The Long Way Home
A brief overview and history:
No-one can really remember what the continent was like when the New People arrived. Now, all these centuries later, all that remains of the Age Of Heroes are relics, ruins, remnants of language, and those who still worship the feral gods.
The Age Of Heroes, the name given to the time during the conquest of the continent by the New People, stretched the invading forces thin, leading to isolation between the regions for a surprising number of years. These isolated regions still function almost entirely independently:
A land of roaming tribes and peoples, and by far the most mountaineous region on the continent, the people of Deadspark were independant and peaceful before the New People arrived. Allying together and mobilizing for the first time in oratory history, the horsemen managed to hold off the invaders.
Now they hold the mountains as an unofficial border, with no army managing to even reach the Great Camp in force, ever. Not even the great warriors of the Paragons surviving the mountains in force. The numerical superiority and centuries honed mountaineering instincts allowing the Deadspark to be held with little effort.
But if the three hundred tribes within the Deadspark ever were united and mobilized, there would be no stopping their ambition…
The Paragons Sphere:
The Home Of Heroes, the Paragons stand proudly and firmly against the horrors of the Screamers Wastes. Housing 7 guard cities, and their great capital The Sphere, the Paragons are born with adventure in their blood and their ambitions roaring high.
Ruled by the Paragons Guild, inside their fabled Hall Of Heroes, the paragons worship their heroes as close to gods, with their just as likely to be a shrine to any Paragons a village has produced in the town square as a religious shrine.
Anyone can become a Paragon, all they must do is prove their worth as a champion and adventurer, and they may be selected to replace any of the 19 current Paragons if any were to fall.
But how to prove themselves worthy?
You could be like the great battledancer Sara, and defend the towers against the horrors of the Wastes. You could be like the scholar Petyr, who scorched the wildmen of the Dead Expanse in great swathes of fire.
Or you could also be like Kylar, who fearlessly travelled to the southernmost tip of the Waste, returning with his mighty trident that still stands from the ground in front of the hall.
Many countless numbers of wannabe Paragons travel south through the gates into the Waste, a bare dozen or so a year return, and none return the same.
The White Council
From the radiant crystal towers of the White Hall, the White Council see all of Zorgrotia. A region housing the four great schools of magic within its great city, some say the very earth itself shimmers when the council perform one of their rituals.
Exclusive and xenophobic, the mages of the council accept only the best.
In the first few centuries following the Age Of Heroes, the council sat as the governing seat of all the regions dominated by the New People, but there has not been an archmage powerful enough to sit in the white throne for half a millenia. The other regions no longer recognize the Councils authority, and govern themselves in their own ways.
So the mages of the council sit, and scheme, wise and ambitious, each devoting their attention on the white throne, wondering if they might one day be powerful enough to be accepted by the seat of power.
Such an archmage would unite the entire continent. Such an archmage would be a threat to the schemes many on the council have constructed so carefully.
The Western Trade Circles:
No-one knows how it is such a region can thrive without proper governance.
The traders and merchants of the Circles are generous and cunning, but confine their ambition to their city of residence. Whether it is the Merchants Guild of Arkanval, or the Divine Bank Of Yrunde, the circles and people of the west pride efficiency and hard work above all else.
But the west is by no means a merchants utopia.
The wild never truly bowed to the New Peoples, and it shows in their archaic names, in a language few now speak. Nallakas, Ba'Basta, and Terras Nul for examples. The feral gods are still worshipped in places too, and in the past few decades there have been whispers that some worshippers of the feral gods have begun to unlock incredible power. The strength of the ferals grows again.
Caravans and mercenary companies can feel safe enough along the great road, but step off the road between cities and you enter a lawless wildland, the only justice found is on the edge of your blade.
Sho'sa & Paraxis:
Small and nondescript, the islands functioned as bases and stopping points for militaries at some point in the past, but now sit dormant and independent. They keep to themselves, fishing and hunting, offering tribute to the feral gods of the sea. They've each launched naval invasions of the continent in the past, made easy by the fact no region but the West have any form of navy to oppose them, but they are always swiftly defeated upon landing.
Not worth worrying about, not worth conquering, and beloved by the gods of the sea.
Wildmarsh, Redfield, The Dead Expanse, Shadowstone Hovels:
It doesn't matter which name you call it. The West call it Wildmarsh, the White Council call it Redfield, the Paragons call it the Dead Expanse, and the Deadspark call it Shadowstone.
The name is irrelevant. What matters, is you're not welcome.
A land of rich soil and vibrant forests, of copious fresh water sources and hordes of livestock. But no people. Why?
Villages still stand, whole cities, but they gather dust, the graves pile up.
The legend is simple: Say you're a ruler in one of the neighboring regions, and you lead a force to settle there. Many have before, many will in the future. And you do so.
Your people will bare no children, their crops will never grow, any livestock in pens will grow thin and stop producing while their kind left wild will thrive. And in a few decades, your new town or city will be dead. Another ruin, forgotten in the fields.
The West, say it is the doing of the feral gods, a bitter trick on the invaders who took their land.
The Council, say it is the doing of dark magic, casters who have performed profane rituals with tragic consequences.
The Paragons, say it is the wildmen, the barbaric groups that hide within the thick forests.
The Deadspark, say nothing of it, but keep their horses from grazing there just the same.
It is perhaps the only thing preventing the regions from uniting under a common cause, the deadness in the centre of the continent. Perhaps that's on purpose.
When the New Peoples first arrived on Zorgrotia, they found it a haunted land of barbaric people, feral gods, and unimaginable horrors. But in the face of an organized military effort, and the power of the divine gods of the Golorian pantheons, the horrors were pushed backwards.
The momentum of the New Peoples, was halted at the Wastes. And no-one remembers specifically why, but the Wastes are all too happy to remind.
Take one step beyond the gates of one of the seven towers, and you'll understand. It's a barren wasteland, of sick magic and horrors pulled from the earth by the feral gods in their attempts to hold off the invaders, from silent undead, to winged beasts, to a ghostly shadow that need only appear in front of a tower before otherwise brave veterans fling themselves from the walls to their death.
The Paragons have been smashing themselves against the Waste for centuries. Some aquire incredible power or artifacts that could crack the fabric of the plane itself. Many are found years later, dying in their attempt to crawl back to the north, praying to their gods for help.
But the gods of the New Peoples don't touch the wastes, indeed any cleric or paladin or divine crusader will find themselves abandoned. There's only the feral gods in the south.
Worship, or die.