I’ve attached some new maps.
Haryana planes have been occupied by orcs since time immemorial. Always in small bands chasing/herding large, powerful cow/buffalo creatures. The Nabatans are not just normal elves who live in the desert. They have comically large ears which allow them to regulate their heat. Gnomes and humans had previously lived in hunter gatherer tribes throughout the world.
Civilization as we may call it began on the shores of the Vetran river. It is a deep, powerful river running from the snow fall from the coastal mountains of the southern continent (Hryan). Time began year zero, the day the supereme god Vetra took a part of himself and shaped it into the form of man to rule the world. Or that’s how the story goes anyway. Controlling the river with levees and flooding the plains with sluices allowed for a massive increase in the production of wheat and barley, but also required a powerful hierarchy to coordinate massive construction efforts of peasantry. The City of Petras at the base of the alluvial fan of the Vetran river was the seat of the Petran God-Kings who ruled their river valley. They created massive monuments and were unchallenged by any foreign power.
With absolute power came absolute corruption and the Petran God-King dynasties rose and fell with intrigue and power struggles among the elite, but Vetra the River God invariably replaced one God-King with another.
The Guild of Mages traces its origin to this time, as the keeper of the secrets of magic and the tutors of the god-kings.
Petras reached its absolute zenith around year 3,000, which was about 2,000 years ago. At the height of its empire the Vetran delta was able to feed 40 million peasants, 400k noble warriors, 2k high priests, and one God-King. At this time the glittering road was an unmolested pathway from Petras to Ryskov. The Petran God-Kings sent out teams of humans and gnomes to colonize the world. It was at this time that the majority of cities were founded along the coast of the northern continent (Hronan). Human/gnomish settlements, these were always led by a team in which the humans cared for the defense and the gnomes cared for the accounting and taxation. At this time the settlements received raw resources from the surrounding tribes as tribute and also occasionally enslaved them. All raw resources flowed to Petras where they were processed/manufactured, taxed, and the remnants redistributed throughout the empire.
There are 3 active volcanoes on the continent of Hryan. Mount Haran is deep in the Nabatan Waste. It erupted in the year 3042 years ago and the Nabatans, always living on the margin of starvation beforehand, died in droves. The Petran God-Kings saw this as a sign that the Nabatans were an affront to Vetra. The Nabatans saw this as the first sign of judgment from their God Naath — too many young Nabatans had been seduced by the Petran way of life, too many Petrans had been allowed to pass through the desert. From the eruption of Mt Haran forward, the Nabatans have been subject to hate and disregard in Petras and all of its child cultures, and the Nabatans in return have harassed the glittering road into non-existance.
Mt Vekra stands not 15 miles away from the Vetran Delta. In the year 3891 it erupted. The ash blocked out the sun, the crops were ruined. The prophet Marchen preached that the apocalypse was upon them and that all those who clung to this world would perish with it. Even the warriors rose to destroy their own city. Almost overnight the Petran city burned to the ground. The levees were destroyed, the lower city was flooded, the upper city burnt, nothing was left.
3892 was the beginning of a dark age. Without Petras as the center of manufacturing, and without the warriors to maintain dominance over the hinterland tribes, the colonies became islands of civilization prey to their long abused neighbors and slaves. Much of the records of this time and previous are gone.
Slowly but surely power coalesced in west Hronan. In 3944 the Hansard league was founded of the few cities around the Kyalan straights which remained in contact. They maintained their sacred peace with the Chanagara, chisled in stone and sealed in blood upon the boundary markers placed when the first Petran colonists arrived on the Hronan shores.
In 4065 the city of Somenzk finally won a generations-old war with its neighbor Falkar and then began to gobble up the surrounding states. The Somenzk Empire dominated everything west of the Hronan mountains, it’s conquests fueled by the ambitions of its internally democratic nobility.
The Somenzk Empire attempted to conquer the Hansard league. The Somenzk empire attempted multiple times to attack Hansard, always failing. First failing in the sea, then in the mountain passes. On the third great attack the Somensks managed to reach the city walls of Hansard, but Hansard messengers were able to run the blockade and spread the word among the Chanagara. In 4272 in what became known as the GREAT DEFENSE OF HANSARD went down in the record books forever as the greatest single horde of Chanagara devastated the Somensk armies which had invested Hansard.
This became a turning point in history. The great houses of Somensk had one by one lost their honor in their failed attempts to take Hansard, and with this the last great house fell. Somensk fell into civil war and out from that civil war emerged a single victor who abolished the Somensk democracy and established his line of the Utzakan Emperors. Within 200 years the Empire became an unsustainable bureacuracy and fell into civil war until it finally broke into independent states. While this tragedy played out in the west, Hansard patiently controlled trade through the Kyalan straights. It reconnected itself with lost Petran colonies, and re-established colonies where it could not find survivors. When the Somensk empire fractured a few cities requested to be incorporated into the Hansard league, then a few more, until finally Somenzk itself, cut off from the world of trade completely controlled by Hansard, capitulated and joined the Hansard league in 4431.
Now there was only one power in the world: the Hansard league, ruled by the great houses, themselves descendants of the gnomish accountants sent out by the Petran emperors, but no one remembers those humble beginnings, as they were lost in the dark ages. All raw resources flow to Hansard, where they are processed, refined, and sent out again to the corners of the globe. The merchants are wealthy and the merchant houses use that wealth to assure peace.
In 4430, Temuj, an Orcish explorer rediscovered the ancient glittering road. Unmolested in his travels he sought funding from the Hansard league for the reestablishment of Petras. Remembering the God-Emperors of Petras and the evil they wielded, the Hansard league rejected Temuj’s offer to lead a party to reestablish Petras. Undaunted, Temuj went to the struggling city of Somenzk and produced the same offer. In what became a bureaucratic nightmare mix-up for Hansard, a large group of somenzki followed Temuj, leaving before Somenzk’s capitulation but reaching the Kyalan straights afterwards, so that the large colonization party was allowed to pass unmolested. For twenty five years they struggled on the banks of the Vetran river to reestablish themselves and to pierce the glittering road. They were not contacted by any traders, because no one knew they were there. The whole time Temuj did not contact Hansard because he felt that they would demand him quashed. When finally they did make contact again accidentally, a world peace had been in place long enough that fears of a rejuvenated Petras were overwhelmed by the wonderful gems Petras was able to export. Temuj was called to Hansard and in what is still one of the most hotly debated political turning points in world history, he was allowed to continue on with his work in Petras, given a large infusion of Hansard loyalists.
The gems are particularly important. There are many normal gems, but Ryskov gems are important ingredients in magic, and their power gets used up as they are used. They can also be used in many herbal remedies and elixirs. In short: The gems must flow.
The year is now 4652. The more active the glittering road became the more harassed it became by the Nabatans. The cadet branches of the Hansard merchant houses have become more independent. They are beginning to believe that Petras could return to its former glory. A combination of wooing manufacturing away from Hansard, building up a military power, figuring out the ancient engineering behind the water-control systems, undermining Hansard, and abusing their position of controlling the glittering road — all options have been probed enough to garner the attention of Hansard – and thus Karl Kristophson has been sent.
I’ll figure more about the local political struggle out tomorrow.