Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold: Ith's City-States

Crux and the Volcanic North
Settlements: Crux, Runeheart, Boilport

Crux is the largest city in the world, its metropolis large enough that it deserves its own region of its own.  It
predates Ith itself, both the nation and the ancient archmage.  It has been the capital of ancient empires.  It was built atop an ancient skull, of some long forgotten god.  Crux also sits atop the narrow sleeping straits, the entrance into the Maru sea.  It sits at the midpoint between all northern and southern trade.  It's banks serve all of the Four Powers.  North of Crux, on the sliver of the Ainesian continent Ith controls, is violent volcanoes, hot springs and pools.  Boilport sits near active geysers, some of the most active on all of Orphos.

Crux is also part of the new industrial heart of Ith.  It where Androids were first created and used en masse.  Its factories are still new, somewhat experimental, but have started to created dividends that might outmatch the textiles and logging economic might of the south.  Crux is also home to a variety of political radicals, all eager for a chance to prove their point.

The city wishes to continue to grow in power and dominance.  To many in the city of curses, Crux feels like it is at the center of some new age, ready to rush out and infect the rest of the world.  Some tend to forget its misbegotten poor, its protesting unsorcerous humans or scheming vampires when they see the shining magical wonders of the University unveiled from the Skullmount.

Athrid, Ithspan and the Maru Coast
Settlements: Athrid, Ithspan, Witch's Cove

The Maru Coast is where most of traditional Ith lies.  These cities were the ones to start the push for independence in the first place.  The homeland of the sorcerous, these cities also are the most populous, excepting for Crux of course.  They also are part of the breadbasket of Ith, their farmland providing cereal and livestock goods.  These farms also are one of the first places in Ith outside of Crux to have their own crews of Androids.

This region is also the most radical thinking of all of Ith.  Ideas from Othebea and Ainesia flood them constantly.  Most cities have local laws that grant some rights to the unsorcerous, even Athrid where the Senate convenes.  This part of Ith is eager to reform their government more, convinced that Ith could create a even better state without having to go as far as Krasnylang has in Ainesia.

To this end, these cities push for more and more federal power.  They want to remove some of the corruption of past governing practices.  A strong federal government could galvanize Ith, they say, and prepare it for any possible future conflicts with Ainesia or Othebea.  More than few warhawks from the cities see Othebea as a weak target, viewing the Rose Canal as a positive gain for them.  Others look across the ocean to Ocrid, suggesting the possibility of Ith doing some colonizing of its own.

Adais Silverune, President of Ith

Silverune first came to prominence when her regiment won the Battle of New Goodthorn during the Revolution Wars.  The victory came after the peace had been declared, but General Silverune garnered national popularity throughout Crux.  She killed the Knight Arthys Morningthorn in a duel, after he'd insulted her wife.  Her army was sent to defend Crux during the Revolution that ravaged Ainesia.  She took the towns of Boilport and Runeheart, defeated the local Ainesian militias and led to all the lands north of Crux becoming part of Ith.

Her victories in the war garnered her popularity enough that she won nomination for President.   She crusaded against tariffs and other strong federalizing forces the Ithic senate had been contemplating.  The South gave her complete support, followed by the Storm Coast.  She won in a landslide.  Her presidency has long been at conflict with Senator Maxmidan of Crux, as neither like each other at all.  Silverune has long opposed any form of a national bank, vetoing any charter trying to authorize it.

Her presidency is nearing its end, with the old, bitter and angry Silverune having defined her term as being bitterly against any strong federal legislation.  Her rise to power has signaled a spread of democracy among the less wealthy sorcerous, especially those in the South or Storm Coast who rely sorcery prohibitions to make a living.

The Swamps of the Storm Coast
Settlements: Runeport, Staffwood, Illvain

The western coast of Ith sits south of Crux, but with no hills or mountains to shield it from the storms that hit
it every year.  It has never grown populous.  But the people here are a hardy folk, who know how to get what they want from the sea.  It is also a land that long has remembered what its folk know is the true faith, not the lie the Church of the Twins tells.  The swampy folk of Illvain in particular remember the Sundered Star.  They keep an eye out for their long missing masters.  And they kill Halflings on sight.

The dark swamps are home to a Black Dragon, a ancient wyrm who enjoys the quiet peace of the swamps when the storms aren't thrashing it.  It slumbers in a ancient ruin that pre-dates the Ursyklon invasion of Orphos.  The massive temple depicts things with tentacles, eyes and incomprehensible languages.  In other parts of the Storm Coast, runaway undead serve Liches in remote estates that like their privacy.  One of the senators of the Storm Coast is one of those Liches, who claims to be a student of Ith and an unparalleled master of Necromancy.

The Inculti Vampires of Crux often keep a wary eye on the Swamps of the Storm Coast.  Some say the Inculti clan first originated in the dark swamps.  Ursyklons in Crux dislike the swamps.  More than a few Ursyklons knew someone who went into the Storm Coast and never returned.  They are many more ancient ruins in the Storm Coast, many Ursyklon, many Aboleth and others whose origins are mysteries.

Sideboard: Wax-Dancers
There are Androids in the Storm Coast too, but these ones all serve a mad lich who is eager to experiment on the very concept behind them.  Valtrane Verserune has modified a number of Androids, often in cruel ways.  Some of these Androids do escape, although Verserune doesn't seem to notice.  These Androids wander the swamps of the Storm Coast, using the strange alterations he created in them.  A few even make it back to other Androids, spreading the basics of Wax Dancing to more and more Androids.

Wax-Dancers are Androids whose wax outer shells, which are intended to look humanoid, are more fluid and alterable than normal wax.  Wax dancing lets an Android change their appearance- even hiding any sign of them being Androids.  Wax-Dancers can replicate the appearance of humanoids, changing their shape and bodies to disguise themselves perfectly.

No one knows if Verserune was the first to discover this, but his lectures on the subject in the University of Crux make it clear that any Android could be converted into a Wax-Dancer.  In fact, Verserune speculated that maybe ancient magi could've created their own Wax-Dancers, using them to influence and modify historical events.  Most scholar disagree with that testament, although Wax-Dancers remain very real.

The Southern Forests
Settlements: New Goodthorn, St. Thomas, Garcua

Most of the settlements in the south are new, created by Othebean efforts to send migrants to use them.  Ursyklon druids long tended to these groves, coming into conflict many times with the Othebean colonists.  These townships were the least willing to join in the drive for independence, and many Othebean loyalists drifted into the woods after the war to hide.  The Southern Forests have many of their own dangers as well, some of whom are considered fellow 'citizens.'

Anuazadii and her brood of Green Dragons claim entire stretches of wood.  A coven of Hags have long been elected Senators for the mostly human town of New Goodthorn for years now.  Ursyklon Rangers have long been granted a sort of constabulary status- asked to patrol the woods and keep it secure for Ithic interests.  Werewolves and their skinwalker children hide in the woods as well, forming tribes that stifle under the idea of any sort of foreign rule from Athrid.  Most distressing is the wealth these Werewolves have been uncovering in the forests, using their strength and power to provide for the logging needs of all Ith on a yearly basis.  The southern Ithic agricultural economy provides most of Ith's wealth in the current era, providing the basic materials for the textile factories in Crux and Ithspan.

Despite all their mutual distrust, most of the southern factions have learned in the past fifty years to work together.  Werewolves, humans, hags and even the green dragons have created dozens of plantations, most of which Urskylon Druids help to grow large.  Most have converted to the faith of the Wolf Mother, even more disliking having Athrid or any Northern Ith tell them what to do.  The South dislikes any talk of expanding citizenship, finding the idea of their unsorcerous humans, halflings and other workers being allowed to vote as dangerous to their way of life.  Androids have also started to make an appearance in the South, albeit slowly.

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