So, we're kicking the worldbuilding back into gear and I'll be looking to you guys to help me fill out sections about the world. The main focus for this thread is to develop the locations, customs, people, and other miscellania of the world.
Feel free to do some free form suggestions and if there are any particular bits that resonate or inspire you, let it flow.
At the time, the civilizations turned their resources away from battling their neighbors and instead researching ways to filter the mana and artificially force the lands in their domains to produce what it should naturally. However, as time wore on, their solutions began to prove insustainable and one by one they failed, leaving them in more and more desperate straits. Their civilizations began to dwindle as they were forced to consolidate their way of life, turning inward and parasitically becoming more and more fiercely protective of their culture, striving to understand what had happened to their world while fighting off the advances of their enemies.
In recent times though, an understanding of the cataclysm has finally come into view. While they don't know what the phenomenon is, they know what the results are. The "color" of the land was being concentrated, crystalized into extremely powerful physical enchantments, hidden somewhere within the expanses of the world. Now the race is on to find these gems and unraveling the secret to releasing the Color back into the manastreams, harnessing the ancient mana to revitalize their dying ways and possibly leading to a rennaisance.
... And all the while, they are searching for a way to harness and control the mana gems of their enemies, knowing that if they can't find their own, they can at least keep their enemies from restoring their own power bases, lest they be dominated by the others.
The White Kingdoms are commanded by the ancient angels of the times before. The eternal angels were created by the human civilization of the steppes, charged to be the guardians of humanity for so long as their existences persist. Unfortunately, after the cataclysm and as time went on, the angels began to see nothing but danger in the world. As they fell one by one, their numbers unable to be recreated by the mages without stressing the already delicate systems maintaining their culture, the angels concluded that for humanity to be truly protected, they must be sequestered and safeguarded. The angels began to collect humanity in great fortress cities, places they would be safe in, where they could be watched and cared for by their angelic overseers. Enormous floating satellite citadels were erected to stand sentinel above the fortress cities, places for the angels to monitor the people in their control and build forces of their own to defend against the invaders of the other realms. (Iztacitlan as a name for the kingdom?)
Angels- Despite their age, the angels of the citadels are a potent force. Having origins that stretch back further than any of them may remember now, they are the greatest of their numbers left, a handful left out of a multitude. Within their satellite towers, they keep records that stretch back before their own creation. When it became clear that the cataclysm had altered the mana streams of the world, the Angels were the ones who advised the white kingdoms to abandon their pursuit of magic to filter their mana wells. Instead they pushed humanity to embrace artifice, knowing artifice was sustainable in ways enchantments were not. As time wore on, the angelic forces grew fearful of what would happen to their charges if their numbers were to diminish too greatly. They began to armor themselves in greater and greater machinery, becoming the heart of ever-growing apparatuses. They became more and more concerned with their own defense, growing paranoid at risking their lives, obsessed with the protection of themselves as well as the colonies in their charge. Now, it is increasingly rare for the angels to venture from their floating citadels, only being drawn forth when it cannot be helped. When they depart the safety of their halls, they are never seen alone, surrounded by a retinue of artifact creatures meant to protect them so that they may continue to guide the people under their aegis. Amongst the angels, the youngest of their number, Quicatlia, is the only one who regularly leaves the sentinel citadels, taking the opportunity to always move amongst the common folk.
Humans- Humans are largely unaware of the world outside, most having no desire to leave the great towers and harmony of the cities where they want for nothing. They are taught the world beyond their walls is a dangerous place and that their best efforts are spent enriching their own society rather than fretting over the outer world. The only concern beyond their walls that they focus on is the continuing effects of the cataclysm and the creation of artifacts to turn it aside. Those few humans who do venture outside the walls are known as Initiates and great pains are taken to bolster their natural abilities with artifice so that they may better survive the battles outside the walls. Unfortunately, once the initiates undergo their enhancement, they become unable to return to the society they wish to protect. Most Initiates live within and upon the wall, so that they are better able to report in emergency when they are actually in the city instead of roaming the outer plains. While the thick walls house many of the forces meant to defend the city, the inner city’s vista is dominated by the great ziggurats where the artificers and spirit-callers work to advance the kingdom. The ziggurats are an omnipresent feature in every city as much as the angels’ citadels, though a special mention must be made to the Pyramid of Ilhuiclan in the capital. It is the largest of the terraced buildings and where the greatest minds of the White Kingdoms pool their inspiration and innovation. Despite the wall and pyramids being the most notable of the city’s features, the myriad plazas and cobbled streets are home to markets, homes, and every other mundane amenity that you could find in any other town.
Elementals- A number of years after the angels turned to artifice, they sought to some way to restore their own depleted kind, to replenish the numbers lost to their fallen sisters. Using the abundant colorless mana to anchor the barest spark of white mana that is so necessary to the magic of their life, they attempted to recreate the spells that had originally created them. However, they found that their own skills were lacking. Instead of the artifacts giving birth to a new breed of angel, the constructs they used were only sufficient to trigger the existence of elementals. The Light elementals were no substitute for the angelic forces they were hoping to swell their ranks with, but the angels were practical if nothing else and the chose to continue the creation of the elementals. The elementals are artifact creatures whose bodies are held together by the precious white mana that is the elemental’s purest essence. They are incredible fighters and the highest ranked fighters in the White Kingdom’s forces. Unlike their angelic superiors, the elementals are a fierce and outgoing populace. While they have the same impulse to protect the kingdoms, the elementals are far more imperious though their loyalty can never be questioned. They are also much less reticent to enter battle themselves and in fact, seem to have no value of their own lives when weighed against any other being. The two most notable elementals are Tonaz, the strongest of their number, and their warlike leader Itonal.
Birds- Since ancient times, the people of the plains have used birds to maintain communications and monitor the far reaches of their demesne. The humans of the cities trained falcons for use in battle and pigeons to ferry messages to their neighbors as well as a number of other birds for various tasks. Once the angels claimed dominion, they continued the tradition of maintaining the city aeries. When it came time to create sentinels to fly the borders of their territories and keep order, they paid homage to the tradition of using birds by constructing magnificent artifact creatures in their image. The idols and constructs range from the meager Glint Hawk Idol, used as a simple means of communication to the massive Roc Engines whose size rival that of ships. The construction of the artifact birds take a sizable amount of skill. The largest and most powerful Roc Engine also doubles as the flagship of the angelic force, the Acalliatototl.
The Oracles- The people of the kingdom have long since believed in life after death, believing the wellspring of all white mana to be the paradise where the souls of the just rested. When the cataclysm struck, the citizens of the kingdoms grew fearful what it might mean for their spiritual lives. Knowing this, the angels chose to shepherd the souls of the people to the Vault of Souls. Here, the spirits are bound to the massive steel orb in the center of the dome. The spirits contained within are kept here for safekeeping until a time comes when the angels can safely release them to their reward. Unknown to virtually everyone except the angels themselves, the Vault of Souls is more than a repository where the spirits of the dead reside. It is used as a massive cell of energy that filters the colorless mana into powerful white mana that can be used. To maintain the Vault, volunteers are bound to rigs similar to those that anchor the elementals. These spirits are known as the Oracles and have access to the memory of every spirit contained within the Vault, the very history of the kingdoms made incarnate.
The Blue Society was once composed of an enormous nation of humans. In the ancient times, they were a magocracy, their islands dominated by the academies that shaped every facet of their daily lives. This would inevitably be their downfall. Once the cataclysm struck, they could feel the simplest spells taking more and more effort. The most basic foundations of their daily lives were cracking at the seams. It was decided, by the Council of Laogong, the ruling body of the Society, that there were only two options. The first was to abandon every precept of magic they had ever learned, to try to adapt to a world without the hue of mana they needed. The second…. was to redefine themselves. To use their magic to alter their own bodies to do much of what they used their magic for. To change themselves so that they no longer needed mana of any color. The Council of Laogong, by a majority vote of 2 to 1, altered the fate of every living being in their dominion that day.
Shapeshifters- After shedding their humanity the people of Biyan, the blue society, found themselves redefined. Fluid, they were now capable of things in their new existence that they wouldn’t have dreamt of before. As years passed in their new flesh, they came to understand a great deal of their existence in ways they simply couldn’t have before. The magocracy grew to new heights as they attempted to understand the world around them, altering their flesh at will to attempt to better understand the nature of the plane, the cataclysm, and ultimately their existence. Time continued on and the shapeshifting ability became a mark of status, form and function becoming as much a desire for style as for their efficiency. The ultimate irony, centuries after the spell was cast, was the realization that their society had ceased to progress. That though they had attempted to abandon their dependency on blue mana, it was integral to the improvement of their people. When this conclusion was reached, they knew that there was only one way forward. To seize the richest remaining sources of blue mana they could. They pushed their society into the oceans themselves, building down into the depths as they had built into the skies, altering the world around them to fit their needs.
Merfolk- While the shapeshifters above had abandoned their pursuit of the power of the deep, the merfolk were in no position to do so. Finding their magic waning, the merfolk communities pulled together, abandoning the furthest reaches of their domains, pooling their populations in the vortices of power from which the controlled the tides needed to quickly span the breadth of their empire. Unfortunately, these vortices were exactly what the Biyan needed and the merfolk were driven out of their ancestral enclaves anywhere the superior forces of the Biyan appeared. Now, they are a people in decline. Their ancient ways still exist in far flung places, but many have chosen to try to reconcile the old ways with the invaders. The shifters have been surprisingly open to the exchange of ideas and it has split the merfolk people in half. The traditionalists still rally to push the shapeshifters from their homes, but many of the progressives see the advantage of allying themselves with the beings from above the water. The traditionalist leader is a shadowy figure who hides far in the north, in the frozen waters of the Polar region where only the Leviathan dare to swim.
Crabs, Fish, and the Zoa- As the Biyan pushed further under the waves, they found their own forces occupied with the expansion. With the advent of their own bodily manipulation, they came to understand the improvements one could make over nature’s designs and determined that the easiest method to fulfill the roles that had been accomplished by other means above the water was to harness the power of the life around them. Of particular note are the Zoa, who were magically altered to exist above the water, their nature changed so vastly that they could swim through the air as easily as the water. The Zoa and their handlers have effectively replaced the sentries that the shifters had used to guard their borders against the other civilizations.
Drake Serpents- One of the few creatures the Biyan have not altered, but still saw fit to domesticate are the Drake Serpents. An odd combination whose own genesis is shrouded in the mysteries of the past, they are fierce, territorial creatures. Their serpentine bodies have massive fins that run their length and propel them both within and without the water. Aside from that, the only notable feature that separates them from the serpents of other planes is a pair of legs with dexterous claws that they use to manipulate their surroundings. Out of the water, they walk upon these appendages, but within the water, they use them much more like hands.
Leviathan and Kraken- When the Merfolk Empire initially went into decline, the abandoned territories were once again turned over to the wilds. The native life viciously reclaimed their lost territory, and began to grow uncontrollably with nothing to curb their impulses. The leviathans have since become larger than they’ve ever been since the rise of the merfolk and are regarded with terror, even within the cities of the shifters. What is most distressing are the murmured rumors that the beasts are much more intelligent than the merfolk ever believed and now that they have reclaimed their power, it is only a matter of time that they begin to intrude into the settled regions of the ocean, harboring their ancient grudges at being contained.
Vampires- Vampires have a reputation as cruel and capricious masters, beings ruled by their whims. It’s an illusion that they have very carefully crafted. While they are certainly ruthless, their every major action is carefully considered and weighed. The origin of the vampire race is lost to most of the world, even to some of its own kind. Their genesis has roots stretching far back into the time before the cataclysm. During those times, the fens ripe with black mana, the people of the realms had a mastery over the mystic creation of plagues. Using their magic, they created an infection meant to enhance their assassins and elite soldiers. Volunteers were chosen, people who would put their own lives behind the desires of the sovereign. Those that survived the infection and subsequent transformation were the first vampires. They called themselves the Cognate. Together, they formed a terrifying unit that could strike at the heart of the realm’s enemies. Their success was unmatched, but their strength came at a cost. They were forced to feed upon life. After the cataclysm, they were scattered and left without direction. When the warlords seized power, most of them could see that it would inevitably lead to a civil war as each city grew more powerful. They reunited after nearly a century and formed a cabal, crafting an elaborate scheme that would keep war from ravaging their homelands. They would seize control of it themselves, using the influence of fear and ancient magic to manipulate the realm away from disaster. Most, if not all, of the vampire lords that currently dominate the realms are those who have had the duty passed to them from the older generations. While they do not age, as time continues to pass, the plague that grants them their power begins to further mutate them. Many of the vampires, when they reach this stage, adopt porcelain masks of their once human features to hide their faces behind before eventually being forced to step away from their duty and create scion to take their position within the cabal.
Humans- Humans make up the bulk of the population of the black realms. Each city-state is filled to bursting with people, each forming a vastly different culture, and as you could expect, the rivalry between cities grow to be quite intense. Most of the population are poor to middle class, making a living any way they can in the rotting ruins and rebuilt structures of their once glorious homes. In the darkened alleys, crime is a serious problem, with flesh trading, of many different sorts, being amongst the most lucrative of these criminal enterprises. Despite the overpopulation and harsh conditions much of the cities are subjected to, society is kept fairly stable by the iron grip of the warlord-regents and their courts. The nobility is built off the backs of the common people, but it’s understood that a nation in revolt is useless. Holidays are common to keep the spirits high amongst the lower classes, but still resentment festers in the hearts of the people and it is never uncommon for murmurs of revolution to spread. Above all though, is the terror of the true lords of the realm, and the desperation to do anything to gain their favor.
Shades- Vampires encourage duplicity in their servants, but those whose ambitions overstretch their abilities are dealt a dark poetic justice. Failure must of course be punished, but those who are particularly ambitious, or those who make themselves far too useful earn a special reprieve from the sucking void of the abyss. They are favored with a twilight existence instead of simply being killed. These are the shades. The remnants of those who failed to overthrow their lords. They now exist as living darkness anchored to the bones of their former life, their souls and memories preserved only by the grace of their sovereign. It is only by the power the vampire grants that that they manage to stave off the inevitable claim of death. They are forced into thrall by their masters, and given no alternative than to obey… or find a new master.
Zombies and Skeletons- The unintended consequences of the dark magic used to taint the mana of the mires, zombies are considered a distraction at best and a nuisance at worst. When the body of the ritual victim is discarded, a small sliver of mana may take root within the corpse. If it does, the corpse will stir once more, wandering around the land until it either rots through completely or is dealt with otherwise. Skeletons, on the other hand, are the creations of the power. The guards used to patrol the halls of the Vampire strongholds. They are chosen for their versatility and more importantly, the ability to replace and reconfigure their bodies should they be damaged. Skeletons are not known for being particularly bright, but some of them retain much of their identity even unto undeath. These particular undead are highly valued and given much more important tasks.
Demons- The most powerful minions of the vampiric forces, they are granted existence through dark rituals which require enormous sacrifice to concentrate the mana needed to form them. They owe their very being to the vampires that created them, a fact which they absolutely loathe. These forces are the most often seen presence of the black realms in the places beyond their borders, used either as surveillance or a deterrent against their enemies striking against them. Imps are a lesser form of demon whose intelligence was increased during their creation, trading the brute power of their greater forms for more cunning.
Horrors- Locked away in the forgotten dungeons of the ancient ruins, the complexes where the black alchemists crafted the mystic plagues and mutations that birthed the vampires, there are things best left forgotten. Crafted for war, turned into weapons that were never used, Mutations and horrible chimera whose sanity long since fled wait for the day their bloodlust may be finally satiated. Horrors dwell in the darkness, and woe be to those who disturb the long forgotten creatures.
The Red Lands are the remnants of the massive continent which once stood dominant amongst the others on the face of the world. When the cataclysm struck, the shift in the nature of the mana that ran through the earth caused a massive seismic shock that sank over half the continent, breaking much of it into smaller islands that are now scattered out across the edges of the western coasts. The islands are covered in volcanic ash and hardened magma that constantly spews into the ocean waves. Despite the proximity to the ocean, most islands have an inhospitable, blistering climate thanks to the volcanoes that pepper their surfaces. Constant earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other seismic activities make for an unstable habitat within the interior of the continent. Very little vegetation survives in the wastelands of the mainland, with only the hills and sparse, bedraggled savannahs providing any respite from the desert’s bane. The ranges of volcanically active mountains are where the bulk of the population of the Red Lands can be found, living under the iron claw of the dragons. The volcanoes are the only sources fierce enough to continue to produce red mana, and virtually every caldera and magma pool is already claimed by at least one member of the dragon scourge.
Dragons- The Viashino consider the dragons to be avatars of the ancient gods of war, the only gods to have survived in the mortal realm, having slaughtered the other divinities and driven them back into the spirit realm. Dragons do nothing to dissuade them of this belief, and it seems most have even come to believe it of themselves as well. Though there are a number of dragons in the Red Lands, they very rarely interact with each other. Fiercely independent, the dragons each claim their own territory and are savage to any they view as trespassers. Despite their competitive and predatory nature, they do follow a strange code of hospitality to others of their kind that request it. Of course, most have little interest in the business of their neighbors, but all of them pay homage to the greatest among their numbers, the Dragon Boh. Each of the Boh claim a sizable portion of the continent and every dragon and lesser beast within is considered their property. There are currently 3 Boh claiming territory across the shattered continent and none bow to any authority aside from their own, seeing the others as rivals at best and pretenders to their own right of rule at worst. However, an armistice is held between the dragon lords, but few would dare to call it peace. There is no peace between the Boh. There is only the threat of violence. (They are Jasterica in the west, Zahromzhi in the east, and Rezhna in the south) The dragons have an affectation for phoenixes, both as pets and most distressingly as a constantly renewable source of food. Many of the dragons keep at least one phoenix as a status symbol.
Viashino- The Viashino of the Red Lands have a long history, one which has risen and fallen as often as the contours of the peaks themselves. During the times before the cataclysm, the Viashino were mercilessly oppressed under the boots of the human empire, a result of a war so old and stale that neither side could remember the cause except for the enmity between their races. Their very culture had been stamped out in history immemorial and only the vaguest recollection of their traditions survived the march of time. Once the cataclysm struck, the magic the humans had built their empire upon failed and the Viashino tore through the human defenses, scattering the humans into the far reaches of the wastes, finally declaring victory in their age old conflict. Unfortunately, the urgings of their draconic gods and the bloody coup d’état, have created a culture inspired by the idea that violence is the ultimate judge. Most disputes are settled in the public arenas, right and wrong being determined by right of combat. Despite their bloodlust and warped sense of justice, they are staunch believers in the personal honor, placing it above most principles. The Viashino now inhabit the ruins of the human civilizations still standing, nestled in the canyons of the red lands, having reshaped them to suit their needs. Even if they despise the beings that oppressed them, they admire the fallen warriors and take pains to maintain the art and history of the human cities. This preservation comes from both the keen loss of their own ways and the drive to latch onto some form of tradition. What little magic the viashino still practice comes in the form of geomancy, trying to coax mana that still runs red with fire from the heart of the earth to restore the natural flow to the land. Most of the power that they use is borrowed from their draconic gods, the shamans able to channel it from the blood of the dragons.
Humans- At their apex, the humans of the red continent reach extended further than any human civilization on the plane, rivaled only by the black realms. After the fall of their empire, most of the survivors turned to a nomadic life, forced to sojourn into the dangers of the deep desert. They managed to find shelter within the deep caves hidden in the far plateaus outside Viashino territory near the border of the deserts. Without their magic to rely on, and thanks to the harsh conditions of the outer desert, the humans have become a hardened people whose reliance is solely upon themselves. Most have abandoned the paths of magic and instead have chosen to embrace the way of the steel. Despite their kinship with the humans of the steppes, they refuse to join the enclaves ruled by the angels, knowing full well that to do so would be to give up the independence they cherish. Despite their harsh life, and the predatory raids from the Viashino, they have managed to eke out a life of which they are fiercely proud of. The human rebellion is violently opposed to the Viashino empire, and know that if the slay the draconic lords, it will cascade until the empire is broken, even if it means attacking one dragon at a time. A growing number have begun to worship the long vanished giants, the ancient enemies of the dragons the Viashino worship, whose disappearance was never fully understood. They believe that the giants have faded into the histories, sleeping the ages until they can come into their ascendancy again.
Moloch- This race of enormous lizards is the result of hundreds of generations of life existing unchanged under the blazing scorch of the desert sun. While they are distantly related to the lizards you can find in the other parts of the world, and even the smaller of their kind in the deserts, the moloch are towering hulks covered in thick plate-like scales. Perhaps their most notable feature is the series of enormous horns that cover their bodies like thorns. The moloch have an interesting relationship with the races of the desert, as the giant lizards are the only reliable way to find water in the deep deserts.
Kavu- While the dragons claim dominion over the magma pools and rivers of lava that pock the face of the Red Land‘s crags, actually occupying those mana rich locations presents a sizable problem. The Kavu. The reptilian creatures dwell along the paths of the molten earth, often sinking into the running lava itself, impervious to the flames that would reduce the other occupants of the desert to cinders and meat. While the moloch are ancient, the kavu are the other side of the coin, having evolved to perfectly match their environment, prey, and predators. Within the desert, the Kavu are the only creature that can oppose the domination of the dragons. Unfortunately, they are far too wild to be tamed and mostly too intelligent to be manipulated to do the bidding of the rebels.
Amongst all the lands afflicted by the Cataclysm, none have been so radically threatened than the Green Jungles. In the times before the cataclysm, the cultures of the jungles were at peace with the world around them, using the vibrant life force of the forests all around to create their homes, their immense living cities built of the forest itself. The forest-kin thrived, bending the shape of the world around them and caring for nature in turn, a symbiotic cycle of nurturing that ensured the healthy growth of their forests and their own civilization. The greatest among them were the ancient treefolk sages, generations of forest-kin took shelter under their boughs and learned to listen to the heartbeat of the world they were a part of. They were scholars, druids, and stalwart protectors of nature against outsiders who sought to harvest from their lands. Then, the verdant pulse of nature was muted by the cataclysm, the once rich life that flowed from tree to tree turned cold and gray. One by one, the cities broke, the forest-kin choosing to let their cities return to nature rather than harm the jungles that gave them their lives. The people were scattered, the elves retreating to the heart of the jungle while the Loxodon returned to the stands of the Treefolk. The worst affected by the cataclysm were the treefolk themselves. Without the spark of life that the verdant mana gave, the treefolk ceased awakening, their numbers dwindled as they grew old and returned to the source of their life. Their knowledge had to be passed on, but there were fewer in each generation to grant their wisdom to. The treefolk are dying as slowly as they live. The people of the jungle had little option and so they have forced the forest to grow, hoping that if they increased the size of their land, it might yield more of the mana they needed just to regain their lost civilization.
Elves- The elves are the oldest culture within the woods. Their ancestors arrived long before the war in the outer world took hold and remained detached from most of the conflict when it began to escalate. They learned from the treefolk they found in the groves, ancient even then, and learned to bond to the land in ways most had never dream of. They built soaring palaces of living wood, created great indoor orchards from where they drew their nourishment. It was an idyllic life, one of peaceful reflection, but then the cataclysm robbed them of the source of their culture. It was slow, but they were forced to abandon their cherished homes as the jungle began to reclaim its natural way. They were overgrown, and now stand only as once majestic ruins. A few elves still protect the heart of their culture, keeping the memory of their civilization alive, though they live secluded lives in their former homes. As the most stolid of the treefolk students, many elves have learned to channel the mana from themselves. Unfortunately, this process is exhausting for them and a difficult skill for most. Those that can are used to shape the villages where the elves dwell, though they are poor replicates of the massive cities of their race’s youth. With their limited talents, they try to guide the forest growth in clearings and have trees grow near each other so they can build up the base for structures. They build their villages out of wood from trees that were naturally downed by large predators and use canvas skins from said large beasts as both decoration and binding. They now build vertically since it's easier on the forest in total and they are able to fit more of their kind in with less stress on their surroundings. Amongst the most important locations in their cities are the libraries. They are VERY fond of keeping vellum scrolls. Knowledge is precious to them.
What little metalwork they do is mostly with softer metals, so you see a lot of inlaid work on leather and wood, but not much in the way of metal armor and the like. A lot of their weapons are traded from the loxodon smiths, so they have a different styling than what they usually use.
Loxodon- The Loxodon tribe have changed little in the time before or since the cataclysm. The keepers of the groves, they are the treefolk’s most loyal protectors, having followed the teachings of the treefolk since they first began sharing their wisdom with the nascent tribe. The Loxodon seem split between primal displays of strength and brutal violence and an appreciation and pursuit of enlightenment. As they grow older and stronger, they begin the path towards shamanism, but balance their spirituality with fierce battles. Until they complete the shaman’s path, the physical toll taken increases, the tribe believing that they must prove their worth to continue, and prove that though they turn to the spiritual, they are still capable of protecting their tribe and the sacred groves of the treefolk. The Loxodon are the only culture in the jungle that practices ritual scarring, with the markings denoting tribe affiliation, chosen path, and lineage. Despite their primal appearance and shamanistic practices, the loxodon do have a fairly advanced society, even capable of sophisticated metalwork exceeding that which the elves are capable of. Legend has it that the tribes were named after the first weapon created by their people, the first creation made without the teaching of the Treefolk.
Treefolk- The treefolk are the oldest beings in the jungle, their influence stretching back to the very genesis of the great forests. Each member of the grove spent centuries nurturing their souls, listening to the pulse of the world, before the vivid mana of the jungle truly awakened them. As spiritual beings, the treefolk choose to take the long view of every event, gathering in the Pardes Valley and treating it as an amphitheater on a geological scale. Some of the other races refer to the treefolk as the cloud-veiled because of the thick mists that come from their leaves, water lost by transpiration, which accounts for a great deal of the fog that hang in the forests around them. The treefolk have a deep love of sharing wisdom, each bringing a unique perspective to philosophy even amongst other members of the grove. Though the grove is considered a collective, each sage is by nature an individual and the culture that they cultivate is far more varied than that of any of the shorter lived people. Since the cataclysm, the treefolk have become more concerned with their collective knowledge, as well as the perpetuation of their race. Without as many awakening in new generations, they have begun to teach the elves and loxodon their most ancient secrets, regardless of if they are prepared for it. Some members of the grove believe that even if the last of them were to die, they could never truly cease to exist. One day, the mana will return, and within will be the knowledge of all that came before. The greatest of the treefolk is massive, towering over three times the height of the others. He is a giant, even amongst the towering heights of the others. He is considered so powerful that a single bite of the fruit from his branches can impart profound revelations. Thought without a doubt the wisest of his kind, many of his statements make no sense to others, none more so than the insistence that there are other worlds beyond the one they live in. A great deal of debate has gone into what that could mean, but none have been able to understand the true depth of his words.
Beasts- Home to more life than can be counted in a generation, the massive beasts in the jungle are of special note. Very, very distantly related, the Baloth, Thoctar, and Indrik are all in the same family of creature, though many forest-kin argue what common ancestor they may share and from whence they sprang. Some believe that they were created, fully formed from the mind of the ancient gods and though the gods have long since departed, their bestial legacy remains.
Insect- As you might expect of a rainforest, it is teeming with insect, from the likes of the humble scute, to the might of the adephage. In many ways the forest could not exist without the insects, as ubiquitous and common as the very trees themselves, but far more varied than anything else under the canopy. Indeed, it seems that each and every form of insect life has evolved perfectly to suit some need, some suited to tasks that aren’t even native to the forest. Many of the larger insects end up sequestering themselves to grow, and these pupae should be avoided at all costs.
Geography lesson time kids!
White Kingdoms: Most of the land is made up of steppes that dominate the terrain. The only exceptions are the mountains in the Northern west and the foothills around them and the western coast. Here, dense forests provide the majority of the trees on this continent. The forests and mountains are haunted by the predator cat known as the Jhovall, which resembles a jaguar many times the size of the regular cat... and known distinctly for having six legs. The people of the white kingdom consider the Jhovall to be the fiercest natural predator on the continent and it is not unusual to see them on the plains, come down from the forests and mountains.
The south of the continent is filled with glades that flow into the canal seas, except where the landbridges span the immense intermittent bodies of water.
Notable Locations: The great walled cities, The southern glades, The Great Goddess statue carved into the distant mountains, The Quartz Cliffs
Red Lands: The red lands are primarily immense mountains, scorching deserts, and sparse savannah. The mountains that make up the coasts of the east and north are occupied by the dragons, though the canyons which make up the interior of the land are the ancient human cities now occupied by the Viashino. A vast stretch of desert winds its way across the center of the continent, occasionally broken by the scraggly savannahs where much of the non-reptilian life manages to scratch out a life. Predatory birds, cobras, and small mammals manage to survive. The humans live upon the other side of the continent, towards the broken coasts overlooking the volcanic islands. Amongst the other indigenous species are scorpions and snakes, as well as predatory birds that prey upon them. Upon the volcanic islands Scavenger Drakes make their nests far from the major powers of the dragons of the mainland. Deep within the magma, dormant in the lava tubes and heat of the earth, Hellions lurk sluggishly. When hunger drives them up out of the core of the world, the kavu and dragons often lose a notable portion of their kin. While the Kavu and Dragon occupy the surface, the hellions rest below, proving that their power can be upset at a moment's notice.
Notable locations- The Tar Swamps, The Mesa peaks, The Imperial Canyons, The Magma Pools, The Caldera Lagoon, The Savannahs, The Dragon Ranges, The Deep Desert, and the Lava Isles.
The Jungles and Mires: Located on the same continent, many of the places are shared by both the Black Realms and the Green Jungle, though there are places where each have something unique.
The land between the mires and jungles is a vast plain of broken wastelands. It acts as the partition that splits the lands from each other, though the green jungles claim much much more land than the Black Realms. The wastelands in the Black Realms are occupied by giant moths whose silk is said to glitter. However, they never fly too close to the jungles on the other side of the plains.
The black realms have several rushing rivers that bring clean water into the massive ruins of the cisterns that surround the cities. A fair number of those have become completely submerged after the cataclysm into great lagoons fathoms deep. Because of the lower lands that drop as you continue further east, waterfalls are very common. None compare to the falls surrounding the massive fortress built at the center of the world's largest cistern. It is known as Column's Keep and is the official meeting place of the Cognate secret society. The falls surround it on three sides and are over a mile long in total.
What few forests manage to survive this deep into the Black Realms are filled with bats and giant spiders. The only creatures able to survive the polluted swamps are Oozes that appear as nothing more than stains of scum or oil spills on the waters.
The Jungles have few landmarks now, though the overgrown ruins of the Elfhame cities can still be seen. Amongst the only notable features are the jungle covered mountains which rise in the north along the furthest north portion of the continent in the west. Valleys dip under the jungle canopy, none more well known that Pardes Valley. Also notable within the Green Jungles are the Faerie Conclaves, which occupy many of the deep wood lakes where the fae make their homes. Of the other indigenous life, the most numerous of them are the birds in the jungle. Which, of course, terrorize the faeries that live there. Boar are present, as are higher order apes and exotic types of frogs as well. Unicorns are common in the deepest portions of the jungle as well.
Locations: Pardes Valley, The Rivers, Loxodon Grove, Elfhame Ruins,
The Blue Society is centered in an island chain to the east of the main continents. Composed primarily of two mega-islands, or demi-continents if you want to get fancy, and an archipelago of tiny islets they are still the smallest landmass any of the cultures occupy. Luckily, they don't need that much landmass, as they have long since extended their reach into the depths of the surrounding ocean. Unfortunately, most of the submarine civilization is as of yet unknown.
The most notable outward feature of the island's territories are the barrier of guard gomazoa that forms a perimeter around their primary holdings.
The Polar Continent: Far in the north is a wind blasted frigid continent that sparkles like diamond dust. Not much is known about this frozen land, but it is known that the leviathan spend much of their time swimming beneath the thick crust of ice that stretches far from the heart of solid land. It is rumored that a handful of the merfolk traditionalists take refuge in the submarine ice caverns, but none can confirm this.
As an aside, once we get the development done, with Pablo's help, we're going to move this into full on YmtC set design.