Geography and Environment (Fleshforge Legacy Supplement)
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Myralis, the Devastated Metropolis
Myralis, the central nation, was founded first among all the others. It’s central palace, Vitikal, is placed upon the spot the shapers first entered this world. Once the takeover was complete, the shapers created a massive, tiered pyramid on the spot, to mark their conquest. At the base of it sprung up a massive, sprawling civilization, a metropolis maintained by magic, on a scale unheard of previously. Once the Cropring was established, the city reached it’s limits and instead of furthering its outward expansion, it grew taller and taller, the city refining itself to accommodate the growing numbers of occupants.
Myralis quickly became the focal point of the shaper civilization, housing the illithid thought-machines and creating some of the most unique and revolutionary creatures known. Many of the beasts served no practical purpose, merely being made out of scientific curiosity. The center also produced a number of the most practical beings, the dragons, the mass-production trolls, and the illithid. A great many grafts and symbionts saw their birth in the central nation’s labs.
However, the central nation was also the site of the shaper’s downfall. When the elder brains reached sentience, they overthrew their masters, taking their place, becoming the illithid nation. Using their master’s artifacts, the illithid altered themselves, becoming more powerful mentally and physically. However, they proved to be less effective at rule than their former masters, and the other races rose up, driving them underground into the catacombs beneath the city. As they left, however, the illithid unleashed all the bizarre, ungodly creations of their former masters, leaving the sprawling metropolis an uninhabitable wasteland, dominated by bizarre, twisted monsters and corruptive magic.
Ibaia, the Crop Ring
The crop ring is a huge, five-mile-wide ring that completely encircles the central nation. The ring is made of many concentric rings, each an acre wide and separated by short stone walls. At each cardinal point, there is a large, unwalled area. The inner and outer walls are massive, several-foot thick walls of stone. Along the inner wall, there are sixteen huge structures, massive stone towers riddled with caves and poles jutting this way and that. Each of these massive structures houses an aerie of raptorans that maintain the order in the crop circle as well as gathering and distributing the grain produced.
The crop ring is a system of six created creatures that together produce all the grain the world needs. The first species created is the grain itself, a sort of ultra-high-yield rice that grows out of a tangled ball of bitter, tuberous roots. The second species is the paddy eels, a breed of black, writhing eels that eat insects that come too close to the water’s surface. Then there are the hulking scytheboars, massive boars with razor-sharp, outward curving tusks. The scytheboars eat the paddy eels. The next species is the shoveltusk, a creature that resembles a small elephant with hooked tusks. The shoveltusk eats plants and roots, but the grain’s bitter roots are unsatisfying. Finally, the cropguard lizards dwell among the tall stalks of the grain, feeding on insects and small birds.
As fall approaches, the cycle begins. The paddy eels and the grain are fully mature. The paddy eels have spent the summer spawning, laying their eggs in the roots of the grain. Then, the Scytheboars come. They come and thrash their hooked tusks side to side, lopping off the grain stalks and stirring the paddy eels into a frenzy. In their panic, the paddy eels rush to the borders of the paddy and beach themselves, where they are eaten by the scytheboars. The scytheboars repeat this process until the entire paddy is clear-cut and they have eaten their fill of eels. Then, the go to the space between paddies to sleep off the meal. Behind them come the shoveltusks. They seek the plants that have taken root in the paddy, but the grain laying on the water makes their hunt impossible. So, they gather the stalks with their trunks and tusks, depositing them in piles on the banks of the paddies. Then, with their food exposed, the shoveltusks may eat their fill of the weeds. As winter comes, the remaining paddy eels die off, fertilizing the soil of the paddies. As spring comes, the young eels hatch and begin to mature. By the time summer arrives, the grain stalks are tall enough for the cropguard lizards to move in and protect the budding grain from those who would steal it’s fruits. When the scythe boars arrive, the cropguards flee to the next paddy, sending the ones dwelling there on to the next paddy, and so on, as the cycle begins anew.
Currently, the raptorans continue to perform their duties of maintaining the cropring, disseminating the collected grain to the rest of the continent, fulfilling their duties. However, their new task is to guard both their aeries the croprings from the legions of horrors that now dominate the central nation.
Engor, the Great Jungle:
The eastern lands have always been filled with dense forest, shifting to proud pines in the north and sweltering mangrove swamps in the south. However, since the shapers came, the canopy soars, with massive trees ten feet across stretching hundreds of feet into the air. The forests thrum with life in all it’s forms, though the forest dwellers here are more manicured than most. The shapers who founded Engor were among the first to forge outward from their pyramid, seeing the abundance of life in the forests as the perfect place to practice their craft. Among their first creations were the elves, who they used to tend the forests and maintain the order.
Over time, the shapers of Engor developed a culture of graceful, subtle changes. A tweak here, a shift there, and a beast’s instinct was subverted to their purposes. The shapers made the trees bear fruits of massive size, and forced the animals to guard and harvest the fruit. The elves were their loyal servants, eager to please the shaper masters. But some 500 years ago, the shapers of Engor created the shifters, a new race to serve as their greatest servants. The elves were abandoned, if not destroyed outright. Those that survived swore vengance on the amoral shapers and thus began the elven crusade to destroy all things created or corrupted by the shaper’s magic.
The overthrow of the shapers left the shifters and elves in the eastern forests to settle their differences on the tip of a blade. As if that were not enough, the shifter have begun to realize that each passing generation further weakens their primal bloodlines, leaving them weaker and weaker while the elves slowly expand their numbers. Both races are too wrapped up in their own problems to fulfill their original duties, leaving the forest to slowly go back to wildnerness. But a bigger, harsher wilderness than anything seen on the planet before.
Austrus, the Rolling Expanse
Austrus consists of a massive, sprawling plains, dotted by trees and low, rolling hills. The land is extremely fertile and easily available, allowing the western shapers to produce all the crops the crop-ring doesn’t. But there is one other major advantage to the sprawling, rolling grasslands. There is space in abundance, and the western shifters took advantage of it to create all manner of titanic creatures. At first, they settled for creating simply larger versions of the existing beings. But individual shaper settlements, marked by pyramids similar to the great pyramid of Vitikal, felt a growing sense of rivalry among one-another. Each began to try to outdo the other, creating bigger, more impressive beasts than their rival’s.
Soon, the plains were the home of all kinds of megascale fauna. It began with the orcs and golaiths, then giant versions of traditional beasts. Then the giants, and then more exotic creations, massive magical beasts of all descriptions. Then, the most impressive creations of the western shapers, the dinosaurs, lumbering reptilian creatures engineered to the pinnacle of biological perfection. As a final testament to their power, the two most powerful settlements created rival saurians, the bloodthirsty battletitan and the towering judatitan.
When the Illithid cast out the shapers, the goliaths were the first to demand their extermination. Alongside the orcs, they rode into battle atop the titanic creations of the shapers to cast out the Illithid, and quickly brought down their corrupt lords. However, once the battle was won and they returned once more to the western plains, the orcs grew angry with the goliaths. The goliaths had settled into the leadership position in the absence of the shapers, and the orcs were not happy. They felt the goliaths had stolen the power and glory that rightfully belonged to the orcs. The orcs clashed with the goliaths, but eventually, the goliaths won out, and the orcs became outcasts. Warriors without a war, they now roam the grasslands in tribal bands riding atop dinosaurs. The once-proud warriors now live as bandits, using their skill with the blade to take what they need.
Utova, the Frozen Wastes
Utova is nation in two parts. The mountains were the first place settled by the shapers. They created the dwarves to serve them there, and the citadels rapidly expanded downward as the dwarves honeycombed the mountains with mines and caverns. The shapers used the mountains as their home, but used the expansive tundra as their laboratory. The harsh elements of the north provided interesting challenges, and the northern shapers welcomed them, creating strange and interesting solutions to the cold and lack of food.
The dwarves however, were not working fast enough for the taste of their masters. They were still valuable creations for their keen intellect and knowledge of stone and steel, however, and so the shapers created kobolds to dig the mines and tunnels for the dwarves, allowing the dwarves more time for their intellectual pursuits. With this new time, the dwarves could focus their minds of architecture and crafting, creating beautiful weapons and tools unmatched by any other race. As well, the dwarves advanced in magic, tapping into the slowly-growing well of power the shapers brought into the world. Combining the two, the dwarves created golems and constructs of all sorts, using them as labor. Eventually, the dwarves sciences produced the war forged, a race of intelligent golems. Seeing these creations, the shapers were pleased, viewing the dwarves as following in their footsteps. Now completely free of manual labor, the dwarves could focus entirely upon creating glorious subterranean architecture and crafting beautiful and deadly weapons.
When the shapers were overthrown, the dwarves armed their own creations and marched on the mountain-dwelling illithids, quickly exterminating them. However, when the other races of the world called on them to help depose the illithid of the central nation, the dwarves refused. They sold weapons and armor to the warriors of the other races, but refused to march, themselves. They sealed off the borders of the mountains, content to live isolated within their walls of stone. However, despite the featureless façade of the mountains, all is not well in the dwarves lands. A vampiric infection has entered the mountains in the eastern end, and the dwarves struggle to hold back the slowly advancing undead plague with their construct armies.
Ferrara, the Ebon Sands
The southern lands were inhospitable even before the shapers came. The volcanic souther tip of the continent has been slowly rising for millennia. A row of volcanic mountains separates if from the rest of the continent, though few ever found much use for the enormous, black-sand desert that dominates the center of the peninsula, where few creatures managed to eke out an existence. The rough terrain was no deterrent to the shapers though, who moved in below the enormous desert, boring tunnels in solid stone where the harsh sun and shredding winds could be ignored, the only sign of their presence on the surface being the tiered pyramids they raised above their settlements. The southern end of the peninsula rises out of the water in sheer cliffs, trading posts established out of tunnels set into the sides of them.
The southern shapers were distant with all the other shaper nations by virtue of geography. Much of the southern shaper’s work was done in silence, with none of the showboating and bragging often found in other nations. Most subterranean creatures originated in the south, where the tunnels are the most expansive and well-maintained. Some, however, were built tough enough to survive the incredibly harsh black sands above, thick-skinned reptilians and insectoids.
When the shapers were ousted, the south remained silent as ever. But when it came time to destroy the illithid, the south came out in force, many-armed insectoids mounted upon the backs of dragons flew into the central nation, razing huge stretches of it and dealing vital blows to the illithid forces. When they fell, the south simply returned to the sands. Now, fire giants and dragons patrol the volcanic mountains, allowing only the raptoran grain shipments to enter, and the ports trade sparingly, the inhabitants of the south not speaking, and allowing no outsiders entry. Those raptoran that pass the mountain barriers tell tales of walking fortresses made of ivory and emerald and strange creatures.
Arcas, the Sunken Glory
Positioned offshore from the eastern forests, the ocean nation is a collection of islands that stretch from the northern mountains all the way down to the southern tip of the southern lands. The islands are fertile and vibrant with life, each sporting it’s own ecosystem and individual government. The islands themselves are a confederacy, a remainder from then the shapers ruled, each shaper the undisputed ruler of its own island. The shapers of old cooperated very little, each creating their own works. However, one thing was common among the ocean shapers. They all valued beauty. What that meant exactly was different from shaper to shaper.
The oceanic shapers produce creatures of all description, but the general theme was to make each island and each island’s surrounding waters as beautiful as possible. This led to dozens, if not hundreds of brilliantly-plumed birds being created, alongside multicolored coral and iridescent fish. The competition escalated over time, and soon the shapers were creating sentient servants to maintain their own aquatic gardens and sabotage their neighbor’s. Further and further it escalated as they began to produce aquatic guardians to prevent their coral beds from being sabotaged, massive sharks, ramfish, and other aquatic beasts. But then, one of the shapers created the star whale, a massive creature dotted with hypnotic, shimmering, multicolored lights. It swam a slow migration all through the islands, and as it passed each, the shapers were reminded of the beauty they had almost forgotten to strive for, and halted their escalating arms race. The star whale went into hibernation at the end of it’s journey. Ever since, the ocean nations have believed the passing of a star whale to be a great omen of peace.
When the illithid took over, they had no interest in beauty or peace. The populations of the islands quickly overthrew their failed masters and formed a great confederacy. Many islanders wished to help overthrow the illithid of the central nation, but their biology made the trek impossible. Some tried, only to be attacked en-route by the elves and driven back to the sea. The ocean nations are all different, from one to the next, but thus far, they have all held up a truce. However, recently, the sahuagin have been making raids upon other, nearby islands. The sahuagin king claims these are rebels and ne’er-do-wells acting individually, but they are becoming increasingly organized.