From here you can find out something about the peoples of Arth. Their political and religious structures are discussed on a regional basis here, while their history is detailed elsewhere.

On this page however, you can read about the races of Arth - and some of its neighbouring planets - or about the common peoples of the world.

Instead, if you wish, you can meet some of the many NPCs who have graced the game in the past, as well as look at generic NPCs (guards, merchants and so on) who have played all the bit roles

No game is complete without players, so you can also visit some of the previous player-characters from the history of Arth.

If you are a player character yourself, you should acquaint yourself with the house rules, choose a race and nationality and check out your home area. Player characters start with a maximum of 100 points to play with: 50 points base plus up to 50 points of Disadvantages (although you may take less if you wish). It's pretty obvious that you cannot start out as a mighty wizard or all-conquering warrior at this point level- but that's the point. Fun and interesting characters can be made at this level though (check out the NPCs if you want inspiration). And don't worry - if you survive, you'll reach piling-enemy-corpses-in-heaps level in no time. If you wish to play a magic-using character, you should look at the pages on the nature of magic and creating a magic-using character. Further down the page, there are notes on everyman skill packages available to people from different areas, plus perks and fringe benefits. You may also wish to equip yourself (you're going to need it).

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Races

Arth is home to a number of sentient races, but the overwhelming majority are human. The other races can be read about in the bestiary, but none of them would make good player characters.

Player characters are always human - or something reasonably close (unless you can persuade the GM that you have a Really Excellent Idea TM ). Thinking that playing a Fay or a beastman would be "cool" does not qualify it as a Really Excellent Idea TM . However, in the ancient and decadent world of Arth, "human" is a fairly broad category - humans come in a wide variety of colours and shapes. The more conventional races are detailed in the section on nationalities below. However, if your tastes run to more marginal races, (and you don't mind your character being pointed at or subjected to racial slurs) you may wish to consider the races below. Their unusual powers balance off against their altered characteristics so that they start with the same basic points as "normal" humans.

All of these races should take the disadvantage "Distinctive features" at the easily concealable level for Dwergi (they are often mistaken for children), concealable level for Marsans, and not concealable for Lunites and Ogres.


Lunite

Lunites are instantly recognizable, although they are almost vanishingly rare on Arth. Tall and slender, they stand around 3 metres in height. This great height is something of a disadvantage - most Lunites suffer from back pain and heart problems. While their slender build renders them no stronger than normal humans, they are imposing, and tend to be nimble. Lunites have pale skins and dark hair, with very large, slightly oval eyes - often violet or dark blue.

A Lunite character starts with the following alterations:

-7 STR (with the +5 STR gained from growth, this means STR 8)

+1 DEX

+3 PRE

1 level of growth, always on (+8)

Note that these alterations to starting characteristics affect Normal CHA Maxima as well - thus a Lunite has NCM of 18 STR, 21 DEX and 23 PRE.


Marsan

With their thick, cracked, reddish-orange skin, Marsans are readily recognizable, but outside of great cities, paradoxically not recognized - since they are so rare on Arth, that most people have never heard of them. Marsans are taller than the average, and their hair tends to be light in colour, coarse and bristly, never growing very long. Their fingernails and toes are heavy and almost clawlike. Another distinguishing feature of Marsans is their heavy, phlegmy breathing. At lower altitudes they find the atmosphere of Arth hard to breathe. In addition, they have nictating membranes that flicker across their eyes. Those people who have met a Marsan describe them as "homely" at best. The only place on earth where Marsans are found in any numbers is among the very high peaks to the south of Samadria. Marsans are all but impervious to cold and thin air, and thus make superb mountaineers - but they are also largely immune to heat, so may be found many other places as well

A Marsan character starts with the following alterations:

COM -5

Life support - safe environment (Heat/Cold)

Note that these alterations to starting characteristics affect Normal CHA Maxima as well - thus a Marsan has NCM of 15 COM.


Ogre

Bred as soldiery in the distant past, ogres are larger and tougher than normal humans. Almost 3 metres in height, they are often almost as broad, stumping along on legs ribbed with iron-hard muscles. Despite this prowess, ogres have been driven to the fringes of human society. They have no kingdoms or cities, but live in primitive tribes in marginal areas, or survive within human society - usually taking jobs that other races disdain, but which make good use of their strength. Many small towns have an ogre executioner, and they can be found toiling in slaughterhouses as well. The association of ogres with sanguinary pursuits just cements the prejudices against them. They are generally supposed to be slovenly, stupid and given to casual violence, although in truth, they are not much different from any other other marginalized human population. Despite rumour, they do not have fangs or live primarily on human babies, although ogres are often confused with the larger members of the Fay race, which does nothing for their reputation. The only place where ogres have a higher profile is in the Despotate of Billün, where the Despot maintains a large and feared Ogre Guard. Ogres skin colour may range from dark brown to quite pale, although hair is usually dark.

An ogre character starts with the following alterations:

-5 STR (with the +10 STR gained from growth, this means STR 15)

-2 DEX

+3 PRE

-5 COM

Two levels of Growth, always on

Note that these alterations to starting characteristics affect Normal CHA Maxima as well - thus an ogre has NCM of 25 STR, 18 DEX, 23 PRE and 15 COM.


Dwerger (plural Dwergi)

Dwergi is a common name for the smallest race of humans, but they are also called dwarves, little folk and other such names. They are often confused with the Fay race, although they are clearly human, differing from their larger kin only in size. Generally treated with a mixture of patronization and mild contempt by regular sized folk, the Dwergi have been driven from the most fertile lands and have become a people of the margins, living in deep woods and secluded mountain glens. They are common only in the forests of the Great Southern Jungle, and particularly those of the Great Rift, where their light weight equips them to move easily through the upper branches of the forest. Dwergi are normally light-skinned but well tanned, with brown or dark hair.

A Dwerger character starts with the following alterations:

-5 STR

-2 BOD

-2 PRE

1 level of shrinking (always on).

Note that these alterations to starting characteristics affect Normal CHA Maxima as well - thus a Dwerger has NCM of 15 STR, 18 BOD and 18 PRE.

 

Major National and Racial Groups of Gorgamelle

Starting Characters

Player characters should choose one of the listed nationalities or racial groupings given below, unless they have an extremely divergent character concept - in which case they must obtain GM's permission. Unless the player wants a divergent character - an escaped golem, a beastman, a refugee from another plane, etc., then he/she will be human. There are other intelligent races on Gorgamelle, but most of them are not suitable as PCs. The nationality will define (within broad limits) the character's appearance, his or her "everyman" skills, and in some cases, the skills and careers available. The listing below covers the main races/civilizations. There are certainly others, but again, being either minor territories, extremely isolated, or just plain odd, they are unlikely to serve as homelands for PCs, and in any case, offer no starting possibilities that are not available elsewhere. A more detailed description of each country is provided on the Geography page.


Dymerian

Geographical Location

The Dymerian Empire is a vast realm, stretching from the languidly tropical coast lands of Selucios to the cold, wind-scoured highlands of Atrios. In between are soaring, icy peaks, huge, meandering rivers and a vast swampy basin into which many rivers feed. The majority of the empire however, is open, rolling plains - hot and arid in summer, and cool and dry in winter, and everywhere, the empire is dotted with castles, huge estates and enormous, bustling cities.

Dymeria is bounded by the Khish states to the southeast and the antagonistic Empire of New Saharn and the Deserts of Lamentation to the southwest. To the northeast are the Matriarchies of the Halsings, while the long northern and western borders peter out undefined in cold steppes, mountains and endless forests inhabited by a variety of barbarian tribes. To the East is only the sea.

Civilization

The Dymerian Empire is ancient, vast, tolerant and cosmopolitan. Its cities are sprawling anthills of humanity and both magic and sciences are well advanced. The Dymerian Government is headed by the virtually immortal secluded emperor, who rules through a regent who in turn manages a fairly honest bureaucracy, town corporations in the cities and loose coalitions of nobles in the country. The Dymerian army is highly trained, well equipped and numerous.

Dymerian culture covers a huge range, but is generally characterized by a love of family (and home cooking!), a delight in argument and debate and an unusual tolerance for other cultures and religions. Dymerian religion is strongly family-based, and centres on ancestor worship and reincarnation - not unaware in a new body but aware and restored in the original flesh.

Racial makeup

The inhabitants of the Dymerian Empire are almost all nominally of Sialic stock, but they are a physically diverse lot. Members of the Sialic race tend to be of short to medium height - around 1.8 metres for men, slightly less for women. Skin colour tends towards light brown or olive, and eye and hair colour is generally dark. Men tend to wear their hair cropped fairly short, and women long. Mustaches and beards are not uncommon, but - especially in the heart of the empire - most men go clean shaven. However, there are certain general trends associated with the different provinces of the empire. In Lacedonia, lighter hair and skin colours are not unusual, while in Selucios, the opposite is true. Atrians tend to be shorter and stockier than their southern compatriots. However, members of almost every race on Gorgamelle - and some from beyond that continent - can be found in Dymeria. The Empire has a diverse economy based on manufacturing in the cities and a wide range of agricultural products, both of which are exported. It also has a great appetite for imports of every kind - raw materials, spices, amber and gold, etc. etc.

Available Everyman Packages

Noble, Priest, Serf, Townsman, Villager


Eochail

Geographical Location

The Eochail kingdoms stretch along the western edge of the Deserts of Lamentation, filling the fertile plains and highlands west to the Sheogheach Mountains, beyond which is the trackless and fay-haunted Old Forest. South, the kingdoms have an indefinite border called the Mist Marches that stretches south to the Sea of Glass. North is the fanatically hostile mountain kingdom of Sade. The Eochail lands are temperate and fertile, and much of the highlands remain forested.

Civilization

The Eochail lands are dotted with small villages and fortified steadings most only populated by a few families. There are cities however, some quite large, the roots of which go back into antiquity. City dwellers tend to be insular, with little connection to their original clans in the countryside. In most cases though, family and clan ties are paramount, and hostility - amounting sometimes to covert warfare - between clans is common. This rarely breaks into open warfare though - and when it does, it is often highly ritualized, with combat by champions settling differences. Large scale warfare is also rare, and in both cases this is due to the influence of the Eochail priesthood. Eochail religion is based on the concept of an earth spirit, which although referred to as the Goddess, partakes of both masculine and feminine qualities, and which links all living things. The priesthood which serves the Goddess is separate from the general culture, but serves as legal arbiters, advisers, healers and historians to the populace at large. Eochail craftsmanship is esteemed in many areas and there is lively trade both between the kingdoms and between the northern kingdoms and Dymeria and the Olmai lands.

Racial makeup

The Eochail people tend to be friendly with strangers, inquisitive and open - but also quick tempered. They laugh readily and fight cheerfully. They love eating and (especially) drinking. They are of medium height - dark haired and fair skinned (although they tan readily) with green or grey eyes. Men tend to wear their hair to shoulder length and both beards and mustaches are common, although not the general rule. Women normally wear their hair somewhat longer.

Available Everyman Packages

Noble, Priest, Townsman, Villager


Halsing

Geographical Location

The Halsing lands lie north of the Dymerian province of Lacedon, and are girt to west and north with mountains, beyond which lie the cold steppes where the Kharghaz roam. To the east is the sea. The country itself tends to cool climates, but is fruitful with deep woods, well-watered fields and many small clear streams.

Civilization

The Halsing lands are a matriarchy where all land and property is owned by the women. Each clan is headed by the women of the family, who run the clan's business. Men are wanderers, who join a clan only by adoption. While clans are fiercely independent, they are only rarely genuinely antagonistic - the major source of conflict in the Halsing lands is their aggressive southern neighbors. Economics is at a simple level in Halsing society. Most clans are self-sufficient, or trade by barter with their immediate neighbors. Some trade is carried on with Dymeria, but that is mostly due to Dymerian traders. An unusual aspect of Halsing culture is the trade in "honour" that is carried out by Halsing men. Halsing religion is based on the concept of reincarnation and the status of women is in part related to their function as "soul beacons" for the rebirth of reincarnated souls into the clan.

Racial makeup

The Halsings are racially homogenous - they tend towards fair hair and light eyes. Both men and women are tall - generally about 2 metres - and well built. Men tend to wear their hair short with one or two pigtails, and wear beards, while women wear their hair pretty much as it pleases them.

Available Everyman Packages

Noble, Priest, Townsman, Villager


Keshite

Geographical Location

Kesh is a large city built on the southernmost crags of the Ruwori mountains, south of the Mithil sea, and it rules (by force and threat rather than law) a roughly defined area of several hundred kilometers around the city, thus dominating the only sizable pass between the northern and southern Ruworis. However, Kesh has given its name to the whole area between the Ruworis and the Kintamo mountains, an area that stretches from the Coast of Bones to the Mithil sea. This is an area of hot, arid grasslands tending towards desert in the interior.

Civilization

Kesh itself is a baroque city, where the current theocracy enacts ancient rituals they have long since forgotten the meaning or origin of. The citizens pride themselves on their ancient lineage, their prowess in war and the ability - by and large - to make a good living without an honest trade. The city lives on plunder and the slave trade, and most of its day to day business is carried out by slaves. Most Keshites however live in small villages, or nomadic family groups eking a living as best they can from the harsh landscape. Along the coasts, the villages tend to be larger and the villagers live by a mix of fishing and piracy. Many Keshites are numbered among the Red Brotherhood. The official Keshite religion centres around the Four Lords of the Cardinal Points, who are thought to control the spheres of the sky and all things on earth that fall under those houses of the heavens. Outside of Kesh itself, the villagers' religion largely involves casual placation of the Four Lords and a great deal of fiendishly complex astrological calculation to decide on the best time and place for important (and trivial) actions. The major economic activities of the Keshite hinterlands are the slave trade, feeding the insatiable twin markets of Saharn and Kesh itself and the beautiful sinuous metalwork characteristic of Kesh and widely copied in the lands around.

Racial makeup

Keshites generally have fuzzy hair and dark skins, but are racially quite distinct from their Mhomalan neighbors, tending to dark brown rather than black. They are also much shorter and stockier. While the inhabitants of Kesh would regard it as barbaric, tribal Keshites tend to decorate themselves with scars and tattoos proclaiming tribal affiliations. Keshites are generally reserved and suspicious of strangers - not surprising given the tendency of the forces from Kesh to fall on isolated villages and carry away their inhabitants as prizes of war. But with their friends, they are extremely open, given to wild bouts of generosity, boasting and long storytelling as well as more physical contests.

Available Everyman Packages

Hunter/gatherer, Noble, Priest, Villager


Kharghaz

Geographical Location

The Khargaz shore is the northernmost part of Gorgamelle - a bleak icy tundra bordered on the north by the icy seas and on the south by deep trackless woods or snowcapped mountains. To the south is Dymeria, west are the Olmai lands and east are the Halsing lands.

Civilization

The Kharghaz are tribal nomads, who follow the great herds of Wurundor on their annual migration north in summer and south in winter. Their life is hard and often short - the bitter plains of the north offer few resources and little shelter. Virtually all their needs are provided by the Wurundor - food and transport, hair for weaving and dung for fires. All property in the tribe is owned by the headman, so young Kharghaz often leave their tribes and either trek south to Dymeria, or roam in small warbands. They are animists, with religion mostly being the placation of a variety of generally malign spirits, and the supplication of tribal spirits.

Racial makeup

The Kharghaz are of similar racial stock to the Halsings, being generally fair-haired and light skinned. However red hair is common, and as a whole, they tend to be shorter and stockier than Halsings. Both sexes tend to wear their hair long, with men tying it in a clubbed pigtail. Men almost always wear short or plaited beards. Kharghaz of both sexes are generally described as wild and uninhibited if not actually unhinged. A tendency to do things to excess seems to be ingrained into the Kharghazi psyche.

Available Everyman Packages

Hunter/gatherer, Noble, Priest


Khishite

Geographical Location

The Khish states lie north of the Great Rift, and are bounded on their north and east by the Dymerian Empire. West is the Empire of New Saharn, and this location has made them pawns in the continual conflict between these two huge empires.

Civilization

The remnants of what was once a homogenous empire itself, the Khish states share a common culture, which includes a strong interest in dreams and dream interpretation, the worship of the goddess Antanabra, and a caste-based society based on this religion. There are also similar cultural institutions such as the building cults in all of the Khish states. However, there are also regional differences, from the languid and decadent cities of Billün, to the harsh crag-top eyres of the robber-lords of Ulthar Kanash, which are reflected in their citizen's attitudes. Like Dymeria, Khishites tend to be tolerant of novelty - but where Dymerians are always ready to argue the merits of any innovation, Khishite culture espouses a sort of fatalism, perhaps better described as indifference rather than tolerance. On an economic level, Khishite trade is mostly carried on by the large tradesman caste, and is as sophisticated as that of their northern neighbors. Khishite cities trade in foodstuff, manufactured goods and spices carried up from the margins of the Great Southern Jungle

Racial makeup

Khishites have darkly tanned shins and dark hair, with great flashing eyes. They are clearly different from the Sialic races such as the Dymerians and Saharnians, being generally taller and more slender, with slightly elongated skulls. In the northern states, men tend to shave their heads and faces, while women wear their hair midlength. In the southern states men do not generally cut their hair and beards and mustaches are more common, while women's hair is normally worn longer.

Available Everyman Packages

Noble, Priest, Townsman, Villager


Kuzi

Geographical Location

Kuzistan lies on the northern of the two peninsulas that nearly bisect the Mithil sea. North are the Ramparts of Madness, which border the detested and shadow-haunted land of Pesh, while northeast is the Empire of New Saharn.

Civilization

Once the site of a great wizardly civilization, today the Kuzi people dwell in rude villages in the stark and hilly interior, or in the ancient cities along the coast. The former are primitive, while the latter still have access to many relics of lost wizardry, and are generally thought to be "strange" - haunted by odd visions and spirits from the past. Many people who have visited the wasted cities of Kuzistan have never returned, but stayed to enjoy the decadent pleasures available there. While each of the cities is independent, there is little trade and no hostility among them - rather an indifferent lassitude. The fickle and inscrutable nature of law enforcement in these cities makes them dangerous places for casual travelers, but havens for criminals from other lands. They are well known as ports of call to the Red Brotherhood. Kuzi religion consists of the worship of ancestors long dead and the powers that they revered - a very large number of specific gods, mostly each unique to a certain city or region.

Racial makeup

The cities of the Kuzistan coast are more cosmopolitan, but the population is generally of the same race as that referred to as Keshite - short, stocky and muscular, with skins much darker than their Sialic neighbors and frizzy hair. Temperamentally, however they are more reserved than their southern cousins being friendly - but but always with a suggestion of things hidden from strangers.

Available Everyman Packages

Noble, Priest, Serf, Villager


Olmai

Geographical Location

The Olmai lands are found on the northwestern coast of Gorgamelle, and on the large island of Hekla off the coast. East of them are mountains that separate the coast from the Garda-Rike, where Olmai settlers live in heavily fortified villages as a defence against hostile Vanaquisl tribes. The Olmai coast is a stark landscape and not heavily settled. Hekla, while a little more hospitable is even less settled. There are great areas of little-known coniferous woods in both areas, soaring unexplored mountain areas, and - on Hekla - open trackless heaths where travelers can walk for a week and see but a single homestead.

Civilization

The Olmai live mostly in small villages, and such cities as dot the coast are of recent origin, due to slowly increasing population, and the development of trade routes which carry gold from the mountain streams, furs and dukka-fur rugs and cloaks south into Dymeria. Olmai warriors often cross the Garda-Rike in warbands to serve as mercenaries in Atrios, where there is a sizable expatriate community. The Olmai are independent, and while they are hot-tempered and occasionally violent, on the whole they are not very warlike, most differences being solved by irregular meetings where an settlement is thrashed out between local landowners. They have no kings or noble class, the only distinction being the size and style of the household a family can afford to maintain. The Olmai are great sailors and trade up and down the coast, occasionally indulging in a little piracy when trade is slow.

Racial makeup

The Olmai lands are isolated and thus fairly racially homogenous. Both men and women are tall (averaging around 2M) and muscular, with light red to reddish-brown hair and pale skins. Men tend to wear their hair shoulder length and beards are pretty much universal. Women tend to wear their hair long and often braided up. The only foreign presence of any size is composed of Halsings who have sailed along the Khargahz shore, who have originally fled their own land for some reason or other, and who retain their own cultural identity since they tend not to intermarry much (for obvious cultural reasons).

Available Everyman Packages

Hunter/gatherer, Priest, Villager

 


Martic

Geographical Location

The Martic lands are bordered on the east and south by the Kintamo mountains, beyond which lie the arid plains of the Keshites, and on the west by the sea. North is the narrow mouth of the Mithil sea - the Straits of Tarek.

Civilization

If one word characterizes Martic culture, that word would have to be acquisitiveness. Martic traders collect everything - precious metals, magic items, cloth, new religions and crackpot philosophies with equal abandon. Originally established by the semi-legendary wizard-kings, today all three remaining city-states are republics ruled by elected councils of plutocrats. The three great cities of the Martic League are hives of commercial activity, from whence trading fleets sail up and down the western coast, all over the Mithil sea and even over the wide ocean to the isles of Atalantë and far-off Samadria. Martic culture is mad for ostentation and wildly competitive - even their temples (of which they have an unbelievable profusion) engage in active competition for worshippers, selling magical services and belief in equal measure.

Racial makeup

The Martic race is obviously closely related to the Sialic race, with similar features and darkly tanned skin. Curly hair is very common in the Martic League and both men and women wear their hair in a wild variety of styles. Martic people are excitable and enthusiastic, but always on the lookout for new opportunities. It is said in surrounding lands that no-one ever gets the better of a Martic trader, but they make the dealing so much fun, no-one really minds. There is also a significant minority in all of the states of Kvarch-nari, a tall, slender and autocratic mountain race who claim to have been the original owners of the coastal plains before the coming of the Wizard kings. Darker of skin than the Martic peoples and straighthaired, they are obviously different from the Keshite tribes to the east, whom they disdain. These days they make their living herding or selling their services as mercenaries, for which their ferocious two-handed swordsmen are much in demand.

Available Everyman Packages

Noble, Priest, Serf, Townsman, Villager


Mhomahlan

Geographical Location

The Mhomalan kingdom occupies a high plateau that thrusts up out of the Great Southern Jungle, just south of the Great Rift. It is a land of warm open grasslands, fringed by high mountains, and on all sides, steep cliffs tumbling down into the pestilential forest.

Civilization

The Mhomalans are mostly herders, living in large tribes and following their animals across the wide plateau. The few cities that dot the plateau serve mostly as gathering points for the tribes. There is little trade or even contact with the outside world, due partly to the terrain and also since it is not encouraged by their ruler - the Mhomalan Witchqueen. Supported by her priestesshood, the ageless - and extremely beautiful - witchqueen has guided her kingdom for many generations as both ruler and high priestess. The Mhomalan religion is based on the worship of seven deities who hold sway over the seven essential human activities, but in truth, the Mhomalans are not much given to religion, and the priestesshood largely spends its days interpreting dreams and offering cryptic oracles. Only on a few holy days a year do the Mhomalans expend much pageantry on their religion, but they love to dress up and dance on plenty of other occasions. They hold oratory in high esteem and no celebration is complete without story-weaving competitions where orators take turns at weaving a new story from their competitors' tales.

Racial makeup

The Mhomalan kingdom sees few strangers since it is lapped on all sides by the jungle. The Mhomalans themselves are very tall, with men often well over two metres and women averaging around 2 metres. Both sexes are athletic. Ability in long distance running is well regarded, as are the martial arts. Their skins are not just dark, but jet black, as is their long straight hair, and their eyes are also dark. They have elongated skulls, with long faces and pendulous ears. In nature, the Mhomalans tend to be reserved and polite - even an exchange of strangers meeting on the road is replete with inquiries as to the other's health and wishes for continued well-being.

Available Everyman Packages

Noble, Priest, Townsman, Villager


Rutanan

Geographical Location

Rutana is an island kingdom off the east coast of Southern Gorgamelle, although it has also annexed lands on the coast as well. Rutana has no near neighbors, since the coast it faces is covered by the pestilential Great Southern Jungle.

Civilization

The rulers of Rutana claim a pedigree that fades into legend, and the ruins with which the adjacent coast is littered do lend some credence to their claim to be descended from the rulers of a vast empire. These days however, their glory is definitely fallen, and the ruling dynasty (which traditionally supplies both the Preceptrix who leads the army and the Theopomp who heads the powerful Temple of the Waters) is little better than a clan of savage bandit chieftains. They maintain their power by playing the leaders of the various antagonistic clans against each other and by the judicious use of atrocities against their enemies. The economy is based on fishing and trawling the Great Southern Jungle for buried treasure and slaves, both of which are exported northwards. Rutanan religion is based on the worship of a pantheon of gods, the oldest and most powerful of whom is the capricious sea god Momas. Blood sacrifice is a common feature of the worship of Momas, and most of the other gods are no more appealing.

Racial makeup.

The main race on Rutana is clearly related to the Mhomalans - jet black skin and hair, dark, flashing eyes and an average height of well over two metres for men, and only slightly below two metres for women. However, there are members of the Khishite and Sialic races there as well, mostly in the towns on the mainland who are generally either escapees from the northern cultures or their descendants.

Available Everyman Packages

Hunter/gatherer, Noble, Priest, Townsman, Villager


Saharnian

Geographical Location

The Empire of New Saharn stretches from the Mithil sea in the south to the dusty plains and mountains of the Dymerian Empire in the north. East are the Khish states and the wasteland ruled by the Kasserim, while westwards lie the sunbaked wastes of the Deserts of Lamentation. Most of the population lives along the margins of the great river Hatras or its tributaries, as Saharn is hot and while it is not desert, it is perilously close to that in many areas.

Civilization

The Empire of New Saharn is descended from the ancient and powerful Empire of the Sun, which itself arose from the fall of the Atalantëan Empire. It is a theocracy, ruled by the iron fist of the Temple of the Great God, a monotheistic solar religion hostile to all other faiths. The Temple also looks poorly on innovative thought even in non-religious matters, so Saharnian culture is characterized by inflexible rules, tortuous bureaucracy and hostility to new ideas of any kind. Saharnian religion is also very strict on the "place of women" - so it is a very male-dominated society. Saharnian economy is largely agricultural, although the Empire supports a thriving slave trade, drawing mostly on the littoral of the Mithil sea.

Racial makeup

Like their neighbors and enemies, the Saharnians are of Sialic race, perhaps most closely related in physical appearance to the people of the Dymerian province of Selucios. They are dark haired, brown skinned and tend to have large expressive dark eyes. Men wear beards and crop their hair at shoulder length, women wear their hair long when unmarried (indeed are forbidden to cut it, by law and custom) and cut it to shoulder length when married.

Available Everyman Packages

All


Shadow Kingdoms

Geographical Location

The Shadow kingdoms are a collection of petty fiefdoms that dot the ashen plans of the Land of Shadow, or the jagged mountains that form its boundary. The path north to the Mist Marches of of the Eochail lands is cut off by the Sea of Glass, while to the south are stark hills that cluster about Pesh - the stronghold of the last of the Dark Lords. Both east and west the land is bounded by the mountains known as the Ramparts of Madness.

Civilization

Civilization is a exaggeration when discussing the Shadow Kingdoms. Because of the perpetual shadow, few things grow and there is little natural animal life. Almost all people therefore live in the holdings, where they survive on the produce of wizardly cornucopias, and such crops as can be maintained in near-darkness. Only warbands and savage volktaar warriors move in the wastelands. Most holdings - unless decimated by war - have more people than they can comfortably support and life is thus a constant struggle. Moreover, the Lands of Shadow are the last stronghold of the remaining Lords of Darkness, and the people of the Shadow Kingdoms wage constant war against the Dark Lords and their twisted creations. Every holding is fiercely independent and hostile to every other holding too. As a result, the Shadow Kingdoms boast few arts that are not directly related to combat, guile or torture, and they spurn any sign of weakness or fellow feeling. The unfortunate traveler in the Shadow Kingdoms must be mighty indeed, or he will swiftly end up inside something's - or someone's - stomach. The Shadow Kingdoms have no economy unless you count the killing and robbing of strangers. Shadow kingdom religion consists largely of prayers for success in combat to a large number of extremely warlike gods, but there is little ritual or sacrifice. The people of the Shadow Kingdoms don't expect much from their gods, who plainly can't regard them with much affection.

Racial makeup.

The people of the Shadow Kingdoms resemble the Eochail people physically - dark haired, green or gray-eyed and of middling stature. However, they are extremely pale through constant lack of sun.

Available Everyman Packages

Noble, Priest, Serf


Vanaquisl

Geographical Location

The Vanaquisl lands are an area of vast coniferous forest, rushing rivers and crystal-clear lakes that stretches from the Mountains of Mist in the west to the Gera and Uttica mountains in the south and east. This forest - the "Garda-rike" or "Fortress-land" - is untrammeled wilderness, dotted with only a few fortified towns of the Olmai. The Garda-rike is bounded to the west by the Olmai lands, to the east by the Dymerian Empire, to the south by the Theocracy of Sade, and to the North by the harsh tundra. The Garda-rike is a land of short, humid summers and long, snowy winters.

Civilization

The Vanaquisl are a tribal people. For the most part, they roam the endless forests, hunting, never settling. Every tribe is led by its shamen and hero-warriors, and is at war with every other tribe. However, every tribe most hates the "light-heads" - the Olmai who have invaded their realm and who cross the forest on their own inscrutable journeys. Some of the Vanaquisl have settled in the eastern mountains, where they dwell in fiercely defended eyrie-villages. They make their living by an equal mix of farming, hunting and raiding. Their economy is strictly local and barter-based. The Vanaquisl worship and placate a huge number of local spirits, small gods and demons, usually by sacrifice at sacred places.

Racial makeup

The Vanaquisl are a homogenous race, being short, swarthy and muscular. They are black-haired, with dark eyes. Almost all Vanaquisl - particularly warriors - bear tattoos. Their neighbors respect their skill in forest-lore, fear their unrelenting savagery and the strong (indeed, often uncontrollable) magic of their sorcerors, but deride their primitive squalor.

Available Everyman Packages

Hunter/gatherer, Priest (Shaman), Warrior

Everyman Packages

The following everyman packages are available (although not all are available in every area- see above). Everyman skills are the basic skills almost everyone acquires growing up in a particular culture. These skills allow at best a basic knowledge of a subject . If a roll is required, it is 8-.

Hunter/gatherer
Climbing, Concealment, Conversation, Stealth, Survival (local environment), 3 points with native language, AK: Home area, one professional skill at 8-

Noble
Climbing, Concealment, Conversation, High Society, Stealth, Transport Familiarity (local riding animals or vehicles), 4 points with native language (includes very basic literacy), AK: Home area

Priest
Climbing, Concealment, Conversation, Stealth, Streetwise, 4 points with native language, AK: Home area, PS: Priest/Shaman/etc. 8-

Serf
Climbing, Concealment, Conversation, Husbandry, Stealth, 3 points with native language, AK: Home area, one professional skill at 8-

Townsman
Climbing, Concealment, Conversation, Stealth, Streetwise, 3 points with native language, AK: Home area, one professional skill at 8-

Villager
Climbing, Concealment, Conversation,Stealth, Transport familiarity (local draft animal), 3 points with native language, AK: Home area, one professional skill at 8-


Perks

Perks can be purchased as outlined in the HSR. If a character wants the advantages associated with a given station in life, they must purchase the appropriate Perk. However, it is not compulsory. A character can be a Priest without purchasing the "Functioning religious" perk. This would mean that they are a minor functionary, or perhaps a member of some obscure cult - they cannot call on the resources of a powerful temple. Alternatively, they may be in bad standing with their temple, and so not entitled to any of the usual perquisites. A character can have a noble background without purchasing the Perk "Noble". Perhaps the character is from a minor provincial house, or one that is out of favour at court, or an old and once mighty family fallen on hard times - but again, they can expect only perfunctory notice and no assistance from their nominal peers and others. If these details are altered in the course of play, the character can then purchase the perk, and bask in the associated privileges. In some circumstances the GM can award characters a perk (and the XP.s to cover it) as an appropriate reward.

Contacts

As HSR

Favours

As HSR

Followers

Not normally allowed. Try using animal trainer, etc. to acquire nonsentient companions, and good roleplaying to acquire sentient ones. DNPC follower types are allowed, but they are always under the GM's control, not the players. In exceptional cases, such as a magician's familiar, this perk is allowed.

Fringe Benefits

See below

Money

as HSR. Character background must explain the source of this wealth.

Cost

Permitted Fringe Benefits

1

Functioning Religious
The character is a member of a religious order. He can perform simple religious rites and can expect assistance and at least some respect from other believers

1

Guildmaster
The character is a member of a guild - usually legal, but occasionally not. He can practice a trade without harassment, and can expect some help from fellow guild members

2

Member of Lower Nobility
This perk entitles the character to basic respect from the authorities, often some privileges denied the hoi-polloi and usually some basic courtesies from the local nobility

2

Warrant
This power represents the awarding of some secular authority to the character by a higher power - a warrant allowing exclusive trade rights, immunity to taxation, legal authority, license to practice a restricted trade, etc.

5

Member of Aristocracy
This perk entitles the character to respect and help from the local authorities, entrance to good parties, and in most settings, certain legal rights barred to ordinary citizens. Aristocrats can usually expect at least basic hospitality from their peers and can often demand it from their social inferiors

5-10

Special Office
This perk represents the holding of an office that grants special powers on the holder, from a backer strong enough to enforce it. If revealed (to someone who knows what it means) it usually ensures some sort of help (or at least respect). This can represent such things as being the designated representative of a powerful but reclusive wizard, a diplomatic envoy, The Keeper of the Royal Seal or a powerful aristocrat's personal champion (or assassin!)

Finally, a table of the major language groups of Arth can be seen here.

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