For description of continent and races, see Atheus
The Territory Wars
The only race in the eastern side is humans. In the Year of the Exile (which is the start date for the calender, which uses PE to mark times after), the humans drove the lesser races- dwarves, elves, goblinoids (hob- and regular goblins, and the orcs (orcs and their runts, kobolds). The humans made deals with the more powerful and sentient monstrous beings, like the dragons, to move out. Such beings tended to do so, because the humans could, if they so choose, bring in enough soldiers to actually defeat them.
Now the world is divided into two halves- the human lands and the wild lands. The newly forged wild tribes were suddenly thrust into competition. Each tribe had to fight over a particular patch of land to call home. The wars were fierce and violent. Alliances were forged and broken. Each and every tribe vied for supremacy to simply get a place to call home. The tribes that had been living there previously had the edge, since they knew the terrain, but the sheer amounts of incomers wore them down. Some of the smarter tribes simple headed north to avoid the clash, and they were only hit with a bit of it, and managed to establish their territory without their forces being depleted.
After the first couple of decades, the tribes and the area started running out of food. The tribes had been too busy trying to find a bit of territory too live on to bother with farming. Indeed, most of the tribes were too busy roaming to be able to farm. So almost all of the tribes were hunting and gathering. The land, although fertile, lacked enough animals and plants to feed so many tribes. After these years of swallowing nature's bounty, their grew to be no more bounty to eat. Starvation set in. War, more violent because of the need for food, erupted again- the Territory Wars had all but wound down by this time.
As all this went on, the humans were busy establishing their countries. Without having to deal with the barbaric races, the human could improve their infrastructure and agriculture. This they did. The humans grew rich and fat off of the land. There were still wars, of course. It was a somewhat volatile time for the humans. Tauria and Obstaria at the time were only small kingdoms, surrounded by other kingdoms. They, through both military might and cunning diplomacy, manged to swallow the surrounding areas and reach the size they have.
But before Tauria and Obstaria could attempt to conquer each other or other kingdoms, the wild land's tribes had reached the end of the Territory Wars and had hit starvation. The wild tribes attacked each other and- most notably for the civilized lands- Tauria and Obstaria. At first, the tribes were highly successful. The two countries' military had been sent off to the fronts that were deemed most risky- that is, near the other human kingdoms. Only a token force was on the wild land's border. And so the tribes looted and plundered the farms of Tauria and Obstaria.
At least, they pillaged freely for, at most, a month. By the end of the month, both the countries moved their military east in an attempt to stop these barbarians. But not all of it. They still felt that once the barbarians felt the sting of the army, they would retreat back into the west. But the sting of hunger proved more powerful than the sting of the army. And the fact that the military could not block its entire border at the same time. For every raiding party that was found and crushed, two slipped past the patrols.
Such a state of affairs could not last. Two things solved this problem. The first was the death of tribes. Even more tribes were being killed for their food, which allowed what was left to spread. The other was the Human Hand project. Instead of viewing these other races as barbarians to be feared, they saw them as barbarians to be pitied. As such, this group of humans went out into the wild half of the continent and taught tribes how to farm, and spread food around. Needless to say, the only groups that profited by this was the human mercenaries, and the tribes that ambushed the HH helpers. But their knowledge and food did leak out into the world, and some tribes tried to farm. And then even less tribes tried to start farming again after they were raided at harvest time.
The elves waited in the treeline as the Taurian patrol walked through the field. There were 20 men in the patrol, which meant 15 would be swordsmen, two would be runners, one would be the lieutenant, and two would be sergeants. With a bit of luck and surprise, the elves could take them. The elves would have to take them. Their wives and children were hungry. They did not enjoy raiding, but as their old saying went, 'The tree will fit any position to see the sun.'
The chief of the Ninautik Elves, who was currently leading the war-band, nodded to his two sub-chiefs. They scampered off to ready the 40 elves. The plan was simple. The ten archers would shower the patrol with arrows, and while the patrol was in disarray, the spearmen would charge in and finish them.
The plan went off without a hitch. Five fell to the arrow hail, and ten fell to the spears. The lieutenant and the runners, as well as a sergeant (due to his superior fighting skills) and a swordsmen managed to run. The elves were about to give chase when they heard a drum beat.
The elves froze. And then one of them yelled 'ORCS!'
30 orcs burst out of the treeline. There was no organization to their charge. No leadership. Just brutal strength. The Ninautik chief ordered the archers to turn and fire at the orcs, to fire at will. A couple of the elves knew the basics of magic and hurled spells at them. But it was too little too late. The elves, all ready wounded and tired from defeating the human patrol, were slaughtered.
As the chief lay dying, blood seeping from a stomach wound, gazing up at the orc about to end his life, he muttered 'My... people... the Ninautik... need food. Please-'
The orc who ended his life efficiently cut off the chief's head. He would need it to mark his kill. He respected the chief's last request, and it saddened him that he could not grant it. The orcs themselves would need all the food they could get.
The tribes eventually grew peaceful. The times of chaotic war were over. The old food started growing back in the wild lands, and Taurian and Obstarian peasants were able to live without complete fear of raiding parties. Atheus was settling down, and a balance, of sorts, was maintained for almost a century. This century brought many changes to the world, such as the founding of Trianarianism, and the revitalization of Lunism.
But this state of affairs could not last. And as before, it was the human's fault.
The only reason Molly Smith was there was because the other maid had been sick. And you can't have a sick maid cleaning the Elthian King's chambers. And so, Molly Smith, armed with a mop in one hand and a bucket of soapy water in the other, approached the grand doors of the King's bedroom. Molly was going to do the rooms first before the hallway, and the King's bedroom was the last one. After all, the door had been closed all morning. So the King either wanted privacy, or wasn't there.
Molly, after setting down the bucket, knocked on the door and said 'I'm the maid, your majesty. May I clean your room now, or shall I wait till later?'
No answer. Molly sighed, exasperated at royalty. Just because they happen to rule some kingdom does not mean that they should go keeping unoccupied room's doors closed.
Molly knocked again, just to make sure, and then opened the door. She picked up her bucket, entered the room, set the bucket down in the middle of the room, closed the door, and then noticed the dead guy.
The King was in his bed, white beard flowing over the covers pulled to his chin, and obviously dead.
Molly picked up her bucket, exited the room, closed the door, and screamed.
On a quiet, mid-spring day, 166 PE, two kings were found dead in their beds. The two kings were the Elthian and Dethian kings. Normally, this would be simple. The princes would be king, a somber funeral would be organized, and it would be business as normal. But the thing was that Elthia and Dethia were allies. And certain other countries had motive to want these two dead. At least, one country in particular. Kathia had been a historical enemy of Elthia, and recent pressures had fueled this ancestral hatred.
The populace of Elthia and Dethia blamed Kathia for assassinating their kings. They claimed poison had done the dead. Most of the population had never seen the bodies, so rational, knowledgeable heads were scarce. The people wanted revenge. And the leaders of the countries did not resist the pressure towards war too badly. They, after all, were okay with taking more land for themselves. The drums of war were sounding.
But Kathia knew that war was coming. They knew that they needed an ally. And so they went to the other countries for aid. Tauria and Obstaria was too worried about barbarian attacks to supply it, even though they had the best armies of the human world. Merthia and Reposia, on the other hand, decided to join Kathia. The fact that Reposia had joined Kathia prompted Selthia to stay away from the alliance. Reposia and Selthia had always been on opposing sides on wars, and the hate between the two were strong. When Dethia and Elthia approached Selthia was terms of alliance, Selthia readily agreed.
That summer, the first World War started. The human armies fought each other. The Central Powers of Merthia, Reposia, and Kathia versus the Fringe Powers of Dethia, Selthia, and Elthia. The war dragged on for a year with the fighting simply going back and forth. Another year of the World War went on. And another. Tauria and Obstaria watched this fighting with an aloof eye. As long as these fighting countries didn't bother them, they were okay with keeping the barbarians back.
The Central Powers started losing in the fifth year of the war. Since they had to split their military between the Northern and the Southern Fronts, they were at a tactical disadvantage. Knowing this, Kathia made a move that shocked the world. They hired a barbarian tribe. The orcs were thirsty for blood, and the Kathian populace had stopped joining the military as the war had lost interest for them. And so Kathia supplied the orcs with steel weapons, pointed them in the direction of the enemy, and let them loose. The orcs proved so successful in that first battle that Kathia hired more and more of them.
The ferocity of the orcs and the new barbarian tactics shocked the Fringe Powers. So they decided to bring in barbarians of their own. The Central Powers had the orcs, the Fringe Powers said to themselves, so why shouldn't we have the dwarves? Promising them metal weapons and land, the Fringe Powers gained an ally.
Tauria and Obstaria looked down at the fighting countries with horror. They were using barbarians? And promising them land? Had their sacrifices been for naught? Both countries felt that if one barbarian got through, then the rest would come. And that was something that could not be allowed to happen. The kings of both countries met, agreed upon an alliance, and fell upon the rest of the world with a vengeance.
Tauria had the first most powerful army. Obstaria the second. And their armies had surprise on their side. They ripped through the countries in the first two years, slaughtered any barbarian that had dared to fight on a human nation's side the next year, and pounded the countries that had been fighting into declaring peace on the third year. The World War had been ended after nine years of fighting.
The years of fighting had taken their toll on the world, however. The populations of the human countries had taken a severe hit. Most of the farm lands, especially near the borders, was pillaged and wouldn't be able to support crops. Constant fighting had created swarms of refugees in the protected cities and, if they were geographically near enough, in Obstaria and Tauria.
Because they were relatively untouched, and because they needed the other countries for trade purposes, Obstaria and Tauria helped the war-torn lands rebuild. Money flowed from the western nations to the eastern nations.
But during the war, while part of the Obstarian and Taurian armies had gone east to deal with the war, barbaric tribes had straggled across the border. Though things were in a much better position in the western wilderness, overcrowding was still an issue. And so they found small pockets of wilderness inside the human nations, places no one really knows about or cares about. Places like pockets of dense forest, non-fertile hills, and so on. The Southern Hills got an extra population. Obstaria and Tauria tried its best to clear up the barbarians that had come across the border, but could not get all of them. And since they had spent so much money and so much time to fix the rest of the world, they shrugged and let everyone else deal with the barbarians.
It has been close to a decade after the world finished rebuilding. No wars sprung up in that time- the people were too tired of fighting to support such an action. Obstaria and Tauria are the world's superpowers, but they are too busy keeping barbarians away from the civilized areas to exercise their powers.
Another problem has cropped up for the lands. The northwest islands have been inhabited by the barbarian races. And the races that have taken up those islands have become raiders. Every summer, when the seas quiet from winter, the barbarian Raiders have taken to pillaging the coast. Though some efforts have been made to end the seasonal disturbance, the fact that each group of raiders is completely unaffiliated with the others has made it difficult to completely stamp them out.
It is the year 185 PE. The second century is closing. And everyone is asking themselves what is going to happen next century.
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? Responses (12)-12
A very interesting land; i like that its humans against the world, and it is very typical of the humans to begin fighting against one another!
It would be somewhat difficult to put this into any current campaign, because of the rift between human and other races, but would be a fun alternate look at the typical fantasy setting.
I am very curious to see what happens over the next century! I imagine that the humans will end up sabotaging themselves through war and jealousy, while the barbarian races work together to stabilise their land, and they will end up overrunning the human populace!
Can there be half caste races, and if so, how would they be seen in the human and barbarian lands?
In terms of roleplaying i can see this being used in two significant ways:
Either play as humans and have the major plotlines focus on inter-kingdom polititcs and relations, war and the like and have barbarian races come into the game from time to time as an added complexity.
Or play as an elf, dwarf, orc or ther like; have them play a small band of tribalized gypsies just having to survive in the untamed wilds. They have to fight against other tribes for food, do raids on farmlands in the human lands, find a permanent home and so forth. Perhaps they are eventually approached by a kingdom representative of the humans to join their army as conscripts!
The second one sounds fun actually! Playing as hunters and gatherers to survive!
Good stuff, Caesar! I like very much.
Half-caste races? Like half-elves and and dwarf-orcs?
They don't exist. Elves and dwarves and humans and the others are different species and cannot interbreed.
And for the human thing- it is human against the world, yes, but that doesn't mean the rest of the world likes each other. Elves and dwarves and goblins and orcs still have wars between each other, and the chances of them stabilizing would be exceedingly low. Unless, of course, a particularly charismatic chief came around...
There is a lot of information here, and presented almost a list facts. It lacks the narrative and personal strength of most your work I have read. You might as well put it together as flow chart. Something that might bring it to life, something that I know you excel at, would be to drop little personal vignettes about the major events into the text. In fact I am interested in the setting, and would interesting in writing up few such micro stories if you wouldn't mind.
I wouldn't mind you writing micro stories about Atheus at all. Well, I'd like it if you PMed me the details of a potential sub you had in mind, so that I could tell you if this part makes sense according to my vision of this place. But go right ahead.
And about the 'something I know you excel at' you mentioned? Why, thank you most kindly, sir. I am quite honored.
Vignettes (thank The Lord for online dictionaries!) coming right up! As soon as I find my brain.
Update: Added brief raiding tale. More coming.
Updates: One monster after another, and mops and buckets
I think this is a very solid and complete sub but like Axle before me, I'm finding that in general the matter-of-fact tone that the piece is written in makes it hard for me to engage with it (I understand why you chose to write it this way and I often do the same myself). Having said that, putting in blockquotes to spice the piece up has worked quite well, I really like the one abt the elves' raid though I'm a bit indifferent abt the one with the maid.
I have difficulty believing that the humans would be able to simultaneously eject all the other races, but I understand this is critical to rest of the history and the nature of Atheus. It is internally consistent, which I like, but it seems to depend upon an unlikely event.
The same goes for keeping the barbarian races at bay. I would expect a horde of hungry and angry barbarians to be able to overwhelm the civilized lands. European history has more than a few instances of barbarians banding together with even less motivation to accomplish such a thing. (Then again, Caesar was able to conquer Gaul by pitting the tribes against each other, so I could be wrong.)
Having said all that, I see many possibilities in the way Atheus is set up. Lots of potential for conflict. I can't say I'm a big fan of the humans, especially the ones on the border. That kind of blatant segregation does not sit well with me. I'd probably want to play on the barbarian side, maybe as a troublemaking chieftain looking to unite with others and teach the humans a thing or two :)
Humanity didn't exile unwanted elements from the eastern side of Atheus all at once. They did it in bits and pieces. First, they gathered all the humans on one side of the line, and next they either attacked and captured or simply convinced all the other races into getting to the west. As the humans could block transfer of information from various spots on the map, or at least could do a decent job of blocking, none of the other races knew that they were being gotten rid of until the remaining tribes in the east were too weak collectively and too widely spread to be able to make a concerted resistance. When the east was finally in a state that was acceptable to the humans, they decided to make that year the start of the calendar.
And as for the barbarians overwhelming the humans, yes, I suppose that is a possibility. But they aren't organized enough to do so. Yes, they do raid, but the tribes are spread out over the entire western half.The tribes spread out when the land was still plentiful, and as everyone assumed that there would be some more food further west, there wasn't much fighting in the early years. When the entire western half was colonized, food sources started drying up, and that was when the fighting started. Sure, the tribes who reasonably could raid and attack the humans did so, but there was too much chaos and destruction of civilization in the west that organized attacks on the humans proved impossible.