Monday, November 23, 2015

Nation Spotlight: Lize


During the War of Faith, The Anchored Duchy of Lize ran blockades of naval ports around the continent, and lent it's land armies to the Duchy of Yole against the coalition led by the Duchess Dorothea of Kile. The Duke of the time, Baritor, exiles the clergy that oppose the free rule of Yole, and begins to hire Ophiduan psions and psychic warriors to train his troops in these esoteric techniques that were so alien to humanity at this time. Though progress is slow, as the war neared its end, many squadrons had a psionically trained individual of some kind.

When the breaking occured, the Dukes armies were massed on the eastern border to oppose the continued aggression of Zynos, and the Navy was far from danger sailing home near the Horns. When the meteor struck Yole, wiping the Duchy from the map, most of the other Duchies had their military might obliterated in one horrific moment. Since Zynos had begun to fall into disarray after the nation was gouged in twain, their armies fell back. Baritor looked to the Duchies of Seme, Bule and Dake. Seme and Dake had lost their rulers in the cataclysm, and Bule was held by a teenage girl. He married the girl, the Duchess Indora, and swept into Seme and Dake with his armies, encountering minimal resistance. As the world fell into chaos, Baritor worked ceaselessly to consolidate his power base, and his new wife assisted, as she was a cunning negotiator who ruled the newly combined court with sharp tongue and shrewd politics.

Now, Lize is no longer a Duchy, but rather "The Free and United Admiralty of Lize, Seme, Bule and Dake". Its rulers long ago shed the title of Duke, and now style themselves in the Naval command structure. However, the Admiralty consists entirely of the Duke's descendants and the most trusted advisors. The current ruler is High Arch-Admiral Gerod, a man in his late 40's who patrolled the seas around the continent, who has commissioned exploreres to search the seas farther afield.


The free people of Aexe were conquered over a millennium ago by the Astori, but Aexen culture survived. Where Imperial Culture focused on the sense of self and the belief in their place in destiny, The Aexe that became part of the Imperium continued with their close ties of family and community. When the Imperium was split and the duchies were formed, Aexen culture came back into resurgence, with traditional fashions and architecture replacing the Imperial.

Lize culture prides itself on its sense of community and family. However, this can also lead to nepotism and insularity in some cases. Joining the military is a prestigious career path, and the Navy especially so. Though there are no longer any "Noble" families with formal titles and lands, most nobility have held their power through military appointments and careful promotion of those that can be of benefit to them.

Clothing styles in Lize follow a combination of old Aexen styles mixed with Imperial fashions prior to the breaking, which have subtly changed to create a new fusion style. Men wear darker colours, and women tend towards pastels, but military uniforms are standardised. One quirk is that both men and women tend to carry decorated or plain canvas parasols to avoid the sun and the rain, as fair skin runs common in Lize, and inclement weather can strike without warning.

Language and Names

Though Aexen Culture has come into resurgence, for the most part the language is only spoken in remote pockets of isolated villages, and even then it is fading from use. Imperial is the official language of Lize, and most names are Imperial, but some Aexen names still survive.

Male names: Corid, Danior, Emberi, Isaari, Liburin, Nostin, Petriop, Quelo, Umbare, Zeemod.

Female names: Aride, Benthian, Ferlarla, Giniarn, Herdione, Jennirafe, Raquine, Xinifare,

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nation Spotlight: Broken Horn


When the Gods broke the world, their followers were temporarily abandoned. the echo gods were shadows of their former power, and they could no longer grant their faithful the power of new magic. The world needed their divine power, but the clerics were forced to hoard their strength. The faithful were seen as cruel and miserly during this time, in a world that was already torn by conflict between the Faithful and the Free, and one by one, the surviving nation began to exile their faithful members.

The Faithful Flight, as it is known in the Broken Horn, was a decade of exile, as they faithful lost more and more of their number to violence, as well as many abandoning their faith as they felt the gods had abandoned them. The Faithful were driven further and further underground, having to keep their faith a secret from their neighbours lest they be exposed and driven from their homes.

A glimmer of hope came when a venerable priestess of Vanur, Lasinia, managed to forge a reconnection with her god's echo, slowly regaining her divine power, and teaching the technique to others. Some of the seeds of Delan discovered this fact, and fearing a resurgence of the divine, led a campaign against the faithful once more. The Faithful were driven from the south at first, ever northwards. The tactic was to exterminate any divine wielders, and eventually move northwards in an effort to finally cleanse the world of the divine. The tactic was brutal, and effective. Some managed to remain hidden in their homes, but most were driven out or slain.

Eventually, Lasinia took action. She sacrificed her own life to fuel a powerful spell, breaking the eastern horn away from the mainland, turning the peninsula into an island. The faithful fled to this land, claiming it as their own, and fortified themselves. They were unable to be rooted out, but they were not able to strike back against their foes in the mainland without fear of retribution, as a decade of harsh reality in the new broken world had turned the common folk away from the divine.

Now, the clergy rules with an iron grip of theocracy, with the divine servants holding all the power, cowing a population of people whose entire lives are governed by faith, ritual and a fervent belief that one day, the gods will return to reward their true and faithful servants.


Originally,the eastern Horn was a small collection of fishing villages and towns nominally ruled by the Astorina Imperium under the Counts of the Horn, the Alsbergis. The family was a faithful one, and still holds some sway in the nation. However, the true power is with the council of Heirophants, an organisation made up of the highest ranking cleric of each Echo God, with one amongst their number voted as Supreme Heirophant of the Faithful for life.

As originally the Broken horn was a refugee nation from around the continent, their culture began as an amalgam of all the other cultures of the continent: Imperial arches would sit over Northiran doors, Terichtlan clothing would be paired with a Baxish sash and hat. Now however, this has merged into a monoculture that adopts the strongest points of each culture, and ruthlessly weeds out undersirable traits. Though the overwhelming majority of the populace is Human, some of the other races do live here, those that were called to faithful service, or their offspring. Every year, some citizens escape to the mainland, and some mainlanders come to the Broken Horn to live their lives in faith.

Most of daily life is governed by church life. Every citizen at maturity is required to register their patron deity, though all gods must be worshipped and respected. Church and formal worship is a daily occurrence at the minimum, and the clergy are respected and held as the ideal. The clergy takes the best and brightest of the youth for formal training regardless of their desires, though any others that volunteer are accepted.

Languages and names

As the nation was founded from a racially and culturally diverse population, a variety of languages are spoken freely, though Imperial has emerged as the dominant language. Even then, most people pepper their language with phrasing from other languages. Names are diverse, with no naming conventions or restrictions. IT is not uncommon to hear first and last names that come from two different languages, or names that have been subtly changed from their root language and culture.

Nation Spotlight: Hastrix


Hastrix is a Kingdom located at the north-western point of the continent of Senithax, consisting of one of the Horns, the surrounding islands, and former holdings of the Astorina Imperium. The early history is one of warring tribes on the coasts and islands, as well as those that carved a living from the ancient pine forests. When the Astorina imperium came, they began a campaign to conquer the various tribes, who were fractured and held long standing grudges against each other. However, the Astorini were unprepared for the ferocity with which the tribes of Hastrix would defend themselves. As much as the Hastrix hated each other, they hated the Astorini more.

It took 36 years, but the Astorini were finally able to conquer the Hastrix tribes, putting their King, Brynjor, to the sword, and parading his shamed and naked body through the empire. The Hastrix never forgot this insult, and had actually managed to hide his youngest son, Balvar, from the Imperium, keeping the bloodline of their Kings alive.

When he reached maturity, Balvar began a campaign to reunite the fractured clans, and within a decade, had managed to drive the Astorini from the peninsula and reclaim his throne. In the final battle, he captured the crown prince of the empire. As vengeance for his father, he decapitated the Emperor's son, sending his head back to him in a box with a message, explaining how the rest of the body had been torn apart, each section buried and hidden.

This act of vengeance so enraged the Astorini, that a few decades later, they brought the full force of their military against the Clans again, slaughtering them until they surrendered. But once again, after a short time, a new King arose, to throw off the shackles of Astorini rule. This cycle continued for centuries, with neither side holding the peninsula for more than a few decades.

When the Breaking struck, the Imperium, already weakened by war, was further ravaged by the Rotting. Hastrix, which was freshly independent again, gathered their strength and swept down from the cold pine forests, razing the north-western corner of the Imperium, claiming new territories for the first time in centuries. To this day, the Hastrix clans hold these lands, fortified and watchful of any attack from the imperium.


In previous centuries, the Clans warred against each other for any reasons: Resources, honour, glory, vengeance. However, once the Astorini conquered them, they set aside their previous rivalries and differences. Though each Clan is still distinct with their own Jarlaird, they operate as a united force behind their current King, Hjelmir the Unbroken.

The Hastrix admire physical prowess and fighting skill, but do no treat those with different skills with contempt. An untested warrior does not hold a higher place to a psion of great skill, or to a craftsman who makes items of unmatched quality. The Hastrix generally pick a single path to take, and pursue it with a single minded ferocity, attacking each task like an enemy to be conquered. Men are traditionally expected to take the lead in conflicts, but women are not forbidden from any particular path they choose for themselves, though the pressure to marry and bear children is obvious.

A noticeable part of the Hastrix culture to foreigners is their mistrust and contempt for the Astorini. In some ways, parts of their culture are a direct reaction to the customs and ways of the Astorini. One such example is that the Hastrix leave large sections of skin bare, and readily touch one another, as the Rotting is rare in the colder climate.

Language and Names

Due to the history of conquest, Imperial is a known language for the Inhabitants of Hastrix. However, it is rarely spoken unless in trade negotiations. Hastrixan is a gruff and blunt language, but not without it's particular lyrical qualities at times.

Hastrixans have a first name, and a clan name. Names follow along the male line.

Male Names: Auden, Branjer, Endride, Halder, Hjelmir, Jorle, Kaldr, Olson, Ovur, Ringvildr, Stigr, Tjornbaal, Troelstev, Vadiir, Welhelch.

Female Names: Alfhilda, Bergilda, Eira, Gydea, Hella, Jorunna, Magnhilda, Rhagnilda, Rovanha, Runja, Sigradha, Torhilda, Ylvia.

Great Clan Names: Ahlmach, Engmaerl, Hilmjoor, Landvhir, Naesmir, Stendohl.

Lesser Clan name prefixes and Suffixes: Bllar-, Dal-, Fjir-, Mor-, Rjel-, Urkh-, -ach, -farn, -geln, -llaren, -wulst.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nation Spotlight: Isle of dreams


The Isle of Dreams was a protectorate of the Astorina Imperium since the foundation of the empire. It was ruled by the Mestori family for the century before the breaking, and was rich in pearls from the shoreline, as well as other gemstones from the central mountains of the isle. Many noble families had holiday estates on the island, though they hired groundskeepers to battle against the jungle trying to reclaim the manicured fields of the estates.

When the Raging storm formed during the breaking, the island was trapped in the eye of the storm. The seas raged against the coastlines, and the winds would occasionally rip along the island as the eye shifted and moved without warning. The safest places on the isle were now inland, despite the uncharted depths of the jungle being a mystery.

The Mestori led their people inland, and made contact with small hidden tribes of lost ophiduans. Some of these ophiduans had preserved ancient druidic traditions, and shared them with the desperate humans. The ophiduans and humans banded together against the dangers of the forests and the elements, and it is an alliance that exists to this day.

For two centuries, the storm ravaged the island, converting lush tropical jungle into sodden, marshy mangroves, except for the centre where the survivors huddled. Vicious predators from the sea migrated inwards, and found rich hunting grounds in the mangrove lakes and swamps. The heightened state of adaptations from the curses of Garnaea and Ithiriae have allowed strange and dangerous new beasts and monsters to breed almost unchecked. The survivors were pushed ever inwards, and eventually were forced to take shelter in the mountains themselves, carving tunnel systems as a natural defense against the dangerous weather and the new beasts.

The new society began to value those that could control the weather and those that could shape the earth and stone of the mountains, as well as those that could hunt and grow crops in the hardy areas that could still be cultivated. Druidic traditions are strong on the Isle now, as well as Kineticists and Shapers amongst psionic disciplines.

Eight years ago, the Raging storm dissipated. Although storms are still frequent, the island is no longer cut off from the rest of the continent by sea travel. In the last few years, the inhabitants have begun to branch out, reclaiming land and territory ceded to the storm and beasts. Some have even begun to travel to the mainland, and some people of the mainland have begun to travel to the island too.


Out of necessity, the culture of the Isle is one of co-operation and toil. Idleness is frowned upon, as expecting others to do your work for you weakens the chances of survival overall. After a few generations, the humans see their ophiduan brethren as equals, and the ophiduans have learned a respect for the humans ability to adapt and survive. Many ophiduans alive remember the time that humans came into the deep jungle, and over time have developed an attitude akin to a mentor and pupil towards the humans. Humans outnumber the ophiduans 3 to 1, but both factions see the benefits of co-operation still.

Life on the Isle was harsh and cruel for 2 centuries, but now, in the last few years, the survivors have made serious inroads back into the wilds, and in just 2 years an expedition re-discovered a large noble estate, and haveused it to create a small settlement, and now use it as a base to re-establish contact with the world. The rare visitors that have started to come to the Isle find that the inhabitants are direct, forthright, and hardworking, and care little for frivolity or luxuries.

Languages and names:

Most people of the isles, regardless of race, can speak both Imperial and Ophiduan, and have begun to teach themselves Polyglot to begin to establish trade with the mainland. Names follow both ophiduan and Imperial standards, but many imperial names have sibilant sounds added after the influence of ophiduan language. Some ophiduans have even taken to Imperial "ncknames" given to them by their human allies.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Nation Spotlight: The Astorina Imperium


The Astorina Imperium is the oldest and greatest of the human founded nations. It has existed for over a thousand years, ruled by the Astori Dynasty in an unbroken line from oldest child to oldest living child for centuries. It was founded by the Emperor Dyash Astori, who took warring human factions and tribes and forged them into a unified force, pushing out the other races of the goblinoids in the south and the Ophiduans of Seshmishta in the north. For centuries, the empire conquered more and more land in a controlled and cautious campaign of expansion.

Prior to the breaking, the empire was unfortunately past it's glory, and in decline. At their peak, they controlled almost the entire western half of the continent of Senithax, and had eyes on the remaining half. However, a succession of foolish rulers, decadence and hubris weakened the empire, allowing some smaller states to break away in some shape or form.

A great blow was when a civil war broke out, and the arcane council of the Northire declared independence. a bloody war followed, but the Astorina could make little inroads against the arcane might of the Northirans, and the Northirans lacked the manpower to push into Astorina. After three decades, a peace settlement was agreed to, making Northire a vassal state, self governing, but required to pay significant tribute. This nearly proved to be the undoing of the Astori family, but a year later, the Emperor Domar died, and his formidable daughter Empress Derlara ascended. She managed to halt any further sedition, and began investment in arcane colleges around the empire, even hiring some disaffected Northiran mages. She also tripled the size of the standing army through forced conscription of every low born citizen for 5 years of their life, and ensured they learned a trade should they choose to.

However, Derlara was a brief shining light of the Astori. Another blow struck when her grandson, Mivar, split the empire between his two beloved twin sons, Aexe and Amvar. No one was certain of which of the twins was firstborn, and divinations to discern this came up ambiguous. To prevent civil war, he declared them both heir, Amvar to the west, and Aexe to the east.

Aexe was grateful, but Amvar was furious. When he learned of this, he and his supporters struck. He imprisoned his own father, and attempted to do the same with Aexe. However, Aexe and his mother managed to escape, and fled to the east, garnering their own support. Amvar is said to have tortured his father to have him change his decree, and successfully provides an imperial decree. However, the broken emperor is a shell of himself, and many of the noble families turn from Amvar to follow Aexe's banner.

The war was bloody, but was brought to a head by single combat in the fog of battle between the brothers. In the end, Aexe stood over the broken body of his twin, victorious and full of sorrow. Hoever, instead of pressing to the capitol, he simply shored up his borders, and founded the Duchy of Aexe. He allowed his infant neice, Nimara, to be crowned as Empress, over an empire now reduced in size.

Since that time, the Imperium was in slow decline, the nobility grabbing more and more power, bickering amongst themselves for whatever influence they could. They still believed the Empire to be the cradle of civilisation, and in many ways, it was.

The breaking was a third powerful blow to the Empire. The isle of dreams, with it's rich gemstone mines, was cut off in a raging cyclone. The large stone mesa of the Noble Estates was cracked, many families being wiped away in the disaster, and the summer palace of the Astori left teetering on the edge of the break.

However, the worst effect, and the effect still felt to this day, was the Rotting. A vile disease, the Rotting could be transmitted via a single touch with infected flesh, and ripped through the empire in a matter of weeks. Funerary pyres burned night and day, and without the gifts of the divine, their was almost no way to curb the spread of the plague. To this day, minor outbreaks of the Rotting still arise in the imperium, changing the society from a hedonistic one to a cautious and calculated people.


The Empire is now a constitutional monarchy, though both the Emperor and the Imperial Parliament wield equal power. Each Noble family is given a single seat in the parliament, and all legislation must receive a majority vote. However, the Emperor must approve any legislation, and can veto any laws that come to him. The veto can be overturned by a 3/4 majority in the Parliament. To add a further complication, the emperor can Title any family should he wish to, granting them a seat in Parliament in perpetuity, but only if 1/4 of the parliament approves. The only way a family may lose their seat is treason or if no heirs remain on the death of the title holder. At present, there are 213 seats in the Parliament.

The Astorini, as the people of the empire are called, are a cautious and somewhat modest people. They wear long clothing, with high collars, long sleeves and are covered to the ankle. Most will also wear gloves, except in the warmer months, they may allow their hands to be free. This is actually a holdover from the height of the Rotting, to prevent accidental skin contact. Men will also have short trimmed beards, male hairstyles tend to the functional. Female hair styles, however, tend to be works of carefully sculpted art; braids, woven ribbons, wigs, and even art objects woven into the hair. Even commonfolk will carefully attend to their hair and grooming, and some will forego food to ensure they can save face to their neighbours and appear as more successful.

Language and Names:

Imperial is the dominant language of the Imperium, and many citizens choose not to learn any other language. Imperial is an expressive and florid language, and in the imperium it is common to use many embellishments and metaphors during the most mundane of conversations.

Humans of the imperium  have a first and last name, and generally have one to three middle names. the following are some examples of common names.

Male names: Astor, Bonare, Davor, Francan, Godare, Ivor, Justone, Menthar, Natane, Ovor, Quastar, Rogare, Testor, Victare, Zonare

Female names: Astoria, Chelia, Davina, Envaria, Glorianna, Honouria, Justina, Nevarrine, Ovora, Pellaria, Pellarina, Rannia, Savine, Visania.

Last names: Bortista, Comulach, Fortistis, Garoustas, Hidalgis,  Imperostis, Kimarost, Lustari, Menithirus, Ostarim, Penthire, Quom, Rovairan, Tastoris, Westarin.

The common tongue

So, one thing I don't like about most fantasy settings is the language "Common". Some settings describe it as a trade language, whilst others as a unifying language that all people speak. No matter how they describe it though, it is mechanically the same; a language that absolutely everyone speaks, to get past the fiddling around with not having a common language.

To me however, it feels like laziness. What is the point of all of these rich and varied languages based on race and geography, then completely negating the need for them. Sure, having a doorway inscribed with elvish script can be nice flavour, and a warning sign in druidic can have some affect on an adventure, but there is little real effect.

So, for Broken World, I have decided on a slight change. Common in this setting is called "Polyglot" and is a mix of many different languages. It is a true "trade language" in that it is mostly used for trade and when no true common language exists. You can communicate through Polyglot, but complex ideas and instructions are hard to convey in a language usually designed for basic trade discussions between two merchants. Here is an example of what I mean:

First discussion between two merchants that speak Imperial:

Menthar: "Greetings my friend! I see you have Chenar fruit from Quesaras available. It must be difficult to keep them fresh on such a long journey, yes?"

Bonare: "It is indeed. However, we managed to convince an elven druid to do one of their little tricks and the fruit has remained fresh and will continue to do so for another week. Of course, this was an expensive option, to keep this fruit in pristine condition....."

Menthar: "Good fortune. I may have a buyer interested from the Quesaran embassy. Perhaps you would like me to act as middle-man for negotiation? For a small fee of course."

Bonare: "My good friend, If you would be so kind, of course I would be able to compensate you for your time. After all, there is a chance that I could  bring more in future, and no one loves Chenar more than the Elves after all."

Same discussion using Polyglot:

Menthar: "Hello. Chenar fruit look good. Fresh?"

Bonare: "Yes, magic fresh. Stay fresh more weeks. Expensive."

Menthar: "Good Good. I know buyer. I come back with offer?"

Bonare: "Okay. More fruit may come."

In the first instance, we can see not only has the sale been discussed, but also a future trade deal has begun to be discussed. In the second instance, a deal for the shipment is discussed, but little else due to the limits of Polyglot.

In mechanics terms, Only being able to communicate through Polyglot has the following penalty to skills:

Bluff and Sense Motive: As these skills are in direct opposition, there is no negative to these skills, as both simply cancel each other out.

Diplomacy: Diplomacy is a complex skill, and relies on understanding exactly what everyone wants, needs, and the subtle interplay of language. Diplomacy relying on Polyglot is at a -4 penalty.

Intimidate: Though language dependant, a great deal of this skill can also be non-verbal and blunt. it suffers a -2 penalty.

Perform (orate): It is incredibly difficult to perform this skill effectively in Polyglot. this skill receives a -4 penalty.

In addition, and spell, power or effect that is listed as "Language dependant" that uses polyglot may add a bonus to the target's will save, depending on the complexity of the effect. This is determined at the time by the DM.

Saturday, November 7, 2015


Now begins the arduous task of nation building. I have already designed some basic maps, and once I have nicer versions done, I will make them available.

Each nation post will be a work in progress and somewhat fluid for now. They could be edited at any stage, so keep an eye out.

My intent is to make each nation feel organic and plausible. For this reason, I created cultural and political landscapes pre and post breaking. Some states survived but were changed, and some successor states have arisen. Some old states were completely wiped off the map, either literally or politically.

All of these posts are intended to give a taste of the nation, a snapshot of stereotypes and culture. A few important cities will be mentioned, but for now, consider these upcoming posts more as a trailer for the actual long explanation document that is incoming.

Thoughts on "Post-apocalyptic"

When I originally conceived this setting, my idea was a very different one. I imagined a world that was a shell of its former glory, a world dying and people struggling to live.'

Now however, I have clearly gone in a different direction. The world was broken, millions died, and the aftershocks can still be felt even 2 centuries later. The deserts of the wastes continue to grow. Millions of undead dwarves lurk in their ruined cities, and outbreaks of the rotting continue in the Astorina Imperium. Earthquakes rip through the world, and the great volcano erupts without warning.

However, the lush ash fields near the volcano have begun to be reclaimed by some druidic circles. The elves are flourishing in a world that has never been tested by their strength. New nations have sprung up, new trading routes have opened, and all races are finally beginning to climb in population.

In short, this is a very different form of Post-apocalyptic. Yes, life is difficult for the majority of citizens. Food supply is precarious with the curses of the nature goddesses, and dangerous creatures abound. Political factions and secret societies continue their work to destabilise or to heal. Armies mass on borders, whether it be a threat or merely posturing.

In short, the Breaking changed the world, but it has not yet struck a mortal blow.