Monday, January 27, 2020

The Holy Empire of Norenlund and the Carnomagocracy of Arcturon

I recently developed a set of 10 worldbuilding questions for settled regions in your campaign world, and have been working on answering them for various locations in my home campaign setting (which I have recently named Visterra). Below are the questions, and then below that are the answers for two nations.

  1. What is the government like here?
  2. What are the people like here?
  3. What religious beliefs do people follow here?
  4. What are some notable cities/settlements?
  5. What are some noteworthy people who live here?
  6. What goods are available to purchase here?
  7. What unusual laws are there which PCs should be aware of?
  8. What kind of adventures can be had here?
  9. What is the environment like?
  10. What is a brief history of this place?

The Holy Empire of Norenlund

  1. It is a theocratic monarchy. The church and the state are one and the same, and it is known as the Imperial Orthodoxy. There is an emperor who is ostensibly in control, and some whispered rumors have it that he is the original emperor of Norenlund and has ruled for nearly 1000 years.
  2. The Norish people are highly superstitious and distrustful of outsiders. Norenlund is a primarily human nation, and so demi-humans are viewed with suspicion.
  3. The only religion that is permitted in Norenlund is Syngianism, a faith rooted in the belief that it is sin that causes suffering, and therefore sinners must be punished. Syngianites believe in one God, and that Godfried of the Norens, the original emperor of Norenlund, was chosen by this deity to rule the land. There are a few scattered pagans throughout the land however, and they are often accused of witchcraft.
  4. A couple notable settlements of Norenlund are Faithhold, Ealdport, Raven Hill, and Motleyville. Faithhold is the imperial capital, a massive walled city with an inner wall separating the economic classes. Ealdport is a large bustling port city, where trade is conducted with other nations. Raven Hill is a ghost town, where people’s guilt is manifested physically to torment them. Motleyville is a magically hidden village for dissidents of the Norish regime.
  5. The emperor himself is extremely important, but rarely seen, save on the Unification day parade where he is clad in golden armor from head to toe. Generally, cardinals like the cruel and conniving Cardinal Winthrope are more visible to the public. In addition, there are Molly and Caroline Lanchester, the wives that formed Motleyville to escape persecution by the church.
  6. Religious items are often available for purchase in Norenlund, as are simple foods. Magic items are outlawed, but black powder weapons such as muskets and pistols are fairly common.
  7. All religions other than Syngianism are banned by the Imperial Orthodoxy, and anyone practicing them may be sentenced to death. In addition, all forms of magic are illegal, seen as sinful and unholy.
  8. Adventurers can help the small, but growing, resistance movement against the Orthodoxy, or wander around the countryside exploring old ruins. In addition, demonic cults tend to spring up from time to time.
  9. Norenlund is a land of rolling hills, dark forests, and foul marshes. The climate is cold and wet.
  10. Norenlund was formed 1000 years ago when Godfried of the Norens conquered the various tribes of the region and united them under the religion of Syngianism.
Image result for witch hunter
(A Witch Hunter from Warhammer Fantasy, a good idea of what the Imperial Orthodoxy's Inquisitors might look like)

The Carnomagocracy of Arcturon

  1. Arcturon is ruled by the Meat Wizards, a caste of sorcerers who sculpt flesh like clay for their own amusement. They provide food, water, shelter, and healthcare for the people of Arcturon, in exchange for which they receive fresh subjects for their vile experiments.
  2. The people of Arcturon are strangely passive and content. Centuries of rule by the Meat Wizards and plenty of food means that the population accepts their lot in life. Despite the excellent health of the Arcturonites, there are few old folk, as most people tend to be taken away by the Meat Wizards at the prime of their lives.
  3. The Meat Wizards don’t particularly care what gods their subjects do or don’t worship, so long as the religion doesn’t interfere with their experiments. As a result, a variety of faiths exist here, albeit monitored by the Meat Wizards to prevent dissidence. In addition, some Arcturonites worship the Meat Wizards as living gods.
  4. Skullspire, a city made from magically grown bones and flesh, is the capital of Arcturon. From here, the Meat Wizards govern their kingdom. Most other settlements are relatively mundane, however, there is also Gibton, a town populated by the escaped experiments of the Meat Wizards. The horrific mutants here plot the downfall of the Meat Wizards.
  5. Phlebulous Glotterspit is the current chancellor of the Meat Wizards, known for both his hideously enlarged head and his grotesque sense of humor, making visual puns out of human flesh. The leader of the Gibton rebels is named Arianna, she has been reduced to a brain in a jar piloting a mountain of muscles and sinew, communicating through sign language.
  6. Biotechnology is highly advanced in Arcturon, thanks to the Meat Wizards inhuman experiments. Flesh based magical weapons, potions, and other assorted items are commonly available, being discarded by the Meat Wizards after they’re done with them.
  7. Anyone and everyone entering Arcturon may be taken away for experimentation at any time, without warning or reason. Anyone who tries to stop this will be taken as well.
  8. The escaped monstrosities of the Meat Wizards wander the countryside, and a hefty bounty is often placed on them if the creature is brought back to Skullspire, dead or alive. One could also aid the resistance and attempt to assassinate prominent Meat Wizards to try to loosen their grip on Arcturon.
  9. Arcturon is a strange place, it was once a barren waste, but after centuries of terraforming by the Meat Wizards, it is now lush and plentiful. However, the “plants” and animals which dwell here are all extremely magically mutated, and the so called flora often bleeds when cut, and may track movement with unblinking eyes.
  10. For centuries, Arcturon was a wasteland, populated by a few wandering tribes who struggled to eke out a living on the scant resources. Then came the Meat Wizards, flying in on an airship made from bones and inflated sacs of flesh. They provided food and water to the people of Arcturon, in exchange only for a favor, to be specified at an unknown time. After decades of plying the natives with care and goods, ensuring their obedience both culturally and through the drugs put into the food, the Meat Wizards began their experimentation.

Image result for the thing
(This toy of the Norris-Thing from The Thing is a good idea of what a Meat Wizard or their experiments look like)

1 comment:

  1. This is a good list. It's interesting that running through it I realized that I don't put much thought into goods and trade for my settings. I should add some thought to that.