Sol (3.5e Environment)
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Located on the western side of Loupe, the western continent, the natural geography of Sol is one of the fiercest in the whole of the world. Over 70% of the land governed by the nation is sand-laden desert, leading to large dunes and the occasional rocky outcropping to be the only sights for miles. Combined with heat and dementia, the rugged terrain can prove fatal to all but the most prepared and experienced of parties. Of course, this means that the unwary traveler might find themselves lost and dying of a slow death by dehydration, or eaten by predators that strike as they near their fate, but this also is a major advantage to the people of Sol, who have lived among the dunes in various cities and settlements for many generations. Invading armies usually are forced to stick to established and rather vulnerable routes, if they were to have any chance of navigating the vicious region. People live, however, in this unforgiving land, and thrive, even. Of the races that live there, most are human, Common Catfolk, but small portions of elves and other common entities are found living in cities. Sarli form tribes out in the desert, as well as many roving bands of Orcish Raiders.
Climate, Geography, and Wildlife
Mostly desert, the Solean regions are usually dry, arid, and sparse in it's distribution of water throughout the land. Bedrock and Limestone lay under sand in most places, allowing settlements to be rooted rather safely into solid ground, though quicksand is not uncommon, often seeping into Ankheg lairs or Rock Worm tunnels, and leading the unprepared adventurer or unlucky creature to their doom. Some places, however, especially in the northern reaches of the region, are polar opposites to the hot sands of the south, covered in thick blankets of snow as it nears the Glacial Plains. Between these two regions is a strange line formed by the two forces of nature, often causing extreme sandstorms or snowstorms near these areas, sometimes even tornadoes, which, combined with the sand all around, are serious natural disasters.
Besides Ankheg and Rock Worms, Sol is populated mostly by small mammals and reptiles that are able to burrow in and hide themselves from the terrible heat. On the snowy, northern regions, one can sometimes find a larger variety of creatures, including Deer, Lynx and Bobcats, and even Wyverns, the latter especially prevalent near Fir's Canyon.
Sol is one of the oldest countries in the history of Tirr, and the only surviving empire from the time of the Old Kaladonian and Old Lionel kingdoms. It even precedes these great empires, with the citizenry tracing their roots all the way back to when the Aesir were first banished from the Deific Sphere for refusing to join the Pantheon. Isis, the great Aesirean Serpent, supposedly carved the very desert of Sol into the earth with her own body, and gave the region it's name, and bore a daughter: The first Empress of Sol. While the divinity has not passed on, and like many Aesir, the original Isis has since fallen into slumber in order to preserve her existence, her children have continued on for millenia, each one ruling Sol under the name "Isis", after their ancestor, and even adopted a name for their demigod race: The Aesirean Naga.
As more and more tribes began to accumulate under the banner of Sol, it became a tradition for the Empress to never be seen, and rarely heard. Hidden behind a ornate, golden screen, she would establish command over the entire country through information given to her by her closest, most loyal, and greatest advisers, the Sentinels.
As a Matriarchal Dynasty, there is always a single Empress of Sol, who traces her lineage directly through all of her mothers back to Isis, is acclimated only to give birth to female Aesirean naga without any sexual intercourse with other races. Traditionally, this pure bloodline is also what happens to separate normal naga, found elsewhere in the world, from the demigod nagas that have always ruled Sol, though the true deific power of the blood was sealed away when Isis fell into slumber.
The Empress has complete power over Sol, and every federal decision and order is made at her command. While she holds exclusive power over matters of State and Court, she does employ twelve sentinels to guard, counsel, and herald. Sentinels wear a golden, Orichalcum plate armor, and each carry an Aspect of Isis, one of a kind glaives of the highest quality. These weapons were created when Isis wept as she had to leave her children for her sleep, and are a symbol of trust between the Sentinels and the Empress, as well as a means to guard her effectively, against all threats.
Foreign Relations and Military
Sol has enjoyed a serene peacetime that has lasted for many years, guaranteed not only by impressive military minds of the Sentinels, but also by a combination of allies and geographical advantage. The arid dunes of the desert keep all but the strongest of armies from approaching, and by having allies in neighboring Tirasus and the Ashen Coast, Sol ensures that it will suffer no invasions from the most accessible of regions, leaving only the glacial plains to the north without a means to prevent war... besides the obvious reasons.
Traditionally, Sol has long been allied with the Ashen Coast and Tirasus, and has warred with others, most prominently Indus over the areas just south of the glacial plains, but also others, including Kerrigan, and on one striking occasion, Goldengate. None of these wars ended in surrender for Sol, however.
Other countries generally view Sol as an exotic culture, common but strange in all ways, and all the more enticing for it. Goldengate, despite it's previous crusade against Sol, doesn't seem to harbor any ill will against citizens of Sol, keeping their previous tensions entirely on a state level. Indus, however, is typically rather distrusting and discourteous to citizens of Sol, and will sometimes outright be aggressive with them.
Sol tends to employ lightly armored troops that emphasize speed, agility, and precision strikes against their opponents. Rangers and Sorcerers are particularly prized in such units, leading to a number of these classes filling the ranks of the local guard and military barracks. Sol also favors the Scimitar, Falchion, and Glaive above other weapons.
Language, Religion, and Culture
All people in Sol, with few exceptions, speak Common, but also Undercommon. Other languages are often present, but are not nearly as widespread as these state languages. Additionally, these are the only languages that the state recognizes, in order to reduce confusion in the populace and to standardize communications.
The people of Sol, like most nations of the Loupean continent, tends to largely revere Aesir rather than Pantheon deities. It's population is constantly changing, however, though it generally maintains a higher-than-average level. Traditionally, all Soleans revere Isis, due to her significance in the origins and preservation of the region. Despite this heavy leaning, however, it welcomes both Pantheon worship, as well as Aesir worship, though these can cause tensions between each other. Specifically, the city minority tends to sway towards The Great Mother and Helios Majora, of the Pantheon, though other deities, like Undine, and in some regards, Fir, are also revered.
Sol's culture is inclusive, but it does not become diluted by it's influx of visitors and trade. Typically, Sol appears to appreciate exotic dance and music, while also displaying an appreciation towards the craft of metal and fabric. While not nearly as fervent as Ironhollow or Skykeep in smithing, the people of Sol can always admire a good suit of armor or a fine, curved blade. That said, the bard who wanders into Sol will be welcomed above all else.
Sol, Capital of the Solean Region
The region is named for its seat of power, the Imperial City of Sol, which has the largest population of any of the cities within the region, as well as one of the most fruitful economies. The city, and it's fellow settlements across the desert are ruled over by an Empress, assisted by her 12 sentinels. Settled directly between the ocean on the western side, and an oasis on the eastern edge, the City enjoys far more privilege than most other cities would in the region, including the benefits of the Grasslands to the south, providing areas suitable for conventional farming as well as cattle breeding, facing the desert only on the northern side.
The most notable feature of the city is the Capital Building, called the Ivory Obelisk by many. A large building, which expands vertically into a large, tower-like structure, built entirely of white marble, gold, silver, and sandstone. Atop it, the gardens of the imperial hall can be seen, restricting all from entry unless permitted by the Empress herself. In the Imperial Hall, the Sentinels guard and deliberate with their Empress.
A city located north, northeast of Sol, Talldune's namesake is a bit misleading. The moderately sized city is actually settled upon a large, flattened mesa that rises up from the surrounding desert, usually protecting it from the sandy valleys below, as well as providing a excellent view and battlefield advantage in tough times. The rocky mesa also allows Talldune to store water in a well, impervious to the contaminating sands, which allow the city to thrive in the region, mostly as a Trade town.
Likely sarcastically named, Sunnyside is actually located in the one area of the Solean region covered in snow, not desert. Near the glacial plains leading to Indus, and the Fungus pass into Tirasus, Sunnyside sits in a snowy layer of precipitation all year round. Often enough, however, this is visitors first stop when they come to Sol, when on foot. The city fares well, even if not as well as Sol or Talldune, and has a modest population.
Other Notable Sites
- Letta, a small village just southeast of Talldune
- Kamjara, a island outpost south of Sol
- Fir's Canyon, an area in the northern part of the region, set between mountains and the glacier
- Ancient Road, an tunnel that goes through the mountains, and into Tirasus. Once owned by the dwarves, it is now abandoned.