Estir North (Orizon supplemet)
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The North of Estir is occupied by a small number of large nations and kingdoms that have developed unique cultures over the years. Each of the major nations has their own naval and military capabilities as well as facilities for trade and infrastructure. They have their own distinct cultures and values, though each influence the other, and their histories often diverge and intertwine.
These countries' individual borders tend to fluctuate as small or mid-sized islands slip in and out of their nation's control; be it from conflict with other nations, the monstrous war bands, natural disasters, internal rebellion or any number of other circumstances.
This territory was once a single nation, the elven empire Rem. Established from 513 to 1085 AB this old society extended from the furthest points north to outposts in the jungles in the center of the continent. Under the control of the elves, majestic structures were built and culture thrived. The empire met its fall at the hand of an entity known only as "the Other" a mysterious creature who developed magic and technology designed to enslave the continent. The campaign was overwhelmingly successful, over the course of 20 years the other hit thousands, enslaving their minds, or turning them into obedient, feral, revenants. The whole of the empire was nearly enslaved or killed until the Other just stopped. No one has ever found a definitive reason why. But the other's influence crippled the empire and Rem never recovered, instead it shattered and the elves lost their empire. Various groups of the crumbling nation claimed portions of the empire as their own seats of power, and these eventually became the northern nations of Estir and the various city-states that surround their borders.
- 1 Zephra
- 2 Epanse
- 3 Meihts
- 4 Prentosias
- 5 Oratrova
- 6 Cyproris
- 7 City-States
- 8 Non-Human Cities
- 9 Non-Governmental Organizations
Zephra is located at the top of the continent, protected by mountain ranges that neatly encircle the country with a single natural pass that allows for travel and trade
Following the collapse of the Remian empire, the territory within the mountain range was little more than a collection of cities and farmlands, various families rose to seize the power left by the vacuum and to combat each other in the drive for territory. Eventually a treaty was formed that established a major parliament consisting of members of each noble family. However, old rivalries remained and competition and political maneuvering eventually escalated from bickering into a full scale civil war. Eventually the war mostly became divided among two major families, the Merion's and the Scotts, however the lord of a third major house, Henry Strafford contrived an alliance of minor families and maneuvered both sides into a final decisive confrontation, when both armies had exhausted each other, he swept in his own army and crushed both sides, ending the civil war and appointing himself as monarch. The period under the Strafford monarchy has been mostly peaceful and prosperous.
Zephra is a feudal monarchy ruled over by the throne with noble families beneath that enforce the crown's laws, collect taxes and provide to the military. At a smaller scale, individual towns and villages are overseen by the Mayor and the Sheriff, the mayor oversees the laws, collects taxes and acts as a judge; the sheriff leads the local militia and enforces the laws, both are elected positions.
Culture & Society
Zephra is a simple and straight-forward nation, they value their pastoral stretches and take comfort in the security that comes with the surrounding mountains. Most of their works of art and culture tends 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's military strength is mostly dedicated to defense, the protection of the mountain range gave them the independence to build and maintain a large navy of airships. Their larger warships hold large numbers of troops as well as canon and can operate independently for some time.
In terms of numbers, Zephra does not command the largest force, but their troops are all well trained and the security of the mountains has given them the luxury of fielding an all-volunteer military.
The Order of Sword and Staff
An order of knights that operate under the direct command of the crown, they are a chivalric order that follows ancient codes of honor in combat. The members of the order are considered to be among the strongest individuals in the kingdom. Members begin as pages and can range from nobility to commoners, they live and train together in a common dormitory and then must pass a series of trials, those that fail are made to leave, those that pass become squires and enter into the service and tutelage of a senior knight. Once a year a conclave of knights assemble, during this conclave squires are put forward by their masters to be raised to full knighthood, where they swear their allegiance to the royal family, the people of the nation and to the order.
An ordained knight has the rights and privileges of a minor noble and is considered to act with the authority of the royal family. Knights act either in concert with the military, or as independent errant wanderers, or more often both.
The Order's knights ride flying mounts, but not with uniformity, typically they ride griffons but each member can furnish their own mount if they so choose.
- Annalise Strafford: The ruling queen of Zephra and the fourth ruler of the Strafford dynasty, Annalise is considered to be fair, just, and canny. She ruled during the period of Prentosian expansionism and is widely credited with being responsible for the security of Zephra, though she is criticized for not doing more to help until the final moments of the war. She has outlived one former husband, a marriage of political motives with a former prince of Epanse, she presently has three legitimate heirs.
- Eva Picard: The knight commander of the order of the sword and staff, the half-elf Eva Picard is famous as one of the most powerful individuals on the continent. She is the Queen's consort and their romance has become the subject of several poems. She is a compassionate soul and has pushed her order of knights to act more for the benefit of the common people, often to the annoyance of the landed nobility.
Several years the collapse of the Remian empire, a traveling bard and con man by the name of Auguste LaChance was playing for the pleasure of a powerful warlord. When the warlord took offense to one of LaChance's songs he challenged the bard to a duel. Unknown to everyone though, the warlord was sick and suffered a stroke in the midst of the duel, when LaChance won handily he spun his stroke of luck into a tale of destiny and used it to convince the warlord's retainers to appoint him as their new king. With his army he began to expand his newly acquired kingdom, conning and conquering his way through the north. When he was older and content he settled down to enjoy the privileges of rank, a tradition his descendants have continued.
Epanse is an monarchy propped up by an all-encompassing bureaucracy, the bureaucracy enforces the kings taxes and legislates his whims. The nobility encourage the near exploitation of the lower classes and heavy taxes go towards the creation of lavish works and line many pockets. The king is seated within a rich palace where he oversees the delegation of his power and responsibilities.
Culture and Society
Epanse is famous for its artistry. Artists are well funded, and the most successful enjoy patrons from the nobility. The Noblility of Epanse wear grand fashions as displays of wealth and rank and throw opulent balls. The nobility is also known for their hedonism, the sybaritic after-parties and private occasions are famous as luxurious orgies.
There is a sharp separation of classes between the nobility and the lower classes and a great deal of envy and resentment exists among the latter for the former's lifestyle and the high taxes they impose. However many of these taxes go to the development of public works and houses for the arts that become available to the public.
The nobility place a high regard for their position as separate from the common rabble, and even their own station among the hierarchy of nobility.
Goods shipped out from Epanse are famous for their elaborate artistry, even simple tools can be decorated to appear beautiful as well as functional.
The Epanse military suffered numerous setbacks and losses in their war against Prentosias, and their rebuilding has been slow. Not being able to afford sustained combat or attrition, their current strategies focus on quick decisive strikes.
A relatively recent addition to the Epanse military are the musketeers, having risen to prominence towards the close of the last war, they have become the destination for younger members of noble families as a way to gain fame and military notoriety.
- Gerome Gounelle LaChance II: the current king of Epanse, a man of grand appetites and quick impulses, but despite those he is known for his decisive actions and firm rule. He organized the coalition of nations that turned back the tide of the Prentosian expansion. He has many children, but only a few that he has recognized as formal heirs.
- Varas Mauvais: A member of the Epanse kingdom almost since its inception, this vampire has served as an adviser for generations of kings and nobles. His teeth are often the final sight of traitors or enemies of the state.
When the kingdom of Prentosias expanded to cover most of central Epanse, the various nations and states that occupied Meihts' lush valleys were swallowed up. During the occupation, those who had once ruled the city states chafed under the occupation and began to organize a resistance to weaken the bloated empire from within while they continued their expansionism. Florian Lichter, formerly the ruler of a small nation, rose among this network as a prominent figure, at the close of the war other nobility in the territory, seeking strength in unity to prevent another attack, appointed him king.
Meihts' government splits power between the king and a parliament made up of representatives of the various noble houses. Both have different responsibilities but require the approval and permission of the other to enact any lasting changes.
Culture and Society
In response to their recent emergence, the average citizen is considered very proud and nationalistic and there is a deep-seated resentment and distrust of their southern neighbors, the Prentosians. The people of Meihts are known for a fastidiousness and an attention to detail, as well as abandoning all of that for huge drunken harvest festivals.
Meihts is famous for its delicate machine parts, they primarily produce clockwork goods and other materials that require delicate hands. Their position between two large rivers has given them the opportunity to develop as a breadbasket, producing large amounts of grain and other foodstuffs.
The Meihts military strategy centers around deft feints coupled with quick blitz attacks, overwhelming an adversary as soon as an opening is perceived. This strategy is supplemented with an adept spy network.
- Florian Lichter: King of Meihts. Once he was the leader of the resistance from within Prentosian expansion, when the occupation was beaten back by the coalition, he retained his power and influence with the nobility and the people and became king.
- Nip: A slim halfling spymaster. Earlier in his life he served King Lichter as the center of the resistance's information network, when the war was ended he used the lessons he learned to continue as the royal spymaster.
Formerly a small kingdom, an earlier king, Luis Ramon, began having dreams of rebuilding the Remian empire under his command, he began a rapid military expansion and began to conquer the disorganized territories to the east, until he reached the lush rainforests of the south and found himself stymied by the thick woods. His son, Frederik Ramon then succeded his father's ambition and turned his attention to the north, conquering the ground territories of Cyporis and the lush farmlands of what would become Meihts. Eventually Prentosias' borders began to encroach on the territories of Epanse and Zephra. King Gerome of Epanse began fighting an active war against them and eventually convinced the queen of Zephra and King of Oratrova to oppose this expansion. After a series of victories helped by organized revolts within the territory of Prentosias they began pushing back the empire. Eventually the allied armies reached the capitol, only to discover that the king and his family had been assassinated that very day by his own council, now in complete control of Prentosias, the council negotiated with the coalition to end the war, establish their current reduced borders, and pay reparations. This oligarchical council now rules over Prentosias.
At the peak of Prentosias' government is the council of the star, so named because the table they meet at has a massive seven-pointed star carved within its wood. Its membership consists of the leaders of the seven major noble families within Prentosias. The council debates and argues amongst each other until a sufficient majority has been reached to enact law. Member's families are appointed to fill other positions to rule to country, who will receive these nepotistic appointments is usually one of the most hotly debated topics.
Culture and Society
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 a vast empire. 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 dynasty.
Prentosian trade is still in rough shape after the war, too much was destroyed or looted, as a consequence their economy and infrastructures are still picking back up.
The Prentosian military was mostly destroyed in their war of expansion, what remains is now used almost exclusively for the defense of their territory, especially towards opposing monsters that try to exploit this weakness,
- The council's members are
- Gaspar Muno
- Frasco Pinero
- Raina Betancourt
- Mercedes Perron
- Estevon Zea
- Rosalinda Madron
- Vincente Vilchez
With the gradual destruction of the Remian empire, the old court and political leaders gradually retreated from their old seats of power further and further north to the uppermost boundaries of their empire. Finally protected by the narrow channel on the northern island, they collected what remained and declared this territory the seat of their new capital. The fractured remains of the old empire made for only a shadow of its old power and even this remnant eventually collapsed. The people still consider themselves "Remian" however, and hold to a pretention of cultural and ethnic superiority.
The ruler of Oratrova still refers to themselves as "emperor" though they have neither the power or territory for that title. Underneath them is an extensive bureaucracy that can often trip itself up within its own machinations. The nation is run similarly to the old empire, a council rules and elects an "emperor" from among themselves, the emperor serves for a set period of time, then returns to serve on the council and another is elected.
Culture and Society
Oratrova is a culture of making do. The ground sits above volcanic calderas, keeping select locations warm and the ground fertile. But the sulfur vents produce noxious gases and poison land. The people work instead to survive, growing hearty crops and raising hearty beasts that can survive any hardship. The people are hearty as well, sturdily built and able to throw themselves into their work.
Oratrova, in the ancient tradition of the Remian empire, has legal slavery, unlike most other cultures within the north that only allow a form of indenture.
The ancient remnants of the Remian empire have kept a culture of bureaucracy and duplicity, corrupt officials spying among themselves and others. These spy games are one of the primary hobbies of the nobility.
The oratrovan people are known for their breeding, as a people they are very knowledgeable of pedigree, their livestock commands a high price. They are also known for their fine jewelry and bejeweled pieces.
The military focuses on the pass that separates this island from the continent, keeping any ships from passing into its borders. The island is not especially rich and its climate is inhospitably cold, so it has little worry about being attacked.
- Gregor Nebulous: The current emperor of Oratrova.
As the Remian empire was beginning its collapse, the people of the archipelago above the rich floodwaters, who had chafed under Remian control rose up in arms and slaughtered the army then looted and burned the buildings. Fearing repercussion and a return to subservience they built fortifications out of the rubble, armed themselves to the teeth and resolved to destroy every threat to their islands.
Cyproris wasn't occupied by the Prentosian expansion, they launched deadly accurate attacks from their islands against any ships that tried to land and slaughtered any troops that dropped, enslaving the survivors. Rather than suffer continued attacks the Prentosias armada settled with conquering the rich floodwaters on the ground beneath the skylands.
Cyproris is a republic, all members of the republic are expected to serve in the military, those with distinguished service can be elected to the office of republican. One individual represents each island in the archipelago and their collective arguments are the source of all political decisions for the entire island system.
Culture and Society
The people of Cyproris are all required to serve a few years in the military, all young people are strongly encouraged to be physically adept. When they've served their duty, those that don't remain in the military turn their attention to various other pursuits, crafts, politics, learning or philosophy. Intellectual pursuits are well patronized by the leaders and many of the best known minds have matriculated through the universities of the islands.
The archipelago's coastal location and need for extensive travel has made the people of Cyproris some of the finest sailors, but they cannot grow large groves of floatwood, so they don't fly warships, instead doing rich business in windfish and other fishing products. Some of their biggest trading partners are the merfolk that live in the floodwaters below them.
Cyproris' smaller ships are not well suited to use as warships, they are not large or numerous enough to field enough cannons for broadsides or any prolonged aerial engagements. Instead their air navy is focused on the rapid deployment of their heavy infantry.
Their hoplite infantry troopers coordinate well with their strong fortifications and magical artillery and the cyporis military structure is famous for being able to meet and demolish any force that lands on their shores.
- Lycerius: The reigning king of Cyproris, he took command before the Prentosian military arrived on their borders, anticipating an attack he imposed drastic cultural and military reforms, drafting elegible people into military service and converting their economy from luxury to military and imposing a very spartan lifestyle. Following the war he eased these restrictions but not entirely and began funding researchers and educators.
What is now a wide swathe of informal territory was once several established nations that collapsed under the expansion of Prentosias but were not able to retain their borders or military and have instead become a disjointed group of city-states and contested territories.
Many cities and fortified areas have become occupied by monstrous races, where they stage raiding parties against various city-states and nations.
These governments cities are primarily run by humans (being the most prolific and ambitious species), although many of their nobility and functionaries are non-human, and non-humans take a large role in culture and politics and are not underrepresented.
However, there are cities that have been founded by other races, often these predate the nations that humanity has built and these cities frequently exist within the boundaries of human nations. These cities do not rarely expand past the immediate borders of the city and as such are usually ignored by or allied with their neighbors.
Often called upon to operate as independent actors or to supplement military actions or to relieve issues, adventuring parties are a clear and potent presence in the northern portions of Estir. The best known groups have operated for generations across the entire territory and the names and feats of their members are legendary.