Estir (Orizon Supplement)
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A content that stretches up from the equatorial region to the frigid arctic north, this broad range of climates has fostered a broad range of cultures and regions. The north is a mostly temperate region that gives way to frosty tundras on the northern island, to the south are thick rain forests.
The Remian Empire
As the people of Orizon began to take to the skies and the Skylands, two twin brothers saw an opportunity for themselves. They had founded a city in a highly defensible territory near the center of the continent between the crook of the two great mountain ranges. The city, Urbanum, started to grow and began to expand outwards to nearby Skylands. For nearly 50 years the two brothers ruled their city together but the tensions of power and their competing visions for their burgeoning empire drove them further and further apart until Rem was finally driven to kill his brother and assume control of Urbanum.
Rem began strengthening his army and establishing a navy, beginning to mobilize them against nearby settled territories and settling unoccupied territories. Under Rem’s influence, Urbanum became the seat of the Remian Empire. His military forces spread from the northern coasts down into the deep jungles of Horteka. This expansion helped to push organized monstrous races away from any centers they established, burning their developing cities. The Remian empire and its powerful members built many structures on the ground over this wreckage.
Unfortunately, in 593 AB, an enemy only known as “The Other” arrived. The other developed “slaver engines” which produced slaver worms that burrowed themselves into their victim’s brains. Once infected by these worms, the victims became slaves to the Other’s will. The destruction was only able to spread so far, but the nature of the threat eroded all trust within the empire, anyone could be their servant. The Remian armies waged a bitter battle against the machinations of the other, working to develop tests to determine who was infected while having to slaughter entire villages to break a slaver engine. But then in 614 AB, the Other simply vanished, all the “revenants” lost their direction and were stunned in confusion, allowing victory for Rem. But the war had cost them dearly, the empire had lost many of its surrounding territories and the war had taken much in lives and resources. Rem himself was assassinated shortly after the war. Without his leadership or a formal transition of power, the empire was not able to stand for long. A number of emperors rose to fill the gap, along with a number of false emperor’s, called “mendax” by the people. All of these mendax hoping to carve out their own piece of the empire, but with all the wars and infighting the empire could not last and finally fell in 682.
Seated at the southwest of the long central mountain range of Estir is the nation of Prentosias. As recently as 30 years ago, Prentosias was a much larger nation, nearly as expansive as old Rem. Under the policies of their old king, Louis Ramon. He had once had aspirations of rebuilding the losses of Rem, with the port town of Marchesa as a new Urbanum. He converted his navy into an engine of war and conquest and began to take his war east, seizing the unoccupied north of Horteka. Louis’ son, Ferdinand Ramon, decided that the next stage of conquest would be to break the nations to the north, bringing them into his great empire. He led a bitter campaign against the other nations with success after success behind him. As the war reached new heights, people who once stood aside began to take notice. Finally, a military coalition of Zephra, Epanse, and Oratrova united against the Prentosian advance.
Aided by espionage and sabotage conducted by rebellion groups within the Prentosian territory. With this alliance turned against them, the Prentosian army began to lose, over and over again. Finally, they were pushed back, even back to the shores of Marchesa, but once the victorious allies arrived, they discovered their enemies were dead. The entire royal family had been slaughtered by the king’s council. The council established themselves as the new rulers of Prentosias and arranged the negotiations for peace.
The current makeup of the ruling council of Prentosias, the council of the star, is Gaspar Muno, Frasco Pinero, Raina Goldjaw, Mercedes Zea, Estevon Perron, Rosalinda Madron, and Vincente Vilchez. Each of them collaborating on the advancement of the country, though Mercedes Zea has risen among them as the informal leader of the council.
The common people of Prentosias and some of the nobility resent the way in which the council seized power and the suddenly reduced status of their nation when only a few years ago they were the center of an empire. Though just about every citizen appreciates the war was a mistake. There are rumors that Louis Ramon’s daughter may have survived her family’s slaughter, and she is occasionally used as the basis for whispers of revolt and the return to the old monarchy.
The nation of Zephra sits tucked behind the crook of a pair of mountain ranges, protected by their mountain holdfast they were completely protected against Prentosias’ war of expansion. Following the war, they have taken a position as one of the most powerful nations on the continent, though they have maintained their tradition of not expanding far past their protective mountains.
At the beginning of their history, after the fall of the Remian empire, the territory to the west of the Ducat mountains was little more than a scattered collection of small villages and farmlands. Very slowly, without the central authority of the empire, various families began to rise in power and then to nobility each warring over the territory Rem left behind. After decades of warring, the warring families established a parliament to soothe the tensions and ensure peace. For a time this worked, the wars calmed and battle shifted to ritual and games. But old rivalries remained, and a feud began to rise between two powerful rival families, the Merions and the Scotts. This fracture spread across the noble houses and the parliament crumbled into divided camps, one supporting the Merions, the other supporting the Scotts, finally, this bickering descended into civil war. The civil war flared up as strong as any of the old wars and many lost their lives until a third major noble house, the Straffords, contrived an alliance of minor families out from underneath the major nobility. Henry Strafford, the leader of his house, maneuvered both the Merions and the Scotts into a final decisive confrontation. He waited for both sides to wear themselves out then swept in with his armies, crushing both sides in a single swift maneuver and making himself the sole monarch of Zephra in a decisive military action.
Zephra is a comparatively simple nation, their defensive barriers have allowed them an attitude of staid, but stubborn independence in their pastoral holdfast. The nation is very stable, both politically and culturally and they are comfortable in their idea of security. The people of Zephra seem simple to outsiders, but this underestimates their attention to detail and their pride in good work done well. Most of their works of art and culture tend to be simple to the eye but rich to the touch, simple designs that are exquisitely worked or beautiful variations on a simple theme. Their foodstuffs are hearty and simple but flavorful.
Zephra is currently ruled by Henry Strafford’s descendant, Queen Annalise Strafford. She sits at the peak of the largest and most advanced air navy in Estir, which she employs for the security of their borders and their trade routes. Their military efforts are concerned with security and prosperity, never the risks and rewards of war. This prospect has a strong proponent in the Queen’s consort, and captain-commander of the nation’s skyknights, the half-elf Eva Picard. She believes that it is more important to protect one's own rather than take from others.
To the north of the continent is a cold island of tundras, ice, and grass. The expanse of the island is dotted with the odd hot spring, giving the surface heat. Seated in the center of this island is Oratrova. The cities are protected from the biting ocean winds by the nearby mountains and heated by the hot springs fueled by an underground caldera.
The empire of Rem never managed to cross far beyond the straight into Oratrova, they established a few small forts and strongholds the wind and cold hampered the war effort, but what really stymied them was the Oratrovan people. They dug in and fought a bitter war against the invaders, burning their own lands and supplies to starve out the enemy. To this day the Oratrovans have a reputation of iron wills, as a people of ferocious strength and hearty constitution who will sacrifice anything for survival. These are people who deserve their chosen symbol of a bear.
The ruler of Oratrova is the Rom, a title intended to mock the Remians, who oversees an intricate and complex bureaucracy that can often trip itself up over the varied machinations of its officers. The rom is appointed by a council of nobles that meets together after the death of the old Rom. The current Rom is a gnome, Gregor Nebulous, the first in his lineage and of his people to serve in the position He is a vacillating ruler and there are rumors that he was appointed due to influence from the leaders of the bureaucracy of Oratrova, hoping for a leader that they could more easily control or use as a scapegoat for any unpopular decisions. There is a great deal of call among the people for an end to this corrupt system and a return to the old monarchic traditions.
The culture of Oratrova is dominated by garish colors to overpower the greys and whites of ice and stone. Their military maintains that ancient tradition that held them fast against Rem, they are merciless in crushing their enemy until any invader is starved out, surrounded by ice and snow.
At the north-west of the continent is the joyous nation of Epanse. Following the collapse of the Remian Empire the region was nothing more than a loose coalition of skylands ruled by a powerful and violent warlord. Years into the warlord’s reign a traveling bard and conman by the name Auguste LaChance visited the kingdom. When the king took offense to the bard’s songs, he challenged LaChance to a duel as an excuse for the sport of killing the upstart bard. Little did anyone know, least of all the two of them, the warlord had a weak heart and suffered a fatal heart attack at the beginning of the duel, before the first blow was even struck.
LaChance spun his luck into a tale of destiny, saying that he was the chosen of the gods and convincing the warlord’s council into naming him the new king. With his new army he managed to spread his influence across the northern coast and then settled down to enjoy his newfound wealth and power. Lachance established a council and bureaucratic support system and then began his embrace of a life of sybaritic excess, a tradition than has been continued by his heirs.
The LaChance monarchy, currently ruled over by Gerome Gounelle LaChance II is propped up by a large bureaucracy that enforces the kings taxes and legislates his whims. The noble classes of Epanse encourages the near exploitation of the lower classes and heavy taxes go towards the creation of lavish public works and line many pockets. These public works do provide some real good, and though people chafe under the taxes, they do accept them.
The other thing that props up the LaChance monarchy is the vampire Varas Mauvais, once a prisoner of the old warlord, he was freed by Auguste LaChance and bound to his service by a powerful contract. Varas serves the LaChance line faithfully to this day, though he would embrace any opportunity to slip the terms of his contract.
There is a broad separation between the classes of Epanse, the nobility enjoy opulent wealth and the lower classes are stuck in poverty. But that opulence and the heavy taxes on the people do go to public works to provide for the people, and celebrations to keep them happy.
Epanse is famous for its artistry. Popular artists are well funded by noble patrons and many small artists can be discovered in the villages of Epanse. The nobility of Epanse wear grand fashion and throw opulent balls as displays of their wealth and power. These nobles are famous for their hedonism, their after parties and private occasions are typically luxurious orgies full of the rich and the beautiful.
With its lush valleys and tall skies, Meihts was one of the first casualties of Prentosias’ expansion to the north. The territory’s climate and its position over the rivers makes it a breadbasket region, with tall fields of grain that go into rich food and fine drinks.
Originally Meihts was several different nations, but during the occupation local leaders allied themselves with Florian Lichter, a halfling who organized these leaders into a covert resistance. Officially these resistances payed the prentosian occupiers lip service, all while undermining them behind the scenes.
After Prentosias was defeated and driven back, the leaders, seeking enough strength in unity to prevent another invasion, formed a loose parliament and appointed Lichter to be the first king of the new nation of Meihts.
The people of Meihts are proudly nationalistic and carry a deep-seated resentment of their southern neighbors, the Prentosians. They are known for a fastidiousness and an attention to detail. With these qualities encouraged the nation has become famous for its smiths that produce fine, intricate, clockwork pieces. Meihts has also been celebrated for its fine gunsmiths.
From their days opposing Prentosias, the well known secret of Meihts is their intricate spy network, it’s a nervously told joke that there is little Florian Lichter isn’t privy to.
With the difficulties of war and the dangers of Orizon, many nations are not able to reach the sizes that some of the others have managed, there are numerous small city states that occupy the area outside of the established territories of these nations. These places often only control a few islands in their regions or even just one island and some territory on the ground nearby.
These city states, also called the “middle kingdoms,” include places like Cyporis, the military republic that requires all of their members to serve time in civil service. Places like Meridian, the island of master airship builders and sailors whose craft marks show on some of the finest ships in the continent. These independent city-states can also be territories on the ground, places that can, and often must, operate independently of the established nations in the sky. Some of these ground cities can exist within the borders of the cities in the sky.
Independent city states in Estir can also be racially based. While the majority of the cities of the established skylands are dominated by humans, other races occupy their own cities where they build their own unique cultures.
In the southern region of Estir is a tremendous rainforest. This area is rich in the natural resources of the jungles. Abandoned mines and rich mineral deposits are scattered through the mountains of Horteka from previous expansions and expedions into the region. These natural resources make this place a prize, the monsters and natives make it a prize hard won.
There are many ruins here of the old kingdoms that once were. There are concealed step pyramids and ziggurats that are overgrown with jungle, each containing hidden rooms stuffed with gold and magical items that were secreted away to hide them from invaders or to use when the time was right, then forgotten or abandonded.
“The Warrior Queen’s Hidden Jewel,” tucked away in a secret location, high up in the sky, Skifandarians are a people dominated by women. Almost the entire population is women with a few free men that have been given special permission from the warrior queen to remain within the glittering city.
The only aspect of Skifander that most people ever see outside of the city are its warriors. These are women of exceptional strength and skill that are treated with reverence and awe across the jungle. The mystery of the skyfandarian people has given rise to many rumors, mostly of these women dragging away handsome men to serve in the city’s harems. Some believe that no men are ever born in Skifander. Many believe that if you can defeat a Skifander warrior in single combat you will have to marry her, and that if you save her life, she’ll be your loyal servant for the rest of her days. Some of these ideas are simple wish fulfillment, others have a grain of truth.
Within the city, there are many different pursuits for those women that do not serve as warriors, but all are able to defend themselves. The women of Skifander are proud of their warrior traditions, and bind themselves to codes of honor, expanding it beyond simple combat. A skifandarian warrior may teach their skills to only one other besides their own daughters and this tradition has been adopted by other masters like craftsmen and sailors.
The city of ladders, built into a reef of shattered skylands and tall trees. The people of Ixa’taka have built up their city in the thick trees and the vines of the jungle. Broad floatwood platforms spread out to serve as common areas safe above the surface and the thick canopy guards them above. The only way to access Ixa’taka is by climbing the vines or by being lifted by one of their elevators.
The people of Ixa’taka are extremely skilled at traveling through the canopies of the jungle, leaping across the vines and crawling up the trees, swinging their way through the branches. They make extensive use of reefs and tall trees and there are very few low skylands in their area that don’t have an outpost of Ixa’taka or their people on top of it.
A city of the Yuan-ti. Built on the foundation of some peoples long past, the serpents have built a new land for themselves. They built tall ziggurats with winding tunnels and snake motifs. The kingdom of the serpents expands for miles around their capitol and their ability to navigate the forest floor with comparative ease makes them one of the greatest dangers of the jungle’s surface, though they have not spread at all into the sky.
Groups and Organizations
A religious order of missionaries and priests under the auspices of their high priest, Kain. The order believes they must tend to the faithful, especially those who live outside the borders of the larger established governments and those who may not otherwise be able to access the assistance of priests, monks, or clerics. There are numerous healers in their ranks, but many also serve as warriors and protectors.
However, these visits and services are not always free, many members abuse the knowledge that their services are rare to insist on exorbitant “donations” from the faithful they visit. Most of these donations go to fund further charitable efforts but a sizable portion of them wind up in the pockets of the order’s leadership.
There is the beginnings of a sea change within the Olacion order, a more spartan leader of the order, Fernando, has rejected the materialism he perceives within the order in favor of charity and service and he has begun raising followers among the order. For now Kain has been content to let this movement be, waiting to see what the gods decide.
An adventurer guild with broad reach across northern Estir and some of the southern expanse, even into the very north of the Horteka jungles. They are led by Elwen, a powerfully strong and patiently charismatic elven warrior.
The organization is similar to a military, commander Elwen oversees operations for the guild as a whole and delegates the adventuring guild and management of their regions of operations to captains, who collect and disperse requests and quests and oversee the troops. Ranks below Captain are assigned by merit and experience, Lieutenants are entrusted with command of lower ranks in small squads of people. The make up of these squads is arranged by command, but squads often merge together to handle tough jobs.
Each captain of Theater Avincoor is in command of their own small warship they use to fly members between bases and missions if they don’t have any such transport themselves. This is in addition to a small fleet of ships under their command or commission.
A magical organization dedicated to the further understanding on the nature of magic and its utility. The Vareth Institute is located in the city of Urbanum and they are one of the primary powers within the old city-state.
The Vareth institute holds one of the largest libraries in the continent with texts and learning brought from all over Orizon and even a few hard won tomes and artifacts salvaged from the old world. Access to those relics are incredibly closely guarded and available for study only to those most senior wizards of the institute. Other members of the institute travel the world in search of new knowledge and to provide their insights. Their efforts and the rigorous training of their students has lent to the institutes’s insignia and certification carrying a tremendous amount of respect.
The most senior member of the Vareth institute is Ray C. Ross, an owl that was the subject of a experiment involving the awakening spell. Unfortunately the experiment was hit with a burst of wild magic, the wizards were killed and the owl was gifted with an immense intelligence. Chancellor Ross has dedicated a large portion of his resources to the study of wild magic and its potential beneficial applications, a wildly controversial position.
A powerful but loosely organized guild of thieves and criminals, originally its members were competing gangs, but after a brutal gang war they were left weakened. In the face of immense loss on all sides, the various guilds united, forming a council that dictates the rules that criminals are expected to operate by. They govern the trade of drugs, especially from the dangerous jungle, the movement of smuggled goods, and thefts from the rich and powerful. The void community is also the foremost expert on assassinations, their inner circle trains some of the finest killers and infiltrators in the continent.
The primary responsibility of the void community is managing the black market. They oversee guards, merchants, and smugglers; as well as enforcers to ensure that their dominance over the black market is maintained.
Most thieves and criminal guilds have at least one member of the void community among their leadership, at the least to draw off the void community’s influence and connections. The leader of the void community remains unknown, though there are several "public" faces for the notorious guild.