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10.11 Dumin

When the Helion armies were forced into retreat on the eastern continent, the remnants on the western shores (south of Weisseria and north of Issaephia) opted to cede from the Helion Empire and declare independence. This land has become Dumin, meaning `abandoned'.

Renouncing Amalek, they have instead turned to Keros (see section 10.3) as their patron. Many Issaephians (see section 10.15) have taken residence in Dumin, and about one fifth of the population is Issaephian.

Dumin is torn by internal strife, particularly caused by those in the population who have secretly remained loyal to Amalek. The government is based in the port of Riar, where Loma, President Elect (Direct, Emotional and Fearful), his Issaephian concubine Leeta (Cautious, Erudite and - unusual for an Issaephian - Contented) and Teka, the Head Senator (Loyal, Mystical and Stoic) attempt to keep control of the unstable politics of Dumin.

Other key Dumin cities include Rialor and the port of Akhios, at the foot of the mountains which separate Dumin from Weisseria. The Dumin anticipate that the Helions will at some point return to attempt to punish them for their betrayal, and all towns and cities on the seaboard are fortified to withstand an attack from the sea.

Racial modifiers: +2 END, +1 AGL, +1 AWA, -2 PHS
Current population: 5 population units.
Money: Regional currency based around the gold mark.
Natural resources: Common woods, iron, gold and zinc.
Weaponry: Broadswords, short bows, shields, horses.
Armour: Brigandine, scale mail, ring mail, leather, shields.
Government: Republic.
Religion: Keros.
Magic: None.
Local Phase: Generally Settled and High, with occasional Phase storms from Aerloon making the area Unstable.
Primary languages: Talmon (common).
Secondary languages: Arhian, Irir.
Template: Trading.

10.12 The Garkesh

At the far east of the known world lies the island home of the Garkesh, a hybrid of man and lizard. The Garkesh walk on two legs, like mankind, but have a reptilian head, tail and skin. To the Garkesh, honour is everything. No Garkesh will ever lie, and a Garkesh's word is their bond. Although they strive to avoid death, they would rather die than be dishonoured.

Garkesh live, on average, to 120 years of age, and from age 24 to age 72, all Garkesh embark on their Wandering years. During this time, they travel the world, fighting as mercenaries, and in general trying to collect as many memorable stories about their life as is possible.

Once the Garkesh reach 72, they return to their spawning ground for their bonding. Here, all the Garkesh from a certain spawn return to impress each other with their abilities and stories. The festival of bonding (which lasts for many days) culminates with those male and female Garkesh of equal status mating, and another years spawn is produced. The Garkesh view the bonding as their reward for life, and afterwards retire, spending the rest of their years raising the young and teaching their skills to the younger generations.

The Garkesh respect nature, and have no interest in magic, preferring instead acts of physical prowess. The society has equality between the sexes, and no formal government, existing as a relaxed anarchy.

Across the world, the Garkesh are renowned as mercenaries. Never betraying their masters, and requiring little pay, the nations of Dumin, Gobrach, Helios, Issaephia and Rubai all employ Garkesh as soldiers and body guards. Garkesh rarely accept employment for more than a few years before moving on to seek experience elsewhere.

The Garkesh have an almost symbiotic relationship with the Clans of Akra (see section 10.10), and all Garkesh spend a decade or so with a Clan before going out into the world beyond.

• Garkesh Race

Species modifiers: STR +0, END +6, DEX -4, AGL +4, AWA +5, PHS -4
Racial modifiers: +2 END, +1 AGL, +1 AWA, -2 PHS
Current population: 8 population units in home country, 8 scattered across the world.
Weaponry: No cultural preference.
Armour: Natural hide armour (Index 3-1).
Government: None.
Religion: Sabtah.
Magic: None.
Primary languages: Sabtah.
Tertiary language: Talmon (common).
Template: Special (use Trading with lowest education class of Average education).

• Garkesh homeland

Money: None.
Natural resources: Common woods, iron, copper, silver.
Local Phase: Settled and Low.

10.13 Gobrach

To the far north of the eastern continent is one of the largest deserts in the known world. These lands are the territory of the Gobrach tribes, a negroid people with the single, simple purpose, of surviving the rigours of the lands in which they live. The culture is built up of tribes which in turn are made up of extended families. They are governed by a single leader in each tribe. All of the leaders usually meet once per year to make the larger decisions which will effect all of the tribes in the desert.

The culture is primarily made up of hunters and gatherers, this being a full time occupation in the desert, and there is no discrimination between the sexes. Although they are a non violent people, they are protective of the lands in which they hunt and they have protected their borders against the Weisserians in the past.

Because of the restrictions imposed by the desert, the horse has been replaced as the key beast of burden by two-legged lizards known as Nargier. The Nargier are native to the Gobrach desert, and are able to move swiftly across its surface sands.

Over the years the culture has become more of an oligarchy with a ruling council made up of the strongest tribal leaders. Several small cities have been built in the semi desert close to the west coast. It is in one of these cities that the council usually resides.

The Gobrach have remained an introverted race and have little interest in the world around them. Many of the Gobrach do not believe there are other lands beyond the desert. Corian Rhin, a famous figure in the history of the Gobrach, did travel southward for exploration, but the tales he brought back were thought fanciful by most people. It was only when the first Garkesh came to the Gobrach for experience that many people looked back on his tales and reconsidered them.

The only other contact with the outside has been with the Weisserians, who over several years attempted to take the desert. This lead to the construction of defense towers lining the deserts' southern edge, most of these being used only as lookout towers now. It was during this period that the Gobrach perfected their skill of using the desert as a weapon against their enemies, concealing themselves amongst the sand and leaving unwelcome visitors to starve.

When the Helion Empire attempted to open a trade discourse with the Gobrach, the Gobrach used their mastery of the desert to avoid contact. Eventually the Helions abandoned any attempt to deal with the Gobrach, and hence the desert remained free of Helion occupation.

In the middle of the desert is the crystal forest - an area covering several square leagues, filled with strange crystalline growths. The Gobrach fear the area, but consider it their duty to protect it. Since the fall of Aerloon there have been a number of Aerloonians dwelling in the crystal forest, and the Gobrach are very wary of these outsiders.

Racial modifiers: +2 END, +1 AGL, -1 PHS
Current population: 14 population units.
Money: Barter.
Natural resources: Jewels, silver and iron.
Weaponry: Shortswords, javelins, bows, crossbows nargier.
Armour: Leather, target shields.
Government: Tribal.
Religion: None.
Magic: None.
Local Phase: Settled and Low, rising to Settled and High in the crystal forest.
Primary language: Gobrach.
Template: Isolationist.

10.14 The Greshu

The Greshu are humanoids who exist below the plains between Orphis and the mountains of the trolls. These creatures are more like moles in appearance and have similar abilities. They cannot see, have a furry overcoat, and are able to tunnel through the ground at great speeds. Here, however, the similarity ends. Their digging ability stems from a paramagical organ around the bridge of their nose which telekinetically cuts through anything in its way.

In the centre of the Greshu territory this ability is at its maximum, and they can punch through metal without difficulty. At the borders of their territory, including the lands of the Arana (see section 10.20), they can cut through stone with comparative ease. Around Orphis, Issaephia and the southern edge of the plains of Akra this digging ability is limited to cutting through mud and earth, whilst beyond this limit it is no longer strong enough to use in digging.

The Greshu see by using their telekinetic ability as a form of sonar, similar to a bat, and hence can see shapes and forms clearly, but not colours. The range of this `vision' is similar to the range of human vision. The paramagical organ also gives them telepathic talents, communicating through images, rather than by words.

Greshu society is based around extended clans, with individual Greshu generally staying around their family caves. Greshu protect the lairs and young until they are old enough to leave and dig a home of their own.

Magic is comparatively rare in the Greshu society, with only a select few pursuing it seriously. Unique amongst the races of the world, the Greshu have a natural aptitude for the School of Mentalism.

They have formed a working relationship with the Arana, for whom they willingly dig cave systems, and a substantial Greshu population exists in Orphis. Orphic Greshu tend to be employed as interpreters, a profession they are ideally suited to.

Species modifiers: STR -2, END -1, DEX +0, AGL +5, AWA +3, PHS +2
Racial modifiers: -1 STR, -1 END, -1 DEX, +1 AGL, +2 AWA, +2 PHS
Current population: 18 population units in home country, 8 population units in Orphis.
Money: None.
Natural resources: Copper, iron, silver, zinc.
Weaponry: None.
Armour: Natural fur (Index 1-1).
Government: Tribal.
Religion: Arhos, Jaala, Lotan, Shosiri.
Magic: Alteration, Mentalism, Naturalism.
Local Phase: Settled and Average.
Languages: Naturally telepathic.

10.15 Issaephia

The Issaephians are a semi-aquatic race who inhabit the shallow bay, coast land and islands between Orphis to the south, and Dumin to the north. Since they emerged from the sea to form permanent settlements, some 400 years ago, their numbers have grown steadily but unspectacularly. As a race, they have proved peaceful and yet resourceful in the face of attack. They have a limited ability to change their skin colour and their gift for trickery is not limited to physiology, as they have proved talented in the art of trade.

The Issaephians first contact with other cultures was with the reclusive Eliam (see section 10.21), at the edge of the forests that surround what is now Issaephia. Since the Issaephians required little land for their population (since they farm the resources of the ocean) the Eliam consented not to hinder their development in return for guarantees that most of the land claimed would remain wild.

When the Aerloonian emissary to the Issaephians arrived, he was politely kidnapped and prevented from travelling more extensively until he had aided Luvial the Magnificent in building the first Issaephian land city, Oversea. During the era of the Helion empire the Issaephians did not resist their invasion. They allowed the Helions to pose as conquerors while relieving them of much of their gold through illusions and thefts. As Helios' power ebbed, trading links were re-established with erstwhile trading partners such as Orphis and Rubai and with new nations, particularly Dumin.

Presently Issaephia enjoys prosperity and due to its material comfort and security is becoming steadily more hedonistic. It is a land of little law, religious or secular, and has an open attitude to other races, even the Helions. The capital of Issaephia is the city of Teruel which lies, like the majority of their cities, underwater. It is home to the children of the entire race, who are brought here to be raised by those who have achieved old age with the duplicity and cunning that the Issaephians respect.

Racial modifiers: -1 END, +1 DEX, +1 AWA, +1 PHS
Current population: 15 population units.
Money: Quasi-barter based on the pearl.
Natural resources: Common woods, pearls, iron, gold.
Weaponry: Daggers, short swords, spears and tridents.
Armour: Typically none.
Government: Anarchy.
Religion: Keros.
Magic: Illusionism.
Local Phase: Generally Unstable and High.
Primary language: Irir.
Secondary languages: Talmon (common), Arhos (trade).
Template: Trading.

10.16 Trok

The Trok are a xenophobic culture at the southern end of the eastern continent, nested between the two southern mountain ranges, the rift valley and the great southern forest. Trok society exists around a number of tribal groups, settled into villages, who exist as essentially hunter-gatherers. Families are generally close, and patriarchal in nature, with the men going out hunting and the women remaining at home.

The Trok are generally a sceptical people, and although they believe in their god, Ska, they have little belief in magic. This scepticism is aided by the fact that Trok is situated over one of the largest Dead Zones in the known world.

Trok life, particularly at the southern edge of the country, has been plagued by the Ule (also known as the Uleckro - see section 10.22) who occasionally venture into Trok and kill those Trok foolish enough to be near the forest edge. The Trok hunters often enter the forest in an attempt to wipe out the Ule, but rarely achieve more than a slight reduction in numbers.

About 150 years ago, the city of Sunhall was founded in Trok, ten leagues from the edge of Arana. This has had little affect on the country as a whole, but has caused an unusual schism in the culture. Whilst the villages that make up the majority of the land remain isolated and secluded, the people who live in the city have become quietly interested in the affairs of the world. Since then, two other cities have been constructed, Waters-end and Stone-edge. The difference between city folk and villagers is a cause of some cultural prejudice within Trok.

Sunhall was the birth of the Assassins of Llorth, a quasi-religious guild which, in the last thirty years or so, has provided Trok's only export: assassins. Taking advantage of the natural skills of the Trokian hunters, the Guild takes the best hunters at the age of 16 and trains them to be assassins. The Guild is renowned for protecting the identity of its customers, and has established itself in Dumin and (to a lesser extent) in Rubai, as a respectable institution.

Racial modifiers: +1 STR, +1 DEX, +2 AGL, -2 PHS
Current population: 12 population units.
Money: Barter.
Natural resources: Iron, common woods, silver and gold.
Weaponry: Swords of all lengths, spears, bows. Assassins tend to use claws, knives and shuriken.
Armour: Leather.
Government: Tribal.
Religion: Ska.
Magic: None.
Local Phase: Settled and Low, falling to a Dead Zone in some places.
Primary language: Trok.
Secondary language: Talmon (Assassins of Llorth only).
Template: Isolationist.

10.17 The Trolls

The Trolls are a species of large humanoids who inhabit the Akrios mountains on the eastern continent. They stand from around 2.0 metres to 2.6 metres in height and have a tough, greyish brown skin. They live an extraordinary long life, usually around 300 years of healthy life followed by a short period of accelerated decrepitude, ending in death.

There are two different races of trolls living in the mountains, with separate ideals. The Akoul are the thinkers among the trolls, and a male Akoul has led them for the majority of the species' history. They desire greater understanding and are always willing to trade goods for knowledge. They are particularly interested in information which could assist them in feats of engineering in the mines of their home. They have a fascination with the other cultures around them, and the wars these cultures fight amongst each other.

In an attempt to get closer to these conflicts, without getting involved, the Akoul set up trade relationships with local nations for various forms of weaponry, after suggestions made by Aerloonian delegates, some of whom dwell with the trolls.

The other race is the Khath, the workhorses of the species. Tougher and stronger than the Akoul, most Khath spend almost all of their lives as blacksmiths or in the mines. Historically, some unusually charismatic Khath have become leaders. It is often the Khath who are sent out as trade delegates, after training from the Akoul. The Khath also train in the use of weapons in order to teach their customers, and to protect themselves. Those few trolls who are inclined towards violent acts tend to be Khath, and usually end up wandering outcast in a self imposed exile.

The trolls are spread out through the mountains as a number of different tribes. These tribes usually include members from both troll races. Family and religion are both of fundamental importance to a troll. The family is a closely knit unit in which the children are considered to be the most important members. They are highly valued as they are rare, and are carefully watched over for the first 15 years of their life.

The troll religion is based (not surprisingly) on the worship of a god of the earth, Arhos. They believe that Arhos created the trolls from the earth, in order for them to dig deep into his world. They believe that they must find the treasures that had been lost in the dark times. Most trolls are strongly religious, although they have no temples or churches, and their worship is personal. The religion and beliefs are passed on from parents to children.

The trolls now have trade relationships with Issaephia, Dumin, and Orphis. Many individuals have set up small shops or trade on an individual basis in major cities all over the eastern world.

The trolls only have one city, which is unnamed, a stronghold built deep in the mountains. It is protected by a complex maze, containing many magical defences, which was a gift from the Aerloonians who took residence in the mountains, after the fall of Aerloon.

Species modifiers: STR +6, END +2, DEX -1, AGL -1, AWA +1, PHS +0
Racial modifiers (Akoul): +1 STR, -1 END, +2 DEX, -1 AWA, +1 PHS
Racial modifiers (Khath): +3 STR, +1 END, -2 DEX, -1 AGL, +1 AWA
Current population: 10 population units.
Money: Quasi-barter based around knives and swords.
Natural resources: Iron, copper, zinc, silver.
Weaponry: Any, but usually large.
Armour: Natural hide (Index 3-1).
Government: Tribal.
Religion: Arhos.
Magic: None.
Local Phase: Settled and High.
Primary language: Arhian (trade).
Secondary language: Talmon (common).
Tertiary languages: Rubain, Trok.

10.18 Weisseria

Followers of the insane Exile god Gath, the Weisserians are strong, tough and almost completely insane. Weisserian society is essentially sexist, with all male children being trained for combat, and all female children being trained for organisation. Weisserian men wield the power, whilst the Weisserian women shoulder the responsibility.

What little government the Weisserians have is based on a deranged honour system. The people who make the most `acceptable' decisions are the most honourable, and become leaders. `Acceptable' is a relative term in Weisseria, as the more psychotic an idea is, the more appealing it becomes.

As followers of Gath, war is desired, and death in battle revered. Weisserian men are forbidden to mate until after battle, one result of this being that the Weisserians are always ready to fight, and will do anything to start a war.

The history of Weisseria is rife with strange and ill-fated plans. The wall of Weisseria, for instance, which was never completed and stretches meaninglessly across the plains; and the great expedition, when Weisserians sailed west over the sea to hunt for lizards and, in order to prevent the world from overturning due to the extra weight on one side, sailed overland to the east as well.

Weisserians have an unexplained interest in lizards, and know of the existence of the saurians of the western continent (see section 10.23). For years they have been trying to bring a saurian back to Weisseria alive.

About 100 years ago, the Weisserians accidentally discovered magic, causing a rift in the society. The three northern Weisserian cities, practitioners of the new magic, warred with the four southern cities who were unable to perform magic because of the Dead Zone that exists there.

The war was ended when the Helions attempted to invade Weisseria, and the two factions were united. Against all odds, the Weisserians retained control of their country, despite being outnumbered two to one. Recently, the Weisserians have made several raids on Dumin, partly because they believe the Dumin territory is rightfully theirs, and partly because they are just looking for someone to fight.

Racial modifiers: +2 STR, +2 END, +1 AGL, -1 AWA, -2 PHS. All Weisserians start with a Level 2 insanity.
Current population: 12 population units.
Money: Barter.
Natural resources: Iron, zinc, rare woods.
Weaponry: War axes, battle axes, broadswords, spears, cudgels, war clubs.
Armour: Hide, furs, leather.
Government: Tribal anarchy.
Religion: Gath.
Magic: Alteration.
Local Phase: Northern area is Settled and Average, whilst to the south it falls to a a Dead Zone.
Primary language: Weisserian.
Tertiary language: Talmon (common).
Template: Isolationist (whilst they do attack other countries, they don't generally invade them).

10.19 Other cultures

The remaining cultures are either too diverse to be considered a true nation, or too small to be considered a country. With the exception of the Tribes of Vrith, they are all non-human.

10.20 Arana

The Arana are neither numerous nor powerful but see themselves as the guardians of the world, battling to save its existence. They live in roosts on the sheer sides of the Great Rift valley and their thin, delicate wings, augmented by the high local phase and the fervour of their own faith, make them extremely agile fliers.

The sole aim of Aranan life is the killing of dragons. At periodic intervals, a dragon will emerge and, consistent with their vehement religious beliefs, the Arana will attempt to destroy it as a creature of evil. The Arana believe themselves to be the chosen people of Shosiri, an uncompromising, stoical goddess whose avatar, an eagle, they have taken as their symbol.

The Arana live a life dominated by tradition, family and precedent. The only wild revelry these sober people enjoy are the customary feasts after a dragon is slain. Should one of the creatures escape, the roosts responsible will have to endure a period of penance and fasting. The Arana despise and fear Fegeth, the patron god of dragons, without realising that he is another aspect of the Helion god Amalek.

The Arana are a people to whom duty is paramount. Individuals will not leave the valley unless expelled from their community or commanded to go on some errand by the elder of their roost. They are a matriarchal, matrilineal race whose only significant external influences are the Greshu who excavated the caves of their greatest roosts, and some of whom still dwell amongst the Aranan community.

Species modifiers: AGL +5, AWA +2
Racial modifiers: -1 STR, +1 AGL, +2 PHS
Current population: 2 population units.
Money: None.
Natural resources: Copper.
Weaponry: Spears, bows.
Armour: None.
Government: None.
Religion: Shosiri.
Magic: None.
Local Phase: Unstable and High rising to Extreme in places.
Primary language: Aranan (body language).
Template: Isolationist.

10.21 The Eliam

The Eliam are a diverse and elusive race who exist in small packs dispersed throughout the world. Despite being of limited intelligence individually, in a group they are able to act with reason beyond animal cunning. As followers of Kukrarh, the hermaphrodite god of nature and vengeance, they use this group consciousness, together with their ability to shape-change into any animal they have had physical contact with, to protect the wild areas of the world.

The difficulty of changing shape depends on the initial and final form involved. A change between forms of like sizes involves only a few minutes of gradual alteration. A transformation between different sizes, however, may require a change of shape followed by a few hours to grow to an appropriate scale. Shedding bulk to gain a smaller form is considerably more rapid.

Species modifiers: As current form, except PHS +5
Racial modifiers: As current form.
Current population: 30 population units, scattered.
Money: None.
Religion: Kukrarh.
Magic: None.
Languages: Group telepathy.

10.22 Uleckro

The Uleckro (or Ule) are a species of tree dwelling, slender, pale skinned humanoids, with dark eyes, flat faces and massive permanent grins. Uleckro society is anarchic, with no law, education or formal religion. They are barely a society at all, as they prefer their own company to that of others. Most Uleckro live alone, without another of their race being within leagues of them.

The Uleckro delight in practical jokes, and find ones in which the subject's limbs fall off and they don't get up particularly amusing. In the last few centuries, the Uleckro have discovered that slings and sharp shards can be used to kill people at a distance, something else which catches their strange sense of humour. The Trok loathe the Ule and will stop at nothing to wipe them out.

Species modifiers: STR +1, END -2, AGL +3, AWA +2, PHS +2
Racial modifiers: +1 STR, -3 END, +1 AGL, +1 AWA, +2 PHS
Current population: 5 population units.
Money: None.
Natural resources: Common woods, gold.
Weaponry: Stone axes, stone knives, slings, throwing shards.
Armour: None.
Government: Anarchy.
Religion: Belief in assorted tree spirits.
Magic: None.
Local Phase: Settled and High.
Primary language: Ule (primitive language).
Template: Isolationist - all race members Uneducated.

10.23 Tribes of Vrith

Had it not been for the Helion Empire's encroachment of the northern rain forests, the blue-skinned humans who now make up the Tribes of Vrith would never have crystallised into a coherent society. The tribes are the youngest race in the known world and little is known about them. They have been successful in domesticating the huge saurians (dinosaurs) that dwell in the northern rain forest, and are able to ride them into battle.

Racial modifiers: +1 STR, +1 END, +2 AGL, +1 AWA, -3 PHS
Current population: 10 population units.
Money: None.
Natural resources: Common woods, rare woods, silver, zinc.
Weaponry: Spears, Saurians.
Armour: None.
Government: Tribal.
Religion: Hyack (Arhos).
Magic: None.
Local Phase: Generally Settled and Average.
Languages: Vrith (primitive language).

10.24 World Languages

The following is a brief discussion of the main languages:
Aranan:
A form of body language, capable of expressing simple concepts.
Arhian:
The trade language, Arhian has a relatively loose structure and a large vocabulary.
Gobrach:
A standard descriptive language, lacking any nouns to describe objects not found in the desert or mountains.
Irir:
A language which can only be spoken underwater, and hence is generally only spoken by the Issaephians.
Orphic:
Very formal language used for official business in Orphis. All words are either masculine or feminine and all feminine words must be spoken before any masculine words, to avoid insulting the listener.
Rubain:
Elaborate, flamboyant language in which sentences always start with hyperbole and adjectives before describing what is intended to be expressed.
Sabtah:
Relatively simple language, with a large vocabulary and many different hyperboles.
Talmon:
The common tongue. A relatively formal language, but most rules of grammar can be broken without a loss of meaning.
Trok:
Simple language with very few grammatical rules.
Ule:
Very primitive language.
Vrith:
Very primitive language.
Weisserian:
Confused language which has no formal structure and borrows words freely from other languages.


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Last Updated: April 16th, 1999