Introduction A hundred and thirty five years ago the great warlord Hroth united the disparate Haecomus of the central jungles. He built cities, cleared land, ordered that for the time his language be written down, and drove the Fulanti from our homelands.
But a dark cloud descended over Hroth’s Empire. His line died out and a destructive civil war nearly destroyed everything he sought to build. Today, a new Emperor reigns. In Haeka’s name he led the great men of the last generation beat back the anarchy that threatened the land. Ancient enemies of the Varican people have been vanquished and peace has returned to the land, for a time.
But now that time may be past. Old foes have rebuilt their strength and new enemies have emerged from the unknown lands beyond Varica. Many of the great men whose steady hands guided the Empire are dead and buried. A child sits on the throne of Varica, as fragile as his rule over the strongmen of the provinces.
Are there enough good men left loyal to the ideals of Hroth to hold Varica together? Will you be one of them? Or will you forge your own destiny and create something even greater than Varica? Your ancestors struggled long and hard to gather the strength you hold in your hands. It is up to you now. Will you squander their legacy, or a will songs be sung of your deeds long after your tribe is gone?
In this game you will take control of the king of a tribal confederacy in an alien world.Your confederacy is made up of tribes of Haecomus. The Haecomus are, for all intents and purposes, human. Their homeworld, Valdis, is in many ways similar to earth.
In this game, there is no such thng as victory. You decide what ‘victory’ means. It may mean having the largest richest cities. Perhaps you will be satisified the have the happiest people on the continent. Maybe you will be happy when you dominate Valdian trade. Some find satisfaction is creating stories, songs, poems, and chronicles that will be remembered for years. Some might not rest until the last wretched Fulanti has been purged from this world. Maybe, just maybe, your sword won’t be sated until it has tasted the blood of the false Emperor himself….
The Dawn of Haeka
In the beginning, there were only stars. Each star had a name and each was granted the power to bring about life and happiness. But the stars were jealous of their light, and kept it all to themselves. They built homes in the sky, keeping their light in their hearths. What we see in the night sky are merely tiny specks of light escaping from the chimneys of the cruel homes of the stars.
One star grew cold and alone in his home. This star was called Haeka. Haeka lived in his star-home for untold eons. The light he had been granted kept him alive, brought what he thought was happiness to him. Like all of his star brothers, he spent his time gazing into his light, but it brought him no happiness. He had never known any different, so he assumed that what he did feel was happiness, but he never knew real joy.
That is, until one day, when there came a knocking at his door. Somehow, he could not know how, three star-children lay at his doorstep. Haeka was shocked. If no star ever left the light of their home, then how could two have joined themselves to produce these star children? A new emotion struck Haeka. One he had never known before. He could not abandon the foundlings to their doom, so he brought them into his home, to be warmed by his light.
Haeka gave unto the three children of his light selflessly, giving all that he had. New emotion swelled over him, and for the first time in his life, he felt true happiness. Haeka had discovered the secret of light. The joy that it could bring could not be found by keeping the light to himself, but by using it to nurture others. Haeka adopted the three as his own daughters. He gave them the names of Ptolos, Thea, and Sara. In the language of the Haecomus, these names mean radiance, starlight, and sunshine.
In time Haeka’s daughters grew and became to shine with their own light, a light that grew from within themselves. Haeka was filled with great joy, as were his daughters, and they lived for a long time together in their house.
But eventually the sisters grew restless. Out of the windows of Haeka’s home they had spied a home that had no light. They asked their father what it was, and he said unto them, “That is a land of darkness. There dwell many lesser peoples there, who should be spared from the light. They are not deserving of our love.”
The sisters were horrified at their father’s words, “Aren’t they all creatures of life and death, as we are? How are they less deserving of us, just because we have light and they have only darkness?” cried sweet, little, Thea. “How can you deny them love, father?” demanded the strong-willed Ptolos, “Have you learned nothing since the day we came to you?” Haeka was angry with his children, and scolded Thea and Ptolos.
Sara held her tongue, but not because she disagreed with her sisters.
“Come my sisters,” she urged, “We cannot deny these people the light we love, let us go alone, and breathe life into their home.” So the sisters left alone, while Haeka was asleep. They left for our world, Valdis. The three stood in a circle around Valdis, and with all of their power, gave their light to Valdis. This light gave birth to the races of Valdis. From the radiance of Ptolos was born the Sargothi, who, taking after her, were smart and proud and brave. From Thea were born the Haecomus who were as graceful and creative and kind as their mother. And from Sara came the Thune, who were great builders and scholars and craftsman, which their mother gave unto them specially, to keep them through darkness.
But there were many Sargothi and Haecomus and Thune, yet only three sisters. The Haecomus and Thune took gently of their power, taking it only for half of the day. The Sargothi however, craved more and more light. They took and took and took, until the three sisters were exhausted. Still the Sargothi took, until the sisters lay dying in the skies above Valdis.
It was then that Haeka woke from his slumber. He could find no sign of his daughters. He searched, and searched, and searched, but could find no trace. Desperate, he threw himself out of his home, and saw the horrible sight of his dying daughters.
At first Haeka was angry, and blamed all of his daughter’s creations for their doom, and an age of darkness befell the world. In that time the Sargothi fell upon their brother species, and stole their life force from them. Ages went by, for a millennium for us is but a split-second for a star. Haeka was quick to realize his mistake, and blasted the Sargothi from the land, leveling their cities and scouring the countryside of their villages. The world suffered for the sins of the Sargothi.
Then Haeka held each of his daughters, and wept deeply for each one of them. Some days he still weeps, remembering his lost children. On those days his tears rain down upon Valdis, purifying the earth and bringing life to the creatures his daughters made.
Haeka looked upon the world as he wept. At last, too late, he saw the error of his ways. He returned to his home, and took his light from out of his hearth. He set fire to his home, and wandered into the darkness, his light banishing the darkness. He shared his light with the surviving children of our world. Though his children might be dead, their memories would live on in their children. He built three mausoleums in the sky, and put in each a portion of his light, so that, even at night, when Haeka’s wanderings take him far from our sight, we would remember the sacrifices of his children.
The History of Valdis
The Real History:
(This is out of character knowledge. You don’t know this and neither does anyone else in the game world.)
Four sentient races have existed on the planet of Valdis, but only two of them are natural. Eight thousand years ago, the Sargothi, huge amphibious creatures, dominated the planet. Their great sprawling cities dominated vast tracts of land. Their interstellar empire spread for thousands of light years.
The Sargothi raped worlds and devastated any other cultures they came across. They took slaves from the worlds they conquered and brought them back to Valdis for experimentation. It was from these experiments that the Haecomus and the Fulanti were born. Like a dozen other slave races across the Sargothi Empire, they were created deliberately to serve the Sargothi. Each race was specially created to fulfil certain tasks, but only the Haecomus and Fulanti served in great numbers on Valdis.
The Sargothi were not kind masters. Fulanti and Haecomus killed each other for the entertainment of the Sargothi. Others were forced into sex slavery or the backbreaking labour. As the Sargothi grew lazier and more decadent, they began to raise the cleverest of their slaves to positions of authority. Eventually, most of the day to day running of the Sargothi homeworld was done by slave races.
But the Sargothi could not rule forever. After two thousand years the Sargothi destroyed themselves in a vicious civil war. They may still survive elsewhere in the remnants of their shattered colonies, but none remained alive on Valdis.
Their cities were nothing but empty husks, where anything remained at all. The ruins were quickly overgrown by the rainforests of the south. In the north, and on the continent of Karagarada, the devastation of the war left nothing but vast deserts. Half of all life on the planet died, including most of their slave races.
Those who did survive fell into barbarism as they picked clean the bones of Sargothi civilization. After centuries of death, only two species remained: The Haecomus, based on primitive creatures taken from the Sol system, and the Fulanti, based on animals from the Juliaka system.
Just before the war, a species the Sargothi had ignored had just begun to use tools and develop a rudimentary language. They were the Thune, large rodents who lived in the vast savannah of the Karagaradan continent. The war ravaged their homeland and the newly developing Thune had to adapt to the vast deserts.
(This is the history you know)
In the dark times before Haeka brought us light, the world was ruled by the Sargothi. They were giant demons who rode across the world in giant iron steeds and who built towers as high as the mountains.
They were cruel lords who knew only the darkness. In those days, the Haecomus hid. We hid in the jungles and the caves and the mountains. We hid from the darkness and from what the Sargothi would do to us if they caught us. Even the mighty Thune hid for fear of the Sargothi. We were lost and alone, not knowing Haeka’s light. The Sargothi set upon us lesser demons of darkness. The Fulanti. They hunted us and killed us for sport, for fun.
But Haeka’s judgement came. He came to free his grandchildren from the darkness. The towers of the Sargothi were destroyed by great balls of light. Soon, days would dawn and the Haecomus would stumble into the light.
The Fulanti were leaderless and the Sargothi destroyed. The time had come for the Haecomus to claim their birthright and purge the jungles.
It was also in this time that the Thune empires rose. They claim to come from the far east, from a land no Haecomus has set foot on. They built great cities on the coast and spread westward. Villages grew in the north as the Thune continued to migrate. But as the jungles and forests of the south grow northwards, the Thune begin to return to their homes. The days of the old empires are numbered. The grasslands to the north will be ours, just as the jungles are, and just as the whole world is meant to be.
The Haecomus were little more than barbarian tribes, warring with each other and living off the land. Some developed agriculture, but farms are difficult to carve out of the rainforests. Some went north to the grasslands to live amongst the Thune villages where farmland was good. South went south across the great mountains. Most remained in their homelands.
A hundred years ago a man rose who would change all of that. His name was Hroth. Hroth united the Varican tribes and drove the Fulanti once and for all from our lands. With peace established, he held onto power and set his great army to work on clearing land. He founded a mighty city at the confluence of the two greatest rivers: Varica. From Varica, he built more cities and cleared more land. He granted this land to his veterans whose ancestors still farm it today.
His most loyal supporters were put in charge of the lesser tribes. They would rule provinces in his empire for him, and bow only to he, the mighty Varican Emperor, and his heirs. These provincial lords were known as Kings. The lesser tribal chiefs would be known as Thanes.
Mines were built, trade routes established, and trade encouraged. The Haecomus had finally begun to produce at a level slightly higher than subsistence. An agricultural revolution was at hand. Along with it came the beginnings of a cultural transformation, from migratory to sedentary life.
Hroth’s children ruled for three generations until Hrothiya, pregnant with the last heir in Hroth’s line, died in childbed and took the children with her.
Twenty years of chaos resulted. Hroth’s empire fractured. A dozen-sided civil war ensued that broke apart much that Hroth had done. During the twenty years of war, some of Varica’s provincial kings joined in the civil war, but none could seize the capital. Whether they fought or not, all began to consolidate power within their provinces. Soon, provincial cities grew to rival Varica.
Meanwhile, other powerful tribes began to weld together their own confederations on par with the provincial Kings. These wild kings made attacks on their provincial neighbours and eventually, forced each king to build his own armies to protect their homelands.
In the end, one man stood victorious, a wily politician who had renamed himself Hroth, the fourth by that name to rule. But the Empire he ruled was a shadow of its former self. Hroth IV’s rule was established over Varica in AF 119.
The early years of Hroth IV’s rule were precarious. He found few allies among the Kings of Varica and none beyond its borders. The first threat to Hroth IV’s rule came from the Northern Tribes. Ancient enemies of the Varicans, the Northern Tribes were terrified of a united Varica and marched out against the new Emperor. Kingh Luci gathered the northmen and, with the mercenary Gamars behind them, marched south towards Varica.
Hroth IV called out for aid. The kings of the north answered his call. Adalbrandr, King of the Hrafn, Lord Thomas of the Gibral, and the child-king Haecadem II of the Werar answered the call. Together, the four allies defeated the Snerkitta so completely that they were forced out of Varica completely while the Gamars moved westward. While the north was secured, enemies came from other quarters to ravage Varica.
The south was consumed with alien invaders: the Sunta, wild hill men from the land of wheat and fish. The wars have lasted on and off for years now. The Tera fight hard against the Sunta and thousands of warriors have been slain on each side. Slowly the Tera have gained ground against the Sunta, but at a terrible cost. The greatest blow against the invaders came early in the war when the Huroto intervened and gutted the north of the Sunta domains, ripping away their only loyal vassal.
To the west, old enemies rose from the ashes. A successor state to the fallen Soltalan Empire (destroyed by Hroth IV before he became Emperor), the Nakar, began to expand into tribes bordering on Darium and Dolu. Most worrying was their treatment of the Fulanti as equals.
The Darians, the most powerful and remote kingdom, itself a recent conquest of foreign barbarians by ambitious Varican thanes, invaded the Dolu, arguably one of the weakest but most ethnically distinct kingdoms. Using the situation to tie the Dolu to the Varican throne, Hroth IV opposed the invasion, but could do little until the Northern Tribes were defeated. In the meantime, the Dolu kingdom burned.
Some tribes openly defied the new Emperor. The Oerdan looked elsewhere, forming close ties with the Thune cities of Tessilki and the Yirshian League. Some, like the Huroto, Rheni, and the minor tribes, simply ignored the Emperor.
While Hroth IV was away smiting the Northern Tribes, his finest general, Hronu, joined together with a demagogue calling himself Hroth V rose in rebellion. They were joined by the Vocci and Ferra, much of Varica’s garrison, as well as the kings of Darium and Oerdan. The Nakar and their Fulanti allies joined as well, hoping for revenge. However, the attempted coup was defeated by a joint force of the three north eastern kingdoms along with Validira.
Haergar II of the Oerdan submitted to the Emperor and other kingdoms, such as the Rheni, recognized the right of Hroth IV to rule. With his powerbase secured, Hroth IV marched north in 127 with his victorious allies to free Dolu from the Darian yoke.
The Battle of the Checka River was the decisive battle of the war in the north. The exhausted Darians joined together with the Gamars, Nakar, and Fulanti against a combined force or six Varican kingdoms and Hroth IV’s bodyguard. The Gamars switched sides halfway through the battle and sealed the fate of Darium.
Reinforced from the south in AF 129, the allies marched into Darium. The royal family was slaughtered by vengeful Dolu and a Hrothnani was put on the throne. Despite their greater numbers and experience, the Varicans were exhausted and the Nakar/Fulanti alliance held their own against the Varicans. After three more years of raids and skirmishes, led by the Werar, the Nakar and Fulanti were forced to abandon Tasnakari and move further into the plains to secure peace.
With peace finally achieved in AF 132, Hroth IV turned his attention to repairing his fragile kingdom. Hroth laid the foundation for a lasting peace in AF 127. He tied his house by marriage to two of his strongest allies. Adalbrandr, the closest ally of Hroth, married Hroth’s young cousin Jyanna. Hroth himself took Callista, the daughter of Validira’s King Matteo, as his first wife. Venci became his second wife in 135 as a means of cementing the direct vassalage of the Varathu tribe.
All over the Empire, the scars of thirty years of war began to heal. Those struck worst by war, Werhold, Dolu, Darium, the Nakar, Teral and the Sunta, were slow to build on this prosperity. Validira and the foreign Nimosans formed the backbone of the new trading economy. Early industries begun by the forward thinking monarchs of Werhold and Validira helped enrich their investors as these links grew.
Some tribes looked inwards. The three allies of the north east, Werhold, Assfell and the Gibraly Empire, retained the strong links established by their shared experience against their western enemies. Together with Varica, they colonized the land of the Northern Tribes. The Hrafn enjoyed a cultural golden age brought on by the epic bard Finoir. Assfell was grew to be recognized as the second city of culture in Varica. They supported the emergence of a new kingdom, the Romadi, to strengthen their power-block.
Others, like the Oerdan and the Huroto, looked outwards. The Oerdan fought valiantly beside the Thune city states and were rewarded with Thune knowledge. Meanwhile, the Huroto sent expeditions south over the mountains to the lands of wheat and fish. Knowledge of what lies south is jealously guarded, but the Huroto are using the goods they have acquired there, and their unrivalled river fleet, to challenge Validira for control of trade routes.
As the years passed and Varica grew in strength, so too did her neighbours. The Cirici-Yumin alliance made peace with Tessilki and her allies in 135, keeping three minor city states in the treaty and severely disrupting the balance of power in the city states. Many Haecomus from the Yumin Confederacy were invited to occupy the new land and formed their own tribe, the i’Vum-Yumin (Ever-Victorious-Yumin).
Also, in Thune lands, war has resumed between Tarnee and Tikeecee has resumed, this time due to Tikeecee aggression. No one can say why the Tikeecee have decided on such a suicidal path, but the rumours of farms burned and villages slaughtered in the north-westerly Drissili Freeholds might be the cause.
The Gamars have grown fat off of the prizes of their past treacheries. With fertile plain land finally in their hands, some Gamars have grown fat and complacent. The old King, Vagram of the West Gamars retired his throne after twenty years in AF 140 in favour of the East Gamar King Vaughan who is eager to earn glories of his own.
The first two years of Vaughan’s reign saw him war with the Seven-Star Fulanti. Accepting, the inevitable, the Seven-Star yielded their ancestral land to the Gamars. In exchange, they were granted safe passage to the lands south of the Nakar.
The Nakar took pride in their success as holding back the combined Varican armies. Today, they are stronger than ever. The Seven-Star Fulanti joined their coterie of bestial allies, quickly assuming leadership over their own Fulanti confederacy. This Fulanti nation could prove to be a powerful asset, a liability, or a dangerous foe depending on how the Nakar play their cards.
The Nimosans have gained in strength over the last two decade. Untroubled by war and culturally unified, this small trading nation is making a big impact on Varica.
Warmaster Kraal of the Sunta was slain in battle by the Tera in the many wars between them. The new Warmaster, Dhakaan, is a popular young warrior. He has chafed to regain the glory lost to the Tera and Huroto. Dhakaan has not made up his mind where he shall strike, but one thing is certain: where the Sunta are concerned, blood is inevitable.
Most disturbing are the rumours from the north and east. A strange force known as the Manische are making aggressive moves on the Haecomus Zostor tribes and Thune freeholds beyond the Varican Empire. As we speak, Adalbrandr has marched his army north to determine the truth about these strange men.
While threats abound beyond the borders of the Empire, a greater crisis has emerged in the heart of the nation. Hroth IV lies dead. After more than twenty years as Emperor, he passed peacefully in his sleep. His son, the eight year old Hroth V has been crowned Emperor. The reign of the boy child is fragile. The regent, an ancient court advisor named Taka, is trusted by many but at the age of ninety-four, may die himself soon, leaving the regency in contention.
The royal houses of the Xanfa and Hrafn are tied directly to Hroth IV’s house by marriage, while all other royal houses can trace a distant descent from Hroth I. Hroth IV’s thirteen year old daughter Jali and the infant litterbrothers Horsha and Hormung will likely have parts to play in the courtly battles to come.
The Haecomus are the dominant species of Valdis, so far as they know. There is great variation between Haecomus depending on how they have adapted to their homelands. Varicans are known for their size, usually standing between 5’2” and 6’, several inches taller than most other Haecomus. Varicans have a wide range of hair colours, mostly commonly a shade of brown or brown-red, but also blacks, blondes, and reds of all shades. Eye colours tend to be brown, but also blue, green, grey, and even the rare black or yellow are possible. Varican skin tone is usually a lighter shade of brown, though in some tribes a lighter skin tone is dominant.
Haecomus are in appearance very similar to humans, leading some future scholars to guess that the Haecomus were modelled off of captured humans. The most notable differences are found on the female of the species. The female Haecomus has a special organ known as the ‘lover’s pouch’ similar to what some reptiles on Earth and mammals on Valdis possess. It allows the female to store sperm for several months, only allowing it to escape the pouch and fertilize her egg when she chooes. It gives the female Haecomus complete control over reproduction, which has created some interested gender dynamics in Haecomus society. Also notable, Haecomus children are born in litters of 2-4. Single births are uncommon but not unknown, as are births of 5, 6, or even 7 children.
Haecomus in general, and Varicans especially, are known for their passion. They are passionate warriors, lovers, and explorers. They often do not think before they act and are quick to rise to something they see as a challenge.
Varicans have a strong oral culture. Only recently has a written form of language been developed, and fewer than 1% of the population can read or write it. Their history is passed down orally through stories and song. Some are simple folktales passed down from grandparents to grandchildren, some are epics that take months to tell and are sung by the songweavers and are never the same twice. It is through these stories that social rules, tribal law, religion, history, current events, and more are passed on. This is slowly changing as writing, both the written Varican form and imported Thune writing systems and texts, becomes more widespread.
In most tribes, Varican society is relatively egalitarian. Unlike the Thune, gender roles are not absolute. Women are considered equal but different and have a strong voice in politics. It is not uncommon to see some female Haecomus march with their menfolk to war. This number is however, still small. Men are still the dominant force in most tribes, though the odd tribe is matriarchal and some tribes have allowed a powerful female leader to rule. Hrothiya, the last ruler before the fall of the Varican Empire ruled for six months before dying in childbed.
In reality, the Thune are the most powerful species on Valdis. Almost as numerous as the Haecomus, they come from the arid plains to the north of the Varican rainforests and the Pythian mountains. They migrated to the smaller continent due to population pressures and the effects of drastic climate change as the world cooled as a result of healing from the Sargothi’s destruction. The majority of the Thune now live either in the smaller continent, or in the equatorial grasslands on the eastern coast.
It is the Thune of this east coast that have the most contact with the Haecomus. The Thune city-states are constantly vying with each other for power. Many cities dwarf even mighty Varica. Karski, traditionally the most powerful city, is said to have a population of over 300,000, making it the largest city outside of the fabled Karagarada, a legend of the Thune continent. Some Thune continue to live in small communities to the north, though they now face pressures from migrating Haecomus and refugee Fulanti.
The Thune are descended from rodents and have a hunched posture. They can travel on all fours, but prefer their hind paws for upright walking. They average 4’ tall, though they would stand taller if not hunched. Their fur varies in colour but is often sparse and a light brown or grey colour for those living in the equatorial zone. Northern Thune have much thicker fur that tends to be a dark brown or black.
Thune are matrinlineal society, with children taking the given name of their mother as their surname. They are also strictly patriarchal. Women have their place, and they are expected to stay out of men’s work. However, the chief female of the household has complete authority over the home and family matters.
Thune have a strong sense of community and a great appreciation for education. They are often great traders, scholars, and innovators. Thune are not averse to warfare, but try to avoid it if they can gain a diplomatic victory.
The Fulanti vary greatly if their appearance. They are usually large creatures, growing up to seven feet tall but averaging six feet. They have fur all over their bodies usually in some sort of pattern or colour blend. They are bestial in appearance, sometimes with long snouts and sometimes with shorter ones. They usually have an upright posture but some run on all fours. They almost always have sharp teeth and powerful jaws and long, rending claws. Unlike the omnivorous Haecomus and Thune, the Fulanti are dedicated carnivores.
Fulanti organize themselves into bands and tribes, much as the Haecomus used to and to an extent still do. Their culture is in most cases very basic. The only clothing they wear are trophies and religious artefacts made from the skins and bones of their defeated prey or enemies. In most Fulanti bands, strength alone determines who leads.
A rare few Fulanti bands have begun to organize in the way the Haecomus have. Some have developed very complex rituals and societies, but they are very rare.
It is generally believed, even among the Fulanti, that their days are numbered. It is estimated that the Fulanti are outnumbered more than 10:1 by the Haecomus in their own homeland. It is not known whether Fulanti still survive outside of the rainforests.
Known Valdis can be divided into five major regions. Each of these regions has a wide range of physical features, but as a general rule, they tend to conform to similar patterns. In addition to the main continent, there are many legendary lands across the seas.
The Homeland region of Valdis is dominated by vast rainforests. Criss-crossing these rainforests are hundreds of rivers. Almost all of them eventually drain into the mighty Dhun River that leads to the Great Eastern Sea. The rainforests eventually give way to mountains in the north and south. Along the coast between these mountains lies great hilly grasslands which are home to many pastoral Haecomus. The rainforests eventually give way to drier forests when the hit the mountains to the north and south. These forests thin out the further north one travels. The Varican Empire is centred in this region.
The Northern Reaches
Several tribes headed north, out of the rainforests. They found thin woods and expansive prairies between them and the frigid north. This excellent farmland is also home to Thune freeholds, smaller independent settlements that lack the population or technology of their brothers to the East. It is said the further north you go, the colder it gets, but the better the farmland. It is also said that if you go far enough north, another mountain range exists, populated by fell beasts and degenerate tribes of monsters.
The Land of Fish and Wheat
It is said that some Haecomus have braved the southern mountains. Those few that manage to survive a return crossing tell stories of Haecomus city states to river those of the Thune. They speak of expansive plains of golden grains, fish so thick they jump into your boat, and animals twice the size of regular animals that have no fear of Haecomus. The Huroto, Tera, and Nimosans have begun to venture into these strange lands.
Dracmoor means ‘beyond the mountains’. In this case, beyond the northern mountains. The journey through the mountain passes are treacherous, largely due to the presence of the fierce Gamar tribe, but also due to the weather and the monsters that dwell beyond, eager to repel any who would invade their territory. The most frightening legend is that the Fulanti there have built their own city, a mirror image of Varica, and are building their own empire. The Snerkitta passed dracmoor in the 120’s to escape the wrath of Hroth IV. No word has reached Varica of their fate.
The Thune Cities
The Thune control the savannah between the rainforests, the northern reaches, and the Straits of Karano. Here the Thune struggle over each other’s riches. It is said that the savannah continues on the other side of the Straits, but no Haecomus has been allowed passage.
The Endless Desert
Beyond the Straits of Karano is said to be a vast, endless desert bordered by mountains. It is rumoured that beyond these mountains lies the edge of the world and that to climb these mountains will mean an infinite fall. Somehow, this desert supports the great Thune Empires with their fabled capitals. Most importantly, the legendary city of Karagarada, the city of knowledge, where men have tamed the elements of wind, water, fire, and earth and record every word said throughout the world.
The Lost Continent
The lost continent is the name for the last Sargothi holdout on Valdis. When Haeka destroyed the Sargothi, his light failed to find this island, as the Sargothi dwelt in deep pits beneath the ground there, working their slaves to death in the depths working on unfathomable projects. Some say this island lies to the north, as only the Sargothi could live in the frozen pole. Other say the island moves and can appear anywhere with Sargothi loaded in ships ready to take entire villages captive.
The Fortress-island of Bahmal is scarcely believed to exist even by most Haecomus. It is said that the noble races of Thune and Haecomus were reduced to this one mighty but beleaguered fortress during the endless dark. It was during the last siege on Bahmal that the Sargothi and Fulanti were driven back by Haeka’s light. It is said the Haecomus and Thune spread out from this island. Only a few Haecomus stayed behind, vowing to keep the eternal flame at the centre of the keep burning for all time in remembrance.
Every Emperor, King, and Thane has a home. This home contains, at the very least, a great drinking hall where the lord and his people gather. These halls can be located in towns, villages, or even on their own. Ditches, hills, walls, and even gates often protect them. In rich kingdoms, even powerful local Aikings and high ranking Raeka may be given control of small border posts or village halls from which the local defence may be co-ordinated. As the game progresses, advances in castles will allow you to build larger and more advanced castles. You can spend timber, building stone, metal, and other resources to build castles and other fortifications. All cities are assumed to have a simple wooden wall surrounding them.
You should note where your king’s own hall is located. While you technically have a ‘capital’, in reality, this was merely the provincial capital of the former Varican province. Your ‘capital’ is wherever your king decides to hold court.
Sargothi ruins overgrown, battered shells. They are dangerous and ill-omened, but they are also the bases for many provincial cities. They are well positioned, often in good harbours or at river forks or in areas with strategic value. They also provide a good base to build from as some have surviving canals, roads, or foundations. They are also a valuable source of metal. There are legends of what evils lurk in some of these cities, from enormous monsters to Sargothi remnants to Fulanti and degenerate Haecomus.
You may find Sargothi ruins as you explore Valdis. At your option, your starting city may be built on a Sargothi ruin. Otherwise, you may have one ruin somewhere in your starting territory. Sargothi ruins are marked on the map with a red x.
A note on Valdis’ lack of metals
The Sargothi’s rape of Valdis left little in the way of natural resources. Trees grew back, ecosystems changed and recovered, and animals multiplied, but non-renewable resources like metals and fossil fuels were severely depleted. Mines are rare, as it is hard to find useful deposits of metals. It is even rarer that the Haecomus, or even the Thune, have the technology to be able to access these deposits. As a result, the only major source of metals are Sargothi ruins or bog iron. Owning metal objects, especially metal weapons or armor, is a common way of displaying your status on Valdis.
There are four sources of income in the game. These are: Agriculture, Settlements, Tribute, and Trade.
Agriculture: Every year at harvest time your loyal subjects turn in a portion of their crop to you, their lord and protector. Droughts are rare in Varica, but natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, or pest infestations can hurt agricultural production. In times of war enemy armies may raze your people’s fields and slay their livestock. Your income for that year may be affected by this plundering. Most of your income will usually be from agriculture.
Settlements: Settlements of significant size are rare in Varica. Even the great city of Varica itself boasted a mere 50,000 souls at its height. Most settlements will contain between 10-25,000 people. For every 1,000 citizens, you will gain 1 EP. These EPs come in the form of taxes on your townsmen. Settlements are subject to the same natural disasters as agricultural land. The ravages of war can take a greater toll on settlements, but they all have at least a wooden wall and hopefully a garrison to protect from marauding enemies. A prosperous city untouched by hardship can quickly become the heart and soul of your kingdom. Every year your cities will receive a growth rate. This is the percentage that the population increased this update. The default is 2%.
Tribute: Every vassal tribe pays 20 EP as default in tribute. Kings can demand a higher tribute, but this will hurt their relations with the tribes whose taxes are increased and may also harm the tribe. Likewise, a lower tribute will lead to friendlier relationships and stronger vassals. If a tribe has been called to war, then it does not pay tribute for that year.
You will receive income every year. You can find your Agriculture and Settlement, income in your profile. Your tribute can be set by you and should be included in your budget.
Trade is a complex subject handled elsewhere in these rules.
You are the ruler of a tribal confederacy. Though they acknowledge you as their liege lord and protector, this is largely because you lead the strongest tribe, not because they believe in you.
Some tribes will be ancient allies, while others have been beaten into submission. Some thanes may genuinely believe in you, but most would gladly take your place if you prove to be weak or incompetent.
Every king has vassals. These vassals make up the bulk of the land and people he rules. Any king could be easily overthrown by his vassals combined their might, but such an alliance is rare. Thanes are as antagonistic to each other as they are to you.
Powerful thanes may attempt a coup or rebellion against you either on their own or as a group.
Vassals present a dilemma. When they are strong, they are a challenge to your authority. When weak, they can contribute little to your realm’s defence. There are several ways you can manage your vassals.
The first is story posting. Unless specifically noted otherwise by the moderator, tribal thanes can be created and directed by the player. Don’t abuse this. Thanes are not mindlessly loyal sycophants. They are usually brave (and sometimes stupid) warrior lords with their own agendas, ambitions, and interpretations of honour and duty.
The second is through tribute. A light tribute helps a tribe grow and makes them more loyal, a high tribute does the opposite.
Warfare is another method. Getting a disloyal tribe’s warriors killed in battle is a good way to prevent a rebellion (or to start one if it is obvious the losses were intentional). When all else fails, using force to bust a few heads and install a new thane can solve some problems. Successful wars and generous distributions of lands and plunder will increase the confidence and loyalty of your vassals. Successful wars also increase the loyalty of your army and general populace. Losing wars does the opposite.
If you wish to engage in diplomacy with your vassal tribes, go through the same methods are other NPC diplomacy either message me or make a diplomatic post. If you decide to call upon a tribe’s warband, include it in your yearly orders.
The Life of the Nomad:
Sometimes, it is in a tribe’s best interest to pack up their belongings and find a new home. They may be forced from their homes by a conqueror, flee a disaster or an overwhelming enemy, or simply seek greener pastures.
If you wish to do this, then all of your settlements, agriculture, and trade routes disappear. If your vassals are loyal, then their tribes will join you in your exodus and their warbands will automatically be raised. The moderator will assign you an income, which will be low.
Once you are on the march, the rest is up to you. If you wish to move to new lands, simply order your tribe to explore. You may find a paradise, or die in some Haeka-forsaken wasteland. Alternatively, you can always invade a neighbouring tribe and take their land…
Upkeep for your military does not need to be paid when a tribe is on the move.
Varicans are a predominantly rural civilization. Less than one in twenty live in settlements larger than a thousand people. Many tribes are, in fact, still nomadic, though this is becoming increasingly rare. Settled life has its benefits however. Towns become the nexuses for trade networks. They serve as centres of defence and administration.
Some settlements will form on their own, often as the result of story posting and peaceful economic development. Most of the time, however, you will need to attract settlers and pay for the construction of new settlements. Attracting settlers (or forcibly relocating members of yours and vassal tribes) is automatically assumed unless your tribe has suffered from significant depopulation or has already built several settlements in a short period of time.
A settlement of 5,000 people costs 60EP. A settlement of 10,000 costs 160EP. Population increases or decreases over time through moderator discretion. Peace and prosperity will encourage growth.
Strong vassals may develop settlements of their own.
Realm Improvement and Cultural Development:
Unlike some other NESes, you cannot directly improve stats like ‘education’ or ‘economy’ through direct investment. Other than establishing trade routes and building new settlements, there are two main ways of improving your realm.
The first and most method important is the writing of stories. Traditional stories, told from the perspective of your royal family or other citizens in your confederacy, are encouraged. These allow you to explore your people’s culture and highlight the glories of your realm and your King’s nation-building initiatives.
Don’t be afraid to get creative. Look at stories from the 7th – 12th centuries as good examples. Norse sagas are good inspiration, as are myths and legends of all sorts. Write in period, write an epic poem, or record the law as laid down by your King, or write a biography in the style of medieval writers. Players in past iterations of the game have written songs and poetry, written chronicle-style histories, recorded dreams, and even fought duels using role-playing systems and recorded the events as a story. The sky is the limit.
The second method is to throw money at the problem. This also requires some creativity. Rather than spend 30EP on advancing your Education level from ‘Stupid->Slightly less stupid’, you have to give concrete examples of what you are doing. Poaching scholars from other king’s courts, for example.
Likewise, if you want to strengthen your culture or increase the confidence of your tribe, then you might add this to your orders: 4EP to commission a bard to write an epic poem to be performed every winter in my King’s great hall.
Spending money on road-building might lead to better trade opportunities, while building mines might provide metal reserves to give you an edge on the battlefield, land clearance or irrigation might lead to greater agricultural income.
It is important to keep in mind that you are playing as a collection of savages who have only known widespread agriculture and written language for about a hundred and thirty years, if not less.
For best results, combine both methods. Spend some money and write a sentence description of your King’s latest improvement in your budget, then write a story about it for public posting.
Confidence, Military Morale, and Culture
The overall health of your empire, its people, and their culture, will be summed up in summary at the end of each update. These are not easily quantifiable and are often measured in relation to the tribes around you. These are affected mainly by posting, but things such as trade routes or a wave of immigrants may significantly change culture. Likewise, factors such as huge festivals paid for by your liege, military defeats or victories, or natural disasters will affect how your people or military think of you.
Your vassal’s relationship to you is represented in a single word. This is done on a ‘slider’ style. A movement to the right puts you in a more favourable category while a move to the left does the opposite. The factors that affect this relationship are listed in the ‘Vassals’ section. The default is ‘Apathetic’.
Rebellious—Angry—Belligerent—Resentful—Distrustful —Apathetic—Content—Friendly—Brotherhood—Loyalty unto Death
There are three types of goods in Varica. Food, Military Goods, and Luxuries. You can find how much you produce in the ‘Goods Production’ line of your stats. 8 food, 2 boats, 1 crossbows means you produce 8 units of food, 2 units of boats, and 1 unit of crossbows each turn. Luxuries:
Luxuries include anything not needed for basic survival. Honey, mead, glass, tapestries, exotic spices, etc, etc. Each unit of luxuries is worth 1 EP. You can sell Luxuries via trade routes or consume them to make your people happy.
If you wish to consume luxuries, just state how much you wish to consume in your orders. You don’t need to consume any luxuries unless you feel the need to distract them with ‘bread and circuses’.
For information on selling luxuries, see Trade Routes. Food:
For every 5 power of your combined tribes or 500 soldiers, you require 1 unit of food. Round up both numbers. If you don’t have enough food, your people will starve, your campaigns will be in jeopardy, and your rule will be threatened. In brackets the types of luxuries you produce will be noted for flavor. Military Goods:
Some goods are military goods. This includes Vorthai, Slaves, Metal, Boats, Obsidian and Crossbows. Military goods are used in the production of units. It is possible to reduce a unit to a fraction as a result of using it for military purposes.
Vorthai – 1 Unit of Vorthai is required for the creation of 100 cavalry or 50 chariots. For every 1 unit of Vorthai you possess, you will gain .2 units of Vorthai next turn.
Slaves – 1 Unit of slaves may be used to create 200 levies at half price. Captured in war.
Metal – 1 Unit of Metal is required for the creation of every 100 Tiaka, Raeka, or Falkans. Found in Sargothi ruins, rarely found in mines.
Boats – 1 Unit of boats is required for every 10 Boat units. Created at docks.
Crossbows – 1 Unit of crossbows is required for every 100 crossbowmen. Obtained by trade with the Thune or specialized craftsmen.
Obsidian – is used by Nimosans the same way that metal is used by Varicans.
Every state, from the mightiest warrior kingdom to the smallest gerontocratic village engages in trade. Despite the stigma often associated with nobles who engage in trade, commerce is vital for the survival of every lord’s community. As such, the lords of Varica do not engage in trade per see. Instead, they make arrangements with other lords to establish and protect trade routes used by their subjects.
The creation and maintenance of roads through the jungle, caravan trails through the desert, locks and river patrols through the mighty river system require the co-operation of local lords, their soldiers, merchants, and travelers.
In order to engage in trade, a Varican lord need only reach an agreement with another lord and make known the path it will take. This path must trace through friendly states, or at least states that grant you permission. Also needed is the number and type of warriors that will patrol the route.
Each trade route will be assessed to be worth a certain amount. This amount is the number of luxuries each partner can trade along it. A trade route between the Bexian and Xanfa would be worth 5 luxuries, since they are close by and have similar products. A route from Tessilki to the Romadi however, might be worth 15 or 20 luxuries because of the distance and different products. It is possible for one partner to gain more profit from a trade route. It’s even possible that one player will make no profit at all if they feel their luxuries are better spent elsewhere.
Any lord may attempt to raid your caravans or shipping. Any lord along a trade route can decide to disallow, seize, or destroy goods going through their nations. If the caravan is guarded, a battle will ensue.
Trade routes to areas outside of Varica, Nimosa, the Thune Cities, and Nakar earn double EP.
[i]Example: The Nakar wish to make a trade route to Sunta territory. They choose a path that goes through Huroto and Validiran territory. Sunta agrees to the route. The Nakar offer the Huroto 5 EP to allow the trade route to happen. Validira is also paid 5 EP to allow the trade route, but refuse to let through any military goods (i.e. metals and vorthai). The Nakar decide to send 1 unit of metal and 10 luxuries to the Sunta while the Sunta decide to send 2 units of slaves and 10 luxuries. Validira confiscates the metal when it reaches their territory but let the rest pass. The Huroto secretly decide to raid both nations’ trade caravans. The Nakar and Sunta have both assigned 50 spearmen to protect their traders. This is enough to protect them from bandits and river pirates, but not from the 200 Huroto warriors attacking them. Several small skirmishes ensue over the course of the years and in the end, only 5 units of Nakar luxuries and 1 unit of Sunta slaves and 5 units of luxuries make it their final destinations.
The army is divided into two categories. The first is your king’s personal forces. These are professional soldiers maintained by your king. It is your responsibility to protect your people and subject tribes. If you fail to protect them, then your vassals will find someone else who can.
Professional forces are often inherited from the professional garrisons left behind when the Varican Empire collapsed. The new dynasty has declined to take direct control of these garrisons, leaving full control in the hands of the kings. For non-Varicans, such as Nimosa and the Nakar, these are the professional forces of their natural rulers.
1 EP buys a set number of soldiers of a certain type. These soldiers will then have an upkeep cost. Every year, you add up your upkeep, round up to a whole number, and pay that number of EPs to maintain your professional military force. Some units also require trade goods.
There is no penalty for using these forces, other than the cost of replacing soldiers. A king can fight much longer using only professional soldiers, but the war will be more limited.
The second element in your army are the tribal warbands. These are part-time warriors who lack the discipline and loyalty of professional forces. However, these forces don’t cost you anything. All you have to do is call upon your subject tribes to raise their warband, and they will fight for you. The more powerful and loyal the tribe is, the larger and more loyal the warband. You can call upon your own King’s tribal warband as well.
Treating warbands like arrow fodder is a good way to weaken a subject tribe and earn their hatred.
As a general rule, warbands are better suited to fighting in the rainforests of Varica. Professional soldiers are better at fighting on the plains outside of Varica, where their formations are more effective. Professional soldiers are also more effective in siege warfare.
A significant difference between warband and professional forces is the idea of campaign seasons. There are two campaign seasons: summer, and winter. The Summer season includes late spring, summer, and early autumn. The winter season includes late autumn (harvest time), winter, and early spring (planting time).
Warbands are usually only kept in the field during the summer campaign season. They may fight in the summer season without penalty. You may force levied warbands to fight during the winter, but at a penalty to morale and loyalty. Keeping them in the field for three or four seasons in a row will lead to great difficulties.
In addition, warbands kept in the field for consecutive seasons will suffer morale penalties and desertion. The second season in the field will have small penalties, but subsequent seasons will see increasing war weariness.
The mild Varican winter (more accurately called the dry season) allows professional forces to continue campaigning all year round. Professional forces may campaign in the winter season with no penalty.
Offensive military orders should be sent at the same time as your budget. Offensive orders include any aggressive move you make against an enemy force. If you are already at war with someone, then your orders are considered offensive.
If you are invaded by a PC or NPC force, then you will receive an invasion warning. You will have approximately 3 days to submit defensive orders. These orders detail your response to the invasion.
Usually, only a sketch warplan is needed. X army made up of Q soldiers under the command of Y move to Z, is all that is required. Feel free to add a few details, but don’t go on for too long. A paragraph or two for each active military force is ideal.
War plans against enemy tribes (even barbarian tribes) should also include your overall plan for the territory in question. The five main possibilities include:
Vassalization – The tribe becomes another vassal tribe.
Partition – A portion of the tribe/kingdom’s land is directly ruled by your king. The rest remains the demesne of a weakened vassal tribe.
Conquest – You take direct control of the entire tribal land and people.
Drive off – You take the tribe’s lands for yourself and bring in your own people as settlers. The current tribe is exiled and has to find a new home.
Annihilation – You take the tribe’s lands for yourself and show no mercy to its previous owners.
All of these outcomes have benefits and risks. It is a good idea to give some land or plunder to any vassal tribes that helped you in the war.
Availability: All Varican and Nakar kingdoms
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/20
Description: Levies are townsmen and farmers inexperienced in the ways of war. They are rounded up and thrown into battle with what weapons they can afford, often farming implements, simple spears, family heirlooms or wood axes.
Availability: All Varican and Nakar kingdoms
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/10
Description: It is said that archery is in the blood of Varicans. Recruited from hunters and woodsmen, it was archers who turned the tide against the Fulanti. Today they are a mainstay in organized armies.
Availability: All Varican and Nakar kingdoms
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/10
Description: Spearmen are armed, unsurprisingly, with spears. They have long spears for keeping enemies at a distance and short spears for stabbing over their wall of shields. Spearmen are a disciplined anchor whose main goal is to resist the efforts of their opponents to break through their formation. Once they have blunted the enemy’s charge, other units move in to finish the job. Spearmen are usually protected by leather armour.
Availability: All Varican and Nakar kingdoms
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/8, 1 Metal per 100
Description: The Tiaka were developed by the northern tribes in response to Hroth’s shield walls. Their name translates to mean ‘tip’, as in the tip or head of a spear. This symbolises their role on the battlefield: To punch a hole in their opponent’s shield wall. They are armed with great two-handed weapons to break the spears of their enemies, and pilums reminiscent of Rome’s to render enemy shields useless. Tiaka are elite soldiers meant to break through enemy lines and wreak havoc. They wear light armour made of lacquered rattan over padded cloth or studded leather armour.
Availability: All Varican and Nakar kingdoms
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/5, 1 Metal per 100
Description: Chosen from the most skilled and disciplined spearmen, the Raeka are the elite of the elite. Raeka are well trained in the use of spear, sword and bow and carry all three into battle. They are trained in the most difficult of formations and manoeuvres. They wear chainmail jackets over leather armour in richer kingdoms, and lacquered rattan over padded cloth in poorer ones.
Availability: Oerdan, Yumin, Thune Cities
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/10, 1 Crossbow per 100
Description: Crossbowman have a significantly lower rate of fire than archers do. However, what they lack in speed, they make up for in power. Crossbow bolts have significantly greater stopping power and penetration compared to arrows. Crossbowmen are more effective against heavy units (Tiaka, Raeka, etc.) than archers. However, they are not as strong against lighter foes and will usually lose in a shooting match against archers.
Availability: The Nakar
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/5, 1 Metal per 100, 1 Vorthai per 50
Description: The Falkans are the warrior elite of the Nakar. Falkans are light chariots pulled by two Vorthai each. Two charioteers ride inside. Both are armed with sword and spear but usually only one can fight. They wear louse chain mail underneath white robes. Rare white Vorthai are reserved for the Nakar’s warleaders.
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/10
Description: The phalanx is the basic unit of the Nimosan army. Their duties require them to carry the most protection; mostly tanned hides for both the armor and the shield. They are also equipped with an obsidian short sword. They are unlike the pike formations of the Thune and more like the Varican spearmen, creating a shield wall and using their short swords to dart out between the shields to cut at the enemy. Though their effectiveness as an attrition unit is limited due to the lack of durability of the obsidian, their true purpose is to provide their enemies with a target to which they must face. Any metal the tribe possesses, goes towards their armor.
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/ 8
Description: Wearing at most a leather jacket, these ranged troops lack the range of archers, using only leather slings instead of bows and arrows. Their true strength however comes from their ammunition. Ceramic pots filled with a noxious smelling, sticky and flammable substance that combusts when they impact against the enemy formation, covering their foes in foul smelling fire, and forcing the enemy to break apart their formation. Usually deployed just behind the phalanx, but can be intermixed within the shield wall to provide ranged protection.
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/10 , 1 Obsidian per 100
Description: Once the slingers have done their job, the Dervishes come out of hiding, either from within the formation or from concealed locations to either flank. Armed with either a pair of obsidian scimitars, or one scimitar alongside a hooked hammer like weapon of lashed bone, they deliver the finishing blow to the disrupted formation, taking advantage of their speed and ferocity to bring the more heavily armored enemy down.
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/5 , 1 Obsidian per 100
Description: These are the veterans, equipped and trained to handle all three aspects of the formation. They are well armored, carrying shield, scimitar and sling, but are, like the Dervishes, able to discreetly deploy themselves to the enemy's flanks or, if terrain allows, their rear.
Availability: All kingdoms with internal rivers or on a coast.
Recruitment Cost: 1EP/1, 1 boat trade unit per 10 boat military units
Description: This is a catch all term that encompasses all small river craft forced into service by the kings of Varica. Ranging from small message ships and patrol craft to larger merchant vessels boats carry an average of thirty passengers. These boats are powered by oarsmen, often the passengers themselves. Boats can travel along the coasts of Great Ocean but it can be dangerous. Leaving sight of the coast is as good as a death sentence.
Recruitment Cost: None
Description: Skirmishers comes in two varieties. The first are the young, untested youth of a tribe out to make names for themselves. The second are the hunters and woodsmen (and arguably, smarter) of the tribe. They pepper the flanks of their enemies with arrows, throwing axes, and javelins. When attacked, they often flee, though the bravest among them will call out specific opponents for single combat.
Recruitment Cost: None
Description: Armed with the best they and their thanes can afford, these are the strongest, bravest, and more foolhardy of a tribe’s men. Warriors charge into battle in one great mass, hoping to break their foe in a single vicious charge. When it works, the enemy can do little to stop a rout, but once they lose their momentum, they become confused and often lose heart.
Recruitment Cost: None
Description: These are the lesser nobility and their chosen bodyguards. Veteran soldiers armed with the best weaponry available. Some even wear precious metal armour. They are the best warriors available short of the legendary Raeka.
Recruitment Cost: Special
Description: In every realm there remain small tribes that resist the settled life. They deny modern culture and live the life of their ancestors. These tribes are wild savages little better than Fulanti and outside of the governance of the kings and thanes. In desperate times, a lord can attempt to call upon these wild men with promises of wealth and other plunder. They are experts at guerrilla warfare and raiding deep into enemy territory. They cannot be easily controlled.
There is no love lost between Fulanti and Haecomus. Despite their natural weaponry and fierce nature, Hroth and the armies of the Varican Empire have driven the Fulanti into the most marginal of lands. Today, the last Fulanti tribes fight for survival. Internal rivalries prevent them from uniting as the Haecomus once did, but occasionally, a stronger tribe will beat the others into submission and lead them to reclaim Varica for the true heirs of the Sargothi. Fulanti are experts at ambushes and hit-and-run tactics, even better than wild Haecomus. They fight with their natural weapons, six-inch retractable claws and weaponry stolen from dead Haecomus.
The Thune armies are not to be trifled with. While the Thune may slowly be pulling back from their southernmost outposts, it is not because they fear the Haecomus. Thune may be small and physically weak, but they make up for it in ingenuity, advanced weaponry and tenacity. Legends drift south of Thune devices that can shoot a dozen arrows in a minute, or of incredible machines large enough to launch boulders! Most strange are the Thune who ride Iyikich, the spirited desert creatures the Thune have somehow tamed.
Send me a description of unique units you wish to create and I will create stats for them. Attempts to raise new unique units may fail, or may be wildly successful. New units will appear as new ideas and technologies filter in.
All Varican tribes worship the sun god, Haeka, and his three daughters, the moons Sara, Thea and Ptolos. How devout your people are and what your king’s relationship with Haeka is is up to you. Hroth claimed to be directly descended from Haeka through his daughter Thea, but few accepted his claim.
If you wish to start a new religion, or a radical reinterpretation, you may. This is done through informing the moderator and following up with appropriate posting. I have deliberately left Varican Haekism vague to give the players freedom. In the spoilers below is information regarding non-Varican religions.
Tradional Varican Haekism:
Haekism is the belief in the power of the sun, Haeka. Haeka is the giver of life. He banishes the cold darkness of night. With the banishment of night, he also banishes the Fulanti, the nocturnal daemons who hunted the Varicans in the days before Varica.
Haekism includes other lesser deities as well. The moons of Thea, Sara, and Ptolos each represent Haeka’s three daughters, creators of the three sentient species of Valdis (the Haecomus, Thune, and Sargothi respectively) and the planet Jagrokan (the Sargothi King).
Every tribe has their own traditions. Each personifies Haeka and the lesser gods in their own way. Jagrokan, for example, can be a hero or a villain depending on the tradition. Haeka is often seen as a large, old, bearded but vital man. Others personify him as a Haecomus or Thune-shaped flame.
Each tribe has their own way of showing devotion as well. Usually the two greatest festivals are on the winter and summer solstices in the north and south. In equatorial Varica, where the days don’t fluctuate as much, half a week of feasting is traditional harvest time. These of course, vary greatly, as do the rites entailed and the role of the priesthood.
Usually there is a disorganized network of priests of the same rank who stay with their villages to provide the correct rituals. In some, temples exist and a simple hierarchy prevails. In some, itinerant priests forsake their lives to travel the land doing deeds in Haeka’s name. When there is a higher priest it is often the aiking, thane, or king that fills the role, serving as a direct intermediary between Haecomus and Haeka.
There are few strictures to Haeka worship and they vary widely. Common strictures are common sense and survival oriented such as never leaving a fire to burn out, or turn away a supplicant from your fire. Never suffer a Fulanti to live and never venture into the night alone are also common. There are few rules regarding personal behavior other than to be good to other children of Thea and Sara and to thank Haeka for the gifts you have received.
I require some feedback from alex994 before I can properly write this section.
In short, the Validiran Phridia has been granted visions of a new and glorious world by Haeka. He has centralized and codified the ‘correct’ ways of worshipping Haeka into a hierarchical church structure. All churches are subordinate to someone greater in the church and eventually to Phridia himself. The church says that it stands for moral decency, including many prohibitions on improper behavior.
Other New Faiths
Should they play their cards right, other kings might have the chance to develop their own faiths. It will take the support of the religious institutions and traditions already present in the province for it to catch on, however. Currently only the Hrothnani and Assfell have a priesthood strong enough, and a relationship good enough, to attempt to mold Haekism into their own image.
The Soltalan Faith (as written by Vertinari118)
In The Beginning there was Nothing then The Lords of The Above thought Nothing was boring, so they decided to create something. Long did they debate about what to create then suddenly Lord Hæka said ‘Let us create something in our image, but let us not give it the same absolute power.’ And so the Lords of The Above laboured long and hard and finally they created Soltalos or The Sun. And they said to Soltalos ‘The Void is yours, do as you wish with it.’ Then the great Lords left and never did they return.
Soltalos then thought now the Lords of The Above have gone what am I to do. And then he thought, I will do what they asked and create something. So he in turn labour long and hard and he made Time, then he made a world for to govern with him and so he made Valdis. Long did Valdis sit there doing nothing and then Soltalos realised that Valdis was not alive. So he made plants and animals to dwell on Valdis and last of all he made the Three Noble Races, The Thune, the Fulanti and the Hæcomus and he gave Valdis his Light to light its way and he set in into motion so it revolved around him. Then Soltalos was exhausted and he slept. At this time one of the Lords Above made in secret, two things, a Race, the Dishonourable Sargothi and The Three Moons, Tikroc, Dacore and Nakar or Hunger, Pestilence and Death. They made Darkness and made Valdis dark and in the dark the Sargothi prospered and they enslaved all other races and animals and plants to their will. After his sleep Soltalos awoke and he was angry. Long did he fight the lords of darkness and he burned them but they choked him with Darkness. He let out a brilliant flash of and cried out ‘I am Lord of the Light! Flee Darkness, flee Lords! Never return till I sleep again. Even then if touch Valdis I will burn you and the Darkness will die!’ And thus the Cycle of Night and Day was made. After this had taken had taken place he burned the Sargothi from Valdis and they fell.
That is our creation story, now scholars read on and I will give you a brief synopsis of our religion and its core principles. Our religion is based around Honour, Kindness and Charity. These are the things any follower of Soltalos must hold close to his heart to be a true follower. Our religion worships the Sun and also the messengers of the Sun the fast and high flying Falkans. The Falkans are sacred and must not be harmed even if your life is threatened if you break this law you could well face death or banishment and your family would lose all honour in the tribe. The followers of Soltalos must always be kind to strangers regardless of race, creed and colour and must always help people in need. Especially the weak.
By Dansar, Chief's Scribe and Gorax Head of the Council of Elders.
The Sunta believe that Haeka is a great hunter wandering the sky bringing death and destruction to the monsters that lurk in the dark corners of the world. His light comes from the great torch given to him by the goddess of death. The goddess called Haeka to this world to enforce her will on the monsters who refused to heed her call.
Haeka is therefore an agent of death. However, the Sunta see this as a good thing. Out of every fire, a new forest grows. With the slaying of wild game, a whole family grows strong. Haeka slays the monsters of this world so that all the creatures of Valdis might live and grow. He uses his torch to search the dark corners for monsters. Night is a blessing, as Haeka has found his quarry and casts down his torch. Each morning is likewise a blessing, as Haeka has defeated his foe and resumes his hunt. The demons of winter are much stronger than the demons of summer.
It is important to contribute in Suntan society. Once you serve no purpose, then you must surrender yourself to death and be welcomed into her halls. This doesn’t mean the Sunta slay their elderly, as wisdom and experience are very valuable to the Sunta. A man decides when he is no longer useful. A feast is held to honour their contributions to the tribe, and then they head into the forests never to be seen again.
The Faiths of the Thune:
Almost all known Thune worship Haeka in one way or another. The Thune take their faith more seriously is some ways, and less seriously in others than the Haecomus. Thune religion is highly regimented with required acts of devotion, prayers, and obligations to the church. There are seven main denominations of Thune Haekism. Though they vary wildly in specifics of worship and ritual, they are the same at the core.
In addition to Haekists are the Sarists who worship Sara, the patron moon of the Thune. Sarists are split into two main sects who tend not to get along.
While Thune take these obligations seriously, they often debate the nature of Haeka and his daughters. Many even accept the opinions of heretics who claim Haeka is not a god. Atheists and agnostics, few as they may be, speak freely among the Thune.
While there are occasional problems between the churches, they seldom amount to more the odd riot or minor holy war.
Most Fulanti worship a wide pantheon of gods in addition to Haeka (the god of light) and the three moons Thea, Ptolos, and Sara (the gods of darkness, night, and the dead respectively). Among the other gods are great Fulanti from the ancient past, powerful Sargothi, and even the odd Hacomus or Thune. Hroth I has become the Fulanti god of pain, while Yin, the god of mystery, is said to be a Thune child.
The Fulanti believe that the world is a flat, endless coin. With each flip of the coin, two races will control Valdis. Every hundred, thousand, or ten-thousand years (depending on the source) the world slowly turns and the gods help the oppressed races to overthrow those in power. Many Fulanti believe that the Sargothi did something to anger the gods resulting in an event they call The Great Dying. In this one event, the gods themselves turned the world by force in a single day and eradicated the Sargothi. Many Fulanti died in the great dying, though their species was granted some measure of mercy.
Unfortunately, the direct intervention of the gods has caused the world to stop turning. The Fulanti await the day when balance is restored and they will once again rise to rule all of Valdis.
The Fulanti of the Sargothi’s Eye, however, have abandoned the gods and now worship the Sargothi directly, praying for their aid.
Metal is one of the most precious resources on Valdis. Thanks to the Sargothi, the majority of easily mined metals have long since been dug out of the ground. What exactly happened to it few can say. There are three sources of metal for Haecomus. Bog iron, naturally occurring deposits of iron that accumulates in wetlands, is a common source in many parts of the world. While Varica has some bog iron, it is not plentiful. Mining is another option, though few mines are successful and mining itself is in its infancy. The most common source of metal is to reclaim it from the Sargothi.
Sargothi ruins are the main source of metals for Varicans, Nimosans, Nakar, many western plains tribes, and some Thune cities. Those few standing Sargothi buildings have been picked clean long ago. In fact, the lure of precious metals is often what drew settlers there; almost nothing else could overcome the fear such ruins normally inspire. Instead, metal hunters explore the underground layers of the Sargothi cities. Basements and sub-basements, bunkers and secret facilities, entire villages crushed under layers of rubble or buried under the weight of years.
Exploring Sargothi ruins is unpredictable and dangerous. Even more so if a settlement exists on the ruins. Entire villages have been wiped out due to the horrors unleashed by unwitting metal hunters. Still, the siren song of the precious ore continues to draw hunters.
If you wish to acquire metal through metal hunting, then assemble a team of hunters (warband, professional soldiers, commanders, etc) and order them to a Sargothi ruin. They will return at the end of the update with a random amount of metal. Ranging from 0-3. There is a chance that they will also return with a Sargothi artifact. Exploring Sargothi ruins is not without risk. There is a chance that your party will not return at all. There is also a small chance that they will unleash some unspeakable evil left behind by the Sargothi.
You may hunt in any Sargothi ruin you choose, but be warned, other tribes may not take kindly to interlopers, especially not if you risk the lives of those who live on top of the ancient ruins.
Statistic, Budgets, and Claims oh my!
Name of empire
Ruler: Your king’s name/Your name
Ruling Tribe: Your king’s tribe/its strength
Cities: Name (Approx. Population)
Tribe name – Power, relationship to liege
Military: The number and type of soldiers you control.
Upkeep: The number of EP you need to pay each turn for your military and the amount of trade goods you need to spend each turn on your people.
Trade Good Stocks: The amount and types of each trade good you possess before new trade goods are created.
Trade Good Production: The number and type of trade goods you produce each turn
Trade Zone Control Points: The regions you have CP in and the number of CP you have in each, as well as the order you trade in that region.
Summary: A short summary of your nation’s history, culture, and politics written by you.
Budgets are to be submitted every turn. They are to be submitted via private message and are to be submitted before the deadline. Budgets that come in after the deadline but before I begin my work on the moderation/update will be grudgingly accepted. Budgets and orders than come in once I have begun moderating any part of the world or even a single player’s orders will be ignored. It isn’t fair to players who get their orders in on time if I accept late orders from others. I will give a 24 hour warning before orders are due.
In your budget, you will include your national statistics with the following changes. Firstly, after every vassal tribe, indicate what you demand as tribute. Secondly, add that tribute together with the three numbers included under ‘Income’ and subtract the number from ‘Upkeep’, this becomes your total income.
Now it is time to spend your EPs. Simply add new entries into the budget as your require them. Remember to elaborate on your plans in your orders and back them up with story posting.
You can include your military orders with your budget or anytime afterwards before the deadline for orders.
Areas that require your attention have been put in bold.
Military Spending: 200 new Raeka for 40EPs
Road Building Program: 50EP
New settlement named ‘Riatchi’ of 10,000 at the confluence X and Y rivers: 160EP
Savings for next year’s budget: 2EP
Trade Good Stocks: 2 grain, 3 beer, 1 mead, 1 glass, 2 boats, 1 metal
Trade Good Production: 12 grain, 5 timber, 2 boats, 1 glass, 4 clay, 4 pottery, 2 tiles
Trade Zone Control Points:
The Heartlands – 1st place, 12 CP
Snerkit River – 2nd place, 4 CP
The Coast – 1st place, 8 CP
Buy 3 units of beer from Validira and 1 unit of wine from Tessilki
Sell 4 units of pottery in Oerdan (Eastern March) and 2 units of tiles to the minor tribes (Eastern March)
Joining the Game:
Most players will take on a currently existing empire. If there is room later, you may petition to create a confederacy of your own later in the game.
Simply ask for any nation in the playable nations thread that has not been claimed yet. There are not many available, so I will determine who gets what. Creating a list of factions you want to play in the order you want to play them is an excellent way to increase your chances of playing something fun.
You have a certain amount of EP to spend on military units and trade goods. You can purchase trade goods from your trade region in any amount you want. You can purchase any units you wish so long as they are available to you. Ignore boat/metal/etc requirements units you buy in this way.
All new player start off with the following stats:
Your Empire’s name
Ruler: Your King’s name/Your name
Cities: Your Capital (7,500)
Ruling Tribe: You king’s tribe/7
Vassal #1’s name – 4, Apathetic
Vassal #2’s name – 4, Apathetic
Military: 150 EP
Starting Trade goods: 20 EP
Starting Trade Goods production: Negotiated with mod and dependent on location.
Summary: You get to write the initial summary.
You have 12 creation points to spend. They can be spent as follows:
1 point = 10EP worth of warriors or trade goods.
1 point = an additional 1,000 population to any city you control
1 point = +1 to a vassal tribe’s power
2 points= +1 to your king’s tribe’s power
2 points= 1 slide to the right for one of your vassal’s loyalty
4 points= 1 additional vassal tribe with a power of 4 and a loyalty of Apathetic
5 points= A settlement of 5,000 people
When creating vassals, you can adjust their power. Their power will be an average of 4 before extra power ratings bought by your creation points are applied.
Vassal loyalty follows a similar method. One vassal’s loyalty can be moved one space to the right, so long as another’s is moved one space to the left.
Please do a write-up of your confederacy’s culture, history, important people, etc. Have fun with this. It will form the basis of your stories and your playing style from here on out, so take your time and enjoy it.
Talk to me about what your economy is based off of. We will decide together what trade you can use.
New players can enter the game at any time. If they enter at game start, they represent new Varican provinces united during the 16 year gap between the two games. Players who join afterwards may choose to play an existing NPC, or create a new confederacy. These new confederacies have the same stats but are not Varican provinces. This has advantages and disadvantages that can be explored by the player. With mod permission, you can start the game as a non-Varican confederacy.
The Playable Nations
The following nations are all playable. There are currently 9 available nations: The Dolu, the Gibraly Empire, the Oerdan, Teraldur, the Darian March, The Darian Confederacy, the Bexian, the Rheni, and Nimosa
The recent Sunta incursion has hardened the people of Teraldur and they continue to resent their new neighbours despite having defeated them. Many believe they should not stop until they have wiped the barbarians from the map and claimed their land for the greater good of Teraldur's citizens. Relations with their other neighbours remain healthy and the self proclaimed Warrior King Tyrion holds a great respect for his fellow Varicans.
The Bexian were Hroth’s vanguard as he moved eastwards, conquering the North and South Varicans. The Bexian were granted fertile lands in the heart of Varica as their reward. Though they prospered in the first century after the founding, the civil war laid them low.
After a failed Bexian bid at the throne was quashed, a succession of armies tore through the province ravaging its farmland and upsetting the balance of power. The Bexian’s power was shattered and they lost control over their vassals.
Only recently, with the scars of the civil war finally healing has the Bexian thane taken up the mantle of his forefathers and claimed the right to rule. Staking his legitimacy on the protection he offers to his vassals, he led a five year campaign against the monstrous Sargothi’s Eye Fulanti. Supported by Validira in the war and in Hroth IV’s court, the Bexian earned their place among the kings of Varica.
The Romadi are a proud people. Their land is a cold and harsh one. The Romadi, like the Hrafn and Werar, were minor tribes in the days of Hroth but earned their place as kings through conquest. The Romadi were not as prosperous as their neighbours, but they grew hardy suffering the winters (which actually saw snow, unlike everything south of the mountains) and the depradations of the Gamars.
Whiling away their winters in elaborate great halls, their culture grew. Romadi is second only to Assfell in its poetry (though by a significant margin). Their dancing is second to none and their songs bring a tear to the hardest man.
Goros’ grandfather marched to the walls of Varica itself and sat upon its throne for nearly a year before he was overthrown in a palace coup. His surviving warriors returned to a land devastated by Gibral and Gamars. It has taken three decades to recover.
Now the Romadi, with the support of Assfell, Werhold, and their erstwhile Gibraly enemies, have re-asserted their ancient rights of kingship.
Ruler: King Radu/AVAILABLE
Cities: Cradu (6,800), Puli (3,300)
Ruling Tribe: Dolu/11
Banked EP: 80
Tendorl – 5, Loyalty Unto Death
Religion: 91% Traditional Haekist, 9% Phridian Church
Military: 540 Spearmen, 465 Archers, 250 Tiaka, 135 Raeka, 100 Damned and Vengeful, 20 boats
Upkeep: 44 EP, 6 grain
Trade Good Stocks: 10 food, 13.2 slaves, 2 metal, 2 boats, 48 luxuries
Trade Good Production: 9 food (grain), 1 boats, 30 luxuries (wool, beer, kibal, timber)
Dolu-Darian March: 5 (disrupted, no income)
The Darian March
Ruler: Lord Damarkes/AVAILABLE
Cities: Darium (12,500)
Ruling Tribe: Hrothnani/2
Banked EP: 80
Chekrids - 3, Distrustful
Religion: 92% Traditional Haekist, 7% Soltalan, 1% Phridian Church
Military: 275 Raeka, 190 Tiaka, 160 Archers, 100 Spearmen
Upkeep: 26EP, 3 food
Trade Good Stocks: 12 food, 3 boats, 1 metal, 1 crossbows, 20 luxuries
Trade Good Production: 0 food (grain and meat), 1 boats, 18 luxuries (beer, wool, building stone)
Darian March-Dolu: 5 (disrupted, no income)
The Darians are not true Varicans. Like the Dolu, they are a different culture that has been absorbed by the Varican Empire. Unlike the Dolu, they are recent additions and have not assimiliated to nearly the same degree.
The history of the Darians in Varica begins in the civil war. As anarchy overcame the Empire, an enterprising thane led his tribe to the northwest. He convinced the strongest tribe, the Darians themselves, to support his effort. The two tribes merged and together they conquered the lesser tribes, founded the city of Darium, and built what in 120 AF was arguably the strongest of the successor states.
Darium’s invasion of Dolu was successful, but brought down the combined wrath of the Empire on the Darians. Farvus was slain, two tribes lost to the Gamars, their new Syven vassals enslaved, and their gains lost. The Varican allies occupied the city. Though most of the Darians were spared, their royal house was slaughtered by the vengeful Dolu.
Hroth IV put his loyal general, Lord Damarkes, in charge of the new Darian March. He settled along with the retainers loyal to his family and the families of his soldiers Hrothnani soldiers. The Hrothnani hold on Darium is tenuous at best. Only their military strength assures that they do not fall to rebellion.
The Darian Confederacy
Ruler: Khan Cheka/AVAILABLE
Cities: Jadicha (4,200)
Ruling Tribe: Darians/6
Banked EP: 80
Chemenids – 3, Friendly
Jarids - 4, Friendly
Religion: 92% Traditional Haekist, 7% Soltalan, 1% Phridian Church
Military: No standing army
Upkeep: 0 EP , 3 food
Trade Good Stocks: 4 food, 3 boats, 1 metal, 15 luxuries
Trade Good Production: 12 food (grain and meat), 1 boats, 18 luxuries (beer, wool, building stone)
The Werar trace their lineage to a time long before Hroth founded Varica, but back then they were a minor nomadic tribe. Their rise to greatness is associated with the great chieftain Haepherth - one of the great Hroth's first lieutenants. Under his leadership, the Werar fought bravely for the Emperor and were rewarded with the finest of eastern lands. There, upon the ancient ruins of Sargotbak, Haepherth founded the great fortress of Werhold. With Haepherth's proud legacy, a strong military tradition and an advantageous geographical position all at their disposal, the Werar kings proceeded to accumulate great power. During the Twenty Years of Chaos, King Haecadem I even deigned to try and seize the Emperor's throne, but he ended up suffering a humiliating defeat. The last years of Haecadem I's rule were the nadir of Werar fortunes, their former hegemony in the eastern lands thoroughly undermined; although his heir, Haecadem II, was six years old when the old king died, the able regency of Haeroph the Thane turned out to be a reversal of Werar fortunes; a grizzled military and political veteran, Haeroph managed to quell internal dissent, reassert power within the Werhold confederacy after a brief civil war, turn Werhold itself into a major economic center and restore the martial reputation of the Werar by taking an active part in Hroth IV's many wars. He died some seven years ago, finally giving full power to Haecadem II. The young king is unusually well-educated, legendarily even-handed and has already taken part in some military campaigns; nevertheless, he is yet to truly prove himself in the eyes of his tribesmen and other kings, and some consider him an idle puppet in the hands of his courtiers. Now that Varica has seemingly entered another period of turbulence, he might have acquired an opportunity to prove those naysayers wrong.
Ruler: Vigvitr (regency of Jyanna)/The Strategos
Cities: Assfell (9,120), Brandhaus (5,400)
Ruling Tribe: Hrafn/12
Banked EP: 60
Kaku – 3, Apathetic
Reyli – 3, Apathetic
Sterkveggr– 3, Content
Gullholt– 2, Content
Gnott – 7, Loyalty unto Death
Religion: 100% Traditional Haekist
Military: 690 Archers, 845 Spearmen, 300 Tiaka, 270 Raeka, 10 boats (lemme know who I forgot this time ^_^ )
Upkeep: 62 EP, 11 food
Trade Good Stocks: 3 food, 4.5 metal, 16 slaves, 4 boats, 12 luxuries
Trade Good Production: 17 food (grain, cheese, meat), 1 boats, 54 luxuries (tapestries, kibal, building stone, vellum, an enormous amount of cheese and wool)
Under the reign of Adalbrandr, Assfell prospered. Successful fighting, and even more successful propaganda celebrating his successes, netted him prestige, plunder, and the hand of Jyanna, Hroth’s cousin, in marriage. With the Empire’s peace came a refocus on domestic issues. The city of Assfell cemented itself as the center of the cultural world, thanks to bards, weavers, and sculptors. In the north the tribes Kaku and Reyli were added through a combination of political maneuvering, intimidation, and war. By adding these two tribes, however, Assfell came into conflict with the powerful Manische. A battle between the two led to an Assfell victory, though at the cost of the death of Adalbrandr and much of the Assfell army. Now Adalbrandr’s infant son Vigvitr rules under the regency of Jyanna.
The Four Claw Fulanti
Ruling Tribe: Seven-Star Fulanti/7
Banked EP: 30
Five Yomba – 3, Friendly
Green Turtle – 3, Friendly
Eleven Turtle – 1, Friendly
Religion: 94% Traditional Fulanti, 6% Soltalan
Military: No standing military
Upkeep: 0EP, 4 food
Trade Good Stocks: 10 food, 1.4 vorthai, 2.8 slaves
Trade Good Production: 6 food, 10 luxuries (cheese, wool, building stone)
Four-Claw to Validira: 5
Four-Claw to Nakar: 5
The origins of the Four Claw Fulanti are recent. Twenty years ago the Nakar, who lacked the animosity with the Fulanti of the Varicans, invited the surviving Fulanti tribes to join them on the western plain. Three tribes accepted the invitation and fought alongside the Nakar. After the Nakar were forced back by the northern Varicans, the Fulanti fled with them and carved their own territory out of the nomadic tribes. When the Gamars defeated the Seven Star Fulanti, by far the largest Fulanti tribe, they fled west as well. They challenged the lesser tribes for control and won, with Nakar support. Now, the Seven-Star control their own confederacy which may one day rival those of the Varicans and gives the Fulanti their best chance for survival.
NPCs are a fact of life. When players drop out, I take over until new players join. The Thune city states, Fulanti warbands, and lesser tribes outside of Varica are all NPCs, as is the Varican Empire itself and a couple of other tribes. These NPCs may all eventually be released for players to use, but for now, they are not available.
Ruler: King Vaughan I/NPC
Cities: Tranara (6,800)
Ruling Tribe: East Gamars/8
Trade Routes: None
West Gamars – 11, Brotherhood
Ogloids – 4, Distrustful
Fominids – 3, Distrustful
Religion: 100% Traditional Haekist
Military: 350 Archers, 500 Spearmen, 400 Tiaka
Trade Good Stocks: 4 food
Trade Good Production: 10 food
Summary: The Gamars are a brave and proud people. Even the smallest Gamar village boasts a storyteller who can weave the epic poems of their ancestor’s triumphs. But they are also a pragmatic people. Unlike the Varicans or the Snerkitta, they know when to fight and when to withdraw. In every campaign between Varican and Snerkitta, they marched beside one of the great tribes, often changing sides every campaign season. They were the first to join Hroth in his campaigns against the Fulanti, but they were also the first to invade the land of his descendants. Today, most Varicans have tired of the shifting loyalty of the Gamars. Despite their status, they remain a tool used by the various warlords. King Luci played off both sides of the Darian Rebellion wisely, greatly enlarging his confederacy’s influence. They are the greatest threat to Varica’s north and are now too strong to be easily removed. However, King Vaughan is a pracmatic man and wishes peace for the time being after his conquest of the Seven-Star Fulanti lands.
Ruler: High Lord Ondara III/NPC
Cities: Silica (12,100)
Ruling Tribe: Agra-Yumin/7
Vonta-Yumin – 6, Friendly
Ionti – 4, Apathetic
Yamana – 3, Resentful
Religion: 78% Traditional Haekist, 22% Thune Religions
Military: 140 Archers, 160 Tiaka, 280 Crossbowmen, 500 Yumin Philotes
Trade Good Stocks: 5 food
Trade Good Production: 10 food
Summary: The Yumin control some of the best farmland in all of Varica. Even before the Hrothnani began large-scale agriculture, the Yumin had developed an agrarian society. They acted as middle men funneling goods from their barbarian neighbours to the Thune cities of the East. Backed by Thune money and overflowing granaries, the Yumin resisted Varican domination until the reign of Hroth II. They were the first to throw off the yoke of Varican domination during the civil war and have forsaken the Varican way of life to pursue their own unique, Thune influenced culture. Their close alliance with Cirici has earned them a good deal of plunder but few friends, as even their vassals reap few rewards. Many Yumin have settled among their Thune allies in recent years as a reward for their service.
Ruler: Warmaster Duren/NPC
Ruling Tribe: Sunta/10
Terasu – 3, Distrustful
Religion:, 91% Sunta Haekist, 8% Traditional Haekist, 1% Phridian Haekist
Military: 300 Archers, 160 Spearmen, 500 Berserkers, 220 Tiaka
Trade Good Stocks: ?
Trade Good Production: ?
Summary: From beyond the mountains they came. No one knows what drove them out of the land of wheat and fish. Some say they are crazed Varicans, driven mad by some strange malady of the south. Others claim they are a confederacy of wildmen banding together to purge the Varicans of their new, civilized ways. Some claim they the last great Fulanti tribe, clad in Haecomus skins to deceive the Varicans. The only thing we know for sure is that they are here and we have to deal with them. The Sunta are born warriors. What little is known about their culture points to a warrior society where a man is measured by his martial prowess alone. The Sunta charge recklessly into to combat led by naked berserkers clad only in glyphs and sigils in body paint. They have stormed through the southern reaches of homelands destroying one tribe after another. Those few found worthy are allowed to survive as slaves or bonded warriors. Those who are found wanting are not so lucky. In recent years the Sunta have stretched themselves too thin. Kings Tyrion and Cul curbed the Sunta and slew a generation of warriors. The Tera continued their wars against the Sunta in the interim. The fighting was hard on both kingdoms, but the Sunta lost some ground to their enemies. The Sunta are weakened now, but a new Warmaster is ready to lead the Sunta into battle to reclaim their rightful place.
Independent Fulanti Tribes:
Sargothi’s Eye Fulanti:
While few Fulanti ever actually worshipped the Sargothi, the Fulanti of the Sargothi’s Eye are the only tribe to do so openly. During the dark days of Hroth, the Lord of Murder, the Sargothi’s Eye were known as the Twelve-Sepak Fulanti. When all seemed lost, they turned to the dark lords for salvation. Somehow, the Sargothi’s Eye survived. They have never given up the fight against the Varicans, swearing not to rest until every last Haecomus has had their blood spilt in the name of the dark lords. Recent wars with the Huroto, Xanfa, and Bexian have severely weakened the Sargothi’s Eye and forced them further south towards Nimosa and Teraldur
During Hroth’s purge, the Kilma fled southwards from the homelands. They tore their way through the tribes of the south on a long death march. Only after a long, painful, four year journey did the Kilma find their safehaven. Today, the Kilma wish to simply be left alone. Whether the Haecomus of the valleys below will accommodate their simply request remains to be seem. They have made an uneasy peace with the Tera, their only neighbour.
Minor Tribes of the Boreol
Strength: ~1 each
The minor tribes of the Boreol have never succeeded in joining together. They come from the deepest, darkest part of the Varican wilderness. This has been to their benefit, as the land’s uselessness and impenetrability has prevented Varicans from destroying the Fulanti. There may be as many as six or as few as four tribes in the forest. They constantly raid, merge, and fragment on their own. They sometimes raid the surrounding Varicans, but repeated defeats have convinced them to remain in the Boreol.
Known Thune states:
The City-State of Karski:
Trade Good Production: 24 food, 2 crossbows, 1 metal, 75 luxuries
The Thune City-State of Karski is a legend of the continent. The few Haecomus who have had the honour of gazing upon the City of the Light come back forever changed. They speak of a teeming mass of Thune that make Varica seem like a backwards, squalid hamlet. The city earned its nickname because of the Seven Temples, the seven great shrines to Haeka representing all major sects among the Thune, the only city in the known world that all seven can co-exist peacefully. The Karskian Thune are reknowned for their skills in carpentry and stonework. Every building is embellished with elegant carvings. The central plazas are paved with breathtaking mosaics and the Palace of the Grand Duke is said to be second only to the fabled Library of Karagarada in its splendor. If the Karskians ever turned their talents to warfare, there is little question of their ability to dominate the region. The Karskians took part in past campaigns against the Cirici, but only half-heartedly. As Cirici continues to gain power, the Karskians are growing more and more concerned.
The City-State of Tessilki:
Trade Good Production: 14 food, 3 crossbows, 1 metal, 1 iyikitch, 80 luxuries
Unlike the more insular City-States, the Thune of Tessilki keep their eyes open to the wider world. It has been said the Tessil Republic is governed by wonder. One only has to talk to the Tessil to understand this statement. The Tessil are constantly pushing the boundaries of knowledge. Rather than invest in scrollwork and art like Karski, the Tessil fill their public spaces with their inventions. Many of the Tessil’s inventions will never see a practical use, but some have revolutionized life in the city and beyond. When Haecomus meet Thune travelers, they are usually Tessil. Beyond the main rivers of the central homelands, only the Tessil are brave enough to tread. The Tessil do not enjoy war, but when they are forced into it, the Tessil Host is the best armed force all Valdis. Tessilki has suffered several defeats against the Cirici to the south. Yet they have managed to grow in power as the lesser states cling to the Tessil for protection. The Yirlshian League may as well be Tessil vassals at this point in time.
The City-State of Cirici:
Trade Good Production: 16 food, 1 boats, 1 metal, 3 crossbows, 1 iyikitch, 56 luxuries
The Cirici are reknowned amongst the Thune as warriors without peer. Disciplined ranks of Cirican pikemen are a feared sight on any battlefield. They have only recently met their match; few Thune can stand up to Haecomus one-to-one. Incursions by the Yumin confederacy have brought the great City-State its first defeats in recorded memory. Unlike most Thune states, the Cirici do not have a highly developed culture. Their architecture is utilitarian and their art simple, though still strikingly beautiful. Their society is based on the concept of strength, mostly military, but also economic, political, and sexual. This philosophy makes it dangerous to be a neighbor of Cirici. In fact, they are eager to prove their strength after their recent defeats. The Cirici now march to war against their own species, accompanied by the same fierce tribal warriors who defeated them. Together, they have seen continued, if moderate, success. Several smaller cities have fallen to Cirici and the Yumin have shared in the spoils.
The City-State of Risano:
Trade Good Production: 20 food, 1 timber, 4 boats, 2 ships, 100 luxuries
Risano means “Eastern Voyage” claims to be the sister city of Karano or “Western Voyage”, the legendary entrepot to the Thune Continent. Indeed, the few Haecomus who have journeyed this far to the East speak of the hundreds of massive oceangoing vessels that enter and leave the port on any given day. Risano has made a fortune in trade between the two continents which it uses to beautiful the city, keep her people well looked after, and to pay the salaries of foreign mercenaries that make up the military of the City-State. It is said that in Risano, even the lowliest peasant can afford to buy his own home. Risano remains aloof of the developments to westward.
The City-State of Tarnee:
Trade Good Production: 20 food, 4 crossbows, 3 Iyikitch, 1 boats
The City-State of Tarnee once rivaled Karski for dominance of the Eastern lands. The government is in theory ruled by an elected council of thirteen. In reality, power is held by a small handful of families who monopolize wealth, power, and council seats. Tarnee reached its zenith after destroying its longtime rival, the city of Rikir eighty years ago. After vanquishing Rikir, Tarnee turned its attention to bullying the minor cities to the north and Tessilki to the west. Complacent and corrupt, the Tarnee state began to decay. After the breakaway of Tikeecee, Tarnee was thrown out of balance. It has taken a long time for Tarnee to sort out its internal problems. It has emerged in the last decade as a power once more, eager to regain its lost glory. With its neighbours attention focused east, Tarnee is ready for a third try at curbing the power of the Tikeecee rebels.
The Independent Republic of Tikeecee:
Trade Good Production: 10 food, 2 crossbows, 30 luxuries
The Independent Republic of Tikeecee was formed only forty years ago as a loose federation of smaller City-States, free settlements, and Thune rebelling against Tarnee rule. Supported by Tessil weapons and Karskian gold, the Tikeecee fought ferociously for their independence against the Tarnee. After winning their freedom, they had to fight again, this time against their former allies eager to turn the Republic into a puppet state. Their unpleasant history has helped to breed a siege mentality into the Republicans. The Republicans are an individualistic society. The government only interferes when the security of the Republic is at stake. It is almost impossible for the government to agree on anything else, so they took the pragmatic approach of decentralization. Each settlement makes and enforces its own laws. After its second victory over Tarnee, the Tikeecee have become complacent in their abilities to throw off their former overlords. They now look north and west to their lesser Thune neighbours and barbarous Haecomus tribes.
The Sisiric are a group of autonomous villages living as part of three ever-shifting confederacies. Each confederacy has little power and only act to solve major disputes among the villages or to work together against an external threat. They are poorly armed, unlike their warlike Drisili neighbours to the east. Thanks to the Manische of Dukes Locia and Zio, the confederacies have been broken and many villages ruined. Sometimes Hyren and Zostor tribesmen live here among the Thune, but they've all fled the region.
Haecomus tribes are represented by blue text. Ruling tribes are in a larger font. Thune states use black text. Fulanti tribes use red text.
Black dots - cities, the size denotes the size of the city
Red X's - Sargothi ruins
Dark Green - predominantly rainforest/thick forest
Light Green - predominantly grasslands
Dark Brown - predominantly mountains
Light Brown - predominantly hot semi-arid
Light Brown with Dark Brown streaks - predominantly rocky/cold semi-arid
Beige - Desert
Nothing is absolutely set in stone yet. The rules have been tweaked slightly since the last time player saw them. This is the first time players are seeing their stats. I'm especially considering changing the trade goods and starting EP for buying starting military units and trade goods.
If you think your stats don't reflect how you see your nation, I'm happy to work something out.
Also, if any player in interested in playing something different, drop me a line and we'll see if we can work something out.
I know that this story is absurdly long, but that's what happens when you've been working on it for almost half a year. I don't really expect anyone to read it, however, if you do not read my story, read the spoiler below, which gives some critical information for the game. And when I say critical, I don't mean "oh that is some nice background," but "wow that will change the game." If you are going to read my ungodly long story, then I advise you not to read the spoilers, because well it will spoil the story.
This has been agreed upon by Fulton:
Most disturbing are the rumours from the north and east. A strange force known as the Manische are making aggressive moves on the Haecomus Zostor tribes and Thune freeholds beyond the Varican Empire. As we speak, Adalbrandr has marched his army north to determine the truth about these strange men.
When Adalbrandr marched north, he discovered a very large hostile army. The bulk of this army were feudal levies, supported by Yomba (semi-mythical monsters) riders. Most troubling is that they were accompanied by a warlord who held a weapon imbued with the power of demons. Adalbrandr managed to defeat this enemy, but at a great cost. The bulk of Hrafn lie dead, including Adalbrandr, Rodull, and Finoir. The Hrafn are now led by Adalbrandr's infant son, Vigvitr, under the guardianship of Adalbrandr's widow Jyanna.
This is a report of Haust, son of Bjarndyr, a scribe of Jyanna, Daughter of Hroth, Battle-Maiden of Hrafn, Queen of Assfell by Blood and Deeds on the Third Day of the Fifth Month, in the Twenty-Sixth Year that Adalbrandr sat on the Raven Throne
Five Raeka were admitted into the presence of Queen Jyanna, Daughter of Hroth, Wife of Adalbrandr, who sits on the Raven Throne while Adalbrandr is off to war. For it is the custom of the Hrafn to acknowledge no king or queen as having a right to rule over them until they have bathed in the blood of their enemies. This too Jyanna did, so that she might be queen both in word and in deed. And it did not take long for her to gain such a stature, for barely had the blood which proclaimed her marriage to Adalbrandr dried on the bed-sheets before she left with her lord to shed more blood.
Now in those days, the Hrafn were at war with the Nakar. For Adalbrandr the Battle-Brave had sworn an oath to Veli, King of Dolu, servant of Hroth and of Haeka, that he would come to their aid against the Darium. Now the King of Darium held neither oath nor friendship in esteem, but only gold, iron, land, and all those things which make a king great. Therefore, casting his eyes upon the lands of Dolu, he lusted after them, as a young man lusts after the pretty wife of his neighbor. And forgetting all else but his desire, he made war on the Dolu.
But Hroth did not forget his servants in their time of need, and sent a champion, Rodull Raven-borne together with many choice men from his vassals. And they arose, and armed themselves with their glory-bathed weapons, and smote Darium. And they were as a hunting hawk let loose by their hunter amidst a flock of sparrows.
At this time, Hroth and Adalbrandr arrived, for they had been delayed in Varica on account of their marriages. And with Adalbrandr came his wife, Jyanna Sapphire-Eyes. Now though the Darium had been scattered as chaff in the wind, and their king had paid the price of his greed by his blood, the war was not over. For every night demons had whispered in his ears their foul promises, until Darium gave to them his own blood to drink, and so bound to him the Powers of the Night, and their servants, the Fulanti and the Nakar.
And so all the mighty men of Varica came together to discuss what they should do. And while they were discussing, Haecadem the Younger, King of the Werar, rose up and said, “Hearken to my words, o mighty lords, and do not hold me of no account. For in our youth, the Fulanti tried to move through our lands. Now they did not realize that the Sons of Darkness had nothing to do with the Sons of Light. And so we arose, both ourselves and our men of valor, and we chased them, as hunters following their prey. And some we filled with arrows, and some were torn apart by our hunting dogs, and some fell into pits we had dug. So they perished from the face of the earth.
Then, when we were older, and had reached maturity, we were opposed by one of our own household, who was herself master of dark magic. For everyday she shed the blood of babies, and bathed in it, so that she might live forever. And furthermore at night, she lay down with demons as though they were men. And because of her, Haeka had shut up his ears to us, though we are his priest, for how could we be holy to Haeka when we allowed such a one to live in our sight? So we arose, and fought against her, and overcame her, as men here in this council can attest, for they joined us in our holy mission.
Seeing therefore, that we have conquered both demons and magic, and fear no dark powers, but have been preserved through all by the Light of Haeka, so we proposed to lead this most righteous struggle. For both you, o Emperor Hroth, as well as your servant Adalbrandr, before whose names the nations of the earth tremble, are but newly married, and must think to things of love, so that your lines be not extinct, and not things of war.”
Now his words found favor in the sight of men, but all looked to Adalbrandr, chief among Hroth’s men. For against his hand none could stand, neither powers above nor below. And Adalbrandr lifted up his voice and spoke, “Truly when we come together to boast of the works of our hands, there is no need for you to hide. For we ourselves know what mighty deeds you have done, and the enemies you have put to flight. Therefore we fear not to place our men under your care, knowing that if Haeka wills it, you the enemy will flee before your banners as the Night flees before the coming Dawn. But one thing we ask, that both ourselves and our men be allowed to go out tomorrow, and face the enemy, and overthrow them. For it would be a shame to our name if we left without first bloodying ourselves against the enemy, lest they say ‘Adalbrandr has quit the field in fear, leaving a boy behind to do what he feared to do.’”
Now this speech pleased them all, so it was agreed. And in the morning, Adalbrandr arose, together with all his men of valor. And Jyanna Snow-skin also arose, and buckled around her waist the sword which was given to her on her marriage day. (Now it is the custom of the Hrafn to give all their women swords, or daggers, or some other weapon suitable to their sex on their wedding day so that if an enemy arises while their husband is away earning the proofs of his manhood, they may defend their family, as a mother bear protects her cubs. Now in this day such is the might of Hrafn that none would dare to lift a hand, even against a new born babe of the tribe. But the custom remains to this day).
So they left, with one hundred picked men, each of whom had earned undying glory when they fought against the Snerkitta. And they attacked the camp which the Fulanti had constructed, along with their servants the Nakar. And behold, it was as if the Nakar’s chariots were pulled by the East Wind itself, so quickly did they flee before the face of Adalbrandr. But the Fulanti were brutes, too stupid even to feel fear, and so died where they stood. And Jyanna of Hrafn slew with her own hand a Fulanti chieftain, and took its right hand as a trophy.
And when the battle was over, the Hrafn rejoiced, and offered to Haeka three bulls, without spot or blemish. And they poured the required libations on the ground. And much more happened, according to the ancient rites of the Hrafn, but over these I must pass over in silence. For one must not speak of the holy mysteries before the uninitiated.
And so, when the Raeka arrived, they saluted the Queen in a manner befitting proud warriors acknowledging a fellow warrior and their sovereign. Then the Queen bid them speak, and they said:
“Hearken unto our words, O Queen, for we bear news of your husband, Adalbrandr, the chief among all those sprung from Varica’s loins. You know, my lady, how four weeks ago, a sign was seen in the heavens, that Haeka turned black, and the sky turned as to night, though it was day. And it was so for the space of four hours. And your lord, Adalbrandr, wise in battle and in king-craft, called together all of the priests of Haeka, desiring to know the meaning of this sign.
And among them rose Villieldr, son of Blarhar, the chief priest of Haeka among the Hrafn, who was also Adalbrandr’s uncle. And behold, a hush fell on everyone. For it was well known that Villieldr spoke as one touched by Haeka.
For when Adalbrandr was yet young, his father Burrulfr, the King of Assfell went off to war because he had incurred a blood debt to the King of Eir, who saved the Hrafn when they were attacked by the hosts of the Witch of Kaldar. Now this blood debt required Burrulfr to march with all the hosts of Hrafn to Varica. For the King of Eir desired above all things to be crowned Emperor of Varica, for none sat on the throne.
But the enemies of Hrafn rose up and Burrulfr was poisoned, and so he died. And of the four sons which Burrulfr had with his wife Hlaeja, only one remained. This one was Adalbrandr. But he was still but a youth of seven. So all the thanes and aikings and mighty men of Assfell rose with one voice, and asked Villieldr, brother of Burrulfr, the High Priest of Haeka to rule over them. For on every side were wars and rumors of wars. Even Sterkveggr and Gullholt, vassals of Hrafn rebelled, forgetting the oaths that they had sworn. So all feared to put a boy on the Raven Throne, for they thought that would be their destruction.
Then Villieldr, arose and said, “Give me a night to pray to Haeka, and I will give you my response in the morning.” So he retired into the Temple of Haeka and prayed before the altar. And it came to pass as the night fell like a blanket over the earth, the eyes of Villieldr the Pious felt heavy, and he slept, still clutching the altar.
Then he had a dream. And in his dream, he saw a lion cub standing over a dead carcass of its mother. And the carcass was being pulled this way and that by all manner of carrion birds. And Villieldr was moved with compassion, and went to drive off the birds. But before he could move, the lion cub roared, and the stars in the heavens shook, and all the birds flew away in fear. But as they flew away, the lion cub caught six birds in its mouth, and laid them beside the carcass. And Villieldr looked more closely, and saw that the mother was not dead, but only sick. And as it ate the birds its cub had caught, it regained its strength.
And Villieldr rejoiced, for the lioness was strong and beautiful to behold. Its fur was as pure gold, refined by fire and its eyes were like the sun. And as he stared in amazement, the lion cub began to grow, until he became larger than a man. Then arose a giant wolf, and as it walked the ground froze, and from its mouth came a fountain of blood. And the wolf and the lion fought. But the lion prevailed over the wolf, though the wolf did not die, but ran away like the wind.
But while the lion was still licking the wounds which it had received from fighting the wolf, a serpent arose. Now the serpent was as long as a man is tall, and as wide as a small sapling. And Villieldr counted it as beautiful, for it was black with gold flecks, and precious stones lined its belly. But the lion crushed the head of the snake underfoot, and ate its body.
While the lion was still gnawing at the body of the serpent, a beast arose from the setting sun. And the beast was truly a marvel. For it had a head as a normal man but its body was as a hunting dog, black wings came from its side, and for a tail came out three serpents. This beast made a great noise, and beat its wings together as if trying to fly, and the noise was as a warband all hitting their spears on their shields. But the lion feared not, but gave a mighty roar. And the beast dared not to approach while the lion lived.
Then Villieldr awoke and marveled within himself, for the dream remained on his mind. Then a little boy, such as one who keeps the grounds clean and is rewarded with food and shelter, approached the altar. This boy approached Villieldr and said, “Why do you sit here amazed, o man of god?”
Then he replied saying, “I had a strange dream, and I know not what it means.”
But the boy laughed and said, “O foolish man, you speak for god, but you cannot recognize his voice when he speaks to you? Here then what your dream means. The mother lion, which you supposed was dead, is Assfell. And the lion which protected her is Adalbrandr. The six birds which he fed her signify six years, for long will it take Assfell to recover. But when it does, it will look as beautiful as the lioness you saw. Then shall various enemies arise, but Adalbrandr will overcome them all, for Haeka is with him.”
And Villieldr listened speechless, for he had told no one of his dream. But as he stood there amazed, the boy laughed, and ran out of the room. But when Villieldr made to follow, he could not find the boy, though he searched high and low. It was then that he realized he had been conversing with no mortal man. So he purified himself according to the rites, and sacrificed a bull.
Then when it was time to give his answer to the nobles of Hrafn, he arose, and put on his priestly clothing, and took with him a vial of oil. Before the assembled nobles he spoke thusly: “Listen well my brothers. For Haeka sent to me a dream, and forbade me to make myself king over the Hrafn. For he has already chosen for himself Adalbrandr, the son of Burrulfr to be king before his face. And Haeka will be with him, and strengthen him, and no mortal will be able to stand against him.”
Then they called Adalbrandr forward, and Villieldr anointed his head with oil, and spoke a blessing over him, and crowned him King of the Hrafn, saying ‘This is he who is chosen by Haeka to do many great deeds in His sight.’ And did this saying not come true? And so from that day forward, Villieldr was counted as a prophet.
Now as Villieldr considered the sign which Haeka sent, how the sun turned black and the heavens as night, the spirit of Haeka came upon him and he prophesized saying: ‘Hear, O King the meaning of the sign which we witnessed. In four weeks time, an enemy shall arise. And they shall raise their hand against Haeka’s Anointed, and prevail, and shall slay him. But then you, O Lord, will rise up, and smite the enemy, and their bodies shall reach to Haeka’s Throne. Then you shall reign from Hroth’s Throne, both you and your descendants, until the mountain crumbles and the stars fall from the sky. But, in four weeks time, if you meet the enemy in battle, before the Emperor greets them in battle, the enemies shall prevail over you, and you shall be slain, but Haeka’s Anointed will be saved.’
Then Adalbrandr, who was numbered among the Mighty Men of Varica rose up and said, ‘Rejoice my brothers, for we have been counted worthy by Haeka to die a song-worthy death. For it would be a dishonor to us and to our descendants if we stood by and allowed Thea’s Son to be slain because we feared our own death. For truly it is said ‘Death is fleeting but Glory is forever.’ Therefore let us feast, for we have been given an enemy worthy of our great deeds. And our deaths shall be sung of as long as mortals draw breath.’
Then Adalbrandr sent forth for all the men of Hrafn, and the men of Gnott, and the men of Sterkveggr, and of Gullholt, and all those who fight under the Raven Banner. And the hunters brought in the wild animals they slew, and the farmers brought in their produce, and the ale and wine flowed as a mountain stream, and the tables groaned as if they were holding up the heavens themselves, such was the glory of the feast.
And Finoir the Bard, rose up and strumming his harp said:
Immortal deeds are made into immortal songs, as your fathers can attest. For of the great deeds, none is greater than when Blargramr the Raven slew the great serpent Foldenadr.
Now all know how Haeka created the Hrafn from ravens so that the Fulanti might be conquered by Hroth as Fate decreed. Afterwards, Hroth rewarded the Hrafn for there service with the great northern lands. This was the time when no man dared trod in the northern lands, for in it lived all manner of Fulanti and other monsters, which even the Fulanti feared to approach. Now the Hrafn which Haeka had created were both men and women. But fifty of the mightiest men of Hrafn had no mate, and the king was numbered among them.
Now in this land dwelled Airmid, a spirit of a spring, and he had fifty daughters. These daughters knew no man, but dwelled by the spring, some dancing, some playing reed pipes, and some singing so as to put song-birds to shame. Others made garlands of flowers and these they wore around their necks, and some in their hair. Others let their hair flow freely, and it trailed in the wind as they ran, like the golden rays which shoot from the sun.
Now the report of the beauty of Airmid’s daughters, and the nobleness of their lineage reached the ears of Blargramr, king of the Hrafn. So he set out, hoping to secure these daughters as brides for himself and his mighty men. And coming to the spring where Airmid dwelt, he said:
“Most noble Airmid, from you springs water clear and beautiful but this is nothing before your beautiful daughters who spring from your loins. I am Blargamr king of the Hrafn, and I seek your daughters for myself and my men. If you are impressed by noble lineage, know that both myself and my men were created by Haeka himself, and so count him as our father. But if it is mighty deeds which you seek in a son-in-law, know that we are numbered among the mighty men of Varica. And when the Fulanti encompassed Hroth about, so that he despaired of his life, we arose, both myself and my men, and slew the Fulanti until they piled so high mountains were in awe of its height. If wealth wins your favor, I am king over vast lands and have great wealth. Neither am I stingy, for I have brought you many gifts, for you and for your daughters, weapons of iron and golden ornaments and garments of Thunic combren.”
Then Airmid arose and answered saying, “Woe to me! For this, which should have been my happiest day is instead my saddest. For this morning, as my daughters were playing in the fields a giant serpent by the name of Foldenadr came out and carried off the oldest. Now how can I think of things of happiness when I do not know whether she is alive or dead?”
At this the eyes of Blargramr flashed as if inhabited by some far off star, “I will rescue or avenge your daughter, depending on which the Fates have already decreed. But in return you must give each of your daughters to marriage to the men of Hrafn, you must hold none back.”
Airmid agreed, not because he thought that Blargramr could defeat the foul snake, but because in despair he would grasp any hope, no matter how slender just as a drowning man grabs whatever is near, no matter how if it is a rope or a blade of grass. So Blargramr arose, and armed himself with the iron weapons which his valor had won for him, and went after the great snake. Now this snake had been kept by the Sargothi when they still dwelt on the earth. But others say that it had sprung from their blood, as many other foul and wicked monsters did, when Haeka drove them out from his presence.
Now the snake lived near a lake. Before the water of the lake was clear, and all manner of beasts went there to drink. All manners of flowers grew by its shores and trees were happy to lend their shade. Now that the snake had taken up residence, however, animals were afraid to come near. The flowers and the trees withered up and died, as a result of the poisons which came out of the pores of the snake. So too did this poison seep into the water, killing the fish and making the waters yellow.
By this lake is a cave, and to this cave the serpent brought Airmid’s daughter, who is called Elska. The serpent coiled up in front of the cave, blocking its entrance and fell asleep, no doubt intending to eat her when he awoke. Seeing her plight, Elska lifted up her voice to heaven, saying, “O Haeka, if you save me from this state, I will sacrifice to you two bulls, with golden gilded horns, crowned with plaits of flowers I will pick myself. Furthermore, never will I touch a man, but be solely devoted to you for the rest of my life.”
As she these words were still on her lips, Blargramr Iron-Girded approached the cavern. Seeing the serpent was sleeping, he crept close. Taking out his battle-worn sword, he plunged it into the snake. From the wound sprang blood like a bubbling fountain. But instead of water, cool to the lips, boiling blood poured out. So poisonous was this blood that as it frothed around the sword, it melted the blade, leaving nothing but the hilt.
The earth shook like ocean waves whipped by a fierce storm as the serpent thrashed about because of the wound. Shooting out of the cave, fang and coils met spear and shield. But Blargramr got the worst of it. For no sooner would he thrust his weapon into the body of the mighty serpent then it would melt from the destructive blood. Left weaponless, Blargramr uprooted trees, casting them at the snake like javelins.
So the battle raged across field and forest for three days. The ground blackened and the grass shriveled. No longer did any tree remain in the ground, from the smallest sapling to the trees which reached Haeka’s throne, all had been uprooted to be used as weapons. Still Foldenadr the Forked-Tongue lived. Finally Blargramr the Brave took hold of the earth, lifting high above his head a boulder the size of a man, throwing it at the serpent, pinning its midsection under its weight. Still its foul fangs sought Blargramr’s throat. So he picked up another boulder, sending it after the first. And so he kept casting stones at the great beast, until he had raised a mountain over the monster. Even until this day the mountain remains, trapping the beast under its weight. But Foldenadr still lives, struggling in its prison, causing the mountains to shake with its exertions.
But the Hrafn received their reward which noble Airmid had promised. For each of his daughters married one of the mighty men of Hrafn. And Elska, the eldest, who had been captured by the serpent went by lot to Blargramr. But Elska rose up and said, “While the great serpent held me fast, I despaired. And lifting up my voice to Hakea, my deliverer, I made a vow to him that if he saw fit to deliver me I would dedicate myself solely to him, and know no man. Therefore, seeing I have taken such a holy vow, I must keep it. Therefore, if you try to take me by force, I will thrust this sword into my heart. Let my blood be on your head, for I have valued my vow to Hakea even above my own life.”
But hearing this Airmid sorrowed, for he had promised that each of his daughters would marry a man of Hrafn, he would hold none back. Therefore he feared lest the Hrafn become wroth at his broken word, and they seek vengeance upon him.
But Blargramr arose, and said, “Fear not, fair Elska. For your father swore an oath to us saying each of his daughters would marry one from Hrafn. Hear now what I propose. We have no father, for Haeka is our father, having fashioned us from the raven when Hroth was sore beset by the Fulanti. Therefore, we are truly Haeka’s sons and he our father, for from him we have our source. Therefore marry Haeka and both vows will be fulfilled, both yours and your father. For you will be given to one of our tribe, that is Haeka who is our source and father, and you will be known by no man, for Haeka is not like us, neither does he take our form.”
These words were accepted as if coming from Haeka himself. Therefore Elska was arrayed in bridal clothes and flowers strewn in her path. And she was married that day to Haeka, and so lived dedicated as his priestess for the rest of her life. And Haeka approved of this deed, and all the deeds of Blargramr from the first day of his reign to the last. So Haeka was with him his entire life.
After Finoir the Bard spoke, Adalbrandr gave him two torcs of gold, and one of iron. And as the night was well spent, each one went to their chambers. As Adalbrandr lay alone in his room, behold, Rodull, the son of Hestr, nephew of the King came into his room. And Rodull spoke into the king’s ear, saying ‘Have you not won undying fame? Do not the bards speak only of you and of the deeds you did? Therefore stay here, rest in the wealth your right arm has won for you. And I will go out and smite the enemy in your stead.’
But Adalbrandr answered and said, ‘Haeka forbid I try to avoid the death he has given me.’ And so Rodull left.
Then, as the night continued its journey, behold, Finoir the Bard came into his room. And Finoir spoke in the king’s ear, saying, ‘The mountains and the sea, the earth and the heavens sing of your glory. But what great deeds can be done from the grave? Hold back your arm but one day, and you shall reign from Hroth’s Throne, and the glorious deeds you shall do shall make even battle-mighty Hroth, who first sat upon the throne of Varica, seem but a peasant who is remembered by none after his passing.’
But Adalbrandr answered and said, ‘Haeka forbid I gain honor from the death of my liege.’ And so Finoir left.
Then, as the Haeka was about to awaken from his daily slumber, behold, Jyanna, Queen of Hrafn came into his room. And Jyanna spoke into the king’s ear, saying, ‘What is the fame of man compared to my embrace? Behold, the pleasures of the world are found within my kiss. Therefore lie with me today lest you be unable to taste my sweet fruit again.’
But Adalbrandr answered and said, ‘Haeka forbid I experience pleasure while my Lord experiences death.’ And as Adalbrandr spoke, Haeka’s fingers slipped through the window. And Jyanna gave out a loud cry, and disappeared in a great cloud of smoke, and nothing was left behind but the smell of sulfur. Then Adalbrandr realized he had been conversing all night not with mortal men, but with demons, who had come to tempt him away from the path Haeka had given him.
Then Adalbrandr rose, and the men of Hrafn, and all those of his vassals who wished to achieve a part of his everlasting glory. And they armed themselves with the gifts which their valor had won for them when they fought against the Snerkitta, and the false-Emperor, and the Demons of the West. And Jyanna, the Battle-Maiden of the Hrafn also armed herself with the weapons her valor had won for her in the war against Demons, when she had slain a Fulanti chief with her own hands, and had bathed in its blood, and had truly been hailed as Queen of Hrafn by her battle-brave men. But Adalbrandr stopped her saying ‘Varica has need of a warrior to guard her.’ And Jyanna is a true Hrafn, for she avoided battle not out of cowardice, but only at the command of her lord. But Vigvitr, son of Adalbrandr, armed himself also, though he was only a babe, for shame would have fallen on the hosts of Hrafn if he would be made king without first bathing in the blood of his enemies.
And at the appointed time, the hosts of Hrafn assembled. And Jyanna, Queen of Hrafn arose, and spoke before her husband, and all the hosts of Assfell, saying, ‘Come back with glory crowning your head, or come back without your head.’ Speaking thusly she shut the doors of Assfell, and locked them, and swore before Haeka they would not be opened again to the army of Hrafn until they did some mighty deeds, worthy of their fathers, and their father’s fathers, and worthy of the name of their King and the deeds they had done in their youth.
But when the doors were shut, Jyanna went to her room alone, and sent away all her handmaidens lest they see her mourning, for she loved Adalbrandr more than her life. When she first laid eyes on him, she had exclaimed:
Then the hosts of Assfell arose, and marched north, for it had come to their ears that a great host descended from the north. And as they marched, it seemed as they flew, so great was their eagerness to face a worthy foe. And at the mountain pass called Issfoerr, they found the enemy arrayed against them for battle. Now these are the hosts of Assfell who fought that day: From Hrafn came two hundred Raeka, commanded by Rodull, son of Hestr, grandson of Burrulfr, nephew to King Adalbrandr; three hundred Tiaka also came, led by Spjor, son of Geirr; five hundred spearmen led by Sudrmadr son of Ofan; four hundred archers led by Fljotr son of Hrjota; the total was one thousand four hundred men. And all the kings of Varica wondered at what man Adalbrandr was, who could command such men of valor. Now the enemy numbered as the stars of the sky, so that the sky was blotted out by their banners.
Then the Hrafn exalted amongst themselves, saying ‘Truly such an enemy will be found worthy of our blades.’ And Finoir the Bard rose up to speak a curse against the enemy, for all know that when he speaks, even Haeka inclines his ear to him, and so his words have power beyond mortal ken. But Adalbrandr stopped him saying ‘Speak not a curse against our enemies, Wise Finoir, lest the curse take hold, and the enemy’s knees grow weak, and they flee before we earn any honor from them.’
Then Adalbrandr unsheathed his sword, Raven-Feeder, which had been worn by his father, and by his father’s father, and by all the kings of Hrafn from the beginning.
Last edited by The Strategos; Feb 08, 2010 at 06:34 AM.