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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 04:14 PM
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The Sunken Lands


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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 04:17 PM
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History of the Sunken LandsAges ago, when men of our kind were but savages, the eldritch lords and ladies of Varendrys ruled the world. The seat of their empire was a great archipelago, its islands opulent with the gleam of its cruel cities. For three thousand years these ancient masters and their demonic servants drank the land’s bounty, taking slaves at their whim and crushing all resistance. The elements were at their beck and call and dragons were their mounts. Their sorcerers worked wonders since unseen and traveled the planes of the multiverse.

It is little wonder they reached too far. Overcome by hubris, the eldritch bargained with things too distant and too powerful even for their understanding. In a single night of hideous storms and unimagined wrath the oceans swallowed the lands, and proud Varendrys sank beneath the green and foaming waves. The glittering jewels of their nobles, the strange and shining arms of their warriors, the bronze and silver tablets of their laws, and the wondrous idols and books of their sorcerers all sank to the bottom of the sea and were swept to the four corners of the sunken world.

But men, lowly, barbaric, and enslaved, had learned from their masters during those long generations of subjugation. Scattered across the new islands and continents of the changed world, they began to build their own towns, kingdoms, and then empires. Countless of these empires have risen and fallen since the beginning of man’s dominion.

For five hundred years now, the island nation of Jundarr with its immense, impossible city has exerted its influence over the world and held sway over the Hundred Seas. In this metropolis all men are tolerated, if not welcomed, and everything has a price. Here the envoys of distant kingdoms are granted audience by the boy-emperor of Jundarr and his advisors, goods from the far east are sold alongside slaves from the barbaric west, and pirate princes dressed in silks, satins, and silver armor meet and bargain with the obese, bejeweled merchant lords. Perhaps the only handicap in the great city is honesty, but that is an extraordinarily rare thing in Jundarr.

In the common rooms of the city’s countless inns, in the bathhouses of the merchant quarter, and before the altars of a thousand gods, brave and desperate adventurers meet and make plans. Every day they set forth from Jundarr to seek their fortunes in the Sunken Lands.

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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 04:36 PM
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Worship and the PantheonMost of those who live in Jundarr, or throughout the Sunken Lands, worship many gods, and rare indeed is the person who is scrupulous about which gods to honor when a task needs doing. The average
citizen of the Imperial City will gladly whisper a prayer to Zarake, one of the ladies of Chaos, before
throwing the dice in a gambling hall, but then make sacrifice to Jubekai, a god of Law, the next morning
before embarking on a new business venture; the fact that these two deities might be engaged in an
eternal struggle across the multiverse troubles him not at all. The majority of humans simply do not
care about which gods they honor.

Only the most devoted will balk at giving worship to other deities. A true champion of Law or Chaos is
unlikely ever to make sacrifice or pray to a god of an opposing alignment. Some simple folk from remote
islands might find the worship of deities other than their own strange, or might declare such forbidden.
And some few are so devoted to the Balance that they recognize no true deities at all and refuse to
offer any worship. For most, however, all the gods are to be feared, and all can offer reward or succor.

Scholars and mystics have gone mad trying to make a reckoning of the many deities worshiped by the people of the Sunken Lands. For every island, kingdom, or roving group of wanderers there is a god, and often several. Some of these are counted as different faces of the same divine being, while others have no obvious analog. The most commonly worshiped categories of deities in the Sunken Lands are presented below.

The Hosts of Chaos
By its very nature, Chaos is infinite in its variety, and so is worshiped in innumerable forms throughout the Sunken Lands. Some of the gods of Chaos are impossibly powerful and alien deities, while others are simply ambitious or puissant demons who have encouraged their own worship amongst local tribes or lost peoples.

The most commonly worshipped gods of Chaos are the ancient pantheon of Varendrys. The eldritch people of that lost land built temples and made sacrifices to a myriad host of mad and petty gods, chief among them Daurych, the Lord of Seas and Stars, the Faceless Void, the Master of the Crimson
Veil. This unknowable entity is fickle and unfeeling towards human endeavor; it was barely interested in the adoration of the eldritch peoples and cares less still for the plights or hopes of men today. Its followers build great temples of jet and cover their walls with blood red silks. Countless animals and men die on its altars. Its priests look to the stars for signs of their master’s wishes; sometimes they are gifted with a demonic familiar or a bloody sword of alien metal, but more often they simply stare until driven mad by the whispers of the Void.

The eldritch lords of Varendrys had many gods beneath Daurych, some of whom might be more powerful still. Symich, the Changer of Fates, was a goddess of peace and battle alike; her incomprehensible strategies swung the eldritch empire between battle and leisure with an inconstant speed that drove her neighbors to madness. The eldritch built temples beneath the waves to Zarburael, the Many Tentacled Beast of the Deep, and they climbed mountains to ponder the mysteries of the Six Sisters of Chimes and Song.

Mortals, too, worship their own gods of Chaos. In Jundarr the most popular of these is Zarake, the Lady of Chance; she represents all possibility and all ends, and her worshipers always seek to gain her favor by complex and arcane rituals meant to direct the forces of chance and potential.

The Lords and Ladies of Law
As with the vast multitude of the gods of Chaos, the forces of Law are worshiped in many forms throughout the Sunken Lands. Scholars and priests who devote themselves to the study of Law, however, claim that all of these beings are one, the Perfect Divinity, who rights all wrongs and ends all change.

In the imperial city of Jundarr, many merchants make offerings to Jubakai, the Masterful Accounter, who measures all bargains and knows all numbers. In his temple the priests keep great ledgers of all accountings to which they are privy so that they might better emulate their deity.

In the lands of the Distant East there are warrior priests who practice the arts of war and sing the praises of She Who Conquers, the Battle Queen of Law. The sailors of the western seas live in fear of Arrilend, the Clear Sky Who Brooks No Wind, and make various offerings to him to keep him far from their journeys. On one of the eastern islands lives a priest king of Thendoll, the god of perfect justice and right action; he tells his followers that he is the living embodiment of the God and makes no mistakes when he sees his subjects in the Great Court of Law.

The Cosmic Balance
Some few worship the Balance between Law and Chaos. This Balance, or Neutrality, is necessary to maintain the world, or so its worshipers claim. The world requires change at times, but it also requires stability, and so the ultimate ascension of either Law or Chaos would be the end of things and beyond
human understanding.

Worshipers of the Balance usually do not bother to personify their deity, instead preferring to wear simple signs of scales, a triangle, or an empty circle. In some parts of the world, however, there are deities who seem to be manifestations of the Cosmic Balance. Most notably, Jundarr’s rival island
nation to the east, Larsur, has, as one of its principal deities, Yuragael, who is both male and female and brings peace, prosperity, and equilibrium to the inhabitants of the island.

The Elemental Gods
The four gods of the elements are primal forces of the natural world. They exist beyond the eternal struggles of Law and Chaos, simultaneously and paradoxically at constant war and coexisting in harmony with one another. There are many deities across the world with a multitude of names, but most people, scholars and worshipers alike, recognize that one wind god is much the same as another.

Chief among the elemental gods for the people of Jundarr and its surrounding lands is Thalassephria, the Lady of the Deep, the Sea Who Stretches across the World. She is also worshiped as the Great Crasher, He Who Thunders beneath the Waves, as Syronis, the Singer on the Seas, and by many
other names. For the many peoples of the islands who ply their trades, visit relations, and make war upon the sea, she is a deity of awesome power and importance. Her temples can be found in most lands and her altars are rarely bare.

The other elemental gods are also widely worshiped. Gorak’tal, the One Below, is the Master of the Earth and rules the lower places of the world along with Thalassephria. The higher places are ruled by Pawria, the Mistress of Flames, and Elanimar, the Lord of Winds. Like the elemental god of the sea, these other elemental lords are called by many names and wear many faces. The lesser elemental spirits are their reflections within the mortal world, and they frequent the temples of their patron deity, usually invisible and unheard.

The Rulers of Beasts
Younger than the elemental gods but still ancient beyond reckoning are the gods of beasts, birds, and fish. Like their elemental cousins, the beast gods care little for the warring nature of Chaos and Law. Instead they concern themselves with the primal ways of the wilderness and with the protection of their children.

In Jundarr there is a glittering and delicate temple to Murlundrel, the God of Cats, whose priests are themselves thieves, layabouts, and sybarites just as their patron. Across the mountainous archipelago of the Six Sable Seas, there are numerous altars to Kratakaw, the Bird King; some travelers say that the most devout of Kratakaw’s followers are even granted great wings and beautiful plumage so that they might take to the skies like their god. In watery caverns deep beneath the seas the slimy and foul fishfolk are said to entertain their master, Sririzz’rish, with the anguished writhings of their tortured captives.

The barbarian folk of the west and south are particularly likely to worship the gods of beasts. The tribes often have a clan-beast and worship the personification of their totemic ally, although usually they do so alongside other deities.

Local Deities
Beyond all these other gods, there are countless local deities, small gods of small places. In Jundarr the chiefest of these is Jundrus, the patron and deified founder of the city. In the great Kingdom of the Trackless Sands on the southern continent, the God-Kings have long brooked no worship other than their own, and men know no other gods than the incarnate one who sits upon the Basalt Throne in his massive pyramid. Many of the western barbarians worship their ancestors, whom they avow watch over them and protect them still. The deities and spirits of the Sunken Lands are beyond reckoning.
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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 05:04 PM
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Jundarr, The Impossible CitySitting on a natural harbor on the wealthiest island in the world, the city of Jundarr is enormous, far too large to be fed, clothed, or entertained by her own nation. Instead, the Empireís vast fleets of merchant and war vessels return daily with grain from the south, rare spices and silks from the east, and barbarian slaves from the west. Foreign merchants, traders, and adventurers fill the cityís docks, bringing yet more goods and services to the city. Only in this way is Jundarr able to continue to grow.

Jundarr and all its lands are ruled by the Emperor, a boy of twelve years named Junarius XXIV. The boy took the throne seven years ago when his father and mother were lost on a pleasure cruise across the Inner Seas. Since that time Jundarr has been at the mercy of its merchant-princes, high priests, and noble lords, all of whom are engaged in a constant game of intrigue, seeking powers real or imagined.

The city boasts a population of over three million souls, but no one, not even the boy emperorís learned advisors, is able to take a census or make a true reckoning of the cityís people. The imperial guard, who man the walls and patrol the streets, keeping a rough kind of peace, number 20,000 or less, while the rest of the emperorís soldiers are busy in other parts of the world. These soldiers are unable to address most problems in the city, which is mostly ruled by its wealthy merchants and rival aristocrats, with their private
soldiers and guardsmen, as well as by its powerful Thievesí Guild, with its thugs and hired muscle. Each of these groups is the law within certain parts of the city.

Most citizens of Jundarr live in tenements consisting of a multitude of small rooms, many of which have no windows. These apartment buildings rise eight or more stories high and are filled with the smoke of numerous oil lamps and small cooking fires. In the poorest areas, families still live in small, one or two room houses of carved stone or wood. The artisan class live in their own homes, two or three stories high but narrow, often with shops or work spaces on the ground floor. The wealthiest citizens dwell in rich walled villas either scattered throughout the city or atop the High City, and protected by private guards.

The citizens of the city entertain themselves at fighting pits and arenas, watching men and beasts struggle and die, or else at one of the many theaters across the city, where actors perform tragedies and farces. Gambling is popular, and the common rooms of the inns and eateries are filled with people telling stories and losing coin.

People from all corners of the earth come to Jundarr. They trade in her numerous markets and in the Great Forum, drink in her countless taverns, and worship an unimaginable number of deities in the Square of the Thousand and One Gods.

The Harbor District
Visitors to the great city almost always arrive by boat to the enormous and bustling harbors. The entirety of the natural bay upon which the city is built has been devoted to the enormous wharfs and docks. The bay itself is dominated by the twin lighthouses of Jundarr, two soaring towers of porphyry atop which flames blaze at all times.

The district surrounding the harbor is filled with foreigners and the businesses which cater to them. There are more inns and common houses here than anywhere else in the city, and merchants who specialize in goods most likely to appeal to visitors sometimes sell their wares here in the streets instead of in the markets.

The guard are very active at the docks themselves, but tend to ignore the rest of the harbor district. Their job is to see to the welfare of Jundarrís citizenry and to ensure the smooth operation of her commerce, not to protect foreigners who have drunk too much wine. For this reason, many thieves and secret sorcerers keep rooms here so as to blend in with the mass of strangers and avoid attention.

The Temple District
All gods, true and imagined, are worshiped in Jundarr. In and around the Square of the Thousand and One Gods are countless temples, and through the streets and alleyways of this district echo the screams of a multitude of sacrificial victims. Some of the temples here are magnificent structures which fill whole city blocks and are lavishly decorated, while some are little more than small, wooden homes with a crude
altar. Rumors abound that there are even more temples here then one can see when walking the streets, that there are hidden tunnels and secret doors around every corner leading to even more sacred places.

The largest temple here is that of Jundrus, the mythical founder of the city of Jundarr, now deified. Jundrusí temple stands atop a tall hill with marble steps rising on all of its seven sides, each of which leads to a massive portico with columns nearly 200 feet tall. Outside of the great bronze double doors of the temple is the Altar of Peace, a beautifully carved monument which celebrates the peace and prosperity which the Emperor of Jundarr has brought to the world; here four dozen cattle are sacrificed every day, the meat used to feed the priests of the district.

Opposite the temple of Jundrus, on a slightly smaller hill, sits the temple of the Elemental Lord of Waters, a smaller building which shimmers with the myriad colors of a coral reef. Near this hill are the temples of the other gods of the elements, and the gods of the beasts just beyond. Scattered throughout the district are the temples of the innumerable gods of Chaos, the traditional, ancient, and largely forgotten
gods of the island of Jundarr, the Lords and Ladies of Law, foreign gods both barbaric and civilized, and even a small, nondescript temple devoted to the celebration of Neutrality and the Balance.

Few people make their homes in the temple district. Many of the priests who look after the great temples live within them, or else in small apartments which either adjoin or neighbor the temples, but some live in other parts of the city and come here only when needed. Just as there are countless gods worshiped here, there are also countless types of priests and altar-tenders. Some take vows of poverty and beg naked in the streets when not seeing to their godsí needs, while others live in unimaginable opulence in villas as fine as those owned by the nobility, and dress in silken robes and jeweled sandals. A few lay-people live in apartment buildings or above shops on the outskirts of this district.

The Market District
If the great city has a true master, it is its commercial interests. The emperor wields absolute power, in theory, and the aristocrats vie for position and influence at court, but the merchant class holds enormous temporal power, for it is their businesses and trade empires which keep the city running.

Jundarr is far too large to have a single market; rather, merchants and craftspeople sell their wares either in their shops, or in small market squares throughout the city. However, there are three great markets which host the largest numbers of merchants.

The first among these is known simply as the Great Forum. It stands on the site of the agora, the cityís original center. At the Great Forum a traveler can find any good from any region of the Sunken Lands. Most of the goods sold here are too expensive for the common folk of the city, and so it is usually filled with foreigners, wealthy merchants, and the agents of aristocratic families.

Along the city walls south of the Great Forum is the Cattle Market, where all manner of livestock is bought and sold. The perimeter of this great square is home to many butchersí and tannersí stalls; priests and commoners alike are often seen here searching for sacrificial victims to lead to the temple district.

The third and final of Jundarrís largest markets is the Slave Market. The deplorable act of slavery is common across the Hundred Seas, though nowhere is it so widely practiced as in the great city. Shiploads of those conquered in war and other human chattel are sold here, and foreigners from many lands come here seeking those bound to servitude.
The Guild of Licensed ThievesMost of the pickpockets, second-story men, muggers, swindlers, and fences in the city belong to the Guild of Licensed Thieves, an old and storied organization which brooks no rivals. Governed by the consensus of a council of experienced crooks, the Guild has no headquarters, but runs instead
out of numerous constantly moving safe houses throughout the city. Most thieves in Jundarr are
employed by the guild but are not themselves members. In order to gain entry, petitioners must have two sponsors within the Guild, and must impress the council.

There are other criminal organizations in the city, but they are mostly small affairs, operating in a
neighborhood or two, and they usually do not last long. When one does reach prominence or grow
significantly, the Guild is ruthless in its pursuit of its would-be rival. The resulting gang war is always bloody, swift, and final.

The High City
In the center of the city of Jundarr is a huge, rocky, and flat hill, atop which live the nobility and the wealthiest of merchants and priests. The hill is surrounded by walls almost as massive as those surrounding the whole city, and great gates of iron bar the way to this most opulent of neighborhoods. The guard only allow residents and those with formal invitations to enter these gates, and most of the inhabitants only venture beyond this district when in the company of dozens of retainers, slaves, family members, and, most importantly, bodyguards.

Because the High City is so well protected, most of the homes here are not fortified. The fashion for several generations has been to live in sumptuous but not over-large villas with small guesthouses and servantsí quarters. Still, there are some older homes here which are veritable fortified manors with crenulated walls and imposing gates.

Seven sorcerers make their homes on the High City. Each of these dwells in a lone tower, and all of these towers are different from one another, reflecting the mood and background of their sorcerous masters. These seven sorcerers are the only practitioners of magic fully trusted by the nobility of Jundarr and, while they are rivals, they form an elite guild of sorts, hoarding knowledge and keeping it from lesser workers of the arcane arts and ensuring that they remain the most prestigious magicians within the city.

The Haunted Ruins
In the southwest corner of the city lies the smallest and least inhabited region of Jundarr. It is said that Jundrus, the deified founder of the great city, took the island by force from its earlier inhabitants, and that here, in the Haunted Ruins,once lay those forgotten peoplesí greatest temple. If the stories are true, none now know where the accursed foundations of that temple lie, but the entire region is a place of evil
rumor and dark omen.

Few businesses are found in this district, only a smithy or two, or an unfortunate fullerís shop. Many homes here are abandoned or ramshackle. The poor of the city sometimes find themselves forced into this region, living in destitution among the great unwanted. Numerous crypts and graveyards dot the landscape, for here the city once buried its dead, though it has been illegal to inter bodies anywhere
within the city walls for generations now. Stories and rumor say that the dead do not rest easy here, but that they roam the streets at night clawing their way past unbarred doors.

The seven great sorcerers of the High City once shunned one of their own number, driving him and his apprentices from his tower and handing his keys over to a rival. For the past two centuries the townsfolk have whispered that this missing sorcerer made himself a new home in the Haunted Ruins, and that he has spent his unnaturally long life plotting his revenge. If this is true, none know who he is or where he
now keeps his sanctum.

The Forbidden Palace
Near the High City is another hill, still of great height, with a precipitous and deep but narrow gorge separating the two. A stone bridge spans the distance to the Forbidden Palace, the home of the Emperor of Jundarr. Only the emperor, his personal servants and guards, and his immediate family are allowed to set foot upon the bridge on pain of death. Thus, few ever see within the Palace and it is a common belief within the city that the pinnacles of its towers reach to the dwellings of the gods themselves.

The entirety of the hill is given over to dwelling space for the emperor and his family, save one large barracks housing the Golden Watch, the personal guardians of the emperor. These soldiers, numbering 300, only leave the Forbidden Palace when the emperor does.

Within the high walls surrounding this hill and beyond the gilded gates standing at the bridge from the High City are numerous dwellings filled with luxurious mosaics and exotic furnishing. Between each separate building are carefully tended gardens where grow strange fruits and rare herbs. The Emperor lives in the most extravagant building here, a temple to him as a living deity, and these streets are the only ones which his feet touch, as he is carried about the rest of the city in a sumptuous litter by the Golden Watch.

Usually, when the Emperor has reason to hear his subjects, he holds court in one of the noblesí villas on the High City, or else has a brief meeting at the golden gates to the Forbidden Palace. Occasionally, however, the Emperor grants an audience within the Palace itself. This is by strict invitation only,
and all guests must hand over their arms before entering.

Arena District
The fighting pits and arenas of the great city of Jundarr are ever full and always bloody. So popular is the sport of gladiatorial and beast combat that there are countless such places throughout the city, many nothing more than impromptu circles in the basements of taverns or boarding houses. The greatest of the fighting pits can be found in a cluster in the Arena District.

This part of Jundarr is filled, as so much of the city, with tenement buildings, merchantsí villas, markets, and shops. Its defining feature, however, is the Bloody Hill, a flat and gently sloped hill crowned by four great arenas. Each can seat thousands of spectators, and each is filled daily with the cheers of the crowds and the agonies of its athletes. The most prominent of the four great arenas is the Imperial Amphitheater, built over a century ago by one of the Boy Emperorís mighty ancestors. This massive, circular structure is open to the public and is always administered by a member of the imperial family. One worthy gladiator is granted his or her freedom every day within the Imperial Amphitheater, while
dozens of the lucky victorís opponents are killed.

Most of the gladiators who fight in the arenas are slaves, either taken in conquest and forced into the pits, or else raised from childhood and schooled in the arts of combat. Some few desperate or crazed free folk fight in the arenas for glory and prizes. Most gladiatorial battles are not to the death, for a trained combatant is far too valuable to lose after a single fight. Nestled at the foot of the Bloody Hill are numerous
gladiatorial schools where the fighters live and train.

A gladiator who proves her worth in the smaller fighting pits of the city and then in the great arenas of the Bloody Hill will quickly find herself a beloved celebrity, praised and showered with gifts by the masses, who adore sport above all other distractions. Such a successful combatant will often live in one of the opulent apartments of the Arena District and be treated as a living god, even while still a slave.

The Island
Just outside of the city is the Necropolis, a vast and marshy area filled with the tombs of the cityís dead. The poor are buried in mass graves, unmarked and unremembered, but the wealthy build extravagant tombs. Many of the older mausoleums are half sunken beneath the murky earth. Men do not tarry here, passing quickly without leaving the main road, lest they be called by the hungry ghosts who dwell in
their mock houses.

Beyond the city, the island of Jundarr is largely devoted to farmland worked by peasant families who have lived in the shadow of the cityís great walls for generations, or else by slaves owned by the Imperial family. Feeding the metropolis is a difficult thing, and so the city still imports much of its food to supplement that grown on the island.

There is also a great forest filled with game; this is the personal hunting ground of the Emperor and his family, though he often grants others leave to hunt here as a personal gift or favor. The edges of this wood are dotted with opulent villas which lie empty when not in use. Just before a hunt, the forest is often stocked with exotic creatures from far away places.

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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 05:22 PM
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The EastThe eastern realms of the Sunken Lands are the most civilized and prosperous human domains outside of Jundarr itself. The countless islands of the east are home to numerous merchant kingdoms, petty lords, and rich farmland, all making a multicultural and elaborate network of trade, gossip, and politics. Of the foreigners who dwell in Jundarr, at least half come from the eastern isles.

Larsur
Jundarr’s greatest rival for control of the seas and trade is the Free City of Larsur, a collection of tiny islands, known as the Gold Chain, in a massive bay, each home to a merchant lord or a guild of tradesmen. While Larsur cannot claim to match Jundarr’s military or political might, she is growing in power every year, and her fleets have twice escaped the wrath of the warships of Jundarr. For her part, Jundarr does not approach Larsur directly for tribute or battle, and so the two exist in an uneasy detente.

The guilders build numerous boats, from small skiffs to mighty warships, so that they can trade with all the people of the world and make themselves richer. In times of trouble, when a distant foe or even Jundarr herself should threaten the bay, the guilders and merchant princes join their fleets into a host of ships.

The largest of Larsur’s hodgepodge of small islands is only perhaps a mile across; many are significantly smaller than that and host only two or three buildings. Each of these islands has its own dock and some of the smaller ones are connected by bridges of wood or stone. Toward the center of the bay is a tall, narrow island of solid rock. Thin steps carved into the side of the cliff lead to the Great Guild Hall where
the guilders elect a leader every seven years and address matters of state.

The Shifting Isles
No two scholars agree how many little islands lay among the Shifting Isles, for they are more silt than stone, leaving the very coastline dancing to the pull of the currents. A few tribes of amphibious people share this almost-land with the smugglers who trade goods between Jundarr and Larsur and the pirates who prey upon them.

The Obsidian Rock
A source of legend and fear, the Obsidian Rock is a small island dominated by an enormous and active volcano. A tribe of savage folk live on the slopes of the volcano and make regular sacrifices to it as their god. These men do not take kindly to travelers, who often come to the Rock in search of the rare and multi-hued diamonds which form in the center of the volcano by unknowable means. So valued are these
stones that many explorers and treasure seekers have died at the hands of the volcano or its worshipers while trying to fetch but a single stone for the lords and ladies of Jundarr. Some do succeed, however, whether by strength of arms or by impressing the locals enough that they allow the lucky adventurer to take a stone. Sorcerers and witches treasure the stones too, and claim that they possess powerful healing magic and serve as the ideal vessels for the souls of unfortunate rivals.

The Academies of Ettis
Ettis is an island much renowned across the Hundred Seas. Here are the greatest libraries in the world, and tiled squares where philosophers argue at length. Here, too, are numerous sorcerous cabals and spy masters. The children of nobles and the wealthy from numerous realms are sent here to receive the best education in the Sunken Lands. Most of the people of Ettis do no toil as other men do, but subsist instead
on the riches which pour into the island nation’s coffers from those seeking knowledge or education.

The Distant East
Far beyond the known world lies a vast continent filled with other inhabited lands. Sometimes traders or adventurers from these foreign realms make their way to the lands of the Hundred Seas or to Jundarr itself. When they do so, they bring with them exotic goods, strange gods, and tales of many kingdoms beyond the reach of the Impossible City: the principalities of Xianul, the free city of Surchala, and the Manifold Empire of the King of Heaven. A traveler would have to be brave and hearty indeed to make her way to the
Distant East and return with riches and tales.

The Oceans of the Fishfolk
The enigmatic and alien fishfolk live in numerous schools and tribal groups beneath all of the Hundred Seas, but their two greatest realms are in the eastern seas. The empires of Kwall and Zardruk war eternally with one another and with the men who live on the lands above their dwellings.

The folk of both of these vast schools worship the same pantheon of deities, a staggering array of elemental lords of water and strange gods and goddesses of Chaos. Above all sits Sririzz’rish, the Lord of Fish. The two schools of the fishfolk, however, argue constantly about how best to please their harsh spiritual masters, and so they are locked forever in a religious war, constantly seizing underwater cities from one another, destroying and rebuilding temples, and competing for the resources of the deep.

Some few human kingdoms of the east have made alliances with one or the other of the schools of fishfolk. These men are spared the watery ones’ horrible raids, and instead trade with them, exchanging human finery and goods for alien icons of multi-hued coral or rare plants from the bottom of the sea. Other folk who live in the east are not so lucky, and the ships and coastal settlements of men often feel the wrath of the underwater empires.

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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 05:58 PM
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The WestTo the west of Jundarr lie the lands of a barbaric people, pale of skin and hair, and fearsome in war. The southwest is a land of trackless seas and rough storms. Few travelers venture there, for legends say that the gods of the depths keep any trespassers forever in their watery homes. The northern reaches of the west, however, are filled with many inhabited islands and, in the far corner, a chill and mountainous continent as yet unexplored by the Emperor’s agents; if the eldritch masters of Varendrys held sway in this land and charted its borders, that knowledge is long forgotten.

The Slavers’ Empire of Allonia
The most powerful and outward looking of the lands of the west by far is Allonia, a deadly and powerful empire built on the backs of slaves. The black-helmed warriors of Allonia take often to the seas in their great ships and travel the world in search of plunder and chattels. The Emerald Queen of Allonia seldom ventures past the basalt walls of her bleak palace. When she does, she is always masked in the bejeweled and horrific visage of a demon of Chaos. Indeed, some say that she is not a mortal woman at all but an actual demon incarnate, come to wreak terror on the world.

The center of Allonia is a long, thin island, rich in farmland and dense forest alike. Here, in the empire’s capital city, are the temples of the Allonians’ cruel gods and the largest slave markets in the world. Beyond this central island are numerous other lands under the sway of the Emerald Queen, all filled with the manors and fortresses of the wicked slavers and their servants. Each of these estates is surrounded by great swathes of farmland, and the Allonians regularly export massive amounts of grain to the east.

The Haven
On a small island in the western seas lies a mighty city, much fortified. This is the Haven, a free city which pays no tribute to Jundarr, nor to the slavers of Allonia. Here rule the Pirate Kings and Queens of the West, an ever changing congress of those strong and reckless enough to claim a stake. All are
welcome in the Haven, and there is no law behind her great stone walls save that the strong take what they will and all residents are free.

The Western Barbarians
Most of the western islands are home to those people deemed barbarians by the cities of Jundarr. While these tribes, clans, and villages differ from one another in culture and customs, they are all home to valiant warriors, strong hunters, and the greatest storytellers and bards of the world.

Sometimes a traveler from this land makes his way to Jundarr, usually in search of fortune, adventure, or revenge. These few often become great mercenary captains, sailors, or thieves, and they are often feared by other men, such is the strength of arms of the western barbarians.

The Mines of Corcaine
The island of Corcaine thrives as a trading gateway to Allonia. Most of its people live in the many ports that line its coasts, almost entirely shunning the steep mountains at the island’s center. Its surface is divided between three cautious rulers, each jockeying for position, but the true heart of the island lies
in its mines. A vein of dark iron runs from the center of the island all the way to the very home of an elemental lord of earth.

A whole people live below ground, working the iron and holding back the monstrosities of the deep earth drawn to its great and subtle power. So sought after is this iron that no matter the politics of the world outside, they rest cocky and secure in their mountain fastness.

The Dying Seas
Far beyond the last inhabited island, the seas turn poison and grow thick. Flotsam and jetsam wash between sand bars just below and above the surface. Here, the astral galleon passes through our plane of existence on its way to deliver a cargo of travelers lost between the stars. Those unlucky enough to come upon any of the wreckage floating in this deathly archipelago would be well advised to avoid taking on any haunted salvage.
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The NorthThe strangest and most inhospitable parts of the Hundred Seas lie in the north. Here are the remnants of lost Varendrys, long ago swallowed by the waters of the world, and here are the strangest races of men. Many of the folk who live on the northern islands follow bizarre customs, keep their own calendars, and live in ways completely alien to other folk; the Pleasure Sailors of Guradel ply the seas for no discernible purpose and often travel so far that they die far from home with no provisions, while the Beast Folk of the Shifting Isles, covered in variegated tattoos and the skins of unnatural creatures, descend upon other peoples in savage raiding bands. Travelers who venture to the distant north often find themselves lost, as though the seas and islands themselves have moved, or, more terrifying still, that they have sailed to other worlds entirely.

Jutholm
Jutholm is a mountainous and chill land inhabited by towering giants twice the height of men. Filled with a ravenous hunger and are quick to anger, they welcome travelers nonetheless, from whom they relish the chance to hear news and legends from distant lands. The giants live in small family groups within great houses carved from the rock, and often make war on one another. The Emperor of Jundarr has asked his agents to capture such a family so that they might fight in his arenas, but as of yet none have been able to do so.

The Northern Raiders
The most frequently encountered of the northern folk are called simply Raiders by their neighbors. The Raiders are an organized, prosperous, and highly literate people who often take to their long ships to seek the wealth of other men. They take their plunder back to their homelands and compose great ballads recounting their bravery. A family is judged by how many songs mention their name.

The Raiders do not have a single kingdom or state, but instead swear fealty to their local lords who then come together in great moots to discuss matters of state. Their homes are often fortified and well defended, and travelers are treated with equal parts hospitality and caution. When the navies of Jundarr come to the homes of the Raiders and demand tribute, they are often given succor and heaped with pleasantries, for these people know that there is always more wealth to be taken from softer folk.

The Remains of the Eldritch
Far to the north are many tiny islands, some forming archipelagos which stretch beyond any map’s reach. These are the remnants of lost Varendrys, the lands of the eldritch folk who once ruled the world and chained the very gods.

While the waters around these islands, called the Enchanted Depths, are far to the north, they are not cold. Still bound by the mighty sorceries of the eldritch, the lands here are temperate. There grow here many alien fruits, crops, and poisons that can be found nowhere else.

Strange creatures swim in the waters of the Enchanted Depths, monstrous serpents and beautiful sea maids, all capable of taking a sailor beneath the waves to his doom. The skies are filled often with strange colors and lights, and songs and wails can be heard faintly on the air, perhaps the shades of the forgotten people. Sometimes the sleeping dragons wake and leave their lairs in search of pleasure or food.

The few remaining eldritch make their homes in opulent estates or within the crumbling ruins of their once great cities. They are a cruel and inhuman folk, and they care nothing for the ways of men. They are just as likely to treat a lost traveler with all the courtesy due a mighty lord as they are to torture or enslave him. Those unlucky enough to be taken captive by the eldritch never return, while those granted hospitality bring back stories of unmatched feasts, music so beautiful that it brought pain and joy, and beds of the softest silks.

Somewhere in the ever-changing seas of the Enchanted Depths can be found the great sunken capital of the eldritch. The greatest towers of that once mighty city still rise above the cresting waves, their crumbling minarets a reminder of the lost power of Varendrys. Sometimes one may hear the tolling of the great golden bells which once summoned gods and demons to the feasts of the eldritch.

Occasionally a sorcerer or priest makes pacts with elemental spirits and attempts the dangerous journey beneath the waters in order to loot the remnants of the greatest empire the world has known.

Last edited by Silent Rain; Feb 10th, 2021 at 01:09 AM.
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The SouthAs is common across the Hundred Seas, the waters of the south are dotted with numerous islands, some inhabited and others ruled only by mighty beasts. Beyond these islands lies the great Southern Continent, a hot and dry land mostly tamed by its human masters. Much grain is grown here, and the human kingdoms of the south are vitally important to the continued workings of the great city.

The Lost City of Karentur
On the northwestern coast of the Southern Continent, at the mouth of a great delta, is the Lost City of Karentur, a huge, sprawling complex of ruins. None now know who lived in Karentur, or if that was indeed its true name, but legends of its riches and dangers are widespread. Some say that the folk of Karentur were once rivals of the eldritch, and that the emperors and empresses of Varendrys laid waste to the city millennia ago. Others hold that the city was the original home of the founders of Jundarr, who fled from its destruction to found the great city. Still others say that Karentur was not a home to men at all, but that another, stranger folk lived here, and that they brought about their own destruction in a tragic and sorcerous civil war, through the practice of magical arts too obscene for the minds of men to comprehend.

Whatever the truth, Karentur’s ruins stretch for several miles. The ruins are inhabited by the former guardians of the city and other beasts, fishfolk, and spirits who have taken it as their own. Many of its once great temples and palaces have sunk beneath the sands, but a clever adventurer or fortune-seeker can still find ingress to these, and, if brave enough, claim the treasures held within. If clever enough, they may even find egress from the ruins.

The Clockworks of Master Kel
Master Kel is a madman, a mighty sorcerer, and a powerful force for Law in the Sunken Lands. He has lived for three generations, unchanging and unaging for all that time. He lives alone in a huge fortress of gears and unknown mechanisms. His only companions are either mechanical folk of his own creation or else spirits and demons of Law bound to his service.

Kel’s mechanical fortress has grown so vast that even he cannot remember all of its alcoves or hidden chambers. Indeed, the fortress seems to grow of its own accord, not needing the direction of its enigmatic master.

Sometimes traders come to the Clockworks in search of gears, clocks, and small machines. If Kel is generous, he trades with these merchants, who then take their bounty back to Jundarr or another port and sell them as curiosities. If Kel is not impressed with his visitors, they are put to work, running the machines of the fortress alongside the master’s other servitors until they die of fatigue.

The Empire of Trackless Sands
The God-King of the Trackless Sands rules an empire which stretches so far to the south that the men of Jundarr are uncertain of its ends. The many millions of inhabitants of the Empire of Trackless Sands live, toil, and die at the whims of their God-King; they worship no other deity than he who sits on the empire’s throne.

While this land is vast, it has but one real city, a great port which sits on the edge of the Southern Continent. This city is dominated by a massive, stepped pyramid, the seat of the God-King and his greatest temple, where the god incarnate sits on the Basalt Throne.

In this pyramid dwell the God-King’s many wives, his young children, and a legion of eunuch warriors sworn to protect their master at all costs. Beyond the walls of his capital are many farming communities, each ruled by one of the children of the God-King. Upon his death, one of these children is named by the priests of the empire as the new incarnate god.

The Empire has a great fleet and many warriors, and its influence is almost as strong across the southern seas as that of Jundarr itself. The two nations are at peace, and both benefit from strong ties of trade. The boy emperor of Jundarr received, upon his ascension to the throne, a scepter of gold and lapis lazuli from the God-King, and sent him a thousand slaves in return.

Last edited by Silent Rain; Feb 9th, 2021 at 06:17 PM.
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The Edges of the WorldBeyond the four directions, away from the eyes of kings, priests, and lords, lie the Edges, places of unfathomable danger. If men dwell here, they are unknown to those in the rest of the world. These lands are home to monsters, powerful and distant sorcerers, and, some say, the gods themselves.

Legends recount that here, distant from the wars and struggles of civilized folk, lies a city of perfect peace, the natural home of the Balance. Others say that only misery awaits any traveler foolish enough to come here. Yet others claim that alien folk, wholly different from humans or the eldritch, live here in their own kingdoms. Perhaps the strangest of all tales holds that the Edges are not solid lands at all, but rather roiling masses of Chaos waiting to be shaped by powerful lords and ladies in search of new realms.

Planes of the Multiverse
What is here described is but one plane among many. The Cosmos is vast, so vast that some think it infinite. On a million worlds and in a million realms of existence the forces of Law and Chaos battle, the elemental gods and the masters of beasts guide the natural world, and men and the eldritch vie for power. Some planes are so different from the Sunken Lands that men cannot live there, while others appear so similar that an unfortunate traveler may not even realize that he has left Jundarr before discovering that his surroundings are changed in subtle but profound ways.

Travel between the planes is almost impossible for mortals. Only the most powerful of sorcerers can do so with any reliability. There are some places where an unwary traveler can accidentally step through a gate to another plane without realizing it; often such portals are invisible, only active once in a millennium, or requiring special signs or words to activate.

The gods, or at least the mightiest of them, exist on all planes at once. Many deities have a home realm, a plane which is wholly shaped by and devoted to its master’s desires, inclinations, and pleasures. The elemental gods live on planes made entirely of their substance, while the gods of Chaos live in myriad realms that defy all logic or categorization.

While the planes are countless, below are two which are held in legend by the folk of the Hundred Seas.

The Other EmpireEleven generations ago, one of the early heirs to the throne of Jundarr simply disappeared, missing from his bed when his maids and manservants went to wake him one morning. Many rumors spread through the great city about how he met his demise.

More than one adventurer, however, has claimed that they have met this lost heir after wandering at length in a lush jungle or across desert sands. They say that they have found themselves in another world entirely, one where the heir still lives, seemingly immortal, ruling from a massive city called New Jundarr. Here the emperor wages wars against folks unknown to the scholars of the Sunken Lands, his soldiers riding to war in great mechanical constructs.


The Paradisical SeaShebitku was a famed captain and fleet master who disappeared from the world after setting sail in search of new lands to the west. The dignitaries of Jundarr were astonished when he finally returned 33 years later, seeming somehow older and younger at once.

The captain raved about the voyage he had made, seeming sometimes mad, sometimes frightened, and sometimes eager to return. He described sailing off of a great precipice but not falling through the air. Instead, after his ship continued on for two days, he claims that he found himself in an endless sea of purple and green waves. He said that sometimes the air itself seemed to become water, though he and his men found that they could breathe, and that pockets of the waters had a strange substance to them which allowed his crew to
dock and traverse on foot. He told stories of encountering bizarre men and women with two heads who spoke in multiple languages at once, and creatures with the forelimbs of a lion and the hindquarters of a dolphin, intelligent as men, able to speak, and who were as at home on the incongruously watery lands as they were beneath the less stable waves.

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Old Feb 9th, 2021, 06:00 PM
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LanguageThe world is large and much of it uncharted. With so many folk and so many lands, it would be impossible to account for all of the tongues spoken across the Hundred Seas. Some tribes, kingdoms, or clans speak their own language, which bears no resemblance to that of their neighbors, but most folk speak a dialect of one of the great families of languages.

The Common Speech of Jundarr
Unsurprisingly, the speech of Jundarr has become the most commonly used language across the Hundred Seas, and a traveler often finds that he can at least be understood by most folk when using the common speech. Besides the great city and her tributaries, it is the language of Larsur and Allonia, and of most of the eastern kingdoms. This is also the most often written tongue, and most of the libraries of the Sunken Lands have more books written in the Common Speech than any other language.

Westresse
The numerous barbarians of the western lands speak a myriad of related dialects most commonly called Westresse. Most of the barbarians are more or less able to understand one another, as the various forms of Westresse share a common grammar and syntax. Occasionally, the differences in vocabulary from one dialect to another are so great that an interpreter is needed, but these instances are rare.

The Southern Tongue
Across the Southern Continent and many of its nearby islands, the Common Speech of Jundarr slowly gives way to the Southern Tongue. The purest form of this language is retained in the Empire of Trackless Sands, and it is in this speech that the God-King issues his holy decrees. Unlike in many parts of the world, the Southern Tongue is surprisingly uniform, though it does form odd pidgins with the Common Speech on many of the southern islands.

The Eldritch Tongue
The ancient folk of Varendrys spoke a complex and musical language. While this tongue is now effectively dead, it persists in use among the few remaining eldritch in the world. It is also a favored language of sorcerers, many of whom Languages still learn the rhymes and chants of Varendrys as the keys to their spells and rituals. Some priests, particularly those who worship the hosts of Chaos, use this tongue in matters of high ceremony. Scholars sometimes learn the language of lost Varendrys so that they might read one of its few surviving histories. This is also the language most commonly used by other intelligent beings, such as dragons, elementals, and demons; indeed, some mystics say that this is the true tongue of the Cosmos, the speech with which the realms
and planes were made.

The Ancient Signs
A dead language once spoken by several lost kingdoms and empires, the Ancient Signs is a language used now only by academics who study musty tomes. It was in a variant of this language that the carvings on the walls and streets of Karentur were made. The marks of this syllabary are still found in some forgotten sections of the Haunted Ruins in Jundarr. The language was apparently spoken widely, for its marks can be found in most parts of the Sunken Lands. Wealthy or aristocratic children from many realms learn at least the rudiments of this language in school, though few master it.

Others
In the Distant East there are numerous languages and dialects unknown to the people of Jundarr; some of these tongues are related to one another, but many are not, and this language barrier can prove very difficult for a brave traveler seeking fortune in the east. Beneath the waves, the fishfolk speak their own language, a mishmash of gurgling sounds and bubbling words unintelligible to most men. The
giants of Jutholm use their own tongue in their great homes, though many of them communicate with outsiders in the Common Speech.

Many small island kingdoms or secluded tribes speak their own languages, sometimes bearing no relation to any of the other major tongues. Sometimes only a single member of such a settlement will know the Common Speech or another, more widely spoken language, and will have to speak for all of her compatriots. Likewise, the Ancient Signs are hardly the only lost tongue; for every living language in the world, there are many more dead ones remembered only by scholars and sorcerers, and found in the most arcane of manuscripts.

Starting Languages for Characters
When playing a campaign set in Jundarr and the Sunken Lands, the group should assume that all characters know the Common Speech of Jundarr. A player may, at his own discretion, decide that he would rather his character not know this common tongue for story reasons, but it is always best if the group (and most of those they encounter) share a language.

Characters also begin the game knowing their native language if it is different from the common tongue. For instance, a barbarian from the West will know Westresse in addition to the common tongue, an eldritch noblewoman will know eldritch, and a scholar from the South will know the Southern Tongue.

Mages are also assumed to know a smattering of the Ancient Signs and the eldritch language from their studies in the arcane. This is not enough to speak these languages beyond a few words, and they will quickly become lost when trying to understand a native speaker or read a full book in these languages, but it does help them decipher certain runes and study books of magic.

Characters know additional languages based on the bonus from their Intelligence score. Characters with a penalty to Intelligence do not know fewer languages than these.

Literacy is relatively widespread in the Sunken Lands, especially in Jundarr, the South, and on the Eastern Continent. Players may decide whether their characters can read any of the languages they know.

Last edited by Silent Rain; Feb 9th, 2021 at 09:40 PM.
  #11  
Old Feb 16th, 2021, 04:42 PM
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Ages
1st Age - The Eldritch Age
2nd Age - The Age of Men

Months
Frostmoot | Deepsnow | Winterwane | Rainmoot | Palesun | Highsun | Firemoot | Firewane | Lowsun | Redfall | Snowmoot | Fellnight

Days
Moonday | Towerday | Wineday | Thunderday | Fireday | Swordsday | Jundday

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Old Feb 17th, 2021, 10:03 AM
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The EldritchIn many sword and sorcery stories, the world was once ruled by an ancient race wholly unlike men. The remnants of these eldritch rulers still linger in decadent and crumbling citadels and glorious cities, dreaming of their past glories and honoring millenia-old pacts with forgotten gods. Sometimes these beings have origins on other planets or in other planes of existence.

Members of the eldritch race superficially resemble humans, though they are long-limbed, fair-featured, and of alien temperament. They are naturally sorcerous, and are more akin to spirits or demons than to common folk. Fae, otherworldly, and often cruel, they are feared by mortals. Occasionally, one of the eldritch will journey to the lands of men and seek lost knowledge or something else. Sometimes they take human mages as their apprentices, sharing sorcerous secrets not known for centuries or even millenia. Rarer still, once in an age, a whole band of these creatures may take to the seas and seek to reclaim what was once theirs.

Unaging - The eldritch maintain their youth and vigor for their entire, long lives. Some say that they are actually immortal. The eldritch are fair of form. They automatically resist all forms of non-magical disease and poison.

True Name - Like the spirits which are their kin, all members of this race have true names, and those with the knowledge may use an eldritch’s name against him. Knowing an eldritch’s true name gives a character great power. By calling out the name, a character gains +5 to all actions taken against the eldritch character, including attacking it.

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