Meranthe, also known as the Land of Aemir, is a large peninsula and host to a number of nations. The unique, challenging geography and weather patterns of the region is of no coincidence, with the largest known desert in the world to the west, the Silent Expanse, and the forest with no end, the Shadowlands to the east. It is revered throughout the world as the Holy Land due to being home of the founders of the spirit realm.
- 1 Timeline
- 2 Geography
- 3 Races
- 4 Society
An outline of various widely known key events.
The Mythical Era
Several thousand years before recorded history or loss of accurate referencing in destructive events. Exact dates unknown.
- The Primomarchy begins, the First Men engage in a worldwide conflict against the Primals for survival. The lands, oceans, and skies are permanently changed with most Primals ultimately being destroyed in the end, banished to unseen realms or shattered and fragmented.
- Ymir, the Primal of Pavonis, was an outlier in its nature and chose the side of humanity, having watched and grown fond of the tribes that dwelt within their holdings. The god realized how outmatched the mortals were and sacrificed itself to give them an edge. The divine blood of Ymir spilt out across Meranthe and spread like a river. The land subsequently experienced a great bloom, abundant in wildlife, flora, passionate seasons and the accompanying anomalies that became essential allies.
- A total of ten newly formed Primordials emerge are fractured from the Primal's corpse and the energy granted in their death. These children are a new age of Primordials that mostly represent order, and together with humanity the balance in the world is thusly restored. The children of Ymir would go on to establish the first realm in the netherworld, Vanaheim, watching over Eternia and the cosmic order from beyond.
- The ancestors of the giant clans of Vdalion are said to have drank freshly of the blood, granting their descendants the strength of the mountain.
Known for its scenic views, abundance of wild fruit, vegetation, and wildlife, Pavonis was built between the river Iota where Ymir passed and his children came to be. It was the home of the gods until their permanent departure to the netherworld, and later became the staging grounds for the Tower of Aetius.
The ten Primordials would often visit Pavonis, using it as something of a retreat from the duties of Vanaheim. Over time, their children lived here, and their children's children, and so on.
The First Age
The great floods marked the beginning of the first age. It is believed that the complete separation of the nether realm and Eternia caused this great calamity.
After the fall of the Primals, the age of man is officially in full swing. The world is still experiencing a boom of mana from its conception, and the humans that rise to the top are considered deities in their own right. Not necessarily due to sheer power, but through their knowledge, longevity, and abilities as a maker. The first great empire that united humanity through conquest and coalition under the banner of the phoenix was Astya.
Meranthe and its people are but a small collection of kingdoms for much of the first millennia, primarily concerned with cattle, working the land, and fending off the occasional raid.
- 155 AC: During the Divine Wars, a cataclysmic event occurs in the heart of what's now known as the Shadow Lands, spreading insurmountable plague that persists to this day. A great veil of darkness shrouds over the region like a walled shroud.
- 200 AC: From the heights of Mount Pavonis, the last of the pantheon are said to depart around this century, most of their children joining them. Mestra played a final song of farewells and good wishes that was heard across the land, known as the Voice of Spring. The Nephilim that remained on Mount Pavovis begin to explore the continent as wanderers.
- 300 - 500 AC: The Aeschylus Dynasty ruled, the ancient realms of Caranus, Lessenia, Draetos, Trifyl, and Navlonas were notable kingdoms of the age.
- 500 - 600 AC: Periods of instability led to the dissolution of the Aeschylus lineage. The Leotyn dynasty took charge soon after, but surrendered their rights when the Empire of Aen, the largest superpower on the continent (only contending with Esshar) invaded and colonized much of Meranthe, making it a vassal state.
- 650 AC: A young man by the name of Joseph Aetius is said to quickly rise the ranks of the vassal state's military. A brotherhood and partnership with Aeacus, the descendant of Enarr, led to the two amassing a rebellion force. Over a five year long campaign against Aen, the people on Meranthe were made independent under the rule of the newly proclaimed Emperor Aetius.
- 650 - 700 AC: The Tower of Aetius is gradually built on Mount Pavonis. Aeacus is no longer present, with conflicting rumors of his death. The Emperor fades with the heights of the tower.
- 750 - 1000 AC: This period is largely dominated by city states, rival Nephilim and their chosen lords, and the rise and fall of kingdoms. The Nephilim took on the role of kingmakers, but two would rarely agree.
The Second Age
The era of exploration marked the beginning of the second age.
- 1565: Economic collapse and mismanagement of resources led to a peasant revolt in the city-state of Lessenia. The Faeborne that resided there devise to found their own nation, Delphina.
- 1925: The Kingdom of Aphros is founded during the heights of Tal's plagues, as people search for alternative philosophies to ward against the decay.
- 1965: Many of Vdalion's great warring clans pledged their services to Aen against the Empire of Barsburg, ultimately leading to the latter's defeat and conquest by the opposing superpower.
- 1972: Following a Golden Age of Necromancy, Ozmandius Tal is ultimately destroyed.
- 1998: The calamity known as 124 occurs, causing continent wide catastrophe from the Tower of Aetius.
The Third Age
It is the year two thousand.
Perhaps most notably, the seasons of Meranthe are in constant flux. Year long summers and winters are not uncommon, sometimes longer. This is due to the various events that have influenced the region, as well as bordering the shadowlands so closely.
The Three Realms
As of the current day, the three realms that dominate the political landscape are Delphina, Vdalion, and Aphros.
Much like most of Meranthe, the worship of a god of the pantheon is attributed to the culture of local regions. When Ymir split into ten the primal's children would have great influence over their respective domain, more often than not as an invisible force of nature and a well of power for devotees to tap into.
Primordials rarely appear as direct, corporeal entities, and their true space is the netherworld. This has not stopped humanity from raising temples in their name, as they're great bastions of magic should one garner the notice and favor of a divine. In fact, with the death of Ymir his ten descendants walked freely throughout Meranthe, fading with the centuries as the residue mana in their creation passed and could no longer fully sustain them. Beacons of communion, whether a great temple or relic, serve to maintain this close relationship beyond space and time.
The Pantheon and their descendants dwelt on Mount Pavonis throughout the Mythical Age, the mountain of Ymir's passing and in later centuries where the Tower of Aetius was built. They participated in most known historical events of the time, only becoming absent after the divine wars and making permanent residence in the founding realm of Vanaheim in the netherworld. The family of eccentric gods was not without its own theatrics, flaws, and troubles through the years, but ultimately they acted as an inspiration and guiding force for the mortals that worshipped them.
Among the original ten are:
- Enarr: The god of wisdom, leadership, and navigation at sea. An empyrean form of great power. Enarr commanded the Voice of Authority that gave him dominion over the living. Along with his siblings and after the Primorarchy, there was a long struggle for order in the spirit realm, beginning with one world and then many.
- Gala: The goddess of the starry night, the Lady of Leonaus and beloved of Enarr. As the spirit world and its realms came to grow over the ages, so too did the stars that light the sky. She was responsible for maintaining this veil.
- Nemea: A goddess of the forest and the hunt. Her lower half is made of a tangle of silver vines and wind magic, and she could appear and emerge from any space through the connective leylines of Yggdrasil. Originally the Faeborne were made to guard the forestry that surrounded Mount Pavonis, known for their excellent eyesight, hearing, and sensory perception.
- Athelios: A cloaked figure that treads the faint line between the light and the shadows. For a time, Athelios acted as the guardian of Helheim, the underworld, attempting but failing to keep the chaotic, corrupt elements at bay. He wore a plain white mask that covered his entire face, and had two distinctly separate personalities that cycled with night and day
- Aschea: An aspect of light and beauty, a smile as soft as the warmth of a sunrise. Her undoing came during the divine wars when she was seduced by the angel of death, falling in love with him and producing Eos and Achlys. She left in self-exile on a long journey of redemption.
- Vdali: An ice giant with blue skin and burning red eyes. A small mountain in his own right. He slumbered for centuries, and earthquakes were much more frequent during the years of activity. To avoid catastrophe, Enarr banished Vdali underground, where he burrowed deep into the earth and titanous caverns formed. Much like Aschea, the giant was ultimately an outcast and did not return to Vanaheim.
- Chireus: The primordial of travel and messengers, soaring with six great wings as colorful as a peacock's. He often transverses the boundless planes of the netherworld to liaison and mediate.
- Ualdir: A warrior of battle and the fury of fire. Ualdir was a direct participant in the divine wars against the forces of The Betrayer, serving as a general in a coalition of Sheng's phoenixes, the dragons of Ryujin, and the western armies of Lysterg. Many razings took place by the lash of his black axe.
- Mestra: An androgynous immortal of no discernible gender, styled in a colorful outfit that captures the rainbow with pixie hair to match. The arts are their domain, such as poetry, dance, painting, and song.
- Caius: Pariah. The primordial associated most closely with death, but also love and abandonment. One of the first to leave the mortal plane in search of Mortyl, fascinated and infatuated by the primal. Presides over closed tombs.
After rising from the fractured nation of Lessenia in 1565, many notable Faeborne established the first country with laws and governship by their kind rather than humanity. It proved to be a resounding success as the magically gifted, advanced people soon stood out as a power player among the many nations of Meranthe dominated by greedy nobles and easily corrupt men. They built great cities that stood the test of time, with social practices and architecture of an excellent sandard.
Their mastery of artificing was particularly unique. The Faeborne understood that the greatest source of energy is the world itself, pioneering methods of capturing solar, the winds, and the thermal energies of volcanic heat. Arguably the most iconic form of technology were the runeoak: Tall trees that crystals of mana grew freely of, with their roots aglow and functioning as a complex system of wires that linked one runeoak to another, and cities in their entirety, establishing a reliable grid that could power each home and more. Defensive tools such as magical shields that could protect castles from attack were developed using this network.
Nothing lasts forever, however. As the Realm of Aphros found its place in the 19th century and made many bold moves that encroached on the territories of Delphina, conflict broke out, and the latter survived wounded and weakened. Shortly after this war, there was a treaty between the two and a mutual desire to take advantage of the era of peace that would follow to climb the Tower of Aetius like their ancestors, it having been a dream of the current aging King Alfellen of Delphina. And so floor by floor, world after world, heights were reached beyond any in modern times...
While the rewards were great, the ranks of Delphina and other competing nations were being hollowed out by the Tower of Aetius. The Lightgarde were a team of magi not daunted by the challenge and continued to lead the way, despite their scars and loss of members, even including the Monarch himself as a key member of their squad. They were not victorious. The few survivors from the 124th floor provide little detail of what occurred other than a jumbled nightmare: All present lost their lives, and those that survived were too scarred of mind to go on much longer. This calamity, known simply as one-hundred and twenty-four, sent a tsunami of unstable magical energy from the tower throughout Meranthe: Earthquakes, floods, and storms followed, dealing major damage to many cities, towns, and villages. It is theorized that for a moment the spirit realm and physical world connected.
In the aftermath, Delphina was to blame as far as the rest of Meranthe was concerned, and left in a vulnerable position with little in the way as political allies: In response to this, the leadership decided to harness a nefarious magical object retrieved from the notorious shadowlands. They summoned a Greathive, a swarm of ravenous, sentient, powerful insects to their capital, making a blood pact of mutual benefit with the Queen in exchange for their services as guards.
A kingdom that gained notoriety quite recently. Led by the 'Oracle of Athelios', the people of Aphros are taught to balance the light with the dark. Those who don't fall in line and respect the chain of command soon mysteriously disappear at the behest of their shapeshifting assassins.
The military is split into the Umbra and Astral factions, with strict discipline and protocol maintaining order. Brittanian origins with their warriors regarded as the Knights of Aphros.
The oldest of nations and people. For as long as the clansmen of the mythical age drank upon the blood of Ymir and were imbued with his physical strength, the name Vdalion has been used in some capacity. It is a blanket title for a notable city-state that associates itself with the culture and people, although more independent countries have been seen carrying on the legacy.
For many centuries after the Primomarchy, Vdalion ruled over most of Meranthe with their formidable giants and a great army. As the ages passed, however, so did the blood of Ymir, and men once as tall as could be became a rare, mythical sight. Some practiced warriors are nonetheless are able to tap into this gift temporarily, at a great strain. The natives are taller than average with the typical male at around 6'2, and blood descendants of the giant clans can comfortably eclipse ten feet in adulthood.
Tower of Aetius
A colossal structure that was constructed where Amier, the Primal of Space, passed away. No one quite knows when the first stone of the Tower of Aetius was lain, but it was before history was recorded in any form of accuracy. Legends say that Emperor Aetius in his later years ordered a grand fortress to be built, and with the labor of enslaved giants, geomancers and many men, the task began. The Emperor took the top floor for himself, and would never leave, rising without end as the structure was continually built on over the decades.
The base of the tower was carved using the remains of the god. Renowned magi from across the world were paid in troves of gold to set the foundations of an impenetrable design, and it became a bridge between the living and the beyond. A series of interlinked, unstable gateways to planes of uncertainty and endless scope. The higher one climbs the further away they slip from the mortal plane, space and time distorting to an extreme... entire landscapes and worlds contained within this wonder. A labyrinth made by the ancients. While less common today (given the impossibility of a return) groups of humans migrated to and colonized many of the lower levels of the tower, even if their descendants are more spirit than man. This complex hierarchy of worlds exists close to the veil between the spirit realm and Eternia.
Temples to both new and old divine patrons were set up, with a number of deities even making an occasional home out of the tower. While Emperor Aetius was undoubtedly insane, his madness was also genius, the architect of a stone spire that touched on the heavens. In the modern era, the major powers vie for domination over the structure, though there have been times of ceasefires and neutrality, with licenced adventurers and registered companies being granted passage. The stone, despite its age, is impervious to almost all manner of damage, as dense as nyeshk.
The gateway system is designed so that it will deny a person passage unless they've reached the floor they're attempting to travel to. Otherwise the warp gates allow one to freely travel as long as they're physically nearby.
Known locations include:
Some myths include,
- The Wishgranter: A god that goes by the alias of Misfortune, the grandchild of Mortyl. The desperate, grieving, and oppressed have searched for the primordial's abode to make their offerings and strike dark deals. The whereabouts of his domain is hidden from the naked eye, but it is somewhere within the first few floors of Aetius.
- The Herald: Back when the gods still dwelt within the mortal plane, there was a legendary order of astral warriors that donned golden helmets and armor. The Heralds are all but gone with the age of man, but the magic suits remained scattered within the Tower of Aetius, even if only a few have been recovered over the centuries. It was the hero Aris who was most known, not scorched alive on wearing the armor like most, becoming the Herald of Enarr, serving valiantly in the peak of the divine wars and ultimately passing in battle.
- Garden of Opulence: Whereas those that accumulate material beyond the fathomability of those upon the lower class, there clings upon a tale of a garden, secluded deep within the floors of Aetius. Overseen by a distant ghostly painter simply known as Qian, said to eternally tally the visages of each bud within the garden. Tales of foolhardy men with deep pockets had searched high and low for a passage into the garth, for it is said that one can plant the seed of coin to grow whatever one's heart of cupidity yearns for.
- 124: The name of the world that spread calamity across Meranthe after the Delphinan guild Lightgarde reached it in the year 1995, most not surviving. Not much is known. For a while, due to this, exploring past the 100th floor was outlawed.
The Cloud Citadel
A floating citadel that drifts in a fixed spot within the sky, and those that live within do not age while present. Only great scholars are invited by the magocratic council. It has a close relationship with Delphina as the founders of the citadel were born and lived there.
Endless, hostile, and mostly unexplored, the exact scope of the Shadow Lands has not been mapped. The region is dense wilderness and is overrun with powerful magical beasts, though expeditions (that often result in death) are not uncommon for the valuable exotics that such a climate can offer.
Lo burns the searing rays of the solar star that carries the scalding siroccos of its wake; and so must the freezing cold of the evening chill, lorded over by the frostbitten whims of the evening night desert thrives the breathing lands of the Silent Expanse. Where souls are claimed to be set off into a one-way journey, many claim that those that enter its winding dunes would never be heard of again. Ever changing and ever confusing does its mirages bring a sense of disquietude to even the soundest of minds, leaving travelers at the mercy of the desert, the eventuality of their soon-to-be sandy tomb lying in wait like a vulture. To say that no living thing thrives within this desert is an understatement.
The unforgiving nature wrought by the expanse stems from a forgotten folklore. Tales from before Meranthe, before the vassalization of Aen, before anything else. Stories of a duo of sphinxes claim to act as the lords of the dunes. Where they see fit to rule those that dare enter their domain, their curse is said to bury the foolhardy. For when one enters the deserts unprepared, it would not simply be a test of physical endurance, but of a mental one too. Paranoia, hallucinations, and various mental tricks are employed by the very breath of the desert, bringing those that tread its wake to falter and succumb in the most draw out death imaginable; the Sphinxs’ Curse of maddening those that enter, its tale were still prevalent today.
Yet even then, such does not dissuade the bravest of travelers and thrillseekers alike. For those that had gone through the desert and lived to tell the tale would emerge as eventual guides to those desperate enough to go through its sandy hills, leading to the eventual nickname of 'Searheads' to denote the sun's scar over their mental state. Many who emerge alive come out eccentric, maddened, and unhinged, yet it is this exact outlying curse that allows them to tread through the surreal passages of the desert; as long as those that subscribe to their services could fathom to endure their rabble. And to those that make out to do such things, they would be surmised to be revealed to the desert’s secrets. Majority of so comes simply as rumors and tall tales. Some had claimed to have witnessed the Sphinxes themselves, the duo lording over a forgotten civilization ruins that had thrived millennias past, their forgotten and archaic technology sat in wait. Others had suggested that an oasis at the edge of the heart of the desert sits, said to be able to cure even the gravest of ailments. Yet, as mentioned, these only remain to be rumors, and most disregard it as madness brought on by the scalding, cruel heat.
Among the supposed curses there is some sure truth, however: Many of the ancient pyramids of an unknown civilization remain to this day, laced with traps and treacherous passages. A few have been excavated but most are largely unexplored.
Close descendants of the gods, grandchildren and beyond. Enough divine blood in their veins to grant Aether magic and great potential, but not enough to be considered immortal. While one might appear human on the surface, their patterned eyes tend to be the giveaway: spiral shapes, runic insignias, the gateway to their soul branding their prestige. Nephilim may prefer to hide their ancestry with contacts or a potion since it can be a blessing as much as a curse.
- Nephilim begin with Mentor. They can choose one Champion to spread their Aether Magic to, only on reaching full maturity (21). Existing racials are refunded.
- If a Nephilim is defeated and felled in battle, the victor may choose to gain an affinity for Aether Magic through the primordial blood. Existing racials are refunded.
TRUE COUNTER: For 2s, the player is cast locked and absorbs all damage, then returns it back at the end in a massive homing blast. 10 Spell Points, Basic.
AETHER FLASH: Activate to charge, gains effects, maxing out at 3s (cannot cast during). May cast mid-charge. Increases damage and after 3s the beam can instantly form. 15 Spell Points, Basic.
IGNITE: Activate to charge, gains effects, maxing out at 5s (cannot cast during). May cast mid-charge. Increases the number of projectiles, a base of 5 to 15 when fully charged (similar to Meteor Shower). 10 Spell Points, Basic.
EYES OF GOD: Cast buff. Exclusive to Nephilim (cannot be used by a Champion, nor the person that slays a demigod). Level 200+, 1 Mastery Point, 10 Spell Points.
See Faeborne for more details.
Children of Nemea, made with grace and purpose in her image. They are recognizable by their long antler horns and faeborne traits.
BUTTERFLY BLAST: A quick moving blast of fae magic. The Faeborne is teleported to its landing spot.
NEMEA'S AURORA: Cast buff, heals self.
FAEWINGS: Toggle buff. Level 200+, 1 Mastery Point, 10 Spell Points.
Descendants of the great giant clans of old. Males range from 7 to 10 feet, women range from 6 to 10 feet. The rare, red skinned variation represents fire, while the more common counterpart represents ice.
BERSERK: Cast buff. GCD decrease, brief speed boost. 5 Spell Points.
GIANT FORM: Toggle buff. Level 200+, 1 Mastery Point, 10 Spell Points.
See Ursidae for more details.
PASSIVE: A slight increase to Block damage reduction. By holding guard for 3+ seconds, you activate a special that wargs your character into a bear temporarily, granting slow immunity.
URSIDAE NATURE: Significant +HP shield. However while it's active you cannot dash and movement speed loses -1.
Natives of the shadowlands, recently formed a pact with Delphina. A ravenous hive that functions around a great tree, producing mana rich fruit from worthy sacrifices to replenish the exoskeletons of their warriors, as well as make young. Appearances vary uniquely but are based around known insectoids, from the bullet ant to the yellow jacket. The Greathive are undyingly loyal to the greater purpose of their colony, dictated by the Queen, and any that show defective signs are typically cut off (which is as good as death).
The greathive can sacrifice PCs to their tree. On death, produces a number of fruit. Eating one recovers the exoskeleton of an insect.
HIVESPEAK: A global telepathic link that the greathive communicate through.
EXOSKELETON: + 10% HP. After a Dangerous / Deadly battle, loses 2% HP. Regenerated on the consumption of a hive fruit.
SUMMON GREATHIVE: For 30s, a mass of insects and vines appear. Level 200+, 1 Mastery Point, 10 Spell Points.
See Faceless for more details.
Devotees of Athelios. Masters of the shadows.
FACESTEAL: Toggle buff. On the conclusion of a Deadly Battle, win or lose, the Faceless may change their appearance, shapeshifting into an entirely new form that's an extension of their base persona. This must be a Deadly Battle (even if the shapeshift is consensual) as the process is extremely dangerous to both the Faceless and their target, siphoning memories and physical features to use for their transformation. The process occurs immediately or within a few minutes after the battle. (You may request a mechanical 'disguise' item for your original self/to switch back and forth). The form is permanent, unless it is replaced by using Facesteal again.
The people of Meranthe are as diverse and varied, adaptable with a much higher potential for magic than most. Worldwide, only two in a hundred use magic, but roughly a tenth of the population are capable within the Land of Ymir, even if most might achieve only minor displays. The climate demands resilience.
Like most cultures, the Meranthe calendar was developed by observing astronomical bodies to determine the passage of time. Seasonal and annual events are recorded within the 365-day calendar.
⚶ - Geist - 1st Month - Beginning of the new year and Winter
♎︎ - Sae - 2nd Month
♐︎ - Hiero - 3rd Month
♈︎ - Syph - 4th Month - Beginning of Spring
♒︎ - Iberl - 5th Month
♓︎ - Ios - 6th Month
♌︎ - Leo - 7th Month - Beginning of Summer
δ - Twe - 8th Month
π - Yiel - 9th Month
♅ - Uner - 10th Month - Beginning of Autumn
☌ - Neoi - 11th Month
☊ - Biblos - 12th Month
Life of a Peasant
The livelihood of the average person will vary depending on the realm they live in, their race, gender, and family trade. Like much of the world, agriculture is common, with the lower middle-class maintaining a small patch of land and some cattle. Hunting and foraging is also a community affair. In this age of innovation, skilled hands are always in demand and trade schools that raise the young in the art of blacksmithing, engineering, construction, and even artificery and alchemy if they have a magical touch, are also a frequent sight.
Nobility is a complex affair and the nuances of exact laws vary from nation to nation, but it is universally accepted that the Lord of a prosperous House can rally their bannermen if a realm requests it of them. In exchange for military support, the Lord is paid in a number of ways, be it social privileges, land or silver.
These wealthy, influential individuals can make or break the efforts of an aspiring campaign. While the majority of Noble Houses typically have a dozen or so Knights in their charge, the largest can have several thousand or more. Aspiring knights will often seek out the experience and patronage of a Lord to cover the financing of equipment, housing, meals and connections that the nobility can bring.
A noble of age is formally referred to as Lord or Lady, and prior to maturity is Young Lord or Young Lady.
It is customary when a Keep is built to assign a noble house to it as a warden and name it after their family, though it is equally common for a tower to be exchanged to new hands should said nobles fall, be it in battle, to illness, lack of favor, or financial straits.