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[Atheus] General Notations/Ideas

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I'm not exactly sure about the proper guidelines for this, so correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm going to use this space to write down all my half-baked idea of Atheus, all my miscellaneous details that are too small to fit into a sub, etc.

Thoughts, opinions, suggestions, critiques, facts, jokes, and so on are appreciated.

So. For anyone who comes and visits this backwater of the forum and doesn't know of my world, here: Atheus.

On the subject of Gems and Glass.

The continent of Atheus lacks deserts, and since glass is made with sand, glass is a luxury material. Though glass has been found, its base materials are in insufficient quantity to allow much technological innovation into mass production. Colored glass is by far the most common, and is still quite expensive.

Glass is such a luxury that it can cost more than a similar colored gem. A ring with a bead of transparent white glass costs far more than a diamond. In fact, some frauds try and sell diamond rings as glass rings.

That, too, is another point. Diamonds are dirt cheap. They are quite common, as it is in the real world. The difference between Atheus and the real world is that diamond companies haven't bought up all the diamonds.

Common gems will be cost less than glass, and rare gems will be equal with glass.

Who makes glass? Selthia. Selthia is the biggest producer, with the other human countries having some production. Selthia can make it so fast as it is  placed next to the river and the ocean, giving it lots of sand from the beaches to produce sand with. The river brings sediments from the mountains and from the plains to Selthia. Dethia, though it has an equally advantageous river-and-ocean side location, has the Southern Hills blocking sediments from coming to its side of the river.

The Savage Races (because that's what the humans call them, and its a useful term) don't make glass because they need to live a more down-to-earth lifestyle. They are worried more about food production than luxuries, and they prefer using clay for pots, because of its ease of use and accessibility.

On the subject of logging.

Naturally, most countries have forests that are logged within their own borders, but such forests are small, and some have been turned into park lands, for the local rulers to hunt in private on. Also, the forests that are open to logging usually have some conservation guidelines on them, to keep the forest the same size and the same amount of biodiversity. Thus, the major source of logging comes from the west.

The western forests cover a little less than half the continent, and are thus a great source of wood for all the purposes of civilization. This is especially true of the northern forests, because there you see the development of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir ecosystems. Those pines are great sources of timber. And another benefit to the north is the two rivers, which allow for floating the logs downstream to the transport ships- since no one wants to carry a giant tree hundreds of miles of hostile natives. The final benefit is the fact that logging in the north has been made illegal by all of the countries (though for some its more because Obstaria and Tauria want them to), and most countries will turn a blind eye if you aren't too obvious about what your doing. Making the trek to verify the logging camp is much too far.

The main problem with the logging operations in the west is the Barbarians. The tribes near where a logging group is setting up camp typically don't like these logging operations, and are fully capable of slaughtering the workers. And so the logging companies have several options available to them: Defense, Trade, Offense, and Espionage.

Defense is the simplest. You get some mercenary group to defend your loggers (Plot Hook: the logging company wants the PCs to protect this and this camp). This has its risks, because occasionally the nearby tribes will gang up on the camp, and attack in numbers that the mercenaries can't defend against. In Trade, you buy off the natives. This could involve buying one to protect your logging camp, or simply paying all the nearby tribes to not attack. Offense is where you clear out the natives from the area. (Plot Hook: If you can't guess what should go here, then get out of the GMing business. Suffice it to say heavily armed PCs, and a target). Some companies, because enough mercenaries to do this is way too expensive, will manipulate the government into doing it for them ("Hey, I recently gained info that those Raiders that were pillaging your coast comes from this place. How about a quick, surgical strike? I'll even hire a couple mercenary corps to aid you."). In the final option, Espionage, you get the nearby tribes to attack each other, and in the ensuing war you quietly and unobtrusively chop some trees down (Plot Hook: We want a war between these two tribes, you PCs. Go make it happen).

Naturally, most companies use a mixture of these methods, or invent new methods of their own.

Because of the inherent danger for the loggers in logging in the west, they usually get better pay, better benefits, and better pension.

On the subject of slavery.

Atheus has slavery. However, it isn't humans enslaving humans, because humans are "too good" to be slaves. No, its the Barbarians, the Savage Races, that are enslaved.

What happens is that slave ships sail the west, kidnap some slaves, and drag them back east. They are then bought, and put to work.

This entire operation is illegal. Tauria and Obstaria hate the idea of Barbarians being east of their border, even if its only to be put in slavery. They feel that the chance that slaves could escape and form Barbarian communities a risk that they are not willing to take. And so the world follows in their footsteps. When has it hurt to go with the two most powerful countries in the world?

But slavery does exist. But its has to stay hidden, and nondescript. Which is relatively easy. Since the slaves themselves are Barbarians, no one cares much. So you can have some slaves working a plantation with the neighbors shrugging their shoulders and going back to their own work (or, perhaps, doing a little blackmail).

There are two main restrictions on slavery. The first is Tauria and Obstaria. Slavers have to evade naval patrols to bring the goods in, or otherwise get killed, along with the slaves. The other is the cost- it is expensive to transport a slave all the way from the west all the way to the east, while evading the governments that do actually care enough to try and block the slavers.

On the subject of racism.

Even though technically its speciesism, I'm going to refer to it as racism. That is, the racism if the humans towards the Barbarians, Savage Races, etc.

Tauria and Obstaria are the most racist countries, mostly because of the heavy raiding going on at their western border. Each raid perpetrated by tribes that need food and are still suffering from the after effects of the Territory Wars results in dead humans and burning farmlands. Though this was the humans fault, since they had driven the Savage Races out, they still blame those Savage Races.

The racism of Tauria and Obstaria is also caused by the two governments. The two western countries want to keep a hold onto their spot as the two top countries in the entire world- a position gained because of the violence of the World War. The easiest way to do this is with a strong military. And the way to get people volunteering for the military, or at least willing to go to war if they get drafted? Sell it as fighting the Savage Races. They are all ready racist against the Barbarians, so encouraging that racism results in more and more people signing up for the soldier's life.

The rest of the world, however, is more apathetic to the Savage Races. Oh, the elves and dwarves and goblins and orcs are, of course, still inferior to them, but they are less and less racist the farther east you go. In fact, some eastern communities (though only in small communities, such as villages) have started trade relations with Barbarian tribes that live in secret within the human lands. Those communities are usually willing to keep the tribe secret.

This rule of lesser racism the father east bears exceptions. Some communities are extraordinarily racist, others are not. It all depends on where you go.


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