The Cost of Duty
Humans: The races of men come in as much variety as they do in our world, the sheer size of the continent has given rise to many different breeds of men. Of actual diverse cultures however, there are relatively few thanks to the lack of natural borders.
- Veldians: The citizens of the Kingdom of Veld, the main power block on the continent. The kingdom dominates the midlands from east to west and claims ownership of all things north of Mirror peak and south of the Gateway mountains. Founded from the war of Unification,Veld culture is an amalgam of all those tribes which went into its founding, stable in its flexibility and held through its might and order. Veldians are most easily compared to 14th -15th century Europe, or Rome during the height of its epoch, undergoing a period of innovation and peace. The educated classes see it as their duty to advance society rather than concerning themselves with building armies and securing borders.
- Priests: While you may find roadside preachers and monks tending small churches, the title of priest is held by the lean, dark skinned dwellers of Belarus forest. In the 3rd century of Veld rule King Leopold the 1st decreed all men of the gods should dwell in the forest, one of the most holy of places. Of the thousands sent in only 500 lived through the first year. Those descended from these survivors learnt to overcome the perils of the jungle, and in a perverse twist of fate were indeed brought closer to their gods. Now, in the 501st year of Veld rule, priests can be seen wandering the roads, with no fear of what the world may hold, for not only are they skilled and unsurpassed hunters, but the connection they have to their gods makes them potent Fey mages.
- Triad Tribes: To the south of Mirror peak, lie the rolling planes and untamed wilderness of the Triad lands. With no true government, hierarchy or infrastructure, the Triad lands are home to unnumbered tribes and small communities. All that can truly unite the many factions and families are the Shamans who wander freely among the people and seem to maintain order of a sort. Certainly whenever the Triad lands are threatened the people rally into a vast hoard against which Veld has been loath to fight.
- Fenswick Port Town: The independent city state of Fenswick is a tolerated existence within Veld territory. Already a burgeoning town in the time of unification, Fenswick remained separate from veld due to its remote location and a firmly neutral status. Today, Fenswick is the largest harbour on the continent, offering services to anyone who is able to pay regardless of allegiances. This has made it something of a haven for criminals or those neglected by society. More than one outcast dabbler in science and magic has made their way to Fenswick making it the centre for trade in modern devices of more questionable uses. The bustling city is most similar to early American free ports, or Terry Pratchett’s Ankh Morpork.
- Kreah: While not a true nation, the people of Kreah are as separate as you will ever find. Down in the darkness beneath the earth, Kreah was the last refuge of those who stood against the Veld and their allies during the time of unification. Hopelessly outnumbered, with no where to run, the final stragglers had prepared to make their last stand when an unlikely saviour spared them. A shaman opened the way to a vast chasm beneath the earth, and told them that it would shelter them, and their descendants from Veld. They accepted his offer and fled the surface, the way closing behind them save for a narrow passage. Over 500 years have passed since they first hid in the dark, and Kreah now stands as a vast city, lit by magic and science, it’s people grown short and pale in the dark but ever obsessed with their works and their old hatred. Kreah sits defiant of Veld, beneath the heartlands of their territory and offering refuge to any who think ill of the kingdom.
- Merchant Isle: Proud, aloof and mysterious, the people of the three merchant isles are hardly ever seen. The Isles are the only place which supports life off of the continent and as such they are considered one of the most remote places. Few have seen the Islanders, their ports are closed to all but a select few, who are just as tight lipped about what happens on the metal skirted disks as their inhabitants. The nearest spit of land has developed into a massive market town, the Beast Pens, where goods from all over the continent are gathered and traded. The traders here all vie for the attention of the secretive islanders.
- The Broods: The northernmost border of the Kingdom of Veld is marked by the imposing gateway mountains, a region of harsh peaks and near constant snow. This inhospitable region is home to the Broods. The Broods have not changed their ways of life since the unification, living in isolation amongst the peaks, each one an extended tribe contending for scarce resources and jealously guarding the secrets of the mountains. Sometimes they can be seen, ploughing the waves of the god’s blood down into the heartlands. These river dwellers are amongst the most trust worthy traders and fiercest competitors.
Golems: The intelligent golem is one more part of the legacy left by the lost Arkevey, the original civilisation of the planes before the war of unification saw it destroyed. While it is true that Golem crafters can be found throughout Veld, no one has managed to achieve more than a lifeless automaton. Only those golems left from the time of Arkevey possess life. The Ovant golems of Icewind in the north are survivors of when Arkevey fell, having taken themselves far beyond Veld reach. Each bearing an artificial soul, trapped within a stone of incalculable worth, the Ovant (or observant) see all living things as equal. Having survived for over 500 years, the remaining Ovant have become exceptionally good at repairing and modifying their bodies. Some have entirely changed appearances, some swap outer shells on a biweekly basis to better suit the task before them.
Humonculi: Known as the Beast races in Veld, the Humonculi are in actual fact humans who have extended their lifespan beyond some deadly event. Fairly common in the Triad lands and seen as a trainable animal in Veld, Humonculi began appearing almost 300 years ago when an alchemist of the warring Veld kingdom took his research on the preservation on life into Triad lands for fear of being proclaimed a heretic. His experiments there were aided by a body of shamans who combined their odd abilities with his potions to give rise to the first successful use of The Rite. The Rite melds a dying person with the physical manifestation of their animal counterpart, healing them of any injury or ailment and extending their lifespan by the span of years that animal would have lived. But the greater the injury, the more of their counterpart the Humonculi will need to take on both mentally and physically till they become an amalgam of both human and beast.
Fey: The creatures known as the fey are undefinable in nature. The basic principle is that belief carries power and so manifests within a being. While most of them never progress in power beyond just a stray thought and a wisp of light, some become powerful enough to deserve the godhood which mortals bestow upon them. Requiring an invocation or a new influx of belief to be able to make themselves known to others not of their kind, the one place they can manifest freely is the cursed forest of Malarus. However some fey can acquire enough power to will a physical form.