Treatise on Eruna - Page 4 - Myth-Weavers


World of Farland

A world conquered by evil and ruled by the Lords of Sin; A unique campaign setting designed to be used with all editions of D&D.


Treatise on Eruna

   
PART FIVE OF AN ONGOING PROJECT (p5 finished)


THE SUTHERLANDS OF ERUNA - BINJALA AND FOROLA

To those who have traveled beyond Budum-Ishi and the Cen-Cenla, it is the beautiful lands of Binjala and Forola that they think of when their minds turn to Eruna. They remember the sheer immensity of the Binjalan sky, inexplicably vast over the endless savanna, and the lushness of the Forolan jungles, a riotous cacophony of beast and bird of every shape and hue. The greatest rivers of Farland could not hope compare with the thundering majesty of the Ulu'ware, so they would say, nor does the most crisp air of the Belendale refresh as can the salt-flecked winds from the Dansira Gulf.

They speak admiringly of the tenacity of the Binjalan tribesmen, proving their worth by hunting alone the great animals of the plains that a trained regiment would balk at pursuing, and tearfully praise the mystic grace of Forolan dances and songs, unable to explain the depth of emotion roused by these exotic arts. In these mysterious southern realms, they assure their enraptured listeners, is surely the memory of the wholesome and wondrous lives to be had before the triumph of the Wintervale.

Such, indeed, are the deluded ravings of the privileged few, those who travel to those distant lands in all comfort and luxury, who would never dream of living as the natives do. Not for them the Forolan risk of starvation if a migratory herd is delayed or the rains do not come. Not for them the desperate Binjalan entreaties to god and spirit for merest survival in their unforgiving home. Death does not stalk the Sutherlands of Eruna, but walks openly, proudly, for all to see and tremble.

To be of the southernmost Erunians is to be hungry and isolated and fearful, especially of those tribes nearest to you who might, at any moment, take up club and spear to enslave you and ease the burden that is their life - so best you be ready to do so first and beat them to it. No Forolan would look upon the walls of a Farlandish city and scorn its protection in favour of thorn and bramble. No Binjalan would hear of the onset of famine and plague, and refuse the administrations of a priest or apothecary in favour of struggling through on their own.

Indeed, even the geonational names of Binjalan and Forolan have little meaning to the people themselves, for whom tribal affiliation and history is everything. A Binjalan, for example, would never describe himself as such, but instead as a Barawak, sworn enemy of the Mbawni, friend of the Ileluzi. Even in Kojikere, a swarming metropolis by Sutherland standards, its nearly three thousand inhabitants segregate themselves from each other, using neutral go-betweens of other tribes when necessity demands theirs must have dealings with their rivals.

It is only due to the ascendant tribe in this region, the Azwan, that there is not unceasing violence in the cities, though this is because they have never hesitated in using it against any who dared to question them. The Azwan are by far the largest of all the Binjalan and Forolan tribes, as hated and feared as much as they are envied, for they have achieved the dream of becoming so powerful that they can no longer be threatened. Whenever a rival showed the slightest sign of weakness, the Azwan waged total war against them, killing the men and boy-children, then absorbing the womenfolk into their number.

Over hundreds of years, this relentless brutality was rewarded with effective mastery over Binjala and Forola. To most outsiders, ignorant of the history, this merely looks like the Azwan are a type of central government, and will praise the speed with which they crack down on apparent dissidents - not understanding that these petty rebellions are, in essence, slaves fighting for their freedom.

Despite the age-old hostilities between the tribes, as well as the sheer number of them and the complicated politics that underlie their interactions, Binjalans and Forolans have a massive advantage over those in the northern lands, who have had to contend with vastly different languages and cultures when meeting each other. The Sutherland peoples, by comparison, predominantly differ from each other mainly in the little details, such as whether a scar of adulthood is made on the left or right cheek, or in the patterns they dye on their shields, or as minor as a subtle difference of pronunciation.

Once someone has undergone the initial challenge of learning any of the tribal languages of Binjala or Forola, learning another is mostly a matter of adding to one's existing vocabulary rather than creating a whole new one. Seasoned travelers claim that it takes only a third as long to master additional tribal languages after the first, and with no written component to them to further complicate things, the dialects are mutually intelligible across much of southern Eruna - albeit with some nuance possibly lost along the way; the equivalent, for example, of Kelevan as spoken by a peasant or by a noble.

*****

HAIWAZI TEMBEA - THE UNENDING WALK

Binjala is the Sutherland nation of hunters, covered by a vast golden savannah of impossibly large herds and sweltering heat. Along its borders, the local tribes are entirely nomadic, following the herds in their endless migration, and pausing for rest in the same temporary campsites that they have used for generations. Each tribe has its own places to stay along this route, and it is strictly taboo to trespass on the territory of another tribe.

The Nyagawulu, a mighty forest in the easternmost reaches of the land, is one of the only neutral territories, where even the most bitter enemies are required to put aside their weapons and treat with each other fairly, or be cast out. The forest is home to the Iswengyulu, the shamans who enforce the region's neutrality, and who draw their number from the nomad tribes who pass through. Iswengyulu shamans are the most respected of their kind among the Binjalans, which has resulted in a growing rivalry with their southern neighbours, the Azwan - although even these warmongers are not yet so confident of their power that they would dare to oppose them directly.

To one willing to pay the price, passage through these territories may be found along the Ulu'ware, a mere trickle at its source in the south Cen-Cenla's highlands, but one of Eruna's great rivers by the time it reaches the Nyagawulu. At its widest, it rivals Ishi in full flood, but is deeper still, and is supposedly the home of the terrifying river demon Dansira. The element of truth in this story is that the Ulu'ware is occasionally visited by dragon turtles who have entered the Dansira Gulf in order to find a mate. Some of whom choose to lay their eggs in the soft banks of the river, where potential threats such as krakens and mosasaurs will not find them.

Most, however, must do as the Binjalans, and walk. For these travelers, greater dangers than heatstroke and starvation await. Prides of lions and packs of hyenas are common, though easily avoidable even with an inexperienced guide. A roving band of thri-keen is a more serious threat, thankfully much rarer since the Abussi destroyed many of their major nesting sites in the Cen-Cenla some decades ago. In late autumn and winter, one of the greatest risks is coming across a herd of young bull elephants in musth, a period of inexplicable aggression that makes them likely to attack almost anything they encounter.

By far the most dangerous of all creatures, throughout the year, is the Binjalan rage-cow, better known as Grlarshh's Bull - the aurochs. These, untamed descendants of the ancient bovines that became ordinary cattle in the lands beyond Eruna, are notorious for their unpredictability and their tenacity. Aurochs have been known to drag crocodiles from the river and trample them in order to release the reptile's grip on their muzzles. A bull aurochs was once reported to have faced down a wyvern, though even the tallest of these tales admit it died of its wounds after. As of 8043 FR, the inventive Hoths of Gorug have have maintained an ever-increasing bounty for pregnant cows, seeking to bolster their cavalry with suitably brutal mounts.

*****

UNDUDUMA KWE'HLATHINI - THUNDER IN THE CLOUD FORESTS

A pristine, unbroken rainforest swaddles much of Forola, from mist-shrouded lowlands to cloud-piercing peaks, wherein the tribes struggle to make their way in life, predated upon by ettercaps and manticores, enslaved by grungs and hobgoblins, and generally having a hard time of everything. A Forolan, however, would never dream of abandoning their home, though they are always willing to introduce something from outside of it to make it easier. Of all the Sutherland peoples, it is from the Forolan tribes that most Erunian adventurers come, even if few make it much beyond the Cen-Cenla or Budum-Ishi.

It is this unbreakable will to survive, even prosper, in a land housing everything that hates them, which has made the Forolans endure all their woes over the centuries. That and, if you manage to catch one of their witch-doctors in a talkative mood, their 'alliance' with the Undudomo Uthixo - the thunder gods, towering overlords of the rainforest, secretive and mysterious in their stone castles overlooking the world. The Sutherlanders believe these ancient entities tolerate the presence of man in their domain, over which they have nobly presided since before even the elves were birthed. To the rest of the world, it is clear that these cloud giants have tolerated nothing except the superstitions of Eruna's most primitive people.

Each Forolan tribe is pledged to the worship of one particular 'thunder god', who is the current patriarch of the cloud giant clan inhabiting that particular mountain. Many of the patriarchs have, over the centuries, attempted to educate the tribes who offer them praise, but have met with a mountain even they cannot conquer - the mountain of willful ignorance. This is due to the fact that the Forolans have acquired a type of instinctive understanding that the cloud giants will protect them from total destruction, whether or not they learn anything from them. Thus, they devote their energies to the raw task of staying alive, rather than such irrelevancies as written language or economic theory.

Prior to its conquest by the Dweller in the Vale, the Far City used to hold regular communication with several of the cloud giant clans located in Forola, mostly by scrying pool or seeing stone, but sometimes by roc correspondence. The Mages' Collegiate was able to use these colossal avians to extract a considerable number of magical items, detailed histories and even key personnel to their fellow erudites among the clans. These riches have made the cloud giants, and by extension, Forola itself, an exceedingly tempting target, but also one nearly impossible to challenge conventionally.

Thus far, the only proven method of luring out one of the cloud giant scholars - and whatever lost wealth they hold in keeping for their conquered associates - is to plant evidence among the Forolan tribes offering praise to its clan, then cause enough death and destruction among them to force a response from their protectors. Whilst this ruse has been initially successful several times, it has always failed upon the cloud giants actually emerging from their mountain fastnesses and promptly scouring the interlopers from existence.

It is notable that, for all the horrors they perpetuate in other realms, the Scale Anchorites are remarkably passive in Forola, even in those areas least observed by the cloud giants. Whether this is because they know they cannot yet challenge the clans here, or because their goals in this region have already been accomplished, is unknown.

*****

JILA - THE FARTHER LAND

Isolated from the rest of Eruna by the mighty Kuluba Range, the realm of Jila is one of the few to have grown in the way its original settlers intended, these intrepid few hailing mostly from the elder three kingdoms of Farland, Zeland and Orland. Having finally crossed the deadly mountains, the travelers found themselves in a forest-choked land untouched by mortal hands. Mortal, civilised hands, that was, discounting the many tribes of pygmy goblins that already lived in Jila, themselves cut off from each other for the most part, and no match for the settlers.

Those that were not outright exterminated were simply enslaved. Nowadays, generations of indoctrination and selective breeding have reduced the pygmies nearly to mindless animals, and indeed they are treated as less than even those by their masters. Several times a year, the Jilans make sport of pygmy-hunts, using specially bred wolfhounds and, if rich enough to afford them, Kuluban ice leopards to chase the goblins through underbrush and canopy alike.

By comparison to the vast majority of citizens of other nations, those of Jila are obscenely wealthy, even the least of them being the equivalent of landed gentry. Rather than towns and villages, the Jilans dwell in vast familial estates that can encompass twenty or more square miles, worked by an army of pygmy goblin slaves. Most families are specialist producers, each according to the resources most readily available in their territory. The Coetzee, for example, control the most productive iron mines in the Kuluba Range; whilst the Van de Nieuwan make a living out of breeding ice leopards.

The only major settlement in Jila is Yiriku, overlooking the turbulent Arned Sea. It is here that the hereditary estate of the Overmaster is situated, the man himself being equivalent to a king in other countries. The current Overmaster is Nelius Botha VII, a particularly shrewd individual with a masterful grasp of economics. In the last five years, he has managed to transform a simple non-aggression pact into an unbordered free market union and mutual defense treaty...with the Spillarius Dominion, the abominable nation of merrow located just offshore.

In exchange for the merrow driving fish to the harbour, and for crafted trinkets and riches of the deep, Overmaster Botha has arranged a constant supply of fresh pygmy slaves be delivered to the Dominion. Most will end up on sacrificial slabs, their lives bled away to honour Demogorgon in horrific rituals. The remainder typically end up as food or bait, with the luckiest of these being dead before suffering such a fate.

Few Jilan men will ever leave their estate, unless it is to escort one of the women to her new home and husband elsewhere - and more importantly, ensure the safe return of her bride-price. Simply giving a woman away is unthinkable taboo to a Jilan. Once bought and paid for, she is expected to produce a male heir within a year, or be shamed and cast out, to live or die in accordance to chance. Most perish in days from a combination of shock and starvation, but a few find their way to the hidden villages of fellow exiles.

These hardy survivors, rightfully enraged by their treatment, have pledged to revenge themselves upon men, and are the main danger to any escorting a would-be bride to her new home. Most Jilans refuse to acknowledge that these are the exiled women, let alone that they have the moral high ground, and decry them as deranged forest spirits and demons to be put down. The lack of success in this area is down to the goblins sent out for this task, for it falls to the women of the estate to interact most often with the slaves - a Jilan man will approach them only to insult or flog. Despite their low intelligence, the goblins remember kindness and compassion, and consistently fail to find their prey.

*****

THE SIX CORSAIRS

The very northern reaches of Jila are home to the Six Corsairs; the families of De Poin, Marais, Moumzen, Trauberg, Van De Wik, and Visser. These six families are difficult to reach overland, even by Jilan standards, and have instead chosen to master the art of seafaring instead, rivaling Overmaster Botha's dominance but crucially not challenging it. Instead, they sail even further north into the Lonely Sea, to the Selfhaven Archipelago. There they find kindred spirits and generous employers in the Asterian Havenish, who admire their barbaric cruelty.

For all this, the Six Corsairs are the only Jilans with something akin to perspective. Having traveled beyond the borders of their own country, they have come into contact with other peoples and ideologies, ones they cannot merely overcome by ignoring them or throwing their goblins at the problem. They are the only Jilans who deign to speak a language other than their own, and the only ones who are aware of the existence of the Dark Will, which they acknowledge as a mighty threat indeed, for it could turn their slaves against them.

A further difference between the Six Corsairs and their cousins is that, unlike the rest of Jila, they remember and still venerate the so-called Old Gods, such as Dekk and Bestra and Heshtail. Elsewhere, religion is confined to such entities as Demogorgon and Asmodeus; or to ancestor worship of the mysterious Founding Fathers, from whose descendants came those that eventually settled Jila. The Six Corsairs long ago abandoned their efforts to teach the truth, that the Founding Fathers were not people - that Farland and Wawmar and Daven and Kale were, and still are, the names of places.

Wow-- I love the originality. It is coming out great! I am also teaching myself how to lay out books for paper printing, so maybe we can offer this with a POD option. We will see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoEvrIwant2b View Post
Sounds like a cool place.
...really? I mean, it's basically a cross between pre-Apartheid South Africa and pre-Emancipation American Bible Belt.

I think he was being sarcastic, although it is definitely a cool write up.

I hoped so, but I've spent enough time on the Internet to never be sure about that sort of thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoEvrIwant2b View Post
Haha can undead feel heat?
I've been thinking about this for nearly a week now. I genuinely have no idea. So many variables involved that I suppose it's down to individual GM fiat, based on whatever seems most reasonable at the time.

I would rule that they do register heat as heat but it doesn’t warm them or give them comfort.

In general, I'd agree with that ruling. I'd also say a Burned Dead would actually enjoy the presence of ambient flame, inasmuch as such a horror can enjoy anything; whilst a cold-based variant might be irritated by its presence. In the same way as anyone with enough retail experience becomes irritated by the sight of customers...

Incidentally, I'm very nearly done with this. I've got the entries on Badala and Cadocia to finish polishing, and they'll come next week, but otherwise we are pretty much good to go on the MW draft versions. The Scale Anchorite portion will just get a brief description of each piece of the Divided Prison, as well as its current location - the mechanics are not necessarily important for this type of overview.

More to the point, my first post on page three of this thread has been expanded with the Akhenut-based idea I mentioned the other day. It's adequate for purpose, but I'll keep working on it for my own personal satisfaction (should almost be its own section really...)







 

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Last Database Backup 2018-08-20 09:00:08am local time
Myth-Weavers Status