As there are Bright Lands, there are Dread Lands, over whom the shadow of the great evils of the world have been cast.
During the God’s War, they were driven out of the Bright Lands, pushed to the edge of the world by the Powers That Be, and given over to the unending task of creating for themselves what was taken from them.
Traveling among the Dread Lands, one is struck by both the similarities and the differences between the two opponents. There are no Imperials within the Dread Lands. There are, however, people who are indistinguishable from Imperials called Fasians. Lemuria’s villages and towns are ordered places, nearly all identical homes and buildings – so much so that one can tell what a place is with but a glance.
The Dreadlands are a vastly different sort of place. There are three groups: Thule, Lemuria, and Bermuda. Some might argue to include Helike, but that place lies under the sea, and so is difficult to do anything but discount. Thule, in the far north, is openly allied with Lemuria, but is not seen by anyone as a part of it. Duat is an occasional ally, an occasional problem. These things fit, given Duat.
One of the core principles of the universe, an absolute rule that governs above and below all other such rules, is that the weak are meat, and the strong do eat.
There is immense Hostility between Lemuria and the Empire and the Shadow Realms. This is best summed up with one of the core principles in their Great Book:
They call these people consumables, slaves, chattel, cattle, and other names that strongly suggest they are not people, that they are not thinking, feeling people, and that they have only one purpose.
To feed the beast that is Lemuria.
Note that it is possible to come from these places, or to have been kidnapped and brought there and escaped. It is exceedingly rare, insanely dangerous, and less than one percent of those who try will survive the experience.
For PCs, note that you cannot, at this point, play a Goblin, Imp, Thyrs, Grendel, Merow, or similar.
For DMs, note that all of them have the same basic core structure for professions, in terms of all the other elements.
Be aware that the information herein is coming to you from the perspective of the Empire, The Seven Cities. How Hyborian and Kahokian, how Islanders, how the Exiles see it are all slightly different from what is presented here.
Additionally, there is a great deal more to the world as a whole that you cannot see yet – if there were, what value would adventures be? The Campaign for Wyrlde is in part about opening up new possibilities.
The Empire of Lemuria
Honor They Homeland
Flag & Symbol
Raised Fist at shoulder height, strike chest three times.
Die a Good Death
Honor & Courage
Not Supporting others
We do not know much about Lemuria as a whole – spies and investigators, explorers and peace delegations have rarely returned or if they have returned, they have had their skulls cut and drilled into and other foul deeds done to them that have left them nearly mindless or maimed or horribly deformed.
The Empire of Lemuria. It has three great cities (Hellania, Gilead, and Lemuria proper), and at last estimate some seven thousand villages. Beneath it is rumored to exist Agartha, a vast underground city of its own. Lemuria’s cities are generally divided according to the roles that the population there is intended to play. With a population of Goblins and Imps it is a diverse population that is shockingly segregated, down to the neighborhoods that the different people can live in.
That segregation has a Holy Purpose, for much as Elfin and Dwarfs were made to fight in a war, so too were the Goblins and Imps that are the majority of Lemuria, and the leadership there is a mix of those three and the Fasian Lords.
That, of course, ignores the number one issue that identifies Lemuria in the minds of most people: They capture, breed, and keep slaves. Slavery is the backbone of their world down there, and they are quite adept at using them.
That selfsame slavery presents a challenge, for they do not view it as slavery. They see it as a domestication project, akin to herding, farming, and training. You see, one of the reasons for them to be The Dread Lands is that they consider Imperials, Elfin, Dwarfs, and the rest to be food and fodder – chattel or cattle, depending on your take.
A few years ago, a raiding party was captured, and the sole survivor of the three days they were held awaiting interrogation (they killed themselves) was promised a chance to die in battle in exchange for helping us to understand what was going on down there, what they were like, and why were we their enemy. That interrogation is used widely now, for it gives us the best insight into whom we battle.
Much of what follows is taken from the Interrogation of Hob Master Bosworth Durkin, Flower 6 to Heat 18, 278 YNE. Direct quotes are used as much as possible, but it should be noted that his words are not for the faint of heart.
Goblins are the main force, the structural body, the overwhelming mass. Their shorter lives, rigid structure, and overall power increase as they get older all contributes to their having the greatest level of influence and privilege within the society as a whole.
Next are the Imps, whose small size, nimbleness, and capacity to work together is envious even among our own combines with the innate brilliance that is their ability to construct and design and delve and defend while doing the logistics for their realm.
Lastly are the Fasian Lords, whose might is often greater and who serve as the Enforcers and attendants to the Ikons of the Five, who reside in the Black Tower located in the heart of Lemuria proper. The eternally wrapped Fasian Lords are often flag commanders or special unit leaders but are rarely seen outside of Lemuria. Rumors abound regarding them – their skin is covered by arcane, ritually imbued tattoos; they are all albinos; they wrap themselves to disguise who they are and this allows them to infiltrate and subdue; the list is endless because no one alive has ever seen a Fasian Lord’s face or body unwrapped from the black bandages that cover their bodies entirely beneath the often tattered looking robes and cloaks they wear. It is the Ikons who genuinely rule all of Lemuria, and it is the Fasian Lords who enforce that rule.
Lemuria is both what they call “the Capital” and the heart of their entire world down there, and yet as diverse as they are, it is not a place where – as an example – there are halflings.
“The Urpian lands, where the savage and uncivilized treat hard working people like trash, and the poor are cast aside like some flotsam washed up on a shore from the great ocean. Our people do not want, do not suffer. We take care of our own, and we don’t allow those half-bloods and other impurities to be part of our society – they are abominations that weaken the whole.”
Indeed, simply considering looking at someone outside your own kind is a criminal offense, but also, unlike us, they cannot intermingle and produce them. Their variance from human norm is too great, and while Goblins can create Orcs, orcs can only create half-Orcs, and in all cases it was intentional. They were designed to be able to do that.
The segregation is supported as an Edict from on High, meaning it is something that they have written in their Great Book. That is merely the instructions and words of Belial from the end of the War, as they prepared for a killing blow, a final solution to the problem of us, people.
“They tell a story meant to make one cry, to weep, of poor broken people struggling to survive, and yet they never acknowledge what they did to us, sealing us away from the Holy Land, pushing us to the ends of the world, and how they treated those of us they had taken as prisoners, starving them and killing them.”
“They never talk about those things, never reveal those truths in the lies they tell about how Belial was too hard for them. This is a hard and harsh world, and one must adapt to it, fit it, dominate it, make it serve you instead of simply devour you like so much meat.”
“They can’t even speak properly – have you heard them, babbling on in their indecipherable language, never once using the words that were handed down from Trundle himself, given to us as a gift and part of holy writ.”
Of import here is that this is how they see not themselves, but the people they hold as slaves. They simply do not count except as food, as labor, and for all the great and grand buildings that they speak of, their realm was built by the labor of slaves.
Tradition is sacrosanct in the dread lands. Not everything is traditional, but what is tradition must be kept and honored.
“The world has become a place of depravity, where the weak are given places of honor and recognized instead of put in their proper role and position. It is like a woman refusing to make babies because she doesn’t want to, or trying to take the role of a man, or, possibly worst of all, engaging in perversion with another woman.”
“The Urpians allow that. In some places, they celebrate it! One of their cities is ruled by a woman! These things lead to people deciding they have the power to question, to doubt, to allow softness and weakness to creep in and corrupt them, making them no better than the chattel they are.”
As noted, the major difference between Thule in the north and Lemuria in the south is that in Thule, women occupy nearly all the positions of authority. This is because the women of Thule are larger, meaner, more aggressive, and would wipe out any of the typical commanders or leaders in Lemuria, where it is strength that establishes the proper rule and place.
Being suspicious of each other is normal in Lemuria – after the betrayal of the Kobolds at the end of the God’s War.
“You can never to be too careful. Even those who have taken the oaths may turn, despite the horrible fate that awaits them should they do so. And the great Enemy, the Urpians who rebelled against the just and natural order of the universe, have been known to use magic and to take the place of people you love and care for so they can kill all of you.
So better safe and watchful of people who are not as dedicated to the Cause.”
“The Cause” is the retaking of the Bright Lands and the Ancient Land, and the enslavement of all the people there. It is variously called the Cause, the Lost Cause, the Great Calling, the True Purpose, and the Destiny of Lemuria.
“I am the Witness to all my brothers whom you killed We are all to be heroes, to be seen, to be witnessed doing our great and noble deeds as we live and breathe and fight and die for the glory of the Empire!”
This witnessing, this recognition of masculinity, of heroism, of sacrifice, is an exceptionally critical thing – especially among goblins, who give out their cry of “Karaja!” when launching into battle. For years, we thought it was a battle cry – “kill them all” or “follow me,” that sort of thing. It was quite a shock to realize that they weren’t even speaking to us, but to each other.
It was even more shocking to realize that “Na garege kiho nomnom” means “oh look, fresh meat!”, and is heard nearly as often. Storage of meat and vegetables is usually accomplished through salting and drying, even in Lemurian spaces, and so they are not saying it to intimidate, but because those sent out on the main lines do not get to have fresh meat often. That we are the fresh meat is not of concern to them.
“There are Urpians over here that have never done more than looked at armor, or done more than watched a play sword fight, who would refuse to fight for their own glory of whatever false Powers That Be they follow and whatever twisted thinking they might hold fast. Pacifists aren’t even worth using as consumables. They have no flavor, no soul, no spirit, no real use beyond fertilizer.”
Lemurians do not welcome nor accept the idea that fighting is not always a thing. For them, living is seen as a struggle, regardless of how little struggling they do when it is believed that they have at least one slave for every ranking citizen. They have been raiding a long time, and their early raids were decimating.
“We would never have let them raid us the way we raid them. We would have decimated their little villages in a wave of overpowering strength the likes of which they cannot imagine – but soon, soon they will see it for themselves.”
“Those others, they are too weak, too lost in their fake ideologies and their certainties that they no longer can tell the truth. It is our job to bring them the Truth, to bring back the traditional values, and end the perversions and injustice of their stolen lands.”
The zealotry that Lemurians show, in particular, is not matched in Thule, and this is likely because of the separation following the war, which gave Thulians the ability to begin thinking for themselves, perhaps.
“The Fatherland, Hellania. Gilead likes to pretend, taking after the weak and slovenly Urpians that drove us through blood and death and horror out from our own rightful places.
Hellania was founded by Belial, personally, before the traitors snuck in like the thieves they are and stole him away, locking him away from us and capping their weak spined and perverted betrayal of the Truth.
Go, see our Homeland, and how it is orderly and neat, and everyone has a role and a place, and everything goes towards the greatness of Hellania, for we are all but servants of it and the great Cause – which we say because it is not Lost, merely misplaced. We do not have the filth of animals in our streets or the refuse of some perversion or beggars looking for a way to avoid a decent day’s hard honest work.”
Hellania is the primary training ground and center of the vast military system of Lemuria, of which every person is a member. Lemuria exists as a standing army, an ever-present threat to the peace and stability of our Bright Lands, and Hellania is their principal training ground for most of it.
It is suggested that the impossible number of half a million troops are stationed there at any given time, rotating out to work at family Plantations or as craft supervision. Hellania is a sprawling city where no building is taller than ten feet high, flowing over the landscape like a blight of perfectly identical domes made from clay and plaster and wood and then sealed using the one thing that they never seem to run out of: blood.
Gilead is used to train insurgents and raiders and small specialized strike forces. Their role is to incite fear, to cause panic, to disrupt supply lines, to overcome the defenses of the place. Their training ground for this is Gilead, and like the rest of the realm of Lemuria, they use slaves to practice and refine their skills.
Gilead’s slaves are, as a result, seemingly given more freedom, set up in villages and spaces that are re-used over time, and even allowed to establish patterns of work and life. The typical small village goes through the cycle every five years of being populated, rebuilt, re-established, and then when growth and resistance has reached a certain level, attacked. They are allowed hope, only to have that hope taken away from them when the time comes to eat.
There are collaborating slaves for this. They allow a few of them to live, to start and perpetuate the cycle for each iteration. They are given special privileges, but never allowed any kind of real power – and are traded out when they become too difficult to work with or are discovered.
Supporting all of this industrious work, managing the transportation, storage, security, and planning for their own counter insurgency and insurgency tactics is what lies beneath Lemuria: the warren-like labyrinth of Agartha.
Agarthans are all about the logistics of effort. They are concerned and seek to train in disruption insurgency and counter insurgency, movement and supply, and communications. They are sneaky, sharp minded, and focused on a different kind of approach to tasks: they seek to move everything underground, through what they call the Underdark. Thousands of miles of corridors and trailways, storage and munitions, the works: Agarthans do all of this underground.
They use fairly fixed ways of protecting and defending forward outposts and related areas: traps. Servant monsters. The complex breeding projects that have produced a host of terrors. The experimentation on people. Also, of course, themselves. They are the builders of Warrens, allowing the dread lands to prepare and establish raiding posts from which their teams can enter and raid and vanish by retreating to secret staging Warrens.
Agarthans drive their slaves to death, without mercy, compassion, care, or concern beyond “are they able to move? Then they had best be moving.” They mind killing slaves even less than the rest because slaves are also food – they are the cattle and primary meat source for the Goblins, even if the Imps themselves do not eat such. They work on timetables that would be impossible in the Bright Lands, and they seem to know ways of causing pain that have never been studied.
Most Agarthans are small, because most need to be able to operate on a level with the primary inhabitants: Imps. Imps do not like people being larger than them. They have a case of enormous ego in a tiny body, and it shows. They are bossy, nasty beings with quick tempers and the ability to direct it effectively. This colors the way that all of those who work and dwell in Agartha behave and act – although always still segregated.
While much of Lemuria is united by Lemurian culture, and it is common here, there is a uniqueness to Agartha that is worth speaking of. They have some way of communicating through the darkness, of warning about traps and other dangers to each other. Reports suggest that it is a complex growling or grumbling series of sounds, and that they may use markings of some sort. In any case, it is strongly believed that Agarthans have their own language and writing system, distinct from any other. Perhaps more importantly, Agarthans do not consider themselves part of Lemuria, seeing themselves in a way that they will die before they share with others.
It is notable that Imps do not eat meat. But that meat can feed their fungi farms is of interest and note.
The great philosophers and many of our bards and even large gatherings of nobles often meet to discuss and question the reasons and rationales used by our Foes to continue to fight, to hate us with such ferocity, and to deny reality with such absolute conviction. There is no reason to fight, to raid, to disrupt trade, to steal children, to enslave other people. Yet they do, and they have neither qualm nor moral uncertainty about it. A large part of the reason for this came out of Bosworth’s mouth as he cursed and spat, his green skin turning mottled shades as his anger and bitterness spilled out.
“For over a thousand years, he has sent us his Ikons, and they have built the great Black Tower that rests within the heart of our city, rising from the bowl of the ancient volcano or meteor strike like an antenna pointed at the Heavens above, which we will one day reclaim for us and all our heirs.”
The following distinctions aside, what we have gleaned through clairvoyance, through the sending of parties of adventurers to reconnoiter, and related efforts, is at least an idea of what the hamlets, villages, towns, and cities are like in appearance within the realm.
Lemuria is an absolute dictatorial theocracy, headed by Bane, the Ikon of Belial. He uses the Fascian Lords as a kind of nobility or Elite to enforce his will upon the larger population.
While he officially is said to reside in the Dark Tower, or the Black Tower, or the Dread Tower (there are three of them, and all are identical, all sitting right next to each other) we have reason to believe none of the above is always true.
This is often having to suppress a bubbling and secretive rebellion among a very small segment of his population, and to shut down some kind of secret escape route that is enabling slaves to escape.
The Matriarxa of Thule
To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women
Flag & Symbol
I kneel, or Tuf!
I serve, or Getem!
Kneel before those above, forehead on ground, hands to sides, palm up
The Battle of Bilderberg was considered the last great act of the God’s War, fought in the frigid and desolate north among the most fearsome and devastating of all the grievous and vile Foes of the Five, the Thyrs. They held that land, held fast despite the courage and heart of the Bright, and though the Five lost the War, it was us who lost that ultimate battle, a sacrifice play.
Thule is their land, no longer desolate, but rich and powerful. Their immense, single hulled, multi banked and oared ships make frequent raids for slaves, goods, and they are effective pirates, raiders, and represent a persistent threat within the Wild.
Thulians are the second closest allies of Lemuria and lack any significant industry or developed economic system. Indeed, reports are that they use Imperial coinage when they use any at all for purposes other than lining their vests with them.
Thulians are not afraid to tackle an entire village with only twenty of them. They are that fearsome and dangerous, and they are well aware of it. It seems to offend them when people are not afraid of them. Using slave labor, they have carved hundreds of small villages throughout the large island, each one led by a Matriarx. That alone separates them from their allies in Lemuria, but it is notable that they seem forgiven it in the treaties that are expected to have been formed.
Thule is notable for being the location of several legends of creatures found nowhere else on the planet that infest the Barrier Peaks, whose teeth like white caps soar above the land. Those same Peaks are infested, of course, the great spiders and dragons and Wildbeasts are said to live there. Those mountains are ore rich, but not in iron or silver. They hold the largest copper reserves the Ancients had ever seen and are said to be full of gems – so full that Thulian children play with them for marbles. They are also the only known mountains anywhere around Avilon where people can climb to the snow covered tops of them.
Thulians are separated by culture, kind, and more from their traditional allies to the southwest in Lemuria but share a common goal in that they seek to rule the world.
They actively raid. While they may avoid a large town and the cities, it isn’t anything more than strictly tactical and strategic on their part. They can capture an entire Village in a single evening, and then sell those they don’t want in Lemuria after storing them on their vast ships. They take slaves and treat them abominably (as Grand Master Bard Caledon later learned), using them as every form of manual labor and eschewing any sort of mechanics more complicated than one can achieve with wood, stone, and clay.
Thyrs ships are a mariner’s nightmare. Three decks of slave oarsmen, quarters for as many as sixty raiders, and holds capable of holding up to two hundred prisoners plus a fair load of loot and goods. All of this, and they fly three masts with sails, and coat a ram in bronze. They will sink a ship fast after boarding it, and don’t use ballistae or scorpions – just simple, basic ram and board techniques. But they are so tough that only adventurers really stand a chance in most cases.
The reputation of Thule is pretty basic: they are trying to conquer the world, and they are not letting anything stop them. They do not appear to have the sheer forces to do so in a single grand attack, but they are decidedly harrying and preparing and in the last two decades or so have ramped up their attacks greatly.
Thyrs do not mess around – discipline is like a thing for them, and they have assigned roles and ranks and take them very seriously. Nothing lives in a Hamlet that has been wiped out by a Thyrs raid. That said, Thulian society is apparently quite relaxed and ordered around entertaining themselves, training, and pursuing endeavors of passion.
When not out at sea, racing or raiding or practicing for racing or raiding, Thulians enjoy equestrian sports, livestock raising, and archery and holding a reverence for warriors whose existence is defined by their ability to move, to travel, to be swift – on land, by air, or by sea. The cuisine of these fell people consists mostly of milks, meats, and breads. For meats, while they have no problem with the people in a pinch, they generally prefer goat, elk deer, zedeer, and so forth, but will not go near Aruks or cows. They seem to have an intense dislike for swine of all sorts, however – they don’t eat it, but they will destroy it. Thyrs love yogurt, as well, and are absolutely fanatical about cheese.
Thule has a broadsheet that is produced daily. It is something that Sibola copied, but not nearly as colorful. The Thulian Broadsheet is several pages long, printed on what is certainly a press, and includes news on the dalliances and intrigues of the day, as well stories of raids and the expected information about new laws, rulings, and related items. Most Thulians are able to read and write, taught basic skills and such by their Matrons and mothers early on. Grand Master Bard Caledon tells a tale of coming upon a lone Thyrs who had made a camp and was relaxing and reading such a broadsheet. They were well met and shared a meal and swapped stories late into the night, parting in the morning without killing each other.
There is a story about a ship’s captain who saved his crew by sacrificing the weight of a Matriarx in cheese from the holds. They eat a lot of deer, which are what are most often found in the forested lands they call home.
Women keep groups of men around to keep them happy, and Matriarx will have women of lesser station available to serve them and care for their children. The role of the men is entirely based around the service to the head of household, the Matron. Thulian culture generally allows children to be free and to learn and grow from experience more than rote education, but all women are still schooled formally by the Matriarx of their units.
Thule is ruled by the Grand Matriarx. She is, for all intents and purposes, the absolute ruler.
Beneath her are several Great Matriarx, all of whom have oversight over a region of Thule. There are, to our best knowledge, thirty-four regions. Collectively, they form the Council, which is the great deliberative body, which uses a fairly simple voting system, the representation by Great Matriarx with the Grand Matriarx representing both the realm as a whole and the region in which Thule exists.
Beneath the Great Matriarx are the High Matriarx. Beneath them, in turn, lies the Matriarx, and finally there are the Matrons. Matrons are both the heads of households and the leaders of a given unit. Units are almost always comprised of family. To become a Matriarx, one has to be the toughest, strongest, most cunning, most ruthless, least merciful member in the area and beat the others. This happens every five years in a Limpic Festival, which goes on for two weeks and has several different events where the people prove their mettle against others (it is not merely a fight – those happen last). Where one places in this festival determines rank against those who one competed against. The current Grand Matriarx has defeated all comers for twenty-five years. The record is sixty-five.
Thule is aligned with Lemuria and often coordinates activities with them. It is not as often as would be effective, however – the typical Matron can easily defeat a Hob commander who is most certainly going to be argumentative and problematic. Since Thyrs will kill you without even thinking much about it, it usually means the two realms cooperate, but rarely operate together.
Thule is extremely offended by Akadia’s existence. They routinely raid the area, and their mages are easily the equal of and possibly more creative than those in Akadia. A sobering thought.
Like Sibola, they do not provide much education to anyone other than women.
It is said that fewer than 50 in 100 men can read, though about half of all Enby can. Women are raised to lead, men are raised to die, and all others are raised serve. This is the way that it was phrased once, but the truth is far more complex, as the men of Thule are still what we would call filled with machismo and have driving needs to prove themselves and their virility and their capability and skill.
It is the Enby Thyrs that can prove to be the readiest to be peaceable, though only when it benefits them, and this is a throughline in much of the engagements – they do not care about other peoples – even the Goblins are of little concern to them. They are the largest, fiercest, strongest of all the people, and they not only know it, but accept it as holy writ that they will one day rule the whole of the world.
Thyrs value Obedience to those higher, order, rank, courage, strength of will and heart, and capability to produce heirs. In Thulian society, everything is run down through the women of their people, from property rights to inheritance to heads of families. The role of those who are not women is to ensure that they are given what they need, and to prove oneself worthy of their attention and time.
Thyrs are not overly cruel or malicious, as Goblins can be. They avoid killing children and keep their needs to themselves. They do not show Mercy, but they can show kindness and even be pleasant company when not having to deal with the brutalist Matriarx.
Thulians use double hafted, double cross braced swords four to five feet in length and as wide as the hand of a man for all but the last half foot, where it tapers to a point. These massive weapons are generally around 40 pounds each, and while well balanced, are too large for most other peoples. They use grapple lines at sea with proficiency, and are quite adept at crossbows, usually captured from those they have raided. Otherwise, they use heavy poles with axe blades on one side and spikes on the other, throwing them or using them at range.
Thulian warriors are almost indistinguishable to most people on sight, save for the color of their eyes. Part of this is that they often wear long laced vests of leather for armor, to which they have sewn hundreds of Imperial coins.
If there was a place where anarchy was truly extant above the waves, it would find its closest form in and among the roundish, beehive shaped hovels of Duatians, who appear to be impossible to describe effectively or accurately. They are not even a nation, despite having come up with a flag to fly on their stolen ships or hang on poles in their raided forts and hamlets. They are extremely intelligent people, with a highly developed language and are fully able to communicate and sometimes even do – usually in the native language of those they are speaking to.
However, they often simply don’t want to, and so they won’t. Or one might, and several dozen won’t. They don’t seem to have any kind of honor system or real values structure beyond ‘do what you feel like doing.” This seems to be joined by a kind of “hey, you want to go get some people?” or possibly “I wonder if that ship has stuff we can use – you wanna go check it out?”.
Envoys sent to watch and spy have always been found and captured, but often it was a circumstance where they had been found again, and had simply had a long talk with the people the first time. The best we have been able to come p with is that Duatians are a bunch of individuals who live together, play music and dance together, and then do whatever they want in groups or solo and without any real direction beyond whatever sounds good at the moment to those who follow or go along with a plan.
If they can be said to have a plan. There are no true leaders, merely people with an idea and a bunch of others who say sure and do their own thing, sometimes even working at cross purposes. Duatian culture is easily reduced to the precept of Do whatever you want and don’t worry about consequences. Duatians have been known to attack allied groups of Goblins and Imps and even defy Thyrs. They are wild cards, outside the realm and range of sense and understanding we have of the Foe.
It doesn’t help that Duatians at large are generally smarter, stronger, faster, meaner, bigger, and more unpredictable than any other peoples. Even the few remaining feral tribes of Merow – who often work with Duatians, are more easily figured out than this. Duatians do not take prisoners. They do not take slaves. They do not hold things for ransom. Their hovels, from the outside, are simple dirt, clay, mud and earth. No one knows what the inside looks like. They could have tunnels down there.
Duatians do not seem to have any kind of family structure or even track their heritage back to the time before the God’s War. We are not even certain how to tell their genders apart, or even if they have genders. While they all look similar, they are different enough to tell apart as individuals, but yet there is no record of them engaging in any birthing or other practices, and the closest they come to rituals is when one of them grabs a stick and acts as if they are playing a lyre while howling horribly. I would say that the best way to describe Duatians is that they are in it for the fun of it.
This seems to be the closest, for the major things that Duatians do engage in during raids, besides random killings of those who get in their way or deny them, is they take all the metals. Anything metal. Everything metal. They don’t eat it that we can tell, as we seem them eating an assortment of thing – including people on occasion, but not with nearly the gusto of Goblins. They take it back to their homes, built in strange, wild clusters that look like hills of beehives all stacked and running together, climb up to the hole on top that is their entrance, and go in. The metals never come out and no one knows for certain what they do with it.
To the New World Order
Flag & Symbol
Keeping your clasped hands in sight at all times.
Isolationist, uninvolved, outsiders – the ways that people describe the least seen of all the people are often traced back to these ideas. Shipwrecked sailors have said they watched them abandon them on a shore instead of help. Explorers have said they were attacked, subject to poisoned dart spit from blowguns in the shadows. Mages seeking rare and unusual ingredients for a ritual have reported being cut down early.
All this, and for the last two dozen years, a delegation from Bermuda has approached each of the different Realms and offered trade terms, seeking to open up a discourse and potentially form an alliance. They even encourage people to visit certain areas of their coastal lands, where they apparently have set up some sort of resort. Chicory says it is wonderful. Something about “only way she’ll ever get a cabana boy”, whatever that means. They get along well with and have borrowed things from Islandians, and the prior examples are often waved off as they were interlopers, prying into things that are private, and Bermudans and are extremely protective of their privacy and their realm; otherwise, they avoid dealing with people whenever possible.
Bermudans are not neutral, but they are only on their own side. They do not seek to bridge a divide or serve and the relatively few every year who run off to join the Dread Host are considered criminals and outcasts, and the penalties for such are swift, brutal, and without appeal.
They do not encourage engagement with the Bright lands, for they don’t have trade agreements and do not trust easily nor deeply – and likely with good reason. Their small, flatbottom boats are wonderful for passing through marshes, swamps, and such, but they are not very agile on the seas. They do use canoes, but rarely and then only for speed. They are an industrious people, who produce a very fine ceramic, intricately detailed and decorated, and they are a patient people who have things they want, but not at the price many will sometimes demand. They are a frugal people with their favor, their wealth, and their secrets.
For seventeen generation, there has been a King Kobold on the throne of Bermuda. From it, he oversees the vast assortment of villages – traditional and the more modern resorts being built to attract others – and enforces laws made and decided through counsel with his Nobles, the Dukes, Counts, Earls, and Barons that each oversee a given space.
The King declares nobility, and it appears that they do not track Houses the way that others have and find it essential that nobles be people who are liked. This could also be because every Bermudan – no matter where they came from or what they are, is a soldier, and is expected to defend the people and its way of life, which they see as always being precarious.
Bermudans want to be part of the larger world stage and benefit from it (especially in relation to alcohol and fruits, which they absolutely love but have poor results with, save for pineapples), but do not want to sacrifice the life, the ways, the culture that they have built for themselves – and that includes not having to give service to any of the Powers, for there are no temples, no shrines, no manses. The extent of Bermudan religion is those who have passed within living memory, and hoping that they have a better life in the next one.
Bermudans raise their children in creches, collective areas, and the children are the children of the whole village, even if they might be easily identifiable as the progeny of one person or another. As Bermudans do not have strong ties and bonds with children in the same way that others do, it is often thought they don’t have them with others as adults, and this is deeply untrue. Once hatched, they are raised in the communal hall and all are taught the crucial principles of Bermudan life, including reading and writing – Bermuda may have the greatest degree of literacy among all the realms.
The most important relationship for Bermudans is between mates, and a given group will typically mirror the diversity of the population as a whole: one man, three women, and two themon. While some groups may be smaller (deaths, haven’t found the right person yet, and so forth), they will never be larger as that throws off the balance of ability. Eggs produced will go to the creche, but the devotion and commitment of the partners endures, and is often times so close that killing one may kill others from the grief and loss.
Typically, it is the themon who are the heads of family units, but note that this is a rough idea, as they are all committed to each other, and all are still very much able to fend for themselves. There are no gender role divisions in Bermuda.
Bermudans value Family, country, and independence. For them, Unity and diversity, equality and equity are key principle, core values, and they do not see those in others readily. Cooperation, Magnanimity, Knowledge, considered thinking, openness, and honesty are all central tenets, and their obverses are often reasons for punishment, as there do not seem to be many overt folkways among Bermudans.
Bermudans are primarily hunters, and primarily work by ambush, so they have gained notoriety for building complex traps and snares and pits. They frequently will use toxins on darts, arrows, and javelins, but if they go into a full battle they will use a small shield, a short sword, and a five foot long, broad bladed spear. In a grappling contest, they will use their teeth and claws, much like any other person would, but note their claws can gouge and scratch deeper than most.
Bermudans use small shields that also double as their bowls, plates, and whatnot. About 15 inches in diameter, they are square with rounded edges. In formal battle, they will wear a front breast plate, and their back scales are plenty tough enough as it is.