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Beneath the Jade Moon (pre-NES)

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Starlife, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. Starlife

    Starlife de la terre à la lune

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,498
    I'm creating a new pre-thread, because this concept has changed considerably. This is a pre-thread because I must receive applications and profiles before I construct the finer nuances of our starting world. A big thank you to North King for discussing much of this with me (and helping me with geology, among other things).

    Beneath the Jade Moon

    It has been over two thousand years since the great mountain in northern Euleshun spewed fire, ash, and death, clawing the sky with smokey fingers and scattering the stench of bitter brimstone. Gazing to their firmament, the Aulesiri people had long seen the pale-green jade moon, and swore by its thousands of faces that it held the power of fertility. Yet as ashen rain swept the skies, and the great moon became masked by gray ghosts, that symbol began to fade and vanish, along with the lifestyles the Aulesiri had relied on for what seemed like time eternal.

    Thus describes the Aulesiri Ruin, which was followed by a series of migrations southward, to Jyotnun, the "eternal garden". It is said that Luseysi "the Pale" knew of Jyotnun by the light of the moon, and led the Aulesiri there with the guidance of several great figures, ranging from herbalists to chieftains, who have since been added to the dusty annals of history. And so the Aulesiri were led out of Euleshun the Old Land, through a cold and harsh landscape, and across a narrow isthmus. The firmament of Jyotnun contained the same crisp, pale-green moon the Aulesiri had never forgotten. And Jyotnun itself was blanketed in fertile, untamed land, ripe for settlement.

    Here is an extremely rough map of the migrations.

    A remarkable man, for a remarkable time
    During the migrations, Luseysi performed a plethora of miracles. He caused the pale-green moon to light pathways to fertile lands. Through this feat, he was able to select chiefs to explore and settle those regions. His command of the pale-green light allowed the Aulesiri to find food and raw materials. It is also said that Luseysi could speak to the gods, and proclaimed himself a god born into the world, a claim that was verified by his unique appearance (milky white skin and green eyes), and his otherworldly powers. In speaking to the gods, Luseysi could tame roaring rivers so that his people could cross them; he could cause ice to thaw and vicious creatures to flee; he could make torrential downpours become as calm as plum rains. Numerous other tales of his miraculous powers exist, recorded in ancient texts or told through detailed oral histories. Perhaps the most notable miracle he performed is long life; it is said that he lived through several generations, and hardly appeared to age.

    The Painted Children
    Before the migrations, the Aulesiri were bound to dozens of chieftains, many of whom were locked in constant squabbles and violent feuds. While Luseysi united his people and led them to a safer world, old loyalties die hard, and many chieftains began to establish their own domains. Additionally, the Aulesiri people discovered the diminutive Raayakin or "Painted Children", indigenous peoples to the wilderness of Jyotnun. The Raayakin were spread across the land, and had developed into varying regional subgroups. In north Jyotnun, where the Aulesiri first arrived, the Raayakin were largely a nomadic peoples, hunting whale and living in the tundra, presumably pushed to such conditions by their more aggressive southern relatives. Another offshoot dwelled in the vast wooded mountains of central Jyotnun, where they lived a primitive lifestyle, seemingly out of sight and beyond the senses of men. They worshipped mountains, rocks, and great forests, and practiced strange rituals that seemed to mask their presence.

    The numerous Aulesiri had come to Jyotnun armed with bronze and horses, and countless lifetimes of harsh battle experience from previous infighting. Priests might tell another story: that Aulesiri priests and Luseysi himself used their eternal powers to conjure storms and cloudy hands that reached low from the pale-green moon. Whatever the case may be, the Raayakin found themselves eventually subjugated, their union with nature shattered, their shamans humiliated or missing. It was control of the land that the Aulesiri sought: agriculture, husbandry, and a realm fit for large populations and an expanding empire of jade. This drive did not completely negate the presence of the Raayakin, however, and some clans on the "frontier" of the original Aulesiri settlements found themselves accepting Raayakin populations and even breeding with them. Some even brought Raayakin customs into their families, and their spirits into a personal, customized pantheon. Other clans ridiculed this behavior, but for many, it was necessary: the mountainous forests of central Jyotnun to this day are filled with mysteries and untamed heights -- knowledge of such terrain is wise and of great use.

    The death of the lunar son
    As the migrations took place, Luseysi and his entourage flocked to a more temperate climate in southern Jyotnun, and one that was close to a fish-filled sea and a fertile river valley. There, Luseysi passed away, but not after striking the earth with the Aulesiri standard, and (as myth states) pulling from the river's edge a great fragment of pale-white, green-hued jadeite. As he died, he pointed towards the Milky Neck, to the peninsula that reaches for the eastern land. His burial place now marks the Jade Shrine, a structure of fantastical beauty and spiritual reverence. Based around this marvel is the Pale City, central bastion of Aulesiri civilization, and throne of the Pale Emperor, whose milky skin and green eyes display direct relation to Luseysi and Delylani, the former being the goddess of the pale-green moon. Supposedly impregnated by Luseysi, she vanished after giving birth to a son, the second emperor, and blessing the Pale City and the new domain of the Aulesiri.

    An absolute spiritual authority
    From throughout the Aulesiri-settled Jyotnun, mourners flocked to the Pale City to pay their respects to the Jade Shrine. A renovated Aulesiri belief set, combining spirituality with political fervor, evolved from the remarkable events throughout the migration, and from the deaths of this magnificent individual. With this new series of beliefs came a new priesthood, remnants of the spiritual guardians of Luseysi mixed with a healthy smattering of priests from the old faith, who have since maintained a strict code of conduct and have sought impartial members to ascend to their order. The religion is polytheistic, though perhaps centered around Luseysi, and thus his ancestors (the emperor), as they are considered the only known personifications of deities that exist, ever have existed, or ever will exist. Yet the Aulesiri pantheon is extensive, featuring hundreds of spirits, house-specific guides, lesser deities, and figures the equivalent of boddhisatva (essentially, either mythical figures or historical figures turned into gods after their death, due to miraculous feats or supposed supernatural dealings). As such, while all of the Empire does revere the Pale Emperor to be the ultimate spiritual authority, he is but lord of a wide array of lesser spirits. Think about the Emperor of Japan and his relationship to Shintoism; the Emperor is not considered "king" of gods, just as the descendants of Luseysi are not considered "king" of the pantheon; rather, they are significant as they are the only personifications (descendants) of a god, thus perhaps believed to be a remarkable human instrument of the pantheon itself. Even some spirits revered by the Raayakin were implemented into this pantheon, though they are extremely localized.

    Fantastic, magnificent structures in the name of the Pale
    During the initial settlement of Jyotnun, many lords used the Raayakin to construct massive castles, palaces, and other marvelous structures, many of which still stand today, unparalleled by current structures due to the eventual disintegration of Raayakin society (and thus the disappearance of cheap labor). Of course, many attach supernatural feats of construction to these buildings, but practical scholars will simply cite the endless toiling of Raayakin slaves. Slavery was not abolished because of any overarching socio-political effort, but instead evolved to no longer exist as the indigenous Raayakin faded: as stated, the Raayakin eventually became integrated into fringe groups of Aulesiri society ("frontier folk"), and died out completely due to interbreeding, warfare, and encroachment. This was gradual, as many lords had created work programs or "slave communities", but even these eventually became ingrained in those societies, or expelled altogether due to warfare or a lack of proper resources to feed and care for them (the latter being more common than the former).

    Surotsi, land of spices
    As soon as the Aulesiri explored what is now the Milky Neck, they discovered Surotsi, or "land of spices", another large landmass to the east (this discovery took place shortly before the death of Luseysi, though more involved exploration and colonization took centuries to fully develop). In the northern and western parts of Surotsi, Aulesiri expansion was natural, and only slightly impeded by lesser native groups found there. However, this expansion was soon interrupted by nomadic war parties, whose homeland was among the Ketirral Rise, the mountains and steppes of southern and eastern Surotsi. The war parties grew in number, and attacks grew in frequency, forcing the Emperor to raise armies and build stone fortresses and walls throughout his Surotsian holdings. For many years, the two peoples danced, neither gaining traction, though the Surotsian natives (called the Esurks) were not seeking land, but rather plunder; to that effect, they largely succeeded in periodic raiding. It took decades for the Aulesiri to advance upon the Esurkish homeland, though such victories were largely meaningless; to this day central, eastern, and southern Surotsi are wild and untamed regions. However, many Esurks have become ingrained in some Aulesiri societies and households in Surotsi, due to long-term interbreeding, localized subjugation, or tenuous political treaties. There are, then, Esurks (the minority) who have effectively become subjugated, and other Esurks (the majority) who remain either independent and nomadic (and problematic for the Aulesiri of that region) or independent and sedentary (also sometimes a problem, but those tribes will have become city-states or "houses" in their own right, due to advanced dealings with the Aulesiri and the Pale, as well as a utilization of trade with the Beyond). Esurkish culture is centered around the warrior and features an array of deities who are said to assist in warfare and raiding; indeed, the Esurkish warrior is a formidable foe, and with the introduction of horses and Aulesiri metals to their arsenal, their fighting styles and tactics have evolved into something fearsome.

    More on the Esurks
    It is important to mention that the Esurks and the Aulesiri are not enemies, per se. The Esurks are divided into numerous tribes, and their loyalties differ, even though their culture (and certainly their language) is somewhat consistent from tribe to tribe. As stated, some tribes have actually become "civilized" in the Aulesiri sense and have become ingrained in that society, or have taken Aulesiri advancements and merged them with other imports from the Beyond (creating some interesting regional amalgamations between Aulesiri and Esurkish beliefs and customs). Other tribes are quite hostile. It is also important to mention that the line between Aulesiri and Esurkish territory is not clear-cut and defined; there are certainly areas of Surotsi that are considered "wild" and "untamed" and "unpredictable", but there may be a few "frontier" settlements amidst these regions. The Esurks have a ceremonial relationship to their natural surroundings, and a fierce drive to tame and control the wild warrior spirit, doing so with a command over the "supernatural". They do not share many of the major, core values of the Aulesiri: namely, obedience to a central religious authority, belief in an other-worldly pantheon of deities, a social sense of chivalry, and an undying need to create massive, seemingly permanent structures, vast swaths of tilled earth, and crowded stone and wood settlements. Some tribes, however, have begun to adapt some of those values to their societies, as well as bring in some of the "civilized" aspects of the Beyond, to create viable opposition to some of the Aulesiri lords of Surotsi.

    The realm today
    Where do we find ourselves today, in this world? Well, as the empire cemented its presence in both Jyotnun and Surotsi, the emperor's political power became considerably weakened by an emerging warrior class. We find ourselves starting this game soon after such realities have come to light. Despite the weakening of the emperor's supreme political power, he is still revered as a spiritual authority, and this cannot be changed. Instead of thinking about how to replace the emperor with a member of your own house, you should instead think about how to achieve infighting in the emperor's family or how to become a warlord who basically turns the emperor into a puppet; his family is considered absolutely divine, and Aulesir will not accept anything less. That divine blood has obviously been thinned over the years, but it is no less potent. There can also be conflicts over who will marry the emperor, or between brothers, and so on. And while the emperor does have less political and military power, that does not mean he has none. The emperor's seat has realized, however, that it cannot rule the realm by itself through spiritual authority alone. Thus, we begin in a time of great uncertainty, a boiling point for various regional tensions and the inability of the Pale City to hold together a sprawling realm. There has been house-to-house fighting before, but this is different: powerful regional lords are exerting their powers and flouting their wealth, and there is a new sense of independence from region-to-region, given political freedoms obtained via consequence of the emperor's weakened hold and a respected, powerful warrior class. Instead of hating the emperor, wanting to replace him, or disrespecting his authority, these lords rather proclaim to be executors of the emperor's will, and that is like to be where much of the fighting will evolve from (and if the emperor says, "I don't want this lord to be my executor", then that lord will perhaps argue that the emperor's brother is truer, or he will simply focus on regional aspirations).

    Apart from those crises, we also find ourselves in a time of great uncertainty with the untamed regions of the east, in Surotsi. The Esurks are formidable, though they are splintered and not as advanced. There is room for interesting situations there, especially as the Esurks are the ones who trade exotic goods with the Beyond (remember, some Esurks are no longer wild, and have become quite "civilized", and serve as middle-men between the Aulesiri and those cities of the Beyond).

    These "civilized" Esurks are not considered second-class citizens in many cases, but it depends on the house (and what is created by the players). I was thinking that, over centuries, some of the Esurkish warrior code has in fact taken place of many Aulesiri ideals, due to the wild nature of the region and the distance from the Pale City or the older Aulesiri settlements in Jyotnun (and the blunders of the Solemn Age). As such, perhaps fueled by the failures of the Solemn Age and from the War of the Pale Brothers, there is emerging a relatively recent cult combining aspects of the Order, the Lunar Faith, and Esurkish ceremonial customs (along with their strict and somewhat brutal warrior code).

    And the Beyond is...
    The Beyond is essentially the continent to the east of the Aulesiri realm (east of Surotsi). It is separate from Euleshun, in the north, and contains a variety of (for lack of a better word) Asiatic cultures. These range from extremely civilized and advanced to barbaric, though the realms there are arranged into city-states, as opposed to larger political bodies. This is mainly due to geographic barriers, such as vast swaths of desert or impenetrable mountain ranges. It is for this reason that there is no singular polity in the Beyond that can threaten the Aulesiri realm, or even conquer the Esurks with a fleet of ships. Nonetheless, the Beyond itself would be too difficult for the Aulesiri to conquer, so it will not really show up on our map in detail, and knowledge of the Beyond is limited in the first place (told mostly through merchants, whose stories are considered impure or too fantastical to be true, and told also from the perspective of the Esurks, who actively deal in exotic goods from the Beyond).

    Notes on the class system
    And, it might be a good idea to talk about the class system in our realm. There are four classes, in order of respect: warrior (knights), farmers/peasants, artisans, and merchants. This might seem counter-intuitive, but allow me to explain: the warrior class is supreme as it defends the people and serves the lord it fights for; the farmers provide food for the people, and thus are traditionally an honored class. However, even though in name farmers are a respected class, they are heavily taxed by their lords; many lords do not even allow their farmer subjects to eat the food they grow, and instead force the farmers to submit to the tax burden and receive their share with everyone else. This obviously causes a lot of problems, which could be another source of potential conflict in our story. Artisans are extremely useful, though still considered less important than those who produce food (farmers). Even respected smiths and shipbuilders are relegated to this tier, though again, only in name. The merchant class being at the bottom of the barrel might seem the most out-of-place, but in this realm's society, they are considered parasites and schemers. That being said, they are still able to amass incredible fortunes, and we are beginning this story at a time when their influence is becoming greater (because of recent sentiments of regional independence, merchants are respected in their abilities to shuttle goods from region-to-region). Some merchants are still considered vile; mostly, those who deal in goods from the Beyond).

    This history's nuances
    From the initial settlement of Jyotnun, to the expansion into Surotsi and the current situation, there were many internal conflicts, wars, schemes, and crises. However, these will not be explained in full, and instead, your house profile should contain relevant information that can then, once all profiles have been submitted, be compiled to create a more nuanced backstory. I do not find it necessary to describe every single war over the course of thousands of years. Rather, keep in mind our land has been shaped by those years, and so certain tidbits of info (for example, the fact that Harrenhal's stone was melted by dragonfire) can be elaborated upon either in stories or in profiles. Once all profiles are submitted, and final profiles are created (by me), we will get a better idea of where loyalties lie and who is playing what. Current house loyalties and conflicts should not be "ancient" in design, but comparatively recent; though justification for power can be as ancient as you feel necessary.

    More on religion
    To elaborate more on religion: each god within the Aulesiri pantheon is not relatable to single categories of worship, and things are not so clear-cut or pre-defined. There may be several gods whose backstories encompass an aspect of, say, war, and their relationship to certain categories of society are consequential and even ever-evolving (so, more accurately, the warrior/knight class of society might develop an interest in a certain spirit due to that spirit's backstory which involved several battles won in ancient times). The point of all of this is, that there is a wide collection of deities and otherworldly spirits, and so players should feel some degree of freedom in establishing localized mythologies, as long as they all pay supreme worship to the revered emperor, a son of the gods. Keeping such fluidity in mind, I may still provide some basics, for story-telling purposes, and trends can certainly develop from region to region, or even throughout the realm.

    Worship of the gods is done via shrines. Shrines vary depending on what they represent. With a shrine, you must have something enshrined, a physical aspect of that spirit; therefore, shrines with physical remains are typically devoted to historical figures who became spirits after their death (just as the remains of Luseysi are enshrined at the Jade Shrine). Such shrines are often simple compared to shrines dedicated to otherworldly deities (with the exception of Luseysi's shrine, which is rather grandiose). More grandiose shrines are devoted to otherworldly, more powerful deities, ones that have not existed in human form in our world, but whose influence can be felt in other ways. Instead of enshrined remains, those shrines will have sculptures or reliefs of the god they represent, and those figures will be guarding a closed door with a hidden chamber. Within that hidden chamber is a vessel that is imbued with the spirit of the god (typically, an ancient object associated with the god, or something blessed by a notable priest). Shrines are crafted with materials available in the specific region, and very rarely rely on imported materials (but of course, that all depends). Despite that comment, one imported material extremely common in all religious structures is jadeite; usually, just a little bit of it. Worship in a shrine is done via censer, though specific ways of worship vary from region to region (and sometimes even house to house). It is also typical for each house to have a shrine all to themselves, dedicated to the deceased members of the family (and located on castle grounds).

    The night sky
    The moon is perhaps the most important feature of the world for a variety of reasons. The view of the moon became masked by ash during the Aulesiri Ruin, and thus prompted the great migration, as the Aulesiri sought a healthier firmament to guide their civilization. The world's moon is "green", but do not imagine a satellite covered in grass or something so neon and bright. Patches of the moon do show as green as grass sometimes, but much of it becomes pale through the filter of the world's atmosphere, and the moon's own atmosphere and weather systems (which are typically extremely cloudy). As such, the moon is usually a white-jade color with a tint of green. And while the Aulesiri referred to it as green in their histories, they more commonly used the term "pale" or "jade". Jade became the dominant term, especially as substantial quantities of jadeite have been found throughout Jyotnunni river valleys. The moon is obviously an important religious symbol, and the emperor's sigil is a pale-green crescent moon.

    Here is a brief (and intentionally vague) timeline:
    0 A.R.: The Aulesiri Ruin (though, A.R. stands for "After the Ruin"). The beginning of the migrations.
    ~300 A.R.: The (supposed) death of Luseysi and the founding of the Pale City. Additionally, the construction of regional cities, forts, and castles begins, utilizing Raayakin slave labor.
    ~700 A.R.: First colonies established in Surotsi; subsequent subjugation of weaker Esurkish relatives.
    ~800 A.R.: All of Jyotnun explored and mapped; much of it settled in some way or another. The first real conflicts with formidable Esurkish warriors begin, but see no end.
    ~800 - 1,300 A.R.: The Solemn Age; this was, essentially, five centuries of mourning for Luseysi, as prescribed by the Order of the Moon. Thousands upon thousands of shrines (some extremely fantastical) were constructed (many, in the first 200 years or so, using Raayakin slave labor -- later, sometimes even using domestic slave labor, much to the ire of the populace), and priority was put on maintaining such structures (even over the well-being of citizens). It was during this time that structures dedicated to deities or lesser spirits began to contain at least one portrayal of Luseysi, or some bits of jade in their design. The Solemn Age was begun by a steady, centuries-long meteor shower and strange fluctuations in the atmosphere; it began with hysteria, but gradually those anomalies dissipated and died out, along with any undying loyalty to the Order of the Moon and their strict policies. Some of the meteors became meteorites, and they carried a remarkably strong alloy, which was subsequently used to create extremely rare weapons (this metal is called syrlens).
    ~1,300 A.R.: The Order of the Moon is usurped by an emerging, popularized warrior class (due to growing population and peasants upset with the Order's policies). Money and resources begin to pour into the construction of new regional castles and fortresses (or, more commonly, improvements on the old), increasing tensions between regional lords and the political arm of the emperor. This was the first case of infighting in the emperor's house, as new warlords declared support for his brother. Many of the fantastical shrines of the Solemn Age were ransacked and looted to pay for the coming civil war.
    ~1,300 - 1,350 A.R.: The War of the Pale Brothers, which lasts for about five decades. The emperor and his brother wage a massive civil war, ending in the defeat of the emperor and the installment of his brother as new lord of the realm and supreme religious authority. The new emperor confirms the Order of the Moon's errors, and subsequently much of the old clergy is slaughtered and replaced. The emperor's blood is considered divine, and thus, popular respect is instilled in the new emperor. The new Order of the Moon declares the old religious structures sacred, and humble, limited renovation of those structures begins (in some cases, however, they are demolished because they are no longer recognizable). As mentioned, corrupt priests and monks of the Order are killed and replaced (this process is ongoing).
    ~1,370 A.R.: The death of the emperor at ninety years old, and the ascension of his only son. Also, the start of our story.

    The False Stone
    There do exist lords who remained loyal to the False Stone, a name given to the emperor who was usurped and who was believed to have been of "tainted mind". What separates them from those who were faithful to the now true emperor is that they received much of their wealth from the previous Order of the Moon; so typically, those lords and their holdings are extremely religious and have very grim urban conditions. At this time, those lords have given up supporting the False Stone (all lords have), though they might have some secret loyalties to him still, believing that the centuries-long meteor shower represented something greater than people currently realize (thus, they are also superstitious and may believe in the supernatural). This is the issue that caused so many problems: one side believed that magnificent religious structures and a solemn faith would lead the Aulesiri to glory and enlightenment, while the other side believed such prophecy to be false and counter-productive.

    The Order of the Moon
    The Order of the Moon is separated by the Old Order and the New, the New being the most common. Members of the Old are still persecuted if it is somehow discovered they once advocated the policies of the False Stone. The Old might be found as prophets proclaiming the end of days, or they might be more discreet in their dealings, or have altogether changed their identity entirely. All of the Old's funding has been stripped, as they are now hunted by the emperor instead of supported by him, so they likely do not have the wealth, power, or respect to return as formidable players in this story (and while religious members of the Old were persecuted, lords advocating the Old simply changed sides or were killed and defeated).
     
  2. Starlife

    Starlife de la terre à la lune

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,498
    What I need from you
    Your task is to come up with a pre-made house that fits logically into the jumble of information I have provided. You may collaborate with other players or not; I will be writing blurbs for each house once all initial information has been provided, and those blurbs will link your proposals and synthesize them with the world and its history.

    House Name: [the name of your family]
    Sigil / Words: [give a description of your sigil and perhaps 3 or 4 words of great importance to your house]
    Lord: [the name of your lord with his age and marital status]
    Family: [if you really want a son or daughter or whatever, say so here, along with age and marital status (if applicable) -- but this section will be moderated for the final profile]
    Ancestors: [notable, important ancestors (do not list your entire bloodline, please), with perhaps a brief descriptive title for each one; for example, "Billy the Builder, who was the architect of the grand Monastery of Delas-kul"] <- Feel free to play off of other house's ancestors, as well, if you can logically connect them.
    Holdings: [a listing and brief description of all of your house's holdings]
    Retainers: [a few lesser house names, and a brief set of words to describe each retainer's role and how they support you and/or have supported you in the past]
    Sources of Income: [how your house survives and makes money]
    History: [the abridged history of your house]
    Location: [please pinpoint a preferred location on the map]

    After I receive applications, I will move into the next phase, which is creating your final profiles (which will weave together what you write) and our official starting map.

    Regional Variations
    To keep things moderately consistent in the proposal stage, please keep in mind specific regional variations I have in mind. Northern Jyotnun should be the location of the some of the oldest Aulesiri settlements, and likewise, some of the most proud. Families in that region should be able to trace their family line back several centuries, and the structures built in that region could be traced back to the migrations. Old and proud does not mean prosperous, and it is likely those holdings are a bit more sparsely populated than the "cradle". It might be nice for you to equate this region to Germany, Poland, or the Baltic states.

    The cradle is the Pale City and the region surrounding. Moderately old families exist here, as well as the potential for interesting architectural developments due to the prominence of jadeite and slaves (from a while ago). The Pale City itself might easily receive a notConstantinople designation, but I'd rather not look at it so black and white. It is the center of the realm in more ways than one, and controls that vital sea route (the Milky Neck). The region to the west is decidedly "Mediterranean". I think models of reality can begin to come to light once you start to see the world in this way. I imagine Jyotnun to have a very Middle Ages-esque European feel. Of course there are differences that should presumably effect many aspects to make it lack exactly that Middle Ages feel, namely, the Black Death is non-existent (at least for now), so the land should be more populated.

    Meanwhile, heading towards the Pale City, things should get a little bit exotic, and well... strange. The Pale City should be unique all within itself. I'll let North King come up with the details (he is your emperor, by the way). Across the Milky Neck, Surotsi should have a very Turkish or Islamic feel (for lack of a better comparison). In the fringe areas of Surotsi, people should have a sense of freedom, being a good distance from the Pale City and integrating a whole other culture at their doorstep (a somewhat respected culture, no less). It's kind of a "wild west" (except in the east). As I said, some sort of Surotsi-specific cult is possible, and actually, one should have already been developing for some time. It wouldn't be separate from the Lunar Faith, but rather building off of it, but more region-specific and incorporating select Esurkish values that can easily be reconciled with the Lunar Faith's proclamations of chivalry.

    Terms
    Please note that the term "Aulesiri" is not really used in our realm nowadays, except perhaps by scholars. "Raayakin" are more commonly referred to as the Painted Children. The Esurks, however, are called the Esurks (but, as stated, there are various Esurkish tribes, and thus varying tribal nomenclature).

    Mysteries and magic
    Many have asked me if this is a "fantasy" NES. Yes and no. What is fantasy, really? And what is magic? If we were to go back in time and show the Middle Ages that we could grow organs in test tubes, they would call it alchemy. That being said, there are several mysteries in our world, strange happenings, superstitions, and "supernatural" occurrences (supernatural to them, science to us... or is it?). The centuries-long meteor shower during the Solemn Age. Luseysi's lifespan and his miraculous achievements. The "wilderness" of Surotsi and the mysteries of the deeper secrets of the Esurkish culture. The Beyond. The wasteland in Euleshun, and any stirrings that might be there. The fact that no matter what, even if the emperor weds a wife with blond hair and blue eyes, the child will be born with pale-green eyes and milky white skin. The appearance and mysterious disappearance of Delylani, a goddess and great x20 grandmother of the current emperor. The mysterious relationship the Painted Children had with the forested highlands of Jyotnun. There are several such mysteries in this NES. Think of A Song of Ice and Fire. Magic is not obvious and it is not something used by everyone. It comes with foreigners and it comes with the unknown, and most regard it as superstition and parlor tricks. Speaking of George R.R. Martin, while this NES is somewhat inspired by his works (and while there exist so many fans of his books on this forum), I invite you to think about the difference between inspiration and plagiarism, or shameless copying of ideas. I'd like to have some originality in this story, even if we are clearly inspired by previous works (and really, ASOIAF is inspired by the War of the Roses and other historical conflicts involving infighting, intrigue, and scheming).

    Beyond this prologue
    This story should be about lords exerting their regional muscles amidst an emperor who is weakened politically. Despite the emperor's unquestioned religious authority, due to the Solemn Age and the War of the Pale Brothers, central political authority from the emperor is no longer a viable option for lords who have become more powerful than the emperor in their own right and region. Essentially, we begin in an era of uncertainty, when lords may fight each other for resources, land, money, prestige, and perhaps the chance to become the (or a) Executor: a warlord who executes the will of the emperor.

    Maps
    ~ 1 pixel = 1 mile ~
    Blank Map
    Biome Map
    taiga
    temperate forest
    "Mediterranean"
    montane forest
    dry steppe
    semiarid

    Resources Map

    The Beyond has been sufficiently described, for now.
    The Jungles is the name given to a tropical region that has not been sufficiently explored.
    Earth's Vein includes two "points", which are the islands at either side of the vein. Those islands are volcanic hotspots, and the Earth's Vein itself is a series of underwater geysers and other geological anomaly. Think of it this way: when you are on the western coast of Jyotnun, and you look westward, you should see bright lights and dark clouds in the far off distance, and perhaps little sparkles coming from the ocean.
     
  3. Starlife

    Starlife de la terre à la lune

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,498
    Reserved for mechanics and ruleset info.
     
  4. Starlife

    Starlife de la terre à la lune

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,498
    Reserved for house notes and profiles-in-progress.
     
  5. Starlife

    Starlife de la terre à la lune

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
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    1,498
    Some other pre-thread business, such as a series of questions from people who want to nitpick and my lazy responses to their queries.

    That's more than enough. You can post. :)
     
  6. Son of Erdrick

    Son of Erdrick Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Alefgard
    Expressing interest!
     
  7. Luckymoose

    Luckymoose The World is Mine

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Messages:
    18,351
    Location:
    Get Back
    I claim this spot:

     
  8. Kraznaya

    Kraznaya Princeps

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Messages:
    6,822
    Location:
    Land of the Successor
    Placeholder for now:
     
  9. North King

    North King blech

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Messages:
    18,145
    Very much looking forward to this. I'm trying to get to sleep, though, so the profile will have to come tomorrow.



    This is, I believe, the site of the Pale City? The marked point is the heart of the empire -- it's the seat of the Emperor, the site of Luseysi's tomb, and pretty much the functional center of all administrative business. The river is bridged numerous times, for on the southern edge of the river (which I can name later if no one else will), there sits the merchant center of (at least this part of) the empire, on a broad swathe of land between the estuary and the open water. To its immediate east is one of the greatest harbors in the whole kingdom. Other fairly large towns and a series of shrines ring the bay around the river, naturally.

    I'll map it all out/describe it later, since... well, pretty much all of the Emperor's business will be taking place around the Pale City. Whoo.
     
  10. alex994

    alex994 Hail Divine Emperor!

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2004
    Messages:
    12,666
    Location:
    Breadbasket of USA
    House Name: House Reinar

    Sigil / Words: A Wounded Eagle &#8211; The Night is Unforgiving

    Lord: Janis Reinar (35, widower)

    Family: Sons (Henry Reinar, 12), (Abram Reinar, 7) and Daughter (Cassandra Reinar, 10), Brother (Haymir Reinar 32, Admiral)

    Ancestors:

    The Prophet Padimon- The man gifted with an uncanny ability to speak languages and understand cultures, he was first considered a heretic until he came to the aid of Luseysi and aided him in bringing his word to that of outlying fringe chieftains. He would further display his loyalty after the migration in his negotiations with the more powerful chieftains.

    Lord Rasir Myrich: Prominent nobleman of the early settlements in Surotsi prominent for defeating and then subsequently crushing the last of the Esurkish clans in Northeastern Surotsi.

    Lord Palidi Ranar: Infamous commander slaughtered with most of his host in a night ambush by a vast Esurkish army while marching towards Southern Surotsi. His son would come to avenge him.

    Lord Carlir Reinar (formerly Ranar): Son of Lord Palidi Ranar who avenged his father, slaying the infamous Esurkish commander Lloze Zrkeis and returning to his home city in triumph only to lose out in the political sphere. Forced to flee to the Pale City and seek the protection of the Emperor, eventually granted a small fief in the present-day Reinar territories.

    Lady Rurella Cavas: Wife of Lord Hymir Reinar, she played an instrumental role in House Reinar&#8217;s neutrality in the first few decades of the War of the Pale Brothers and strengthened the House&#8217;s commercial and naval domination even as other noble families derided the focus; her efforts allowed House Reinar to lead a formidable coalition of southern Houses to victory against the Emperor who must not be named.





    Holdings: House Reinar is certainly one of the more powerful houses in the realm. As such, they have powerful vassals in the mainland who in other regions would have been mighty independent lords in their own right. The flower of heraldry with mighty armored hosts, these lords formed the core of House Reinar&#8217;s armies which enveloped the False Stone&#8217;s forces and permanently turned the tides of war. Their vassals in the Seabane Isles are another matter; traders, smugglers and pirates alternating between the seasons despite their loyalties.

    House Highland: A house whose wealth seems unending due to her possession of gold mines, the House has always been great patrons of art and learning during times of peace. Although their wealth has made them targets that same wealth protects them as they have spent generations building friends and networks throughout the Empire. Many a minor house in financial disarray were saved by a timely Highland gift.

    House Arnodt: Stalwart and strong, House Arnodt have had little interest in base deeds such as farming, preferring to leave the work to their social lessers so long as their taxes and their dues in olive oil and wine are given. Wealthy Arnodt is not, but proud she is. Her ancestors were the first to bend the knee to Lord Calir Reinar and they have never ceased to remind all others of that fact.

    House Wynfin: Relatively new to the nobility, House Wynfin were no more than upstart nobility a few generations ago at the eve of the struggle. The war changed everything. The price of wine and olive oil skyrocketed and House Wynfin took significant advantage of the opportunity to profit. A few profitable marriages with bankrupt noble families later, House Wynfin had firmly established herself as wealthy dealers in wine and olives and parleyed that money into buying social status.

    House Ranor: The traditional lords of the Seabane Isles and distantly related to House Reinar, the original line was purged after the Struggle as they had been loyal supporters of the False Stone. It was only after a Reinar fleet and army landed during an inter-house power struggle over which side to support that House Ranor once more bent the knee to her erstwhile relatives. The side that Reinar supported was the pragmatic one, the side which swore to follow Reinar to the ends of the earth. This House and that of House Reinar naval forces closed the southern end of the straits and began tying the noose to the False Stone.

    House Eryn and House Penra: Minor houses of the Seabane Isles who have never been entirely comfortable with House Reinar&#8217;s domination of the Isles, they have never challenged House Ranor knowing that the monies from trade have benefited the Isles and that without House Reinar they and their newfound peace would otherwise prove to be easy pickings for other lords.

    Sources of Income: Trade, tolls, agriculture, vineyards and olive oil.

    History: Claiming descent of the Prophet Padimon, the history of House Reinar has been filled with death, betrayal and trade. They funded and sponsored some of the first Eastern and Northern Surotsi and themselves re-located themselves to Eastern Surotsi as the settlements prospered. That was a foolish choice. They made contact with the formidable and proud Esurkish warriors and unfortunately antagonized them, the one fatal mistake for the otherwise culturally sensitive clan. The next few hundred years would be one of constant battles against the southern Esurkish warriors culminating in the epic disaster at the Slaughter of Three Hills where an entire Imperial army under Lord Palidi Ranar was ambushed and slaughtered. His son Carlir Ranar led another army and was able to avenge his father but despite these military successes, was defeated by politics in his home city and forced to flee to the Pale City to seek the Emperor&#8217;s forgiveness. Granted forgiveness, he was sent off to the southern provinces with a small fief. Returning to the roots of the clan in trade and commerce, House Reinar prospered until they held a pivotally powerful position in the region. House Reinar was long opposed to the Order of the Moon yet when the War of the Pale Brothers came, House Reinar tried her best to remain neutral arguing that she needed to maintain her focus on supporting the outlying Surtosi settlements. As the tide of the war shift, House Reinar threw her forces behind that of the Usurper and ushered in the new period, rebuilding castles, paving new roads and expanding her fleets.

    Location: I can't make a map right now so I'll do my best to describe where I want to place it:

    Southern coast of Jyotnun, the southwest of the Pale City, and northwest of the series of islands between Jyotnun and Surotsi, there is a delta-esque place with 2 wines, 2 olives and 1 marble in the proximity. I want to start right in the middle there at the point where the two branches of that river comes together to enter the ocean.
     
  11. Son of Erdrick

    Son of Erdrick Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Alefgard
    Here's a map of the current spots + my spot (nestled between those mountains!)

     
  12. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    8,047
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth


    MINE
     
  13. Azale

    Azale Deity

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Messages:
    18,723
    Location:
    Texas


    This is a mighty fine lookin' NES you got here, Starlife. I'm the blue dot.
     
  14. Son of Erdrick

    Son of Erdrick Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Alefgard

    Updated the player map, decided to use the resource map so we can gauge just what we want to steal from each other.
    :p


    House Name: House Cyir
    Sigil / Words: Three Black Towers Around A Rust-Colored Circle ("None Have Yielded")
    Lord: Lord Lyelt XIX/36/Wed
    Family: Lyelt XX/16/Unwed, Lynnesi/12/Unwed
    Ancestors: Lyelt the Stone-Hearted (Former Garrison Commander, When All Others Fled Held Castle Ywsset Against the Empire's Foes; Sacrificed Wife And Children In Defense of the Realm; Granted Lordship, Remarried, Began The Current Cyir-Line)
    Holdings:
    Spoiler :

    1) Castle Eshyll~ Youngest castle and subsequently smallest. Built during the reign of Lyelt VI 'the Vain'

    2) Castle Syonnt~ Second youngest castle, middling in size. Built during the reign of Lyelt II 'Ground-Breaker'

    3) Castle Ywsset~ Oldest castle, tremendous in size. Built before the reign of Lyelt the Stone-Hearted and originally held by long-since-forgotten march-lords. After the march-lords abandoned the castle to an invading force Ywsset was turned over the Lyelt, the castle's commander and later lord.

    4) City of Cyirden, also colloquially known as 'The Iron City' due to the region's economic staple: mining, metallurgy, and metalworking. Founded by Lyelt II 'Ground-Breaker' and since then has served as the seat of House Cyir.

    Sources of Income: Primarily a combination of mining/metalworking thanks to the mineral-rich hills and mountains within the region. Cyirden is home to numerous master smiths and adequate jadeite craftsmen (though much of the jadeite is sent to other regions more renowned for their jewelry-crafting), again due to the abundance and proximity of minerals. Within the past century Cyirden has also begun to export its local variety of tea, called 'red tea' due to the reddish color water takes on when the tea is steeped. Some farming, though mostly to keep the region fed and little, if any, of it is exported/sold.
    History: Founded in ~400 A.R. after the lands once held by a march-lords too cowardly to face an uprising within the region. Castle Ywsset was held by Lyelt I, whose subsequent actions crushed the revolt and secured the region for the growing empire. In reward Lyelt was made a lord, taking on the house-name 'Cyir'. His descendants slowly pushed the holdings of House Cyir westward until the entire valley fell into their hands by ~900 A.R.. Since then much of the house's affairs have been centered on expanding mines and encouraging the metal/jadeite-working trades.
    Location: See 'Holdings'
     
  15. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    8,047
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth


    Uploaded with ImageShack.us


    Actually I think I want to incorporate some Esuark Ideals into my House.

    Damn, I seem to have messed up zooming. It's to the left of the Spice resource in the southern continent, between two iron resources
     
  16. Starlife

    Starlife de la terre à la lune

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Messages:
    1,498
    For starters, getting the terminology down would be good. The Esurks or Esurkish ideals.

    Secondly, you've placed yourself well beyond the provinces that would contain Aulesiri houses with an Esurkish "influence", and even further from actual hotspots of Esurkish civilization.
     
  17. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    8,047
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth
    Fail.

    Where the hell are they? I know they are in this continent, but it seems... err "Not clear cut"
     
  18. Son of Erdrick

    Son of Erdrick Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Alefgard
    I believe they are on the other continent, actually. Kraznaya would be in a good position to deal with them, I think.
     
  19. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    8,047
    Location:
    Not Lying through my teeth
    I am in the same continent as Kraznaya. Direct west of him near the other coast, in fact.
     
  20. Son of Erdrick

    Son of Erdrick Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2012
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Alefgard
    Actually, the place you put on your original post is on the main continent is quite far away from Kraznaya! Double check!
     

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