Kantia World OverviewEdit
Kantian Topography and ClimateEdit
The western continent of Kantia is temperate and fertile, with exception to the deserts to the south and the Northern Wastes. In general, the continent is colder than one would suspect. Only the coastal plains to the south and the Gorah desert remain warm year round. The coastal regions have much milder climates and experience fewer extremes of temperature. The central portions of the continent have mild summers and bitter, if not deadly winters. Forests grow thick and lush throughout the continent, quickly overgrowing and reclaiming unused roads and abandoned villages. On the west, the Fading Sea provides lush fishing waters and gentle trading routes. A small, heavily forested coastal range, the Ashfeld Range, spans western Kantia, running north to south. Although, beautiful, the Ashfeld mountains are no where near as impressive as the grand Dragon Spires.
Splitting the middle of the continent are the Dragon Spire mountains, a breathtakingly beautiful and inhospitable mountain range, span the longitude of the continent from the southernmost tip up through the Plains of Kalith, also referred to as the Northern Wastes, with some peaks reaching as high as 15,000 feet. Beyond the Dragon Spires and bordered on the east by the Icespine range (peaks reaching nearly 20,000 feet), lies the Valley of Runes, an arid highlands currently under the loose control of the Cyrmian Empire. On the far side of the Icespines, lie the Outlands, a blasted waste of badlands inhabited by exiles, bandits, magical beasts, mutants, and demons that stretches from the southern deserts to the tundra of the north.
Moist, warm winds from the Fading Sea keep Western Kantia lush and fertile. Near the coast, it rains almost daily. Further inland, it rains a little less, but rarely does a week go by without some form of precipitation. Those that live to the south of the Misthelm Forest enjoy a rather tropical climate until the high mountains give way to cruel deserts. South of the Misthelm, the elevation drops markedly into the Mistswamps, a large tropical swamp and native home to both the Israkk and the Troll peoples. On the south western tip of the continent, a thick, jungle dotted with swamps lines the coast. Precipitation is rare in the Northern Wastes. The Gorah Desert in the south hasn't seen any notable precipitation in nearly three centuries.
Most of Kantia is generally uneducated. Nearly everyone has some rudimentary reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, but most people never get the chance to study anything more than the basics. Those with higher educations usually come from the larger cities where there are more education opportunities available. One notable exception is the Valsaeg Valley. Despite the refugee status of the dwarves, they value education greatly, ensuring that all children under the age of 16 receive a thorough education in arithmetic, literature, and history. Shou and Fae from Arisha also tend to be very well educated, often being fluent in at least two languages, if not more. Trolls often never learn to read or write any language other than Trollish (the written form consists of patterns of knots and leather strips that most other races besides Shou and Israkk never bother to learn). Ogres, sadly, usually never learn to read or write any language, but they usually have rudimentary math skills.
Most people learn to read and write through the tutilage of a family member or by being tutored during an apprenticeship. The average peasant, artisan, or craftsman will usually have one or two strong skills and a smattering of other skills that they have minimal experience with. Nobles and many merchants (particularly Shou merchants) tend to learn many more skills, but never specialize.
Kantia has just entered the first phases of an industrial revolution in some areas of the world. Steam engines are a relatively new technology, but their costs of production and operation limits their use. Larger cities in Arisha, Asterian Repbulic, Drakkar, Valsaeg Valley, and parts of the Cyrmian Empire have some plumbing and sewage systems. Astergard, the capital of the Asterian Republic, has just implemented the first gaslight streetlamps. Clocks are common, and pocketwatches are carried by the well-to-do. Clockwork machines are evolving. In fact, it is common to see Steam Mechs and Clockwork Sentinals, hybrids of magic and clockwork engineering, but these are prohibitively expensive to purchase for all but the richest and most powerful members of society.
One of the most important inventions ever conceived has recently emerged. The Dwarves, requiring a fast method of communication that didn't require magic, invented the telegraph. Most areas of the continent have no access to telegraph, but in the past three decades, Drakkar, Astergard, northern Misthelm, and the Valsaeg Valley all have telegraph between their largest cities. Unfortunately, sabotage by bandits and Darkhold Company operatives often disable telegraph service for days or weeks at a time in some areas.
Firearms are another common, but unreliable, technology. Cannons are common sight in military regiments and ammunition for guns can be found nearly anywhere, although it is quite expensive. Nearly every rural family will own at least one flintlock rifle. In fact, cap and ball rifles are often standard issue weapons for many militaries. Pistols are much more expensive and very inaccurate. The Dwarves have designed a reliable gun that uses a jacketed round, the chambered rifle. These are particularly expensive, but the advantage of not having to reload is invaluable in combat against the golblin hordes of the Northern Wastes. On top of that, the dwarves have also designed a fairly reliable revolver, although it is much larger and unwieldy than a cap and ball pistol. A craftsman in Drakkar improved upon the Valsaeg designs, creating a lighter, easier to use weapon, but it doesn't have quite as much knockdown power. Because of the sheer amount of time it takes to reload these revolvers, most gunslingers carry an extra cylinder and a spead loader kit with them at all times. Due to the expense of most firearms (a single revolver costs more than it costs to feed a family of four for a year), bows, crossbows, swords, and axes are still a a long ways off from being replaced.
Due to the relatively unstable and violent nature of the world, armor is still somewhat common. Leather armors are the most common, and chain mails are still in use for those who can afford them. Heavier armors, such as full chainmail, splint mail or plate mail are very rare, very expensive and attract a lot of attention. Many communities have passed laws prohibited wearing heavier metal armor.
Kantian Domesticated AnimalsEdit
The most common livestock found in Kantia is the Mul. Muls are gentle, easily tamed herbivores with long, soft, thick, straight fur coats, elongated snouts like an anteater. They stand about 3' tall at the shoulder and reproduce by laying clutches of 3 to 8 eggs. The reproductive cycle of muls is amazing short, and a female can lay up to 3 clutches of eggs in a year. In addition to being able to eat just about any plant matter, they also are quite fond of insects. Muls are often raised for eggs, fur, leather, and meat. Interestingly, muls are nearly immune to all natural toxins derived from plants or animal venoms. Innovative healers and doctors have learned to create effective anti-venoms using the blood of muls.
Another common livestock animal is the woolly swine. These animals are very closely related to boars, hogs, and pigs. While they are not as intelligent and do not grow as large as many swine, they are covered in a thick, woolly hair that can be made into wool. Naturally, they are a common source of meat, and their hides make a fine quality leather.
Despite the advances in technology, the beast of burden is still quite common. The most common beast of burden is the Kolpena, a beastly greyhound-like creature used for both riding and labor. Standing about 7' tall at the shoulder and capable of carrying 1000 lbs or hauling 2 to 3 tons, kolpena possess a stamina that makes them ideal for most work applications. Capable of sustaining speeds of up to 45 MPH, a Kolpena can be forced to run up to 60 MPH if needed, providing a quality mount. Kolpena are omnivorous, but their diet primarily consists of grains and grasses. They do not possess hooves, as many would expect. Rather, they have tough footpads on large clawed paws.
In the north, Kolpena are still common, but Wosak are preferred due to their great strength and ability to withstand cold. Wosak are large woolly omnivores with large horned heads, small snouts, huge ears and eyes that are almost completely hidden by long, thick, hair. They possess massive clawed paws and a thick, heavy tail. While they are not particularly intelligent, they are easy to train and are often used as mounts by Goblins and Dwarven skirmishers.
Other livestock includes common chicken, geese, ducks, rabbits, goats (for milk and cheese) and dogs (for work, companionship, meat and pelts). A few brave people (usually with the help of trolls or ogres) breed drakes for the first five years of a wyrmling's life (drake leather is very high quality and some people find drake meat and eggs to be very tasty), but always slaughter them before they become too large to control. Although profitable, no one has successfully been able to keep a breeding pair of any type of drake in captivity for a signifigant period of time, so most eggs have to be harvested from the wild.
Slavery and IndenturismEdit
A large number (almost 15%) of the Kantian population is owned as slaves or lives the life of an indentured servant, particularly in the Darkhold territories. Public sentiment in two of the largest countries, The Asterian Republic and Arisha, has greatly limited the slave trade and generally soured the public image of slave owners. While in many areas of the world it isn't expressly illegal to own slaves, it is very clear in most countries that slaves can not be abused (usually the state will confiscate any slaves that are being abused). Revolts by slaves have become more common and many believe that the abolition of slavery will happen soon.
It is important to note that in Arisha the sale of slaves is expressly illegal, but the Arishan government will assist any slave owners who are searching for runaways to retreive their property due to certain international treaties. Slaverly is strictly forbidden in the Valsaeg territories, and any slaves that do reach Valsaeg are usually guaranteed their freedom, provided they join the Valsaeg military in exchange for their protected freedom.
Slavery is most common in the Darkhold Baronies, the Cyrmian Empire, and in Athekkar. Homeless are often rounded up and sold in auctions. Prisoners of war and political prisoners are often sold as slaves to work in the gold, silver, and coal mines. Darkhold is particularly cruel. If parents can not afford the "Ancestry Taxes" of most districts, their children are often auctioned off to the highest bidder or are conscripted into the military by the age of 10.
The Asterian Republic was a monarchy until nearly 120 years ago. While the royal family is still active in the government, nearly all laws that are currently in effect have been created by the Senate. While the old members of nobility, such as Lords and Dukes do not have the power that they used to, many have managed to assume rolls in the government through appointment and elections. The King and Queen are granted the right to pardon anyone for any crime and also may call into order emergency sessions of the Senate. The Senate currently consists of 129 members, eight from each of the 16 republican districts and one Royal Retainer, who presides over the whole of Senate and only votes in the event of a tie. A law must receive at least a 60% vote in Senate before it is passed, at which point the King and Queen must sign the law before it goes into effect. The sixteen districts of Astergard are Freemantle (capitol), Brightwell, Cross, Fairfax, Northedge, Tarsis, Shuckburgh, Roxburgh, Shireton, Coatwood, Buckridge, Butterfield, Sutherland, Lordsgrave, Moorfeld, and Southton. Districts boundries are relatively stable, but can change every 20 years after the census to account for population shifts and changes. Such changes are usually very minor, but major shifts have occured twice in the past.
Each of the districts has its own local laws that local elected legislatures create. Each district also possesses one High Magistrate and Magistrate Administrator (winner and runner-up of the election, respectively). The High Magistrate serves as the highest ranking judge in his district and can overrule any lower court's rulings. The Magistrate Administrator serves as the Sheriff Marshall in his district and is in charge of the District Consulate, which is essentially the district level police and law enforcement.
Locally, each town and village has a mayor, investigator in chief or sheriff (police), guard commander (if a military town watch is present), and magistrate of the court. All major cities will have also have many representatives of the Ministry of Revenue.
Asterian Civic ResponsibilityEdit
The people of the Asterian Republic have two major responsibilities: paying taxes and voting. All citizens must pay taxes. All land owners are required to vote for their parlimentary representatives. Suffrage is denied to women, slaves, and dependants. Rural districts and towns tend to be more lax with voting requirements than those that are closer to the capitol. Asterian Economy The Asterian Republic is the strongest, most stable economy in Kantia. It uses the Asterian Crown as its base currency. In fact, the Asterian economy is so strong that many countries in Kantia accept the crown or have converted their coins and currency notes to be compatable with the Crown. The Asterian Republic is the first country in the world to enter the world of paper currency. Any Ministry of Revenue can convert coin currency to paper currency without a transaction penalty. Converting paper currency to coin incurs a 5% conversion. Most travellers leaving Astergard convert their currency to coin because many merchants in other countries will not accept paper currency.
Every major industry is present in the Asterian Republic. Trade is healthy and many merchants and representative from foreign nations travel to Astergard for goods. Astergard has two major sea ports, two major river ports, lush forests, fertile land, ore-rich mountains with shallow veins of minerals, and a healthy and robust work-force.
While most of the population is Human, a very large number of Fae and Dwarves live in Astergard. Shou and Ogres are also fairly common. Lukoi and Trolls are not un-common, but are definitly minorities in this great country. Slaves, although present in the Asterian Republic, are rare. It is illegal to purchase slaves within the borders of the Asterian Republic. At most, perhaps 3% of the population is subject to slavery.
- Fae: 15%
- Shuri: less than 1%
- Shou: 3%
- Human: 60%
- Dwarves: 7%
- Lukoi: 4%
- Trolls: 2%
- Ogres: 2%
- Goblinoid citizens: 3%
- Other (Faerie Kin, etc): less than 1%
The majority of the population is still rural, but nearly 33% of the population lives in urban settings, working at factories, shipyards, etc. Although roads are well patroled, bandits and monsters are still fairly common the further one travels from the major cities.
Aside from the Dwarves of the Valsaeg Territories, the Asterian Republic has the largest and most efficient military presence in Kantia. A majority of the military consists of volunteer personnel, although all fit males are considered elegible for the the draft in the event of a war. Asterians quickly embrace new technology, and their military is no different. Although the dwarves invented much of the firearms technology, Asterians and Drakkarans have often improved upon it. Steam technology is also fairly common.
The focus on Asterian military is light, mobile, and responsive military units. In general, all enlisted military personel are issued cap and ball rifles, bayonettes, and swords. Officers will often carry pistols, and many will carry revolvers. Riflemen are equipped with the highest quality infantry rifles. Cavalry are equipped with sabres, cap and ball rifles, and pistol. Archers, although becoming less necessary with the advent of firearms, still comprise a signifigant portion of the military. The Asterian military uniform is well made, with tight-knit, layered wosak fibres, leather, and reinforced fore-arm protection. For game purposes, the uniform provides the same level of protection as Hard Leather. Decorated officers will often possess better arms and armor. Magic is relatively common within the Asterian military when compared to most other countries. In fact, Astergard's famed Acadamy of Arcane Military Sciences is one of the best magical schools in all of Kantia
Drakkar is a conservative country located on the southern edge of the Inner Sea. A majority of the mountainous country's elevation exceeds 4000 feet lending it towards a very cool, temperate climate.
The Drakkarans are a traditional monarchy, led at the highest levels of government by the Czar. Titles of nobility are typically bestowed by hereditary lines, but members of the upper ranks are allowed limited freedom to bestow titles of nobility upon others.
The titles of executive honor and nobility most common in Drakkar are presented here, in order of importance, from most to least. The duties and powers of most Rukkan, Barons, and Lurrans are often considered equal to each other depending on the the favor of the nobility above them.
- Kniaz (Prince and heir to the throne)
- Premiur Duke (Duchess)
- Nygan and Nyganika (Duke Prince or Princess - Heirs to Prmiur Duke and Duchess)
- Graf and Grafika (Count or Countess)
- Rukkan and Rukkana (Duke or Duchess)
- Baron and Baroness
- Lurran and Lurranna (Lord)
- Davorushka (Mayor)
Any non-slave human, Rom-shur, Lukoi, dwarf, or Shou born within the borders of Drakkar is considered to be a naturalized citizen of the country. Members of other races such as ogres, trolls, and israkk are typically considered to be alien residents although some are granted full citizenship for acts of noble service or sacrifice to the country. Goblinoids are occasionally granted alien resident status or citizenship, but this is much more rare.
A great majority of Drakkar's residents are human, with very significant populations of Lukoi and dwarves. Although the highest levels of government are entirely controlled by humans, some Lukoi have risen to the lower ranks of the ruling nobility classes, such as the Lord, Baron, Duke, or Count.
- Nobility: Most nobles are in positions of great power or have a great deal of wealth. Titles of nobility are typically inherited by one's parents or bestowed upon an individual of higher rank.
- Civil Servants and Military: Sheriffs, police, judges, advisers, councilmen, mayors, and military personal fall into this caste. While some may also be nobles, a majority are simply appointed to their position by other nobles.
- Citizens: Citizenship is typically limited to humans, Rom-Shur, Lukoi, dwarves, and Shou. Citizens possess full property rights and legal protection according to law but requires the citizen pay taxes and perform civic duties as determined by noble leaders.
- Alien Residents: These are foreigners or members of non-citizen races legally living within the borders of Drakkar. They are granted limited property rights and have limited civil protections under the law of the land.
- Slaves and Indentured Servants: Slaves have very limited rights under Drakkaran law.
- Criminals: Convicted criminals of severe crimes have very limited rights, even less than those of a slave.
Each Drakkaran citizen has the right...
- ... to own and sell property
- ... to marry and have heirs to their estate
- ... to protect his person, family, and property from aggression by others
- ... to protection from arrest without a warrant or just cause
- ... to a speedy trial before a magistrate or before a panel of magistrates if facing capital crime charges
- ... to challenge evidence and testimony presented against them
- ... to humane punishment and detention
Police and magistrate courts are charged with the duty of enforcing Drakkaran law in order to protect the interests of the country, its nobles, and its citizens. Capital crimes are the most severe crimes, which can be punishable by prison sentences, hard labor, or death. Other crimes are considered to be honor crimes, which are typically punished through the use of fines, labor, reparations, or moderate to light prison sentences.
- Assault upon a noble
- Theft on a grand scale
- Practice of the dark arts
- Consorting with dark forces
Practice of the dark arts is a fickle legal standard. Some magistrates are extremely specific while others equate nearly all magic or psychic ability with the "Dark Arts." To many it refers to necromancy, and profane magic, but many also equate hedge magic, shadowmancy, enchantment, domination, transmutation or any other display of magic or psychic prowess that may threaten or deceive someone. Equally dicey if not even more ambiguous is the capital crime of consorting with dark forces.
Drakkaran courts are overseen by a magistrate or panel of magistrates. Each of the ruling levels of nobility above Duke typically have at least one panel of magistrates, in addition to a magistrate or magistrate panel that serves at the local level. Magistrates do not directly enforce the law, but they appoint the Durevode (law enforcement) which answers to their court. Once appointed, a Durevode can not have his appointment revoked except by a superior ruling noble or mayor which his magistrate is under.
- Ruling noble or mayor
Magic and Drakkaran law do not mix well. During the investigation phase, magical or psychic means are sometimes (very rarely) employed if available to investigators, but the legal use of magic beyond that is very, very limited. Drakkaran courts are very cautious of magic or psychic abilities being used in courts and as such is typically prohibited except to protect individuals from physical harm. Psychic and magical evidence and testimony is difficult to admit in court, in part due to fears many have of magicians. Divinations and psychic readings are almost always discounted because of the risk of false or faked results which are often very subjective. Richer and more affluent courts will typically require witnesses, plaintiffs, and the accused to wear quality voidsteel headbands while delivering testimony to both prevent use of and protection from psychic or magical abilities.