, the homeless, and those tossed aside by neighboring nations are welcome to the shores of Zafaria. These people bring their traditions and their values and add them to beautiful hodge-podge of cultures and creeds. Between the white-squared clay buildings, they form a mosaic of broken tiles from a thousand worlds in a thousand colors. And yet...

In Zafaria, coin is king.

While this is a land of opportunity for all, it is not equal opportunity. If anything, those who come to Zafaria are prey for the true sharks that haunt the waters. Pirates, thieves, and crooked merchants rule Zafaria and take advantage of the constant influx of new victims, new targets, and new labor. While freedom is free in Zafaria, life is cheap. Resources are not as abundant as in more verdant regions of Sublanarya and locales are more apt to knowing the ins and outs of taking advantage of opportunities in the markets. Poverty is common, as common as the starvation and disease that are common in the clums of every village and city in Zafaria, and thus the cycle of crime is perpetuated. The only law is made-up of local militia organized by the wealthy merchant families and far too often are they more interested in catching thieves than preventing the kind of cruelty that turns desperate men cruel. That is the price of freedom in Zafaria. Every man for himself. Despite perpetrating slavery being illegal under penalty of death throughout the Zafarian Sea, ships with new slaves find their way to Hamutia every day.

As any Dhole will tell you, "it is a dog eat dog world".