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No one in Eador, nor in any part of any world is aware of the true origins of the multiverse.
Eador exists within its own universe, but that universe exists as one of a collection of universes. All were created by one sentient, benevolent, and nearly always passive force, known only as the Creator; to each individual universe, he gave a pantheon of gods. Some he gave but a single just lord, others he gave full pantheons of hundreds of deities. To Eador's universe, he gave two, the Serpent Gods Bahamut and Tiamat. Bahamut was created to implement order, reason, and justice in the world, and Tiamat was created as a balance, to keep the universe beautifully random and chaotic. Too often, they are associated with "Good" and "Evil," which is wholly inaccurate at their heart.
The peoples of Eador do not know of the Creator, only of Bahamut and Tiamat, and formidable religions were based around these two great dragons.
Tiamat and Bahamut, and their respective religions, are antagonists; it is not necessarily a hatred, as far as the wise gods are concerned, only a staunch decisiveness that the other is wrong. For the religions that follow them, it is a deep hatred, wholly desiring the other to be gone from the universe. In the many wars over the millenia, Bahamut and Tiamat have taken already great mortals and made them heroes to keep the balance in the world, both acknowledging the Creator's intent over their own desires. Many of the greatest of these heroes have passed into legend, then into myth, and rose again as minor religions.
Religion, Technology, and Magic
The two major religions of Eador are called The Legion (logical, ordered followers of Bahamut) and Entropy (chaotic, random followers of Tiamat), but there is any number of lesser religions dedicated to demigod-like heroes. However, none of these religions still commands a strong following; the 9th monarch of the elven Imperium commanded immense respect, and he revealed his atheism; he was a fair and steady ruler for many centuries before this, and soon his entire kingdom began to doubt the necessity of the gods. Religion declined across the continent slowly but steadily for 2300 years, until even the Legion and Entropy were merely cult sized followings. The last 1500 years, it hasn't changed much.
The intensely combative religions and the constant crusades they brought upon the world savagely stunted technological growth, and for the past two ages of elven kings, no significant new development has been made. Smelting processes have improved and overall metal quality has improved, but that's about it. Fine steel is a common material used by major militaries and guard forces; Mithril is very rare, and is only used by the rare (and lucky!) adventurer and elite Dwarven military task forces. Adamantium has been deemed a myth, with no new deposit being found since the second age, and all the adamantium artifacts from that time mysteriously "lost."
The only notable technological advancement worth mentioning is a very weak gunpowder. It is not refined enough to put into personal weapons. So far, it's only used in cannons and large bombs (like the ones used to demolish the wall of Helms Deep in the Lord of the Rings), and even then it's rare, being a very recent development (invented within the last 40 years).
Most people have some small magical ability*, and this is thought of as no big deal. Those who can't are like people who can't cross their eyes in our culture; not really all that worse off for being unable. However, any significant magical ability is far more rare, and meeting a wizard/sorceror above about 8th level is an event in a commoner's life. Such strong magical ability is most common in Elves, with humans having a very similar level of affinity. Dwarves are suprisingly magical as well, but it is not obvious because their magic is nearly always used to forge golems, craft magical items, and generally create solid, lasting, magical material items instead of singular effects; they also use wards and glyphs, detection spells, and water creation (particularly mining foremen in deep mines, where water may be scarce). Gnomish and halfling magicians of significant power are rare, but there are always about a couple dozen historical examples in a given age. Half-Orcs (Orcs are not included in civilized peoples) who become powerful magicians are nearly unheard of, but there have been a few to go down in history (most are generals for Tiamat).
- This should not be taken to mean that most people can cast spells and such; the magical affinity for most people occurs passively. Most pass it off as better luck than most, not realizing that it is actually arcane potential.
The group that worships Bahamut is characterized by a great love of order and justice. Most who are still in it are in a military or government (particularly judiciary), or are honest merchants or even cartographers; i.e., people who desire structure in their lives, organized people.
Religious practices are minimal for the Legion, being a group that exalts order and reason. Each "boarding house" of the Legion (mentioned below) has a single altar with a draconic figure, and calming incense is burned often to ward of baser passions and promote calm, collected thoughts. That is about as "religious" as the Legion gets; other than that, it's more like a political or military organization than a church.
The religion itself is cut into a hierarchy. On top is a group of the wisest and most devout followers of Bahamut, and they form a council of leadership in the Legion across Eador. Each of them essentially governs the Legions policies and actions in a given region, often across multiple cities. They each have a headquarters that they are directly in charge of. Below them on the hierarchy is a more localized authority, a sort of "mayor" to the "governors." There is at least one in every major city, multiple in the largest metropolises, and a few in scattered villages deemed important by the ruling nation or the Legion itself. Each of these runs a "boarding house," which, to the public, merely seems very exclusive. In truth it is a shelter for members of the Legion, and the local group of the bottom of the hierarchy.
Only one group is not considered within a tier, but they are rare individuals. Occasionally, the Generals will recruit a powerful individual to complete a task. They answer to only the General they are recruited by, but gain no tiered authority; they can requisition aid and materials from other Legion members, but cannot give orders to "lower" tiers. Except this, they are considered just under the generals in prestige.
Highest Tier: Called "Generals." Two in the Imperium, two in Evaleon, one in Ajurdan, and one in Turagen. Attempts at establishing Legion in Profuga failed violently.
Second Tier: Called "Lieutenants." 22 in Imperium, 34 in Evaleon, 5 in Ajurdan, and 14 in Turagen. According to last bookkeeping.
Third Tier: Called "Sergeants" officially, "Grunts" unofficially. 792 across Imperium, 1224 in Evaleon, 180 in Ajurdan, and 504 in Turagen.
Untiered: Called "Legionnaires." Only 3 currently hold this title. Locations are redacted, for generals' eyes' only.
Those who follow Tiamat are much less organized. Where Entropy is present, it establishes a cluster. Each cluster is wholly independent, and one person is in charge of each operation. Usually these clusters are disguised as shoddy pubs or houses of ill-repute, so Entropy's members don't have to conceal their natures. Because of the tendency of these clusters to occupy such less reputable establishments and whole embracing of their chaotic subculture, "parties" are held frequently, though they are really celebrations of Tiamat, thinly veiled.
It is the year 4880 of the ninth era, by the Elven standard (which is the accepted time scale almost everywhere); that is, it is the 4880th year of the reign of the 9th Elven monarch of the Imperium.
(Date format: XA YYYY; X is which age of elven kings it is, YYYY is the year in that age. A = Age)
Current date: 9A 4880
9A 4842: Very weak gunpowder is invented by gnomes
9A c.4390-4402: Turagenan people rebel from the oppressive Evaleon; drawn out war ends in an unsteady truce, and next 6 decades marked by weakening mistrust between the two.
9A c.3300: Around this time, religion mostly dies out and becomes cult-like
9A 3376-3379: Ajur makes war on other city-states and unites dwarven king. First Dwarven council is formed
9A 0: Elven King Neonil is coronated
6A ?: The region known as The Barren Lands withers and dies, and few surviving historical accounts describe these lands at all.
1A 890: The ironbark walls are planted in Altenir after an attack by wild beasts, unhindered by the forest.
1A 430: The two towers in Altenir are planted and enchanted
Age duration (Final year of each age, representing a King dying or abdicating from old age):
Eador Map and Terrain
A map of the known world: Basic Geographical map
A political map (also useful for denoting more specific regions): Political map
Most of the large northern island is covered with dense forests, all the way up the roots of the mountains, except areas around settlements where the land has been cleared for farmland. For the most part, these forests are relatively flat, but become more hilly the nearer to the base of the mountains you get. Bodies of water are many, but small. There are a few great lakes and rivers, but most are little more than ponds and streams, not notable by nearly any cartographer trying to chart the entirety of the mainland.
The Imperium is the common name for Edunas, the empire of the Elves, the longest standing government in place. The land is covered with great forests, and the elves have greatly preserved much of this. All of their structures are natural and living, and form a magically enhanced symbiosis with the elves (Not entirely unlike the Telvanni from TES III: Morrowind). This has had the adverse effect of allowing many forest creatures to roam free, and not all of them are friendly. Traversing the forest is not an easy task for those who do not know it well, and who do not have the aid of the forest as the elves do.
The area of the Imperium is light on notable geographic features, being mostly of the same forest, but at least one thing is worth mentioning: Drake's Tongue Peninsula. A fairly large stretch of land extends into the sea, which is itself sheltered from oceanic weather by a great bay. It was noted by elvish cartographers that the bay appeared almost like a dragon, and so the peninsula got its name. It became the center of government, and the center of the Guild; two great towers rise high above the canopy of the surrounding wood, and around this capital of the elves is the greatest natural wall ever constructed.
Although the elves prefer nature, metal and stone are still used frequently, from decorating to reinforcing important structures.
"The domain of Ajur." The dwarven kingdom is named for the first king of the mountain dwellers, and possibly the greatest dwarf ever to live. No mountains in Eador rise higher, and no caves sink deeper, or are filled with as much treasure as Ajurdan. Here mithril was first found and forged, here the dwarves claimed to have mined the first adamantium. Much lives deeper than the dwarves, and many creatures dwell on the surface above them; but none are so sturdy in the lordship of their lands as the dwarves. There is only one entrance to any dwarven citadel, though underground tunnels are being constructed as a sort of dwarven high way. These entrances are always guarded fiercely and to the death by their keepers, and few have ever seen the inside of a dwarven citadel that were not permitted access.
There is little to note about Ajurdan's geography; mountains are mountains.
The Barren Lands
Next to nothing is known about this region by mortals. From a distance, one can see dead land for many miles and a lone mountain rising from the decrepit earth. But the few who have entered the area and have made it back tell of a strange fog appearing as if from nowhere, and those who were wise enough to carry compasses noted that they became useless, spinning without end. There is no vegetation across this land, part of the reason so few ever make it out alive.
Turagen and Evaleon
Turagen is mostly flat land between the mountains and the sea, and this is used for farmland. Most cities are port cities, except a few military forts in the mountains overlooking the border.
Evaleon is fairly plain. It is mostly forests, and over the years roads have been built and the beasts of the forests have been driven back. This region is the most tamed of any, and is the safest place to be a commoner.
The southern island is rocky and far less hospitable to civilized life; much of the land east of the mountains is desert, and the land west of the mountains is mostly rocky. Foliage and larger flora still manage to survive well, and sometimes even thrive, but it's a much harder life than the northern island.
These islands, named after the gnome who discovered and charted them, are noted throughout Eador for dense flora and fauna on the center of the tropical islands and crystalline water surrounding them.
The land of the giants, originally sighted by gnomish sailors off the coast of the mainland, is visibly chilling; even the forests that creep up the mountains seem blackish in color, and the mountains themselves are made of razor sharp rocks. Even from a ship many miles away, it looks like certain death. There are legends that say the foreign land is named after a village on the southermost peninsula, once visited by a gnomish expedition.