The World of Reyn

Introduction

Two thousand years ago, the world emerged from a state of darkness. What exactly happened before that is lost in the memories of souls long dead, but the scars of cosmic catastrophes and a wilderness of danger remain today, marring the land. Lands were torn apart and humans lived in fear, without any known societal structure. The force behind this rampant chaos? Magic.

Magic apparently went uncontrolled by humans for millennia. Instead, it would manifest itself as a destructive presence (often, according to archaeologists, as a storm of elemental energy) that seemed to actively seek out humanity. Theories abound as to why these phenomena occurred, and it is the subject of much speculation among academics, but no-one knows for sure.

But two thousand years ago, history began being recorded. It is known by archaeologists and scholars that humanity existed for thousands of years: even a few signs of collaboration, such as the ruins of primitive groups of huts that might be interpreted as towns can all be found in the corners of the uninhabited modern world. But none of these ancient cultures had developed written language or recorded the events of their times.

Just as peculiar as history’s absence is its beginning. The first known historical records concern themselves with the activities of the “Devas” – mystical beings, described as canine or feline in form, who had purportedly arrived in the realm of humans and were “instructing” them. Many stories are told about the Devas, their interactions with each other, what they taught the humans, and how they taught it. While worshiped, at the time, as gods, it would seem that they were not omnipotent, but they were, apparently, very powerful beings who ignited the spark of modern civilization in humanity. The Devas taught humans many things, among them the control of the vicious and, by all appearances, malevolent, force of magic.

How much truth there is to tales of the Devas is not known. They simply be metaphorical accounts, or glorifications of a few geniuses who revolutionized human society. However, the rumors – one might almost call them legends, or myths – of these potent Devas still are popular today, and a few people have even claimed that they have seen one of the mythical “gods" wandering in forests or atop mountains. The general scholarly opinion on Devas, however, is that they are fabricated beings meant to somehow explain the sudden change in human behavior and culture.

Whether ignited by a divine spark or not, with a bridle on magic and an understanding of society, humanity rapidly began to grow. Within 40 YD (Year of the Devas), the first human metropolis, Narasimhon (named after the Deva Narasimha), had been built, and quickly went about creating an empire spanning the entire continent. Technology advanced in leaps and bounds, as did socioeconomic developments. Reading through the records of Vadrian and Holdur (the two legendary scribes who recorded the first hundred years of human history, beginning with the Devas and ending with the arrival of the gnomes) is considered mandatory for any human raised in a civilized manner. Soon, humanity began to war with itself. In 80 YD, a rival city-state to Narasimhon, called Isenhold (named after the Deva Isengrin), arose, and split off from the empire of Nara, creating the country of Isen. More countries seceded in similar manners, until there were more than twenty different nations, existing in a very unstable political condition. Outright wars were uncommon, but skirmishes would erupt constantly, and tensions were high. Some nations receded from the political scene, withdrawing and erecting ancient monuments to their smaller but more peaceful cultures in the farther corners of the globe. Reyn’s state of affairs remained this way for more than a thousand years of squabbles.

In 1275 YD, when gnomish sailors discovered the human continent, it was the meeting of two great civilizations. Humans and gnomes built up diplomatic relations quickly, and trade became common. Gnomes taught the humans to build boats and provided them with other advanced technologies, and humans taught gnomes their calendar and their skill in martial arts and magic. Soon, gnomes and humans began living in each others’ lands, and by 1500 YD, there were almost as many gnomes living in the human continent of Reyn (as it had been so named, in honor of the Deva Reynard) as there were humans, and there were almost as many humans as gnomes in the gnomish homeland, Fey’ri.

In 1513 YD, the elves emerged from underground. Appearing in the desert (where modern Al Sekhar is now), the race made a massive pilgrimage southwards, finally settling in the forest of Al Avandri.

The two most ancient countries of the land, Nara and Isen, weathered the rapidly changing political climate and lasted much longer than many of the neighboring lands. However, in 1895 YD, Reyn saw the harshest winter it ever had, and Isen was made uninhabitable by the ferocious snows and biting winds. Citizens of Isen were forced to evacuate to nearby nations. Isenhold itself was destroyed entirely, covered in snow and ice, and is now an abandoned ruin. During that winter, the dwarves emerged from the mountains, driven away by cold conditions that even they could not tolerate, and discovered the world around them, the last of the major races to arrive in Reyn. It is rumored that in that same harsh winter that saw the loss of a nation and the introduction of a new race, the Deva Coyote appeared to the king of Nara in a dream and warned him of impending doom for the world. But that is a tale told in whispers on the streets, by scoundrels who enjoy causing mischief. And even if it were true, why should anyone trust the word of Coyote, the Deva of trickery?

The Devas

Anubis is the Deva of death and justice.
Bastet is the Deva of magic and martial arts.
Coyote is the Deva of laughter and trickery.
Fenrir is the Deva of strength.
Inari is the Deva of instinct and power.
Isengrin is the Deva of nobility and pride.
Ixchel is the Deva of peace.
Narasimha is the Deva of religion.
Reynard is the Deva of life.
Sekhmet is the Deva of war.
Sphinx is the Deva of intelligence and wisdom.
Tezcatlipoca is the Deva of the elements.

Geography

A map of the world can be found here.
This section will cover the basic geographical features and characteristics of the various lands of Reyn. It will also include basic levels of information on countries, including their locations, when they were established, who founded them and why, who they are allied with, who they are at war with, and any other important details. It will not include much beyond that, however – there will be no mention of specific town names, detailed descriptions of locales, or whether there is a prominent monstrous component to the population (such as giants living in the mountains). These details can be found in each country’s wiki page.

The Continent of Reyn

A map of Reyn can be found here.
By Earth’s definition of continent, Reyn actually qualifies as two. Northern Reyn is a small continent connected to the rest of Reyn via a short isthmus. The uppermost edge of Northern Reyn is an frigid mountain range, full of fjords and glaciers. This fades into stretches of taiga as one goes farther south. The bottom of Northern Reyn consists of grasslands, and this savannah continues down into the top of the southern continent. The next stretch of land a traveler would encounter on a journey south is a vast, sweltering desert. More grasslands (now hilly) follow and continue down the middle of the southern continent, with deciduous forest to the West and a jungle to the East and South.*
The countries of Reyn are very much subject to change, but in the year 1000 YD they are laid out as follows:
Ebezar (founding unknown, abandoned from 1895 YD to 1897 YD): Ebezar is the land of the dwarves. Humans have left it alone so far, if only because of the formidable defenses – dwarves are master craftsmen, architects, and engineers, and have built country-long barriers into the faces of their mountain home to protect from hostile visitors.
Ota (founded 344 YD): Ota is the religious capital of Zen, an ancient, widespread religion based on the seeking of enlightenment and achieving true spontaneity. Located on a small, cold, mountainous island off the coast of Fenrisgard, Ota is ruled by a religious leader, selected from any of several “Zen Masters” who have achieved enlightenment. Ota teaches meditation, swordsmanship, archery, calligraphy, and painting to all who are willing to devote themselves to Zen pursuits and come to the island to study. Politically, it has mostly been left to itself (after an unsuccessful attempt to conquer it by Fenrisgard).
Fenrisgard (founded 1904 YD): Named after Fenrir, Deva of strength, this land occupies the Western half of the coniferous forests bordering Ebezar. This is one of the few countries that still worships the Devas (though many still name countries, cities, and children after them). Fenrisgard is ruled by a council of elders who have devoted themselves to the Deva Fenrir, and led a revolution against the previous country in the location they are in now (and also conquered several of its neighbors) due to the fact that the Devas were not worshiped. Fenrisgard are currently at war with Pethros, and has a peace treaty with Zuulten.
Pethros (founded 1909 YD): The human nation of Pethros broke off from Fenrisgard five years after the country came into being. The king was a traveler from southern lands. During his travels, he was caught in the revolution that led to the creation of Fenrisgard, and was appalled by what he considered pagan practices. He promised better conditions and a more lenient regime, and many of the people of Fenrisgard believed him. They seceded and have not been recaptured since. The king has since passed his position of leadership down to his daughter, who, in turn, has now passed it down to her son. Pethros is currently at war with Fenrisgard.
Zuulten (founded 683 YD): Zuul, the youngest of three sons of Okor, thirteenth thane of Isen, promised his father that he could conquer the south for him. His military genius was such that he swept all of Northern Reyn within ten years, but by then, he had convinced himself that his father was unworthy of owning such a vast empire, and that only he should be allowed to rule the mighty nation he had forged. He demanded that his father make him his successor, and when he refused, he turned and attempted to take Isen. Isen held out, however, and Zuul was left to rule the area he had conquered. He created the religion of Zuulism, and enforced it, making his people build temples in his name. Zuul, believing that a child could not be depended on to serve his interests, eventually chose his heir to be one of his loyal generals. Leadership of the country (and of the “church of Zuul”) has been passed down from general to general ever since. Zuulten is currently at war with Pethros, and has a peace treaty with Fenrisgard.
Al Dashar (founded 1951 YD): The Qorian religion has existed since before human history began (in other words, before the Devas purportedly arrived), but was brought from underground by the elves. Qorians worship a large pantheon of gods, all of whom watch over the world in the sky as stars and other celestial bodies. The elves, having lived underground for centuries, remembered the skies and devoted their lives to serving it. It was the dream of every religious elf to see the sky again, which is why the elves made the great migration to reach the world above. Al Dashar one of the latest in a long line of nations formed by one of several warring Qorian sects. It is, naturally, an oligarchy, ruled by one of the several elves claiming to be the one true priest, the Qora, or “god-on-earth,” sent by the heavens to do their bidding. Though they are led by an elf, Al Dashar’s population consists mostly of humans who converted when the elves arrived. Al Dashar is at war with Al Qadif, Al Sekhar, and Al Tefesh, and is hostile towards Al Avandri, but has not yet declared war outright.
Al Qadif (founded 1930 YD): This nation is another Qorian oligarchy, also located in the desert.
Al Sekhar (founded 1974 YD): This nation is another Qorian oligarchy, located in the neighboring desert.
Al Tefesh (founded 1898 YD): This nation is another Qorian oligarchy, also located in the desert.
Bast (founded 1709 YD): Bast is a desert nation where the magically and martially inclined go to study. Two academies, The Bast School of Arcana and The Bast School of Combat, have achieved fame throughout the land for producing some of the most well-trained mages and warriors around. Many other countries send students who they have identified as talented to Bast’s academies, so the region has been left more or less alone politically for the last few hundred years.
Dragon Isle (founding not applicable): This island is uninhabited by humans, instead being the home of a large population of dragons. The dragons of this island seem to preoccupy themselves studying the movements of the stars, and visiting explorers have heard mention of a prophecy while conversing with the residents. The dragons are not hostile, per se, but many of the larger ones are willing to eat humanoids for snacks on a whim if they get hungry.
Ix (founded 404 YD): This island country has remained uninvolved with the rest of the world for some time, and pays homage to the Deva Ixchel as a god, much like Fenrisgard does for Fenris. Their levels of technology are far behind that of the mainland due to lack of frequent contact, but the residents don’t seem to mind, content to keep to themselves and worship.
Al Avandri (founded 518 YD): The majority of Reyn’s elven population makes its home here, in the deciduous forest of Al Avandri. This is also, mostly, the home and religious capital of the Qorian religion (though many worshipers outside of Al Avandri believe that the resident Qora is not the rightful god-on-earth). The predominant occupation of the elves is astrology, though they are also expert hunters, magicians, scientists, and philosophers. Most nations have chosen to leave Al Avandri alone, due to both the elves’ formidable combat prowess and the outrage such a political move would provoke from the other three Qorian nations.
Westwood (founded 1703 YD): Just south of Al Avandri is the nation of Westwood. Hundreds of years ago, it was a Naran territory, but when Nara eventually withdrew from the area, a few settlers remained. Now threatened by many of its neighbors, the small country, which lacks a strong military, faces imminent destruction.
Riverside (founded 1985 YD): As turbulent as the rest of Reyn is politically, the rising and falling nations in the Western forest are the most fleeting and temporary. The folk of the woodlands are used to being oppressed by new dictators every ten or twenty years, and caught up in constant skirmishes. Riverside is one of many small woodland city-states, ruled by a human warlord. It is at war with all of its neighbors.
Fal’tia (founded 1997 YD): Fal’tia is also a small woodland city-state, ruled by three gnomish brothers. It is at war with Riverside and Wiqirsjach, and has a peace treaty with Largo.
Wintergate (founded 1991 YD): Wintergate is another small woodland state, ruled by a druidic society of Shamans. It is at war with Riverside.
Wiqirsjach (founded 1973 YD): Wikirsjach is another small woodland state, the only country in Reyn ruled by a giant. Its name means “Towering Shadow” in the Giant language (which, as scholars have noted, seems to be, oddly, a derivative language of Draconic). Wiqirsjach is at war with Largo and Fal’tia.
Largo (founded 1901 YD): By far the oldest of the human Western woodland city-states, Largo is named after the human warlord Jove Largo, who entered the woodland one hundred years ago with the intent of eradicating the giants who were, in his mind, making it unsafe for humans to venture into the forest. He was unsuccessful in his mission, but he managed to found the first stable human nation in the woodlands during his crusade. Largo is at war with Wiqirsjach and has a peace treaty with Fal’tia.
The Dark Forest (founding not applicable): No humans have entered this area of the forest, where the sun barely shines through the trees. Arcanists can tell that the forest radiates an aura of magic, but no explorer has been brave enough to determine why. Many theorize that if the Devas exist, the Dark Forest is where they make their home.
Nara (founded 40 YD): Once a mighty empire, the human nation of Nara is the Reyn’s oldest, safest, and most powerful country. No other nation dares to attack it, no matter how power-hungry their leaders may be. Nara has expanded in recent years, growing to be more than twice the size of any other country in Reyn, but has no plans to attempt to reconquer the rest of the continent for the present, and contents itself with being one of the world’s centers for academic study, population, and safety. They have a complex system of government where a hereditary monarch collaborates with an elected parliament to create laws. There is no discrimination based on race or religion, education is provided by the government for everyone, art and architecture thrives, and in general, it is held to be the pinnacle of modern society.
Inaria (founded 1718 YD): This nation used to be a part of Nara, and, in fact, never formally seceded. With the inrush of more and more gnomish immigrants from Fey’ri, however (to the point of the population being approximately 45% gnome), Nara eventually decided to stop interfering altogether. Under the insistence of a human scholar in a position of leadership at the time, the country was named after Inari, the Deva of power. Inaria serves as a kind of portal for the world, where ideas mingle and all sorts of people can be found. It is considered the world’s center and innovator of technology and trade.
The Jex’ken (founding not applicable): This dense, impenetrable jungle is rumored to be the home of tribes of a primitive, “uncivilized” people. Nara and a few other countries have recently created colonies there, but the Jex’ken is so harsh that it is hard to imagine any society living there successfully. So far, rumors of a race hidden deep in the jungle are unconfirmed, but many ruins and signs of ancient civilizations have been found by Naran explorers.

The Continent of Fey’ri

General geographical layout in first section, nations and where they are located in second section.*

The Continent of Avalon

Virtually nothing is known about the continent of Avalon. Gnomish cartographers have mapped it, to the best of their ability, by sailing around its borders in a ship, but nothing can be seen save vast, impenetrable stretches of jungle. An expedition is being organized by ambitious Fey’ri explorers, which will likely be ready to set sail in a few years.

A Note on Races

Mechanically, a human character can be either a human or an orc. Likewise, a gnome character can be mechanically represented as either a gnome or a halfling.

*This text is a placeholder for something marginally more well-written. Describing landscapes is not my forte, and I will return to it when I have more creative energy. Either that, or there’s an intentional placeholder (ABCDE or a description of what will be there) for a country I haven’t named or created yet.


Note on Themes of the World:

Theme the First, Belief and Non-Belief: In this world, there are no known gods. Many different beliefs, different religions, different philosophies, and different ideals are constantly clashing with each other. Threatening all of these beliefs is the belief that there should be no belief, and that we live in a world where mortals are alone, and that the quest for meaning is pointless.

Theme the Second, Gods and Magic: The clashing of beliefs is not the only conflict that a lack of active gods means in a world of magic. Many struggle with how to reconcile the existence of the supernatural with no supernatural deities present. The search to understand magic is inextricably tied with the searches for religion and meaning. What makes it even more baffling is that magic is inherently malevolent, and, before humans learned to manipulate it, it rampaged and wrought havoc across the land on its own, raising the question of how a force that is clearly tied to the supernatural, or perhaps, according to some beliefs, the godly, could exist in a world with a benevolent omnipotent being.

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