(redirected from Mythosa.Karnathas)
The setting information presented here details a land area of roughly four million square miles, slightly larger than Europe and about a third larger than the contiguous United States. Most of this territory is wilderness, some of which had been settled at one time or another but presently is abandoned due to wars, disease, and other calamities. Having been devastated by a magical conflict known as the Thaumaturgical Wars, the population of humanity and its ilk is scattered, with most people living within 50-100 miles of a coast. Overland travel is dangerous, and lawlessness is the norm.
There are no "traditional" kingdoms in Mythosa, at least not in the regions described here. Power is centered among a handful of large city-states, while the spaces between them are occupied by petty nobles and warlords attempting to carve a place for themselves out of the wilderness.
The world map (found on the Maps page) shows two continental regions:
- Karnathas has a climate ranging from cold in the north to Mediterranean in the south. Most of the interior of the continent was devastated by the Thaumaturgical Wars; it is littered with ruins and wastelands and home to all manner of dangerous creatures. It is still the most heavily populated of the two regions, with a number of cities and settlements along its southern and western coasts.
- Zarkhir is located to the south of Karnathas, beyond the Llyrnan Sea. It is home to monster-infested jungle in the west and a harsh, ruin-littered desert to the east. The cities on the fringes of the jungle are lairs of villainy where visitors tread in peril. The desert settlements are safer but still dangerous to outsiders unfamiliar with the customs of the native population.
Outside of these two areas, there are a number of other noteworthy places:
- The large island of Atharys is found to the west of Karnathas and possesses a similar climate. Due to the Skesgart Sea lying between it and its eastern neighbor, it was spared much of the destruction that Karnathas suffered.
- Malgotha is a large, mysterious island west of Zarkhir. Little is known of the place as the few expeditions to make the long journey there never returned.
- The Eastern Desolation is an immense region east of Karnathas and Zarkhir. It is a barren wasteland stretching east for thousands of miles, populated by fell creatures and crazed, cannibalistic humanoid tribes. Every attempt to cross it to date has met with failure.
- Syrhaat is a mysterious matriarchal empire located far to the east and south of the Eastern Desolation. It engages in limited trade with the Zarkhirran city of Shesada.
The greatest historical event in the recent past has been the Thaumaturgical Wars. For many years, most of Karnathas, Atharys, and northern Zarkhir were part of the Marasinian Empire. The Empire was ruled by a council of powerful archmagi known as Mystarchs. About 30 years ago, the Mystarchs discovered a new type of magical energy which they called "nethermagic". Nethermagic made magic use easier and spells more powerful. Unfortunately, it slowly destroyed both the caster's sanity and the environment around him, a side effect that wasn't discovered until it was too late. The Mystarchs went mad and turned on one another, engaging in massive civil wars that devastated the world. Five years of conflict brought civilization to the brink of extinction.
Though countless numbers perished, mankind managed to survive and has been slowly recovering and rebuilding for the last 25 years. Unfortunately, due to the Thaumaturgical Wars, most history prior to the Third Age has been lost. Most of what is known is myth or legend; little factual information has been preserved, though occasional pieces are recovered from the ruins (and command high prices among those looking to gain more insight into the world's past).
Currently the world is at the beginning of what sages consider "the Fourth Age". The prior ages are summarized below:
- The Third Age was dominated by the Marasinian Empire and was considered the pinnacle of humanity. The secrets of steel working were discovered early in this age. It was ended by the Thaumaturgical Wars.
- The Second Age was notable for its ancient kingdoms and empires, some human, others not. Weapons, tools, and armor were cast from bronze. The end of the Age was marked by the Divinity War.
- The First Age witnessed the rise of elves and dwarves, with humans first emerging as primitive tribes bearing stone weapons.
- The Time Before Man is one term used for the period before the First Age. Only legends and myth describe this time.
People and Culture
There are myriad races throughout the world, though only a handful are of immediate concern:
- Humans dominate the civilized world, but their numbers are low compared to the multitudes of monstrous races inhabiting the wilderness. Roughly 60% of humans live near the coasts in "civilized" areas; the remainder are found in "barbaric" tribes, particularly in southern Atharys, northwestern Karnathas, and the Zarkhir desert. Civilized or barbaric, humanity is entrenched in a fortress mentality where trust is a hard-earned commodity; this is unsurprising given the current state of the world.
- Dwarves have fewer numbers than humans, due to massive losses in their wars against orcs and goblinoids that pre-date the Marasinian Empire. The wars that broke apart that empire didn't help them, either. The dwarves currently aspire to halt the decline of their race and rebuild their population.
- Elves have suffered along with their civilized brethren over the years. Never a populous race, they were decimated when the Mystarchs tried to wipe them out with a magical disease. This attack caused them to retreat to their island kingdom of Elthanamir and cut themselves off from the rest of the world. Since the fall of the Marasinian Empire, they have warily returned to the other lands. Those who have returned are primarily Sylvari, or Wood Elves, while the Ilidari - the High Elves - have mostly remained in Elthanamir. Of the Drakari, the "Dark Elven" subrace that split from the Ilidari ages ago, little is spoken.
Various religions exist in Mythosa, but two faiths are dominant:
- The Faith of the Earth Mother is a nature-based religion centered around the Earth Mother, her consort Cerunn, and various nature spirits. It is popular among the Sylvari as well as the human barbarian tribes.
- The Divine Host are the favored religion of "civilized" humans. Most of the Host are evil or amoral and are placated rather than worshiped. There are three "good" gods (the Triumvirate of Light), but most people aren't even aware they exist; due to the casualties of the Divinity War, it is a popular misconception that all the good gods were slain.