Geographical & Flora/Fauna Sketch
A Survey of the Races of Wyrmgard
The Magic of Wyrmgard
The Technology of Wyrmgard
The Politics and Government of Wyrmgard
The Economy of Wyrmgard
The name of my world is Wyrmgard and the capital of the primary power on that country is the Drakehold.As you might quess...a heavily dragon themed world.
Long long ago in a land of saga heroes dwelled on a world that still knew gods.In the northern realm of the Ettinfells these gods (closely modelled after the Nordic)interacted with men with many a famous family claiming descent from these beings.
The Ettinfells was a land of rock and snow,fire and ice,not unlike Iceland,an archilelago full of challenge.The men,the Thursians of these rock-strewn islands took to the seas in their longships,their dragonhips and soon they had traversed the very widest bodies of waters and planted their standards on many a shore,fashioning an empire that was not unlike the Angevin empire of the late 12th century AD.
Much like every empire the scattered overseas realms of the Ettinfields knew a rival and that rival was the Crimson Horde who had spanned a continent and now wished only to enjoy the fruits of conquest.The Horde's primary core realm was the Black Khanate of Kaharan and here ruled a line of princes that styled themselves the mightiest sorcerers the world had ever known,the self-named Princes of the Dragon.
The men of the Ettinfells,their leaders,sages and priests looked with askance at these Black Princes for all knew their gods had long ago banished all but the tiniest of dragons from the mortal realms.And all knew as well that the dragons had once vied with the very gods for the souls of the blessed valiant and that to seek the favor of the Great Worms was to invite Death to stalk the land and bring on the final battle between the gods and the forces of evil.
Yet it is indeed the way of men to boldly go forth and try their strength even if death be their reward and so they did this race of champions and vied with the Dragon Khanate and after a war that lasted a generation the Princes of the Wyrms were cast down and their soverign who was not himself living but a creature of the undead was burned in his palace and his power broken.
And in that once puissant realm were found the last sad remnants of a folk whom the Thursian heroes knew only as the Forsaken,nomads who they themselves had driven forth from the Isles long ago,thought long perished but here discovered as slaves.
Men too these Forasken were who were educated,scholars,philosophers,the most learned of all mortals who dwelled on Wyrmgard.Sorcerers others said and warlocks though in truth the Forsaken eshewed all black arts.Most strange they paid no heed to the Gods but claimed their faith to be dedicated to a single One.
The war leader of the Thursian coalition ,the Lord Jystyn had promised the Forsaken a place of refugee in his small island realm if they assisted him as spies and saboteurs,indeed as guerillas in the struggle though the priests warned that to do so was to break the very power of the gods upon the Earth and to shatter the Thursian empire for these Forsaken carried upon them the Wyrd of the World,that no realm that sheltered them should prosper.
The Lord Jystyn had replied that he would honor his promise for he cared only for victory and very little for the Gods who had rendered no aid in this most desperate struggle and so to his small principality he had returned with his spoil laden ships and in the rocky marches he made good his oath and gave the Forsaken a home.
It may be that the priests had spoke true for the Thursian keaders fell out amongst themselves and within a single generation the coalition of heroes was no more,the empire a sad faded memory and perhaps most tragic oracle and bard fell silent.No more did the dread gods of the Ettinfells speak to men nor appear among them and the children of the heroes who had stood so valiantly in the Black Khanate were but the merest shadow of their forefathers,doomed it would seem to be the vassals if not thralls of once trembling neighbours.
If the Ettinfields had fallen from grace as a whole still the tiny realm of the Lord Jystyn stood fast,the last olden realm of the Thursian heroes and one not merely strong in force of arms.These Forsaken wee not merely scholars but men of commerce as well and in the Drakehold they prospered and with them the realm until the heirs of the Lord Jystyn were mighty lords whose treasuries were filled to bursting.
And if the rest of the world lay plunged into darness and ignorance not so the Drakehold for in the vaults of that great fortress lay the spoils the Lord Jystyn had retrieved from the Khanate which only the sages of the Forsaken could translate for him.In these surviving scrolls and volumes lay the learning of all who had fallen before the Crimson Horde,of lands known even to the far-travelled Thursians as fable.Here he was assured lay the only means by which the Ettinfields would endure the trials to come.
And yet in the council chambers there is unease among the heirs of the Lord Jystyn he who had been the last of the Heroes,the last Champion ever known,he Sacker of the Khanate the last to claim to have known the gods when they last walked upon Wyrmgard.His sons like it not at all that he assured them the Age of Heroes was over and done with,the Gods themselves were faded and powerless and henceforh men must make their own way in the world.They care even less that he was adamant that th Ettinfields would never survive much less prosper until the learning and ways of the Forsaken were embraced.
What challenge,what trial what ordeal could lay ahead that mandated the abandonment of the old ways,the adoption of a strange new faith,the elevation of commerce to an importance akin to that of warriors and the casting aside of venerable priests and seers for grubby men who spoke of mechanical arts,of natural science.??
No,change indeed is never easy...
(Footnotes: I have chosen to begin my world with a very brief outline of the history.Wyrmgard exists in a post-heroic era,newly emerged from a time of gods and heroes into a time of mere mortals cast into turmoil by unending mystifying change.)
Moreover with the single exception of two continents existing at the equatorial in counterbalance each of which is roughly the size and shape of Australia and are primarily desert with coastal tropical fringes the vast bulk of the land is to be found in endless scattered archipelagos and the chief of these island groupings exists as the collection known as the Ettinfields,a collection of volcanic outcroppings much like Iceland with about 20% forested cover.
There are the standard polar ice caps.
These archipelagos are quite large in size with individual islands reaching up to 750,000 suare miles in size which given poulation limitations are quite unpoulated for the most part.The flora and fauna of the northerly groupings is quite akin to modern day North American/European save that the predators are even larger.
As well certain animal types now extinct upon our world such as mammoths,mastodons,aurochs and the like are still common.The pacyhderms have not been domesticated but the *Imperial Auroch* has been and is a valued beast of burden in the Ettinfields.Goats are very large,assuming the height and bulk of draft horses in our world.Indeed many if not most of the animal groupings tend to be a bit larger then on our world.You may assume that marine life while quite conventional is likewise a bit oversize and plentiful.
And of course(as befits a cat-lover)you will find that this world is positively over-run with felines,large and small and upon the Ettinfields one may yet find European variety lions and panthers and as well the Thursian Imperial Tiger,the very largest of the big cat predators upon this world.Alas upon that continent once ruled by the Black Khanate of Kaharan the vast majority of the larger cats were hunted unto extinction.
On some of the remoter islands creature which can only be dinosaurs may yet survive based on the records preserved by the Forsaken.Even the Thursian seafarers however claim no direct knowledge of these primeval beasts which they would think the abandoned experiments or deformed off-spring of the old gods.
Dragons,dragons,dragons...more on that in a bit.
These various traits are.
-extended life-span which in extreme cases can reach as long as a thousand years assuming one survives accident or battle.
-the potential for chi-based martial arts powerstunting which as a rule of thumb does not exceed say the low-end chi stunts of Batman or Taskmaster.
-heightened sensitivity to the supernatural-the Second Sight-which is found largely in women(say a 90/10 ratio)
-the Way as it is known which is a special sensitivity to sense and activate the *Slips* or naturally existing passageways(interdimensional shunts between worlds)
-low end precognitive abilities again largely the province of women(same ratio)
-exclusive to the High Order of the Forsaken,the Art,certain medium level psionic abilities including telepathy,telekinesis,pyrokinesis and levitation,a version of the Jedi Force.Only a single non-Forsaken has demonstrated any ability to learn even the most elementary basics of the Art.The Lord Jystyn who began very late in life proved able to demonstrate elementary proficiency but never advanced beyond apprentice level.
Men are now the wholly dominant ruling species of Wyrmgard and have eradicated or driven off all rivals.These rivals are to be found no more in the land included elves(voluntarily departed to a man er elf)dwarves(retreated to their mountain kingdoms)centaurs(exterminated)and halflings(also exterminated or killed off by disease)
Only within the deeps of the seas are to be found Mer-Folk who are a low-end enchanted folk who shum men due to an ancient struggle with the High Order of the Forsaken who in essence exorcised them from the land ending Mer-human contact.Lord Jystyn in his travels the Last Hero and Champion if saga speak true is the last Man who ever encountered the Mer.Many of the Mer are beautiful nymphs,close kin of the old gods.
Indeed the learned scholars of the Forsaken believe that the Mer have emigrated from Wyrmgard but this consensus is in fact erroneus.No human adventuring party will encounter these shy folk or stumble into their underseas kingdoms.
The Mer who exist in nine Clans are also the most powerful magic-users of the races of Wyrmgard but lack any psionic appitude whatsoever.
In the past magic-users were very common upon Wyrmgard and many a famous hero was not merely a fighter but a very powerful wizard as well,in large part due to their genetic kinship to their ancestors the olden gods.In the Aftermath of the Return of the Forsaken to the Ettinfields(when the Gods fell silent)magic began an immdeiate decline.
Today,particularly under the influence of Forsaken academics,aristocrats discouage their children from exploring their slender magic potential with the result largely self taught autodiacts among the common folk are the strongest magic-users.These witches(in the post-heroic age women are dominant in magic)are village healers,seers and sages but their spells are quite low-level and largely pertain to white magic.This is technially illegal but is seldom prosecuted and indeed is winked at by the authorities.
The pagan priestly orders each have a small Collegium deicated to the study of magic but disconcertingly,the supply of potential students has dwindled and the highest levels can no longer be attained.Within the Orders lies a highly secret Collegium of Exorcists who dedicate their strength to driving out the last few demons and undead who infested the Black Khanate of Kaharan.
Edit-lycanthrophs,undead et al existed upon Wyrmgard but are now vanishing and were never considered as indivdual species.
Black arts such as necromancy and demonolgy were largely practised in Kaharan being frowned upon in the Ettinfields and they are nearly extinct.Indeed their practise is a capital offense in most lands.As previously noted the Forsaken have a wholly undeserved reputation for being practioners of black magic but practise no magic whatsoever.Their scholars however are enthusiastic academics who study the subject at a theoretical level(under the principle of*know your enemy*)
The very largest collection of grimoires and treatises on magic including the forbidden arts exists in the private archives of the Master of the Drakehold.Lord Jystyn aquired the bulk of this collection from Khaharan
The study of astronomy,theoretical physics(Newtonian level) and mathematics is quite advanced and indeed in a revolutionary stage.The scholars of the Forsaken are highly esteemed for their mastery of these arts.Educated men on Wyrmgard have a very accurate grasp of their world's size,nature and place in the larger Universe.
Indeed the learned of Wyrmgard know full well that Wyrmgard is one world of many and that the *Slips* provide entries to these land,some of a highly advanced technological nature.The Sagas of Wyrmgrad detail the adventures of the Heroes in exploring these world,most such sagas are factually based.
Ironically Wyrmgard is not wholly explored herself and thus we are still in an Age of Exploration.The arts of navigation and mapmaking are lagging a bit and require a significant boost.The Drakehold is curently pushing an intitative to revolutionize navigational practise.
Engineering and construction exist at Roman levels,quite impressive for a land that has no steam engine.Again the Forsaken excel in these arts which they learned in those lands subdordinate to the Crimson Horde and resultantly the Ettinfields are undergoing an architectural revolution.The largest structures however are still to be found in the barren wasteland that is now Kaharan.It may be noted that the canals and irrigation systems of Kaharan,built and maintained by slaves were highly advanced and had transformed that once desert land into a breadbasket.(Lord Jystyn destroyed the entire system during the war.)
The art of fortification and of seigecraft is highly advanced and the Drakehold is famously the most secure fortress of all Wyrmgard.Of course this fortress [/] was [/i] constructed with a measure of Dwarven aid.Still the Thursians proved very adept as students of these reclusive Masters of pick and axe.
Medicine as well has newly emerged from the leech and bleeding stage but is no yet very far advanced as people must henceforth rely upon such arts rather then magic-based healers.The study of medicine is only now just beginning.
As the world emerges from her heroic age,the Forsaken have begun introducing more modern(sic) techniques of agriculture to the Ettinfields since they lacked aptitude.Thanks however to the Lord Jystyn,agricultural science suffered a major set-back when he sacked Kaharan and it may be some generations before previous levels of production are obtained.
(Of course the Kaharan system was wholly slave operated while the Ettinfields' farms are largely run by freeholders)
First and foremost the world has no unified government but exists as a collection of splintered principalities,baronies and lordships while the realms of the Crimson Horde are governed by Khans(equivalent of sultans)
The primary collection of islands of the North,the Ettinfields occupied primarily of course by the Thursians might be best compared to the Holy Roman Empire of European history and exists as a unified whole only in theory.The High Lord of the Confederation of the Ettinfields is in theory an elected position (being selected by vote from the Nine Electors(the most senior princes of the Isles)but in reality is hereditary.
The High Lord has virtually no power or independent authority being very much a figurehead who is overshadowed by each of the Electors each of whom commands far more wealth or military mght then his nominal overlord.
The Confederation has the makings of some overarching institutions which thus far exist only as seedlings.These include a Convocation of Princes,in essence a nominal parliament of all the Isles' hereditary rulers,a Convocation of Prelates consisting of all heads of major churches,spiritual orders and temples and a vey new innovation,a Confederation Senate whose members are elected by their resrective nations' *Estates* or appointed to that role by their ruler.
(Be it noted that the Convocation of Prelates has just welcomed the first Chief Sage of the Forsaken to sit among them.)
Government in each of the realms of the Isles follows a somewhat similiar pattern with a hereditary ruler who usually governs after the medeival German fashion with an *Estates* comprised of three bodies,an Estates Common,an Estates Noble and an Estates Spiritual.
Estates Commons-nominally the representatives of the freeholders the members of the Commons are actually nominated to that position by the townships and municipalities recognized by their lords(usually with a grant of *liberties*)and as yet enjoy little or no influence.
Estates Noble-assemblely of a regions titled aristocrats,,seat of primary influence.
Estates Spiritual-assemblely of regional religious leaders.
In the Isle of the Dragonreach the Drakehold ruled by the Lord Jystyn the institutions of government are strongest and have the most potential for evolution into a constitutional monarchy.
Here the Members of the Estates Commons are elected by property owning freeholder(men only as yet)and have an ancient right to exclusively initiate money votes for the Drakehold which cannot be amended by the other Estates but rather only accepted or rejected or accepted without modification.
The Estates Nobles functions as the highest court in the land,serving as both a court of original criminal jurisdiction and as a court of appeal.As well the pregotative of declaring war belongs exclusively in their hands.
The Estates Spiritual is barred both from money votes and from any judical function over freholders but does sit as a court of trial for offenses commited by the members of the other Two Estates.
The Master of the Drakehold who is still Lord Jystyn is a hereditary titled ruler,an Elector of the Confederation and has the hereditary position of Captain-General of the Confederation,a title bestowed in recognition of the Lord Jystyn's outstanding performance against the black Khanate of Kaharan.The Master is considered the equivalent of a prince regnant.
The Lord Jystyn has been the very model of a proper ruler governing according to the ancient precepts-with the rather large exception of returning the Forsaken to their ancient home.In his abence his oldest son the lord Alaryc the Crown Prince is regent and in fact has been the defacto ruler for some time.
Law in the Isles is governed by the Liberties of The Drakehold,rather like the Magna Charta and in the realm of Lord Jystyn the Liberties are upheld very well indeed.
Freeholders are those men-men only as yet-who have received liberty from feudal obligation,may hold property and carry arms,engage in business and aspire to be granted the title and status of noble.
Serdfom is still a fact of life in the Isles but it is a dying institution since the Liberties of the Drakehold ended the right of nobles to try their vassals summarily and any serf completing his military service is automatically granted freeholder status(togther with his family).Given the long war against the Khanate this nearly ended serfdom in and of itself.
The status of women is not too enviable and they are largely second class citizens as yet.However women dominate some occupations such as the clerical,healing and teaching and the dwindling class of magic-users.
Aside from the Drakehold itself slavery remains an unpalatable fact of life on Wyrmgard.
(The Status of the Forsaken will be discussed in the Religion section)
As befits this world fishing is a staple of commerce and the Thursians have long devoted themselves to the sea.As yet their pre-industrial methods do not pose a hazard to the fish stocks or other marine life.Trading by sea is a vital necessity as well although Wyrmgard has not yet been thoroughly explored.
Trade in oveseas markets tends to be dominated by large companies of private individuals chartered by the Drakehold to conduct mercantile ventures.The largest of these are the East Kaharan Mercantile Company and the Western Sea Trading Company(the latter is poised for financial meltdown)
These companies serve as a defacto arm of the state and they are liscenced to govern the territories where they enjoy a monoply.Consequently the Companies control large swaths of primitive overseas lands and even have their own armed forces many of which do double duty with the regular armed forces of the Drakehold.
The aristocracy is very heavily invested in these firms as indeed is the ruling family of the Drakehold.
In the Isles agriculture is highly promising with the wool trade in particular benefiting.Many spiritual orders boast large flocks and command great revenues.The manors of the Drakehold are also very prominent in the wool trade.Of course with the destruction of the breadbasket of Kaharan there is a crying need for a new grainery and the search for colonies capable of high yield wheat production currently drives exploration.
In manufactured goods the Ettinfields boast the finest in pre-gunpowder weaponry and the Drakehold in particular is a noted arms exporter as her *Damascus style*blades are very highly prized.
Be it noted that there is a very flourishing trade in the sale of both weapons and artifacts associated with Wyrmgard's recent legendary past and a burgeoning unfortunate trade in counterfit items.This trade extends off-world as some individuals-those who navigate the Slips-hawk their wares to the interested,particularly in and about Khazan.(Sale of authentic heroic artifacts is illegal and punishable by death.)Most authentic artifacts including legendary weapons remains firmly in Lord Jystyn's grasp.
The more mundane commerce is dominated by the industrious and talented Forsaken who boast among their achievements the invention of double entry book-keeping,merchant banking and a highly novel innovation the vagary of paper currency although the normally progressive Lord Jystyn has not yet been persuaded to authorize the creation of a Central Bank of Wyrmgard.These institutions have the sophistication of the Italian High renaissance-very complex indeed.Consequently the Forsaken's moneylenders have a very great chunk of the aristocracy as their debtors.
There is no standard worldwide currency but the metallic coinage of the Drakehold commands great respect and stability while paper currency has as yet been cooly greeted.
The reigning House of Lord Jystyn has a profitable sideline in renting out mercenaries.These are actually regiments of conscripted serfs bound to the Drakehold's service and the Lord rents their services to a select list of other princes.(Serfs who survive-most do-are made freeholders.)A good chunk of the Drakehold's regular army is thus rented out to trustworthy princes.This practise while profitable to the House is widely criticized and the Crown Prince Lord Alaryc is a known critic.He is deemed unlikely to tolerate the practise once he succeeds his father.
Lord Jystyn also supplements his healthy revenues by lending money to his fellow princes none of whom seem disposed to be deliquent in timely repayment.These loans are always backed by hard collateral in the form of family heirlooms and his is how Jystyn aquired his collection of weaponry(not including trophies of war)Most of his fellow rulers are indebted to the Drakehold's cagey ruler in one form or another.
One major Foraken proposal was adopted..the creation of the Northern Thursian League,a convocation of the leading economic powers which exercises a small measure of extra-govermental authority over international commerce in the Isles.The Drakehold is of course the dominant power in this budding organization and in economic/financial matters generally.
The impending implosion of the Western Sea Trading Company is about to severely test these sophisticated arrangements.