Humans are the most numerous race of the world, their history telling an enriching story of the rise and fall of many nations. After the fall of Zeal, Mercanius lead the way to arrange for the unification of all peoples under the Federation of Mercia. This includes the cultures that would later inhabit the cities of Portcross, Blackmount, Andal, Medici, and Mercia itself, until its fall. Presently the Federation is limited to Greycastle and Coventry, with teetering communication between all others.
The various classifications of humans are not limited only in profession, but also religion and social status. Nobles hold the highest seats in politics and wealth, followed by religious servants under the Houses of Virtue. Below these places exist the more grey areas of human adventure; thieves and secretive mages for example, who dare exist outside of the standards of full propriety. Overall, humans display the largest diversity of class and skill amongst all others, and by their creativity, lead the future direction of the world.
Humans born of Andalian heritage hail from a genealogy of war-trodden peoples split from the Federation after the fall of Mercia. To be Andalian is to have little cares for the world, save for the common endeavor of self-exaltation brewed with hardiness. The history of these peoples are riddled with noble foul-play, intermarriage, and blood games between raiding tribes. It has been said after all, that an Andalian does best when he writes his own law, marks his own boundary, and has his own drink ready at all times.
Those from Andal are likely to have built bonds with others under the professions involving combat and weapon smithing. Their dark leathery skin easily identifies them amongst the rest of the world, a choppy accent suggesting a splintered education. Many are expectedly curt unto others by influence of their rough pasts, although others have moved beyond their history and have projected a jolly ‘carefree’ nature above their harsh foundation.
The Cities of Man
From the arrival of the first ships from Eridan and abandonment of Zeal, humans have never shed their natural instincts of creativity and ingenuity. An ocean divides the times of old, and with all things Zealan removed, mankind had a new start in the name of Mercanius. None would dispute that the founding of Mercia lay within the precepts of heavenly guidance, although it is commonly disagreed upon through which age of nobility featured the Federation’s highest achievements. The story of humankind is best told through its vast array of nations established through the years as storm and stress have weathered them all. Some tell stories of persistent goodness, and others, thorns of chaos. The largest debate however, still lies within to whom credence is given when sons and daughters enter the world as kings and queens, and to whom curses are delivered when no sons or daughters are born at all.
Portcross claims to be the oldest city of the federation, and rightly so as it was likely the landing point for Mercanius and those who followed his departure from Eridan. Its colonial days featured an expert class of fencers, or the ‘Revyr,’ who were responsible for fending off the first raids of lizard men from the nearby beaches. The first of its sailors and dock workers were self-identified treasure seekers, although it is impossible to avoid claiming that many of these peddler men were equally skilled in the way of thievery. The era of baronial revolt attracted many of such opportunists to visit Mercia for easy pickings, and only could the restoration of the great naval fleet under Vorlon’s vision could Portcross’ reputation to the Federation be reconciled. The city has been mainly ignored since the fleet’s departure to Eridan however, and the once renowned capital of trade is now more of a slum at best.
Exiles and those banished from Greycastle are extradited to Portcross to share their miseries with their fellow dropouts. Likewise, those who claim to be residents do not slip by without assumed past or present involvement in questionable schemes. There are fanciful activities within Portcross still for the pleasure-seeker, and the prospect of wealth is still within reach for the crafty soul.
The city is divided by a river channel, the northern part being of original clay architecture and style, and the southern featuring low-pitched roofs of white stucco. A ferry operates between Portcross and the pass to Coventry, instated by House Peredhil in good faith. Portcross has no ruler, and all disputes and matters political are dealt through personal vendetta and underground private societies.
The large keep sprawling atop the mountains entranced by her museum containing the annals of the noble house rulers looks upon the city that became the new capitol in place of Mercia. It is the city forged upon the blood of nobles, its scars mostly hidden but never forgotten. Pride and ‘rebirth’ called for a regal stone design, and all functions for civil life are kept safe within its mountainous cloak. It boasts of its temple to the House of Sky, a place for all faiths as all are welcomed so long as they remember that there is a throne that rules all.
Those born of Greycastle are particularly seasoned for responsible living, and its wealth grants its sons and daughters a rich foundation in the knowledge of the world. Tutors are invited from the surrounding cities to educate the young in all matters of politics, the religions, and combat. Once teenage age is reached, one is free to pursue temporary apprenticeship outside of Greycastle, so as long as they return home before adulthood to debrief their gained knowledge of the world with the rising noble houses.
Greycastle upholds an established set of laws, unequal to no other community. All citizens are briefed thoroughly on these rules of the land, and with this decree came several political seats to help organize peaceful living. Underneath the noble ruling head is the elected Seneschal, and from House Peredhil comes the selection of the Man-at-arms to lead the guardsman. The most notable of Greycastle are those who take license to build their loyalties to the Federation and and their decorum is usually outlined by their popular following and size of estate.
House Peredhil’s task, that which initiated a marbling of the worn military grounds, has been seen as a rescue mission for a suffering Medician remnant from the Migration Years. The agreement hence commissioned the remaining Medician artisans and musicians to vow service as church music masters in exchange for armed protection and sacred privacy in the name of justice. Coventry thus remains solely as a worship center for the House of Justice, surrounded by protective mountains.
Those born within Coventry’s walls are fostered by elementary religious study, taught directly through the church. Children are then divided by their projected skillset after elementary age, positioned to either stay within Coventry as attendants to her needs, or be sent elsewhere to learn the trades of the world. Higher potential students channeled into the fields of priesthood and inscription are destined to retain their lifestyle as the church’s residential servants. The highest scorers in the combat and swordsmanship fields obtain special privilege rites, and are carefully prepositioned to become squires.
Coventry’s main involvement in the world has been in the service of tutors and servants visiting city to city. The patronage cooperation between Houses Peredhil and Firsprin has since kept squires and priests afloat, as most make their residency in the city of Greycastle. While Greycastle is the topical foundation of the Federation, Coventry believes it is the good-willed heart for all men, and seeks to educate all in the ways of virtuous acts.
The beautiful meadows plentiful with gentle creatures and animals sets the scene of a pastoral culture sprouting from the migration years. The founder remains anonymous, clear to avoid progressive tension from the origins of the Agrysian people who were disappointed from adolescence in the industrial sight of mankind’s abode. The desire was to live uncaged- to use weapons and live in homes that reminded themselves of Terra’s nurturing spirit. The first of the settlers instilled a necessary mastery of animal knowledge and equestrian skill. From this prerogative, it was believed that Terra would bless her stewards with safe passage in her lands while they remained outside of more modern lifestyles.
Agrysians are typically ranger kin, less interested in the principles of politics and virtue and more interested in the harmony of nature. They are aware of the basic formalities of the Federation as represented allies, but mostly interact with other societies from a distance.
Many a century’s worth of time supplied the test of struggle for the nobles of Mercia and their sons against the deep dwellers, forging the way of resilience for the beginning of Andal. The trek northward established a symptom of monotony embellished with the excitement of war that would only satiate the natural born warrior, but demolish the weak-willed. Conquest is the root of Andal, and its lust over the years the stump immovable. The noble houses that oversaw Andal’s rise had followers of a special breed, and perhaps their emperor mentality did in fact birth children with fire in their veins as its purity spiraled out of control.
It’s scattered homes and buildings tell of its chaos to outsiders looking in from ‘privileged’ background. While order is stitched through tribal law that forces the weaker to submit, history does scatter noble ties throughout the genealogies of Andal’s sons and daughters. The highest of them claim to themselves multiples wives in addition to trophies earned from common careers of country hunting and mercenary service alike. Likewise, blacksmiths have made a name for themselves living amongst the high demand for weapons and armor in addition to the rich surplus of the Andalian range.
Since the days of the baronial revolt, Andalians at large have not been welcomed within the Federation. It is busied otherwise its own sect of mercenaries and warriors loyal to their choice of brotherhood that busies itself with sport and proof of strength. Greycastle does admit certain Andalians to seek lodging within its walls, although through their heavy accents they most prove their intent to be peaceful guests after thorough evaluation and vetting.
Academy of Blackmount
“Under the Houses of Virtue exist those who can see the colors of the Sky within their reach. By prayer, our eyes have been opened to use the powers of God to heal, aid, and protect. Keep these friends amongst the highest of veneration, and allow them safe passage through the Federation.”
“Beware of the corrupted bloodlines from our lost peoples. They claim that darkness rises above God, and search for greater powers that will bring our doom. Mercanius would not tolerate such a threat to the Federation, and neither should we..”
These words survived the fall of Mercia, and by order of the ruling house of Greycastle do they stand as the mantra for the Academy of Blackmount. Journeyman scholars, apprentices, and grandmasters of the sciences and miracles of Leanantla serve the purpose of educating those who seek knowledge. It is paramount then, that nothing discovered is swept under the carpet, lest anyone would test the Federation’s tight watch for rebels and renegades. They do exist, although in what numbers is unknown.
Blackmount does not uphold a population or living grounds. It is a society meant for visitors to share knowledge and take part in controlled experimentation. The main activities of its resident scholars include documentation of magical arts, alchemical recipes, and most importantly, research into the latests myths of Terra. Additionally, one may find catalog of all beasts on Leanantla, which may come in handy for adventures when stepping out into the deeper wilds.
Special races may be rolled with GM approval and application as the story develops and introduces their presence in the game. For now, these excerpts are to serve as previews for what is to come.
Few of Mercanius’ articles about the orcs remain, but their basic descriptions are common knowledge to all who would actually suspect that there are in fact orcs amongst the Federation. Notes include a species of reptilian color, strictly carnivorous, and naturally stronger than the strongest of man. Their intelligence wanes in comparison to all other races, but their regimented and superstitious life-styles have kept them in step with all other competitors.
It is unknown if orcs are natural born killers by pleasure or through commanded authority. What is certain though, is that men fear them, and for a time, were fleeing from their threat.
Legend speaks of a sacred grove that spouted upon Terra during the Lost Years from which a society discovered its direct connection to Mother Terra and her many blessings. Both men and women drank from these springs, inhabiting its shelter and becoming linked to the secrets of the earthen domain. Over time, these peoples began to resemble nature itself in its harmony with sprit, sylph, and wisp. A culture of royal bloodlines through sacred marriage rites produced colonies of unfathomable beauty that welcomed new alliances with those who had also found similar harmonies within Terra’s gifts.
In the early days of Zeal, the high Queen took the hand of a young prince who was of impure blood unbeknownst to her. The result was catastrophic, as a child was born whom she could not love. The prince was outraged, and in this great anxiety, the grove was attacked and all children of the grove disbanded with hatred in their hearts. The legend speaks that in her final act, the Queen called upon the centaurs to bless her fleeing children with the highest graces of Terra.
In the present age, the Fae-Bloods are known as shape shifters. Their ancestors retained a blessed bloodline of Terra’s ancient creatures that has been passed on to the remnants of today. Within the Fae-Blood is an affinity for the natural world, its understanding and purity of being. Fae-bloods are bonded amongst their own, lovers of primitive ways, and are cautious when participating in the events of the modern world.
Those who no longer wish to live life harnessed by the prospect of death have found alternatives to walk the lands with misunderstood lament. To give up on life is heresy to the House of Sky, and banishment is the due paid forward to the wicked one who would chose to abandon the ways of the living. Necromancy was the first to blame for this prospect, but as for Leanantla, the origins are unknown.
There are various forms of undead, each displaying separate forms of strength and weaknesses. Blood magics are the common denominator for many who undergo transformation, although for the highest of them belong the phylactery that entraps the life-force and postpones the effect of age upon the vessel to whom it belongs. If such a phylactery is shattered, then death for the vessel is swift.
They are creatures of magical origin, born from the blood of both human and demon together. They were the extension of the will of a great mage, a conjuror who threatened the freedom of the world with an army of minions and various breeds of orc. The Virdd were born to guide such subordinates, their red skin marking their identify clearly on the front lines in war but with faces hidden behind tribal masks to conceal their identity. Telepathic communication between other Virdd is their greatest talent, and such was paramount between companies in battle.
Amongst their fear of revealing their face to all non-Virdd include other oaths taken at their creation, including the disdain from taking life of any breathing creature. They are mindful creatures, bearing two or three syllable names with no family name. Their magical nature allows their bodies to not see decay, as Virdd neither eat or drink. Overall, they are trustworthy vessels, far from deceit and impulsivity while lavished with natural intelligence and ingenuity.