Fujian (Campaign Seed)
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- 1 Fujian
- 2 The Worlds
- 2.1 The Mortal Plane
- 2.2 Gods
Fujian, when spelled with the proper ideograms in the High Holy Speech, has been variously translated as "sanctuary," "creation," "great work," "home," and (in some very old documents) the "Chthonic Total Control Zone." In the beginning, the Ancient Ones (also called the Chthon, for their invention of the concept and substance of "earth" or "ground") shaped the worlds to make for themselves a refuge from the Outer Darkness. They shaped a vast wall of bone and orichalk, encompassing the whole of their dominion, the grandest thing yet created, by itself nearly the equal of all that lay within it. It was said by Archimandrite Un-Sakka, a mighty cleric of Hanassah, that it would take five hundred years of ceaseless walking in a straight line to travel a distance equal to the thickness of the Great Wall. Within it, the Ancient Ones gave shape to the worlds, their homes and playgrounds.
- The Mortal Plane
- The Six Levels Of Heaven
- The Thousand Layers Of Hell
- The Forest Primal
- The Endless Sea
- The Underworld
- The Waste
- World's End
The Mortal Plane
Called variously Midgard, Zhongguo, Terra, and Aztlan (among many, many other names), the Mortal Plane consists of all of those regions to which mortal life is native, in all its variety. Mortal life refers particularly to all beings whose primary medium of existence is flesh (as opposed to soul - a mortal being may have no soul, one soul, or more than one soul throughout their lifetime, but will generally only have one suit of flesh. Demons and other spirits will only ever have one singular, indivisible soul, but demons can don and shed flesh as they please).
One of two continents bordering the Catastrophic Ocean, which was created by the Heron Spear, the mightiest weapon of the gods, Fujian encompasses a range of environments and civilizations. Modestly sized as continents go, it is neither as exciting, as dull, as diverse or uniform as others, but it is a perfectly serviceable patch of land with much to recommend it. Fujian occupies the Seventh Remove, the seventh section of the Mortal Plane's diameter created. Like rings on a tree, the Ancient Ones and the gods who succeeded them expanded the world in stages. The changing nature of the world's terrain has rendered the lines blurry with the passing of aeons, but it is generally easy to tell where one Remove ends and the next begins.
The northernmost region of is the green hell of Cataan. It stretches along the northeast quarter of the continent, extending a good hundred miles inland before rising up into mountains. The jungles are home to all manner of beasts, mundane and magical, as well as strange tribes and inhuman civilizations. The wildlife is uncommonly vicious, and disease is a scourge on foreigners.
The Locust Mountains
Moving inland, adventurers will come to the Locust Mountains, famous for their volcanoes. A team of dwarf surveyors once estimated that nearly one in every six mountains is a volcano of some level of activity, and another one in six is a dead volcano. Water is scarce in the range, leaving the fertile soil largely uncultivated. The natives are a hard, warlike people. Their mastery of metalwork is second only to dwarves. The culture is almost uniformly human, with any non-humans being tolerated at best and lynched at worst. Water and food are the two most valued resources, and are enthusiastically warred over by the many small principalities in the region.
The White Waste
Beyond the Locust Range is the White Waste. Nearly two hundred miles wide, and half again as long, it is a truly remarkable place. The White Waste is the largest salt flat in the world. The collision of the demi-continent that had previously been Cataan with the larger body of Fujian dried up the shallow sea between them, leaving behind a grim expanse of lifeless salt and the fossils of strange sea creatures. Nobody lives in the White Waste. That is not to say nobody is there. In a warren of underground tunnels at the very center, a shadowy figure spoken of in hushed voices as the White Lord commands an army of the dead, and of stranger things as well. From time to time, terrifyingly powerful begins who wear the shapes of men emerge from the Waste, clad in white. They fulfill a single task, usually malign, and then return.
Back on the coast, another region occupies the northern continent. The Mire is the lowest point on Fujian that is not actually submerged. Rivers empty into it from Cataan, from Ogun's Fangs (the other, older mountain range), and from Mahasa, the forested elven land on the western coast. Dry land is very much a scarcity in the Mire. It is a swamp, and a miserable one. A thick pall of smog (from the goblin-crewed, dwarf-owned factories within it) and mist hangs over the region always, and the black, gnarled trees dim the sun's light. It is inhabited by strange, twisted creatures. Tribes of goblinoids are enslaved by dwarves down from the mountains to work in their alchemical and foundry complexes. The only civilized (if they can be called that) inhabitants of the Mire are the Mirelings, a race of unusually intelligent, peaceful goblinoids. They are a dreary, gloomy folk, very much like their home. The dwarves do not trouble them, more often than not because they don't notice them.
South of the Mire, along the eastern coast, is Mahasa, the elven kingdom. It is the second-largest area of geographical distinction on Fujian, the largest being Ogun's Fangs. Near the edges, the forest is newer growth, inhabited by elves and some human cities, festering smoky cankers in the elven lands. Deeper into the forest, strange primordial beasts roam, including the base cousins of dragons, the tyrant lizards. In the very deeps are the courts of the eladrin, divided among the four Great Families. Here mighty wizards ponder the secrets of the world, and deadly rangers tame the tyrant lizards and the great ground sloths and the dire wolves as they police the eladrin holdings, keeping them safe and closed to outsiders.
The southernmost place in Fujian is the arctic island of Xan Gian. It can scarcely be called part of Fujian proper at all, being only connected to the mainland by an ice bridge that is impassable in all seasons except winter. Despite this, it comprises nearly one-tenth of Fujian's landmass. It is inhabited along the coasts by humans, settlers from both the Highlands and the Low Cities as well as tribes of natives.
Deeper in live the ice elves, a group of political dissidents who left Mahasa some three hundred years ago, cursing their relatives' stubbornness and stagnant adherence to tradition. The ice elves are not many in number, but they trade with the humans and the dwarves who dig beneath the central mountains. Their living conditions are harsh, better than the native tribes but not to the degree of the settlers. They hunt, and they pray to the spirits who roam the taiga and tundra. Unlike their cousins, they have no patience for tradition or ritual. The only concessions they make are their shamanistic rituals, and that is because they work. They have a strict family-based hierarchical society, in defiance of the democracy of their cousins. Also unlike the Mahasan elves, they are virtually celibate.
In the central range of mountains of Xan Gian, a nation of dwarves make their home. The warrens of tunnels and caverns were already present when they came to Xan Gian. They were not empty, however, but rather inhabited by trolls, lizardmen, and fouler things still. The dwarves drove them from the caves, either to eke out a miserable life on the frozen slopes, to hide in the deeps and plot vengeance, or to whatever afterlife they hoped for. These intrepid dwarven warriors then set about building a nation where they could let their desire to create wax to its fullest extent. They researched alien magics and lore, dug through ages of dwarven lore to extract forgotten techniques, and sank shafts deeper than any yet, to contact the strange and alien races that lived in the deepest realms. The artifice of the southern dwarves would be legendary if the outside world was ever permitted to see it.
The First Pantheon
Old Man Moon
Old Man Moon is one of the gods of Fujian. He was the one who fought the princes of the middle air and bent them to the will of the gods. He is the younger brother of Lord Night, and commands six legions of fire and shadow spirits. The silver dragons pay him homage, as do lovers and lepers. Old Man Moon was the first leper, but his divine flesh and the clever potions and salves of Ischara, also called Queen Lily, who he courted in his youth defeated the disease. His pity and favor lie upon those poor mortals who do not share his good fortune. The disease left him scarred, with his face and hands pocked and craggy.
Old Man Moon appears to mortal eyes as a hunched dwarf, with a great beak of a nose, bushy eyebrows, copious amounts of wild, matted black hair, harsh, cruel eyes of pure silver, and grinding, tarnished teeth of the same. His arms are too long, and his legs are bandy. His skill with the macuahuitl is second to none, and he has wooed nearly every one of the goddesses, who love him despite his ugly appearance, for he is the greatest lover among the gods. The only goddess to persistently put him off is Hanassah, the Golden Queen, who shines down upon the world as the sun. He pursues her relentlessly around the First Heaven. Whenever he catches her, he sets himself above her and takes her. This is known to mortals as an eclipse. When such an event occurs, the clergy of the Sun keep vigil, and they pray fervently to lend their lady strength so that she may fight him off the sooner. The priests of the Moon usually take the opportunity to start riots outside Hassanah's temples. One heretical sect of the Golden Queen's priesthood and several mostly orthodox sects among Old Man Moon's holds that Hassanah secretly enjoys it.
Old Man Moon demands that his followers not stagnate, but he also demands that they not lapse into chaos. Even he obeys a cycle. He holds persistence and ardor to be virtues.To surrender is a sin before him, but to compromise is not as long as you come out on top. He counsels his followers to never abandon their pride, and to care for their reputation, for without the acclaim of others, one is nothing.
Men are his favored servants, as he has very little use for women except as objects of pleasure. There are no tenets of his faith that mandate the defense or care of women as anything other than property. For this reason and others, his faith is a primarily urban one, as only in cities are there enough males who are not farmers (and therefore do not rely on the favor of Hanassah, the Golden Queen, who looks down on the worlds as the sun) to practice his faith to its fullest extent.
Some are put off by the cannibalistic practices of most of the orthodox sects of his church. It is not uncommon for services to include ritual sacrifices, and most of the high-ranking clerics and the extremely pious devour the eyes and hearts of their enemies to take their power.
Old Man Moon favors stepped pyramids for his temples, and his services are usually held on full moon nights. There is a vigil kept by the priests and any particularly devoted followers on the night of the new moon. The priests of Old Man Moon are almost universally good in bed, something they claim is a gift from their god. They do not, however, take wives or concubines while in the priesthood.
Venerable White Bear
Venerable White Bear is the undisputed king of the spirits of the low air, and of the frost giants. He is as tall as four men, with blue skin and ten arms. His great beard is rime, and his hair is cloud. Lightning blazes in his eyes, and his voice is thunder. With his great axe Mountainsplitter, he slew the Ancient One Mahid-Ut, whose great shell carried a whole continent upon it. He took one of the scales of the Ancient One Yessegeth and made of it a shield that can stop the blows of a god. His clerics pray to him for favorable weather and winds, and his Aerial Legion is the third wing of the Army of Heaven.
Venerable White Bear has few set-in-stone tenets of his faith. Honor and revenge are well-thought-of. The ideal follower of Venerable White Bear is not only a mighty warrior, but a leader, a paterfamilias, and cunning as well. The generally accepted commandments of his faith are such:
- Obey me in all things except matters where your honor is at stake. (This is the one commandment that all sects agree on.)
- Your honor is not the same thing as your pride. For your own sake and the sake of others, do not confuse the two.
- That said, don't let people talk shit to you unnecessarily.
- There is no excuse for foolhardy bravery, but there is even less excuse for cowardice.
- Everybody gets a second chance, but the second you see them slip up again, go ahead and kill them.
- Violence is the supreme method of resolving differences. That said, if it is not worth killing over, best let it be.
Venerable White Bear's clergy is almost exclusively male, since most of his dogma is aimed at men and since few women are capable of living out the almost comically masculine lifestyle demanded of his clerics. Not a one of Venerable White Bear's clerics are untrained in combat, and many are as fierce in battle as the priests and priestesses of Arsis, the Lord of Battle. His monasteries and temples are usually in the style of wooden longhouses or stone hill forts, constructed as much like fortresses as places of worship. Bears are sacred to his clerics, and it is not uncommon to see bears accompanying the more powerful clerics.
Commonly, seekers will learn by heart the sacred lays of battle (in the original Giant) and study in fine detail the mechanics of command through power. Ascetic practices are common, and include running shirtless and barefoot across the tundra for hours, singing hymns under icy waterfalls, hunting large sea life up close and personal, and drinking mushroom tonics to induce fever and hallucinogenic episodes.
The Venerable White Bear requires a daily prayer and sacrifices in his name. These sacrifices are usually seals and arctic hares, his favorite food. Prayers to him are required to be made in his temples.
All temples to the Venerable White Bear are located in the North Land. They are in caverns of ice, with altars, pews, and idols carved from the ice itself. The priests are Ragnokans.
Nu, the Old Sailor
He sailed down the river Lethe one morning, and none knew from whence he came. If Nu himself knew, he would not speak another word of it than "upriver" or "elsewhere." He was admiral of the gods' fleet during their war on the Ancient Ones, but he has no love for battle. After the war was done, he left Heaven to sail the Endless Sea. Old sailors who die on land, or at sea, are his to command. All who truly love the sea crew one of his ships, while their lower souls are given to Dzhu Jow, Lord of the Deeps, one of the surviving Ancient Ones, as his sustenance. Nu slew the Ancient Ones who ruled the seas and the deeps, and Dzhu Jow was the only one who did not die or flee to the seas deep beneath the world where there is no light. He surrendered, and Nu gave him dominion over all the deeps, in exchange for an agreement that he would guard the god's treasures and make no hostile move against them or their followers.
None can agree precisely what Nu looks like. All, however, agree that he is old, but strong, with leathery, wrinkled skin and frost-white hair. His hands are strong, and covered with small scars from a near-eternity of hard life. There are no greater fishermen, sailors, or hunters of the sea's creatures than he. All people who live by the sea revere him.
Nu is a solitary god. He obviously deals with the Lady of the Sea, often, out of simple necessity. They are not, however, lovers, nor have they ever been. All the myths are quite clear on this point.
Nu has no clergy or church, but all who deal with the briny seas pay him reverence. He lives simply, as do his pious followers. He is courteous to women, as are many of his followers. He is patient, forgiving, and wise, and his followers strive to emulate him.
Hanassah, the Golden Queen, the Sun
Osis, the Lady of the Sea
The First Scroll of Night And Moon
Long ago, the Ancient Ones ruled the worlds, and the spirit courts bent knee to them. Their strange, inhuman races held dominion over the earth, sea, sky, and the subterranean deeps. There was no moon or sun, nor was there any life as we know it upon the whole face of the world. All was strange and fearsome. The passing of day and night was marked by the passage of hundred-winged Oxoxotos across the heavens, radiant and majestic.
The first of the beings that would later be known as gods was Lord Night. He was the son of Nox, a young maiden of the People Beyond The Sky, who were sealed from the world aeons ago by the Ancient Ones, the great dome of the sky keeping them out, lest their rapacious hunger and the shrieking darkness in which they dwell spill out into the world and destroy it, and a Mesoaetheric Prince whose name has long since been struck from all records, and faded from the memory of all beings.
Lord Night was fair to look upon and a brilliant wizard and scholar. He was shunned by the Mesoaetheric Princes and their servants, who looked at him and saw only his mother, and were afraid. Seeing his loneliness, his mother secured for him a companion. She brought to him her nephew Wayang, who was scorned among the People Beyond The Sky because he was mute. The two young men soon became fast friends, and wherever Lord Night was, Wayang soon followed, a loyal sidekick. Where Night was grim and serious, Wayang was clever, tricksy, and utterly irreverent. He became his master's nimble right hand, and his stalwart companion and defender.
After many decades had passed, Nox conceived again, and gave to Lord Night a brother. His name was Moon, though he soon became known as Old Man Moon, due to his hunched, unshapely form. Old Man Moon was no less cunning or intelligent than his brother, though he preferred hunting, travel, and wooing the fair daughters of the Mesoaetheric Princes to study in the libraries of his father's palace, where Night spent so much of his time. Night may have been the more brilliant, but all could see that Moon was the more cunning. He was so charming that the princesses of the middle air were quite taken with him, despite his ugliness and the berserk fury of their fathers and brothers.
After several more centuries, Nox conceived for the third and last time. Her daughter, who was named Kikilokimurra, was dead within an hour of birth. Nox's heart was broken, and she retreated into soltitude. Night was saddened, both at the death of his sister and his mother's departure. He began to craft a great shrine to house the body of his sister, honoring her as best he knew how. While he was busy purchasing gold for ornament, Old Man Moon snuck into the chamber where his sister's body had been laid. Making sure nobody was about, he quickly swallowed her tiny body whole. Her divine flesh gave him power to match his brother's, who until that time had been his evident superior.
When Night returned home, he was furious, as was their father. Moon was cast out from their lands, and forbidden from ever entering the principalities of the Middle Air again. He was forced to wander the earth and the low airs in exile. After a few years, he encountered the dwarves. Delighted to find a whole race of people as short as he was, he went to live among them. He learned their ways and the secrets of their runes. Eventually, he learned of the two creators of their race, Azil Six-Arms and his brother Copper Tongue. One night, when drink had been passed around, he announced his intention to the High King, who was his host that evening, to seek out Azil Six-Arms and Copper Tongue, so that they might be shown how well their creations had fared in their absence, and so that they might aid them in fighting off the trolls and giants who forced them to remain in their underground kingdoms, never venturing above to taste sweet fresh air or see the Shining Ones in their palaces in the high air.
The High King, delighted by this audacious proposal and more than a little drunk, wished him well and told him that Azil and Copper Tongue were two of the sons of Mūt, the Flame Beneath The World, a great king among the demons, who ruled the uppermost eighty-three layers of Hell.
Moon, being drunk, was not discouraged by this somewhat unsettling news. It was not until the next morning, when he woke up a hundred yards from the great orichalk gate of the dwarven city with no clear memory of how he got there that he started to have doubts. Unfortunately, he could not go back or he risked losing all of the accumulated kudos the dwarves awarded him. Once he got what he was supposed to be doing (and who, exactly, he was) sorted out in his head, he set off with some degree of trepidation and more than a little fatalistic resignation.
Through means strange and multitudinous, he eventually discovered a route by which he could travel to the uppermost hell. He did so, and was greeted by a full legion of demons. After some very fast talking and detailed explanation, he was taken to see Mūt, to whom he told his story again. The Flame Beneath The World was amused, and told him that his sons were in the sixtieth layer, conducting another one of their all-too-common experiments. Moon thanked him courteously for his hospitality and proceeded downwards with haste, eager to speak with the two creators of the dwarven race and be gone from the infernal realms.
He located the two brothers and explained why he had came. They were intrigued and quizzed him for three full days without letup about the state of their creations. Exhausted, Moon took a short rest. After doing so, he asked them to return with him. They explained, courteously and with evident regret, that it was simply impossible at that point. Not only was their present experiment at a critical stage, but their father would likely not let them go until one or both of them stopped messing about and got married. They told him to wait for seven hundred years, and by that time they would surely be able to attend.
Moon thanked them, and departed. Once back on the mortal plane, he hastened to the dwarves to tell them of what had transpired. They thanked him and sent him on his way, heaped with treasures.
By that time, it transpired that his father had passed away, and the rest of the Mesoaetheric Princes had kicked Night off of the family estates. Moon was almost as enraged by this as Night was, though for differing reasons (Moon was insulted, whereas Night first and foremost resented the loss of his library and laboratory). The two brothers took the opportunity to reconcile their differences. They appeared at the next gathering of the princes of the middle air and demanded that their rightful holdings be returned to them. The brothers were shouted off of the stand. Hot words were exchanged, and soon Old Man Moon was to duel no fewer than three of the mesoaetheric princes upon the morrow.
When radiant Oxoxotos was high overhead, the four duelists met upon the field of honor. At the drop of the flag, Moon spat in the eye of one, blinding him, and cut another at the knees. The third scored a shallow blow, but Moon answered him by breaking his sword and then his neck. He beheaded all three of them and ate their eyes and hearts. Night, greatly perturbed, spoke harshly to his brother and they departed with haste. The rest of the mesoaetheric princes were hot on their heels, thirsting for their blood.
Knowing that they would not be safe in all of the celestial spheres, Moon, Night, and Wayang fled far, far to the south, to the Gate of Winds, from which all the winds of the world come. They fled through it to the strange, cruel land called World's End. It was a cold and mountainous land, inhabited by all manner of fell beasts and races and spirits of cold and the low airs. The young gods were not perturbed. After one hundred bull ogres lay dead at their feet, they were taken to see the lord of World's End.
His palace sat upon the highest spire in that land, so high that the clouds stretched away below it and the dome of the sky was not two miles away from the highest spire. Its gates were of bone, and as tall as six men. Two trolls with four arms and two mouths each guarded it. In each of their hands was a great axe. Moon, Night, and Wayang were admitted. Upon a rough-hewn throne of granite sat the king of World's End and undisputed lord of all the spirits of the low air, Venerable White Bear.
Moon and Night spoke persuasively of how they had been wronged, and how the hidebound, reactionary mesoaetheric princes now sought their lives. Venerable White Bear listened, and when they had finished he announced that they were full of horse excrement and clearly in the wrong. Laughing like an avalanche, he said that he would give them shelter for as long as they desired it.