The Quinpolic League
[The Quinpolic League]
This region was once part of the Middle Sea Empire but the Luatha sank parts of it during the fall of said Empire. The Isles of Pasos survived the sinking and did not become inhospitable to crops, unlike the Sword Coast. This region has sometimes been independent and sometimes part of kingdoms further north since then, though the Isles of Pasos remained out of anyone's reach, able only to reach each other, due to the Closing. When the Opening came, they quickly allied with Pithdaros and Nolos against the rising might of Seshnela; as it stands, it's mainly the existence of hostile states on Seshnela's other borders which keeps the wolf from their doors. The Quinpolic navy seems far stronger than the weak fleet of Seshnela, but the ocean won't save Pasos or Pithdaros.
Which is why the League is cultivating allies elsewhere, especially in Greater Wenelia.
This region tends to be humid and hot, with an utterly terrible fire season; ironically, dark season tends to be mild and a lot of crops are planted in storm season and mature in sea season; some crops are even planted in earth season for a quick harvest early in dark season.
- "Theophilus", Rokari Preacher: Filthy murderous animals. It is licit to kill anything which lives here on sight, especially the Luatha. They hunger for souls and they will come for ours. Even Vadel didn't sink to their depths and the fact I have to say that makes me curse them even more.
- Markalan, Governor of The Open City: The God-Learners got what was coming to them. This is what happens when you break the laws of Zzabur to the point that you make Trolls, Elves, and Beast-Men actually look good. We do not fear the Luatha; our laws ensure they cannot come against us and like us, they follow the laws of Zzabur.
- Helen, daughter of Agamemna, Paladin: The God-Learners were scum, but to destroy an entire country like this just for the sins of a few out of control wizards is too much. There is no justice here; one day, we must make the Luatha pay for their crimes against the Invisible God and all those they butchered.
- Antonio Franchescos, Merchant of the Quinpolic League: Absolutely terrifying but also basically invincible. We learned to go around them long ago, but basically, we avoid them. Do not draw their notice and never ever ignore their warnings, unless you enjoy being turned into a ten limbed monstrosity which hungers for flesh. Not joking.
- Herbot Rajavi, Carmanian Initiate of Etryes and Merchant: No trade to be had here; they are insane and murderous; I have no love for the God-Learners, but these people are monsters. One day, they will be monsters who serve our Goddess, like the Broo and the Crimson Bat, but that day hasn't come. *Avoid*
- Harrek the Berserk, Leader of the Wolf Pirates: I would just hack off my own head if I wanted to die. I fear nothing, but that doesn't mean I am stupid. I wouldn't dive underwater and try to breathe the water until I drowned, not out of fear but because I have no desire to die. Not before I kill Death and take its place. Then it will be time to deal with these freaks.
- Handfast, son of Wycliff, Windlord of Orlanth : When I was younger, I nearly died there. I will not be stupid enough to go back. I didn't even get any treasure and all the women have fur or feathers or look like grape-people. Ugh. What a useless place.
Not part of the Quinpolic League, but indeed its' enemy, because they are enemies to almost everyone. The Luatha are a strange race of survivors from Danmalistan in the distant past, Malkioni in religion yet fifteen feet tall, purple, and opposed to the modern Malkioni churches. They possess huge magic they used to strip the fertility of crops in the Sword Coast and Kanthor Islands, then to import beast-men and Aldryami; they build magical vessels and lead raids on the Quinpolic league, Seshnela, and the Sword Coast from their hidden base in the islands the Castle of Purple Shadows.
The Luatha are believed to be Zzaburite, following the Caste system but seem to have no fear of mixing with strange creatures. They revere sages unknown to any outsiders. They are relatively few but powerful.
It remains unclear why they have not repeated their master stroke against the Sword Coast in order to depopulate the Quinpolic League or Seshnela as well. The Rokari Church declares them monsters to be killed on sight.
- "Theophilus", Rokari Preacher: Heretics, but at least they are not Loksalmi. With some effort and patience, we can bring them around to the true faith, and then they will return to the fold. Further, their cooking is excellent, their cities are beautiful and their warriors... well, it would be better if they submitted to the King, but their strong warriors will be an asset when they do. One of the few foreign lands which isn't a disaster in slow motion or quick motion. The Great Flinging, however, must end.
- Markalan, Governor of The Open City: They follow the original heretic, Hrestol, who made up lies and damned them all to age and die. That being said, they never cause us any trouble and so they are welcome in the Open City. They risk their lives getting goods we want and need, so we do not have to.
- Helen, daughter of Agamemna, Paladin: So close and yet so far. But with some effort and patience, we can bring them around to the true faith, and then they will return to the fold. Already, the word is spreading in their land and so I hope to see it in my lifetime. I notice their dragonnewts are as insane and barbaric as the ones we have to fight; I wonder if there are any civilized ones left outside Dragon Pass.
- Antonio Franchescos, Merchant of the Quinpolic League: My home sweet home. I love everything about my homeland except Dragonnewt raids. And I'm not so sure hiring mercenary Dragonnewts is a good idea. That being said, we need every ally we can get to keep our independence. If you visit Velletri, go to the Street of the Ironmongers, to the Brass Pot, and get their shrimp stew. It's amazing. So is their mutton spirichi in lemon sauce. Now I wish I was home.
- Herbot Rajavi, Carmanian Initiate of Etryes and Merchant: Worthy challenges in the war of negotiation. And they sail everywhere and have everything. I envy them their easy access to the sea. We either have to try and run down the Janube and then probably get killed by the Kingdom of War, or we have to try and ship things to Pavis, then down the River of Cradles to whatever that lousy port is. Feh. I can't remember, do they follow that weird Ship-worshipping form of Malkionism? Or is that Pasos? Or both? Anyway, one day, they will be part of us and I welcome that, but for now, some worthy, dignified opponents! Also, their food is quite excellent. Nolosia Chicken is incredible. And you can get decent Carmanian food in the major cities too.
- Harrek the Berserk, Leader of the Wolf Pirates: So much loot. And they can actually fight at sea! This one guy, I thought I'd cut his arms off... and I did. But he began gnawing on my ankle, trying to bite my leg off. I kicked him away and went after another marine and the man crawled after me and bit my ankle *again*. Now, I could bite a man's foot off at the ankle because I have all the strength and power of the White Bear, but this was just a man. But I had to admire his determination, so I just dragged him around while he stumbled after me and kept trying to hurt me; when the rest of his crew died, I had him dropped off near a fishing village. Hopefully, he's found some magical arms by now and will come back for revenge with strength to match his will. I admire anyone who never, ever gives up. Anyway, Nolos is worth raiding and I can see why Seshnela can't beat them. They refused to lose. And to be honest, even with no arms, I think that guy could take out an entire Seshnelan ship by himself. Domingo, that was his name. One day, we will meet again. I look forward to it.
- Handfast, son of Wycliff, Windlord of Orlanth : Like Seshnela, there's lots of excitement here, even if their religion is just as fake. Yet more book worshippers! What is wrong with these people? But the food is good, you can get in many good fights, and the women are also beautiful here. Strangely, there's far less monsters and I don't know why. Good for the farmers, I suppose. Also, I got to ride on one of their ships and now I understand why sailors love the sea, even if I love the high hills and mountains of Dragon Pass more. Next time I'm that way, I'll hop a ship to Kralorela and see if it's as crazy as the tales.
Ever since the Malkioni first came to these lands, there has been a political unit here around the city of Noloswall. At times it has been free, at other times part of various states. The fall of the Middle Sea Empire led the Nolosi to again assert their independence. For a time, they had to bend knee to Seshnela, but when it fell apart, they broke free. Now they have united with the Pithdarans and the Pasosi in order to fend off the new Seshnelan dynasty.
Nolos is governed by a council elected by the Noble caste but each caste has its own self-government which controls many affairs.
They are fairly traditional Hrestolian Malkioni, following the Orthodox Hrestoli Church. Which makes them heretics in the eyes of the Rokari Church. Rokari missionaries are loaded each year into catapults in Anagni Castle and flung into the Trachodon Marsh after being covered with scents which offend Dragonnewts. Few survive this and fewer come back for a second round. Other Malkioni churches are allowed to operate freely; the Idealist Hrestoli church is starting to win converts in Pasos.
Nolos has the usual loose caste system of Orthodox Hrestoli; few change castes except to join the military from the commoner caste but the ideal is to become a Man-of-All, who embodies the virtues of all four. Nolos encourages this because the sheer power of such folk makes them a valuable military asset in the face of a rising power to the North.
Nolos fields a force of 200 knights, 1000 pikemen, 500 Aldryami mercenary archers, 250 mercenary Dragonnewt heavy foot, and 250 Dragonnewt Earthshaker Cavalry. Small groups of priests and sorcerors support the army.
Nolos is known to have an interest in increasing its magical knowledge and has made overtures to the Arolanit, who have rebuffed them.
Nolos is cooler than you'd expect because strong winds blow northwest across the land from the ocean on a regular basis.
- Anagi Castle (2,500): This fortress deals with swamp monsters, but also has the sacred duty of dousing Rokari missionaries in things Dragonnewts hate the smell of and flinging them with powerful magical catapults into the swamp to die. The grim custom of gambling on how far they will go is a popular pastime when the yearly Flingings happen. Anyone else given the death penalty in Nolos is also flung from here.
- The Bronze Castle (8,000): This fortress is ancient, built by some unknown group, possibly Dragonnewts, in the time before the Dawn. When the Malkioni came here, it was already here and abandoned. It is made of Bronze, and centuries later, bronze is still dug out of the hills; most of the inhabitants who are not troops are involved in bronze mining and working. This fortress is crucial to the defense of Nolos and is well garrisoned with knights, pikemen and Dragonnewt mercenaries. The Aldryami mercenaries, however, will not live in the castle, but are used elsewhere.
- Noloswall (32,000): This city is ancient, one of the oldest Malkioni settlements and its populace has a fiercely independent streak. A lot of foreigners dwell here, doing the grunt work for low pay that the proud citizens won't do. Which means a fair number of those citizens are on the dole; in recent years, military service has been required of those who aren't working and grumbling is rife. The city seems headed for some sort of riot between foreign workers and natives. Noloswall is noted as a place you can buy Dragonnewt made goods; Conagi Castle is the contact point for the trade with Dragonnewts of the swamp and the goods are shipped here for sale. Earthshakers work hauling goods in the streets and there is a large force of resident Dragonnewt mercenaries, though they keep to their own quarter and discourage visits. Each year, Dragonnewts hold a ceremony for three days in Fire Season in the town market, which shuts down. It's too hot for trade then, anyway.
- The Castle of the Tin Warrior (3,000): This castle has a golem which cannot go over a mile from it. But it's fifty feet tall and able to take on hundreds of people at once; it obeys whoever sits in the throne in the castle; the origins of the castle go back to the Dark Age and its makers are unknown.
- "Theophilus", Rokari Preacher: The Loksalmi are filthier but the Pasosi are... stranger. Their 'Ship of Life' church... is it a joke? It must be a joke. Or was this some Waertagi heresy they took up? Drugs? Is that it? They are traitors and heretics and must submit or burn, but they may also need mental healing. The only good thing I can say is that they work really hard.
- Markalan, Governor of The Open City: I would think this was a joke, but they get real power from it, even if they live no longer than those around them. But they rarely cause trouble and just want to trade, so if that is how they want to live, so be it. It sounds rather too hot and humid to be very comfortable to live in though.
- Helen, daughter of Agamemna, Paladin: I cannot pretend I understand their faith, but they aren't hurting anyone and they seem to believe like us that the soul is meant to advance through a series of stations in life, not remain trapped at the same level forever. I am going to have to study their Infinite Sea Wisdom. They are incredible sailors and traders and without them, our ships would still lag far behind. I envy their freedom to travel and explore, but Loksalm needs me now more than ever.
- Antonio Franchescos, Merchant of the Quinpolic League: Our brothers in spirit and war and trade. Wonderful people, well worth our long friendship. They put too much olive oil on everything but the olive is a good symbol for them; it rewards long term investment and effort. If you like Drama, Ladispoli is the place to go. They have everything from historical dramas to light comedies to incredible dance shows. They are especially impressed by skill at the harp and the flute.
- Herbot Rajavi, Carmanian Initiate of Etryes and Merchant: I admire how they quickly responded to the Opening by setting forth and exploring and trading. Like the Nolosi, they are good merchants and they're also excellent craftsfolk. Definitely worth a visit, I hear... if only I could *get* there.
- Harrek the Berserk, Leader of the Wolf Pirates: Cheaters. They called up huge storms, whipped the ocean into whirlpools, made some of my ships just burst asunder for no reason at all, dropped flaming rocks from the sky and moved so fast we could never close to fight them. One day, I will find a way to break their magics, and then I am burning these islands to the ground. *Damn them all*.
- Handfast, son of Wycliff, Windlord of Orlanth : After being literally trapped in a magical box for hundreds of years, they've gone hogwild since getting free and I approve of it; they want to go everywhere and do everything and I like that. Their cities are lively and full of things to do. And some good fights. They killed all the monsters while they were trapped, though.
- Population: 230,333. They import substantial amounts of food. The population has doubled since Saint Dromal arrived, and a lot of land is cash crops now.
The inhabitants of Pasos maintained their shipping skills during the Closing because their islands could reach each other; oddly, you could not make the twelve mile trip from Allumiere to the coast but you could sail 194 miles from Allumiere to Veropolis. They attest their success in their prayers to Saint Yingar, patron of communications and messengers. Every town and village has a shrine to Saint Yingar and during weekly prayers, they can pass messages to any other temple; thus it never takes more than a week to send a message within the land. Raids from Kanthor's Islands against the shrines have further convinced them of this. The arrival of Saint Dormal unleashed long pent up energies and they now follow the Ship of Life church, which reveres him, Saint Dromal, and Saint Yingar as its patrons.
The Ship of Life Church has abandoned the caste system in favor of what they call 'offices'. These are stations through which you are promoted and those who advance in the church gain more magical power as they do so, powers inherent in the offices they hold. These are based on naval titles. The head of the national church is known as the Blessed Admiral, the major cities have the Commodores watching over them, local churches are run by a Captain and so on. Believers advance through various specialized hierarchies to gain the church's blessings; most will stay in secular life but the most devout become Captains and so on up the scale. These powers resemble those of theistic churches (though sorcery can be learned from the Infinite Sea Wisdom scripture), while the sorcery schools teach actual wizardry. The Ship of Life Church is male-dominated but has orders for women for all three major saints with similar powers.
- Saint Dormal: The opener of the ways, patron of sailors. Those devoted to him gain powers relating to the Water, Harmony, and Motion runes.
- Saint Dromal: Patron of farmers and artisans. Those devoted to him gain powers related to the Earth, Mastery, and either Beast, Plant, or Stasis, depending on their skills.
- Saint Yingar: Patron of scholars, judges, messengers and traders. Those devoted to him gain powers related to Air, Truth, and Communications.
The Ship of Life Church holds weekly services which include the Joy of the Heart and use a scripture known as Infinite Sea Wisdom. It can be studied by the devout as a grimoire to gain Water, Mastery, and Truth magics (each as its own skill). It teaches that life is a journey and is riddled with sea metaphors, as you'd expect. Solace is also known as 'the final harbor'. Members are urged to be generous to those in need, to be honest, to learn to speak well and clearly, to obey those in authority and to constantly seek to improve themselves -- to achieve excellence.
Politically, Pasos is a league of city-states; this has made it easy to fit into the Quinpolic League. Major cities have 3 seats and lesser cities have 2 seats on the council, which totals 12 seats plus the Admiral of the Ship of Life as the 13th member. The city-states are run by officials elected by men of property; every citizen elects members of the Assembly, which controls taxation and laws.
Places of Note in Pasos
- Bracciano (33,000): Contact with the Pithdarans has created a fad for all things Pamaltelan in the city, from sunbathing to get darker skin to wearing the fashions to sending expeditions to open trade and found colonies; produce of Pamaltela floods into the city, making it richer and exotic. Tropical fruits are all the rage here and the rare spices found there. Those wishing to visit the southern continents find this a good place to start, if they can afford it.
- Ladispoli (43,000): This city grows various cash crops like cotton and coffee and ships them up to Fronela; they also haul such crops from elsewhere on Genertla too. Coffee is the favored drink here and there are more coffeehouses than alehouses. The city maintains a strong fleet on standby against raids from Kanthor's Islands and sometimes raids the isles. Elves and the other creatures of the isles are very much NOT welcome here but everyone else is. There are many theaters and a huge dramatic tradition here.
- Sabino (10,000): This city is the seat of the Admiral of the Ship of Life Church, Gwalon. Gwalon seems likely to last another two decades or more and was the chosen successor of the Church's founder; he is an old man but vigorous and loves to go to sea; he sails around Pasos a lot while his bureaucracy works here without him. The city has major temples of all the major saints and some minor saint temples too. Saint Talor (Harmony, Mastery, Death) is popular here especially as his knights help to defend against attacks from Kanthor's Islands.
- Viterbo (900): This village is one of many settlements by the same dark skinned folk of Pithdaros, covered with bannana and coffee plantations; they grow the crops together cunningly to make both yield better; how they do it is a secret. They follow the Ship of Life, unlike Pithdaros.
- "Theophilus", Rokari Preacher: Wretched heretics who reject the Sharp Abiding Book and worship Saints as if they were Gods. I spit on them all. Not quite as filthy as the Loksalmi, but it's hard to match Loksalm's utter, unrestrained depravity.
- Markalan, Governor of The Open City: One of the legacies of the God-Learners. I always feel bad for them; I cannot imagine being dragged away from my homeland to live in Pamaltela. They are a noble people, if misguided, and always welcome in the Open City.
- Helen, daughter of Agamemna, Paladin: They are stained by the sin of Henotheism and must be brought back to the light. That being said, they are strong warriors and good trading partners and hurt no one. And like us, they no longer treat the caste system as chains, as the Rokari do.
- Antonio Franchescos, Merchant of the Quinpolic League: Our other brothers. They are strong allies, though I can't imagine living like they do. But it works for them and they are excellent hosts and fight well. Pithdaran Coffee is the best coffee. Tradetown is worth visiting, but unless you have native friends, you'd best stay out of the interior. Their ways are different from everyone else's and you can get in trouble.
- Herbot Rajavi, Carmanian Initiate of Etryes and Merchant: Ripe for conversion, I think. Though our missionaries have not gained much ground. But an excellent source of Pamaltelan produce without having to go there. I wonder how their little corner of the world can duplicate Pamaltela's climate the way it does.
- Harrek the Berserk, Leader of the Wolf Pirates: They fight hard, but have little worth stealing unless you are obsessed with yams. I am not naming any names, Mastakos. I'll probably never go back because it isn't worth it.
- Handfast, son of Wycliff, Windlord of Orlanth : Perhaps closer to us in nature than anyone else in the West, though the most different in appearance. Like our lands, it's not safe to wander around without knowing people, so go to Tradetown and make some friends first. Their food is like nothing else I have ever had, but I liked it. Not much loot or monsters, but plenty of sexy women and you can have some good fights. They even have proper religious ceremonies that aren't just book-worship.
The Pithdarans are an unusual group; they are Agimori from Pamaltela in origin, dark skinned and curly-haired, and they combine worship of their native spirits with a theistic veneration of the Malkioni saints and Malkioni style sorcery. The Pithdarans forbid any study of Darkness magic because they associated it with the god Bolongo, an evil trickster god they came to identify with Gbaji and who they came here to fight, having been tricked by a Seshnelan noble. They ended up staying and survived the Empire's fall.
Pithdaran spirit priests summon spirits related to the Beast, Plant, and Spirit (ancestors and Malkioni angels) runes. Dromal, Talor, Geriant, Menena, and Neuteboom (patron of generosity) are the most popular. Pithdaran sorcerors are not very great, usually; they are most famous for possession of the Rising Phoenix Meditations, a powerful source of Fire magic, including a Great Magic which turns you into a greater phoenix.
Pithdarans live in clans which unite into tribes; the current tribes have formed a city as well, Tradetown, for dealing with outsiders. They are most noted for growing yams, banannas, and coffee. They also raise a lot of cattle. In the face of the Seshnelan menace, they have buried their traditional clan rivalries in favor of a united front against Seshnela. Being connected into a global trade network is, however, starting to disrupt their social structures. The clans try to ensure all trade flows through the clan and tribe governments but increasingly some acquire large personal lands and trade directly, gaining undue influence. It's not clear if their traditional way of life can survive this.
Part of the countryside remains forested in order to have hunting; the animals here are ones native to Pamaltela, like antelope and wildebeast.
- Tradetown (8000): This unusual town is made of mud bricks baked in the sun and then preserved with magics. It is the trading center which shares its income with the tribes who share their produce with it. Anyone who wishes to trade in Pithdaros must come here first; there are shrines here of the Pithdaran faith and a small forest which the spirit-priests dwell in. The shrines are ziggurat shaped with the shrine on top; worshippers gather on the slopes during ceremonies; these replace the sacred mountains of their homeland.
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