Saturday, October 1, 2016

Homebrew World Arcaia

I thought I would start doing a bit of blogging on my homebrew world Arcaia.  Arcaia began as a thought exercise in 2005-6 when I was working a a scheduler at a fence company.  The job involved a lot of down time, but no computer or Internet.  I read an awful lot of books during my five years there, and I also did a lot of old-fashioned journaling.  I had had ideas of a world, and I wanted to see if I could combine my love of dragons, pirates, Mesoamerica, halflings, Lovecraftian squicky stuff, undead, etc. into a cohesive setting.  

I started with the continent of Dragora, which I thought came out well (and I'll try to get that information up soon) but the really good area I came up with was a continent called Mazatil, and the island clusters off its coast known as the Eastern Islands.  The Eastern Islands are tropical, and they sit at a maratime juncture of several continents which send trading fleets there for the exotic spices and foodstuffs that the area provide.  What follows is a brief overview of the history of those islands.

History of the Eastern Isles:
The Eastern Isles have a varied and mish-mashed history down through the ages. During the distant aeons of the Old One's rule of the area, the islands lay empty for the most part, although certain ruins on Quetzal Island seem to originate with them or a similarly ancient race. There is also a theory that the Old Ones used some arcane ancient magic to raise up the forbidding Stormpearl Isles as a sheild from the many storms that rage in the open waters.

The Eastern Isles does have the distinction of having a native race, the Hadorzee, a species of simian-looking creatures with partigal flaps similar to flying squirrells. The Hadorzee are fantastic swimmers and can use their flaps to fly from treetop to treetop. During the ancient days, the primitive ancestors of the Hadorzee froliced among the atolls alone.

The ancient Lizardman race of the Sliss'pok were not represented in a major way in the Eastern Isles. There seems to have been a small trading post near the site of the city of Viridian on Taranta Island, probably to trade with the ancient Hadorzee who were numerous on that island. Taranta Island also is host to some of the animals and plants the Sliss'pok were famous for breeding.

During recent millenia as the ancestors of the Mazatilian humans migrated to the area, some of the migrants settled in the islands and developed an indepenent culture known as the Avveroe. They fished, farmed, and battled with the Hadorzee for centuries, living a fairly harmonious low-tech lifestyle until the Xoltec Empire rose on the mainland of Mazatil.

The Xoltecs were much more sophisticated than their island cousins, and they were always looking for sacrifices to their dark necromantic god Xipe Totec. They built war galleys and sailed for the islands, conquering the native Hadorzee and Avveroe alike. Much of both populations were taken back to fuel the blood sacrifices of Xipe Totec's temples. The city of Arratu on Taranta Island was so infamous for the cruelty inflicted on the Hadorzee that the word has entered their language as a curse. 

The islands suffered under the tyranny of the Xoltecs until the chaos of the Night of Bloody Bones allowed them to rise up and destroy the remaining surviviors and their dark cities. From that point on, the few remaining Avveroe and Hadorzee pledged to work together to defend their islands. Since then, both cultures have thrived, integrating well with the refugees arriving from Dragora and become sought-after crewmembers and navigators

During the following years, other groups began to arrive from other continets. During the consolidation of the Golden Empire on Dragora, many refugees from the conquered kingdoms sailed away rather than submit. These people found refuge among the islands, still recovering from the depredations of the Xoltecs.

Many of the refugees from the Kingdom of Vellasia setted in the south of Mazatil. A younger son of the slain King of Pyke led a group of his countrymen to the northern island of Chalmec, which they renamed King Island. They founded the city of Kingsport, and are quite succesful merchant-sailors. The merchant-nobles of Kingsport organize the annual Trading Fleet, which travels in convoy to the city of Amiran on the southern coast of Dragora.

A contingent of halflings who fled their homeland when the Kingdom of Garlan fell to the Empire settled on Parakeet Island, where they have become quite chummy with the local Hadorzee (they both have a fascination with fine food in large quantities).

A mixed group of refugees from many kingdoms settled the area that became the city of Viridian, the largest city in the islands. Viridian, much like its' sister city of Opal is a multi-ethnic stew, but without the rampant violence and undead menace that Opal suffers.

The climate of the Eastern Isles is very clement and tropical, but there are frequent storms that rush in from the Tempest Straits. Navigation can be tricky, and most captains stay along the deeper water channels known as Roads. There are many small coral atolls scattered about. in many places the water is extremely shallow, and many water-breathing sentients make their home under the waves as well. The are many unique and delicious foodstuffs that only grow in this environment, and long-distance traders come from all over Arcaia to dicker for them and the native hardwoods. The many ships have brought forth a large number of pirates.

Piracy in the Eastern Isles is fairly endemic. There is lots to steal, and many places to lie doggo with your ship until the heat is off. There is also a large "open port" city known as Argentum on the southern side of Avveroe Island. Argentum is a clearing house for dubious goods, and a place where pirates can give their crew shore leave without worrying about being strung up by the law. Most crews are local inhabitants, but there are ships looking for booty from Fimbulia, Therana, the Isles of Storm and almost anywhere with a maritime tradition. Argentum is the place to go to find or dispose of anything that might be dangerous, stolen, or both. Argentum is surrounded by shoals, and is difficult to navigate to unless you know the safest paths in.

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