General Starting Knowledge
You likely grew up in or near the Kingdom of Daltes /dawl-tess/, ruled by the good and holy King Sandrew and Queen Thera of Estland, who are devoted members of the Church of Dom (the Dom pantheon consists of a number of deities that have been recognized and the right to worship sanctioned by the church HQ in the distant city of Domshal).
There is a hierarchy that governs the lands consisting of a balance between the nobility and the church with mercantile and guild powers following behind that are held in check by the former two.
Daltes is populated primarily by humans. Other races are uncommon, but not unheard of. Nonhumans are usually solo inhabitants of a community or at most a family or two. The capital city is home to a dwarven ward where several families of dwarves live, but beyond that there are few to no “communities” of non-humans in the Principal of Daltes (this is not the case in the regions of Katrica and Dontholl Mex, where communities of stranger races dwell).
To the north of Daltes are the still waters of the Omen Sea and to the south is the Sea of Lirsa, a realm populated by strange aquatic nations.
To the east are the allied kingdoms of Talaria and Estland, both of which used to be trade partners on good terms with Daltes. When plague struck their lands, Daltes chose to seal off their borders. A wall was constructed and manned with soldiers instructed to shoot down any who attempted to cross the killing field, a region before the wall where all vegetation and habitation had been razed to the ground.
The kingdom has recently reclaimed the old fallen kingdoms of Katrica to the west and Dontholl Mex beyond that.
Katrica is a heavily forested region with a rather nefarious history full of legends of curses, evil gods and fae, hatefully sentient trees and powerful druids and wizards. While many regions of the forest may remain dangerous, there are some settlements to be found, mostly along the ancient highway and an elven colony secreted away somewhere within the wood that has extended welcome and trade to the settlers that come peacefully, though they deign to ignore the claims of the Daltes nobility who now rule their homeland.
Dontholl Mex had long ago been conquered by a powerful ice sorceress or possibly a goddess. She had frozen the realm in an endless winter blizzard and transformed its residents, creating the ancestors of the modern swamp elves. Generations after she had been killed by heroes or villains depending on which tale you hear, the land thawed and slowly changed into the marshes and swamps of today.
North of Dontholl Mex is Salista Hoventesh, where orcs and bugbears fight for dominance over land and control of the subjugated goblin populace while attempting to defend their borders from the dominion of the ogre warlords of Krive Del and the Volcar, their minotaur pyromancer allies, with the scindo elves navigating the political seas amongst them all, always trying to play the game of intrigue to their individual favor. These struggles often spill over into the northern regions of Dontholl Mex as ambitious profiteers seek to expand their own territories.
Farther to the west is the great dwarven kingdom of Nakaltia, where the dwarves and their allies, the gnome refugees from the destroyed nation of Thriken, create wonders made from stone, steel and glass and travel between their mountain cities riding within great iron carriages pulled by magic.
Across the Sea of Lirsa in the east is Nycandria. A powerful militant nation of xenophobic dwarves and humans that believe that all other races must either be captured, reeducated, subjected to serve their superiors as slaves or “cleansed” from the world for the sake of progress, prosperity and evolution - they hate the elven and faerie races most of all. They have forsaken all gods save for one, a false god they call the Prime Father. Fortunate for Daltes, Nycandria has never been able to build any sort of navy, something the aquatic races that dwell in that body of water have always made sure of. Unfortunately, with Estland and Talaria weakened by plague, the buffer between Daltes and the Nycandrian threat has diminished in strength.
It is said that generations ago, magic was everywhere. Everyone wielded it, owned it and controlled it. Crafts, tools and even meals were created with magic, kings could speak to neighboring kings as if their thrones were sitting side by side. There were great portals that allowed instantaneous travel between distant lands and the weather could not only be predicted perfectly, but controlled so that every harvest was a bountiful one and the seasons bowed to the will of the rulers of the world. Great and powerful wizard organizations, each of them led by their own Tower government, were present in the world and played major roles in the politics of the various nations. Wars were fought between Towers and wizards, and in truth, they created and controlled the kings & queens of the world, not the other way around.
Anaya Ro, a false goddess and queen of the city of Malixia far to the north had created a powerful magical weapon to use in her war with another distant nation. She unleashed this weapon and it destroyed both her enemies and her allies, it destroyed her city, as well as mages all over the world; magic itself nearly died. Most wizards perished, many others simply lost their ability to perform magic and many magical items either ceased to function or their effects became unreliable, erratic and hazardous, and the worlds easy connection to magic was severed. It was for this crime that Anaya Ro was imprisoned by the true gods at the heart of the sun where she can be seen by all to this day. This event is known as Anaya's Folly.
In the Daltes one must possess a license in order to learn and practice arcane magic and can only teach magic if they pursue and accept a position authorized to teach the art - these positions are limited and controlled by either the nobility, the church or the mercantile guilds. Wizard organizations are strictly prohibited by law and any congregation of more than four wizards require sponsorship and chaperoning by one of the three governing factions. The exception to this rule is that of bards, who's long traditions of bardic colleges are still allowed (though it's well known that the government has a great deal of power in these colleges).
Divine magic can be openly practiced by any worshiper of either the Dom pantheon or druids.
Slavery and possession of slaves is illegal in any Daltes territory and will not be tolerated. Any “owned” slaves are considered freed immediately as soon as they set foot on Daltes land and anyone attempting to capture them will be punished appropriately. Talaria, Estland and Nakaltia have similar anti-slavery laws. Slavery is commonplace in Salista Hoventesh, Krive Del and Nycandria.
You know there are other nations beyond those discussed so far, such as Noth, where it is said to always be Winter. Even other distant continents, such as the well known lands of Darshiniath, renown for their woven crafts, but you likely don't know much if anything about them beyond what has been mentioned (this may vary depending on your class, race and background, in which case we will discuss).
The War of Ascension
For forty years, Daltes had two capitol cities, each ruled by a different king claiming the lands of Daltes and its people as his own. King Sandrew in the city of Dulnai and his older half-brother, King Frederik in the city of Solari. The war between the two kings was long and violent, with paranoia as the true ruler of the land. When someone asked who the true king was, and it was a question frequently upon the lips of those bearing arms, the answer would often mean life or death.
Frederik was the son of the prior King Orfan and his concubine, a scindo soothsayer from Salista Hoventesh named Valina. Sandrew was King Orfan's second son and his mother was the King's third wife, the Black Queen Amis, a secret priestess of Talona who had murdered the King and his concubine. She had attempted to kill their son Frederik as well, but one of the last of the Knights of Solaris rescued and fled with the young boy, taking him to the city of Solari, where he was crowned the rightful King of Daltes. Queen Amis was imprisoned in a tower, but not before she had enacted a new law that would recognize an heir born in wedlock over any bastard born children in the line of succession. The nobility and church were divided on the sudden edict, but the overwhelming support of the guilds was enough to successfully pass the new law. Thus her son, Prince Sandrew was also crowned as the rightful King of Daltes.
The war ended ten years ago when King Frederik was assassinated by his own niece, Keris. The victorious King Sandrew pardoned Keris for her prior crime of treason and heaped upon her titles, wealth and property. Dulnai was proclaimed the true capitol of the Principal of Daltes and all of the leaders of the nobility in Solari that had supported the false king were rounded up and executed. Their remaining family were stripped of rank and property and exiled from Daltes and placed on ships bound for Tranzconox to the south. King Sandrew elevated a number of loyal noble houses in Dulnai and installed them in Solaris as greater houses and rewarded several Solaris loyalists by granting them titles and property and raising them up to nobility status.
The last of the Knights of Solaris were said to have been killed in the war, though whispered rumors claim that the King actually had them tortured and executed afterwards for having supported Frederik and then refusing to reveal the location of the golden sword Solaris, the ancient symbol of leadership in Daltes. Every ruler since the first Queen of Daltes had been proclaimed as such by the artifact, including Frederik when he was taken to Solaris to be crowned. Every ruler except for King Sandrew.
Plague in Talaria
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Reclaiming Katrica and Dontholl Mex
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