Velan: For Dummies!
A survival guide for the rest of us.
Chapter 1: Culture.....1 Religion...................2 Magic......................4 Racial......................5 Chapter 2: Places......5
Chapter 3: Politics................. 7 Council................................ 7 International Relations........ 8 Chapter 4: Organizations..... 9 Guilds..................................9
Velan is an old country rich with heritage and long standing cities and traditions. It is known that the country is as old as two thousand eight hunred years. Housing one of the world's most prestigious and prosperous arcaniums, Zaq, has earned it much recognition. These lands are in a favorable alignment with the sun, giving steady weather and green land all around. Almost nowhere in this country is without grass or trees except possibly the highest mountains. Light forests speckle the land while a thick one grows along the river, giving it a geographic advantage of consistently favorable conditions for farming.
Tanxai is only a hundred and a half years younger then the country itself, growing into a beautiful city filled with towering structures and luxurious living conditions. The underlayers of the city have been well protected and maintained, leaving it closest to the wildlands of Velan so even those not as well off have good living conditions and growing space for their own agriculture.
Favoring the old spirits of the world Velan has retained ancient traditions. Instead of joining the younger immortals, Velan continues to give thanks and worship to the spirits of old called Toki. These spirits are not so much ancient as they are renewable, giving protection to nature and guidance to mortals. Spirits are the spirits of the dead, everything has essence that passes on to the spirits when it dies plants, animals, and humans alike. While rarely ever visible their presence is made known through the way the wind blow, how the stream shifts its ripples, or how a reckless adventurer was eaten by fifty two squirrels. The spirits are not without a darker side, instead of passing on and becoming a part of Toki some corrupted beings become evil and haunt the world. These dark spirits are known as Akki, often the remnant souls of murderers or those. Akki are also believed to be a result of the recent Pandem wielders who have arrived in Zaq. There are several spirits unique to certain places, usually where they have died or been most attached to. A forest Toki can travel between forests, though its abilities are only particularly strong within a forest. While an animal, such as a squirrel, may be related to the forest they come from their power over them are not as great once outside their domain. A spirit can leave it's domain if it so desires, doing so for a variety of reasons such as seeking revenge on someone who wronged it or protecting those it likes. Worshippers of the Toki believe
that they will receive their guidance and protection particularly in aspects most notable to that Toki' domain. For example, the Moutain Toki represents that which the mountain does ( unmoving, strong willed) and those that respect those traits most would become followers of the Mountain Toki, even if they don't live on the mountain. Mountain Toki are likely to watch over those that share the aspects of their domain, as such the worshipper is likely to be strong willed which attracts the Mountain Toki. These guardian Toki would watch over him, give guidance, and protection. The following is a list of Toki and Akki, and some of their promiment aspects. TokiForest Chaotic, Wild, lively, ambitoius Grasslands Neutral, tame, peaceful Ocean Chaotic, Strong, Shifting, impulsive Mountains Lawful, Strong, Steady, stubborn Lakes Lawful, calm, friendly, unadventurous Rivers Chaotic, changing, fast, reckless Marsh Neutral, quiet, mellow, dull Wind Chaotic, curious, adventurous, convincable Earth Lawful, sturdy, traveled, unadventurous Flame Chaotic, wild, powerful, uncontrollable Graves Neutral, calm, protective, quiet Moon Neutral, wise, seeing, unacting
AkkiMurder Chaotic, intelligent, calm, impulsive Revenge Lawful, determined, strong willed,blinded Lost Chaotic, adaptable, adventurous, confused Akki *Lost Akki is a broad term, lost akki can come from those who died lost or with a powerful attatchment to some worldly object or another. Taint Chaotic, strong, jealous, without purpose *Taint Akki are the results of things such as necromancy
The evil Akki spirits are not just a small blight to everyone, some worship them over the Toki. Guardian Akki are dangerous to both the guarded and others nearby, this is because people aren't always aware they have an Akki with them instead of Toki. There are those who actively seek and worship the Akki in a grab for power or just a personal interest in them. The symbol of Murder Akki might be found on the blade of assassin or the body of an assassin's victim.
Koshaji are religious symbols to the Toki or Akki. Koshaji is a broad term that could refer to a statue to the spirits, an engraving of their symbol on a sword, or even the popular metal coins engraved with the symbol that many people wear to symbolize their spirit. Koshaji are an important part of Velan culture as it helps identify a rough idea of an object or location. For example, if a tavern is meant as a loud boisterous place full of rowdy customers the door might bear a flame or river Koshaji. A tavern intending for a calm atmosphere where people can drink or converse in peace might have a lake or grave Koshaji.
Magic has a troubled relationship with Velan. While the northern areas of the country play home to promiment magical communities, namely the arcanium city Zaq, the southern areas are a untrusting of it and disapprove of all but tribal magic relating to the spirits. Tanxai is the most progressive of the southern cities and tolerates magic as a government, though the people are free to disapprove. Of the four major styles of magic Velan is most tolerating of Incarnum. As such it is the most well situated outside of the arcane city. While suspicious of psionics they are accepting of it except for the telepathic branch of it. The invasion of the mind is considered an offense against nature. The many schools of arcane have gathered different views, divination and enchanting are acceptable. Illusion is on neutral terms as many consider illusions to be the methods of spirits quite often. Transmutation, Abjuration, conjuration, and necromancy are disliked. Pandem magic is all but persecuted from Velan. Divine magic is also strongly distrusted and disliked, as it draws from other religious sources. Velan does not have native clerics for the most part, instead they have shamans who use the aid of spirits to produce the same general effects. On the other side of things, further to the north where Zaq resides many styles are practiced ever since a year ago when reinforcements were called from many corners of the world to help combat the abyssal threat. Abyssal and voidic magic are almost unheard of being put into practice in Velan. With arcane users being abducted by abyssals some deny that the abyssals aren't the work of angry spirits. While these individuals are few they are almost impossible to shake in their belief.
The races of Talrae are human centered due to the origins of the country but recently a migration of halflings have increased their population due to the recent genocide overseas. The dwarven races are in low population with the lack of the mountains they like to call home. Below is a list of percentages. Human 36% Halfing 16% Dwarves 4% Elves 10% Half-Elves 14% Orcs 9% Half Orcs 5% Other 6% Here in Velan halfings are full citizens but are recognized as refugees from the Iridescent Crescent and neighboring areas. The orcs are granted full rights and considered for the legal purposes equal, and many get along well with them. A variety of other races live in the country but are centered to Zaq and Iwuzana. Tieflings are rarely seen outside of Zaq but are persecuted as being in need of cleansing. However, Velan shaman's idea of cleansing is usually harmful to tieflings because of their dark ancestry.
Velan is poorly mapped, only Tanxai has collected maps of most of the places. It also doesn't help that spirits are thought to shift the paths and the landmarks because very rarely are any two maps the same if made by seperate people. Bigger cities are easy to find as long as you know north and the major land features.
Population: 436,000 The capital of Velan is a massive city, it would take a human a solid day to travel from on end to another. The city is built near the ocean where it's impressive docks house the bulk of the countries navy and army ready to deploy to Talrae. The city is composed of five levels, the ground, the underlevel, the Oshinju, the Dochu, and the Kimiwa level. The city's levels are done mostly by walkways and staircases, there is no giant platform that blocks the level below from sunlight. The city was built with great care to make sure every area of it would see the sun during at least one point of the day.
Population: 156,000 This large arcane city is rich with magic, whereas most arcaniums may have a few miles of land or a single tower Zaq has acquired much space and four giant towers. Each tower was founded by a different archmage, over time each of their individual philosophies started to fade off and younger practicers of the art would reside in whatever tower color they liked most. In between the four towers is a small fortress broken into four sections, referred to as "between color and color" instead of gathering its own name. For example the north side would be called "between black and white". The fortress was originally used as Tanxai's place to station their soldiers to have a hold in the arcane city, though recently they have moved to more remote outposts to accommodate the reinforcements arriving from other countries. In particular each section of the fortress has become home to a different group of magic users. The city's expanse over the island puts it roughly twenty three miles long with a sizeable dock and the only way onto the island for most travelers is the magical bridge that raises the ocean by tapping a wooden post four times. This has made the city easy to defend, and most defenses are actually internal as magic sometimes can go awry. The Abyssals have stopped trying to attack the city in waves and now try to slip into the city, making it dangerous to live within.
Population: 4300 Big fishing village for unique fish that live in these lakes, their scales are well treasured for crafting purposes and the meat is also a favorite for the Velan people. Woinu sails them down the river and to Tanxai or Zaq for trading whatever they do not need.
Iwuzana and Kafio
Population: 6800 These two cities together act as a gateway to the lake further in, they also ferry travelers across the water who don't want to travel around the entire lake. While not big on trading themselves, leaving that to the inner lake, their biggest feature is the close proximity to Naoisquin. As a secondary library some travelers will come to Kafio looking for information instead of making the trip to Naoisquin.
Population: 2900 City a few miles inland built in a forest, originally a small excavation camp for ruins located in the area. Eventually the ruins and the site became a city due to the increasing population from the scholars that came to spend their time studying, thus leaving the place as a scholarly city. Because it is built on a cliff overlooking the forest the travel to this place is often a long and exhausting journey, though that doesn't discourage those seeking knowledge. Ironically it's those who seek knowledge who are most likely to be tested most by the trek.
Representatives from major communities which are composed of a few cities meet in Tanxai and go between the towns. During the earlier years of Velan's existence people lived in areas of land that could be self sufficient. As cities sprang up in those areas they remained able to survive without trade. Because of this the politics are confined to the individual areas, such as the lakes or the southern region. Tanxai is where representatives go to ask for help or to represent their communities interest at times of major change. Zaq plays a key role in the communication between the country which has granted them a lot of authority in council.
There are ten main councilmembers that decide things. The most common use of the council is to govern events of Tanxai, or shift resources throughout the country at the request of community representatives. The ten members rarely convene all at the same time, some will travel to the other cities or countries but three must always remain in Tanxai. While the government isn't very well centralized occassionally communities will send their representatives to Zaq or Tanxai to request assistance or a change in national law so that everyone will be forced to abide by the new law. Tanxai has at least one wizard working for the council at any given time sheerly to aid in communication between them and other cities. Zaq will often be charged with spreading news or retrieving representatives from communities for meetings. It is more frequent for one or two members of the council to travel to the city that they wish to deal with unless it requires the full council or the resources available to Tanxai. The most recent national ruling was a year and a half ago when they declared an evacuation of some of the small northern cities to the larger ones so they could fortify. Using the army that is stationed near Tanxai and some hired hands they saved thousands of lives by sending forces up to help the refugees escape the invasion. Current Lately there are only eight available council members because two were killed in Talrae while on a diplomatic mission. The bulk of the council is now staying in Tanxai to scramble together the city needs as well as pass down orders and approval to the military higher ups for the war on two fronts.
Overseas there is a war with Talrae, started by Talrae's attack on two diplomats and killing them. Talrae has since refused to honor a long standing treaty which would allow Velan to send civilian refugees to the country while the war continued on against the Abyssals. Over the years of the treaty Talrae has had favorable trade conditions and with their current refusal to accept refugees, even killing those that land if discovered, Velan has decided it is necessary to forcefully set up outposts along the southeastern islands and eastern coast. Instead of sending refugee civilians Velan sends arcanists, ones too weak to defend themselves
or provide much support. By sending them out of harms way for awhile Velan hopes to either force Talrae to abide by the agreement or push back the Abyssals before it gets out of hand. Recently Zaq has become a staging point for the war and a landing point for international aid. The most promiment of the international groups are the psions from the southeast, the pandems from the northwest, and the soldiers of Inaksill from the neighboring country to the east. Pandem relations have been hard for Velan, the majority of the people distrust or hate them but they provide powerful support under the condition to take anything they find into their custody for Abyssal study. The soldiers from Inaksill are greeted well and many outlying towns are more then willing to accomodate them as they march throughout the country, the country shares beliefs with Velan thus making the integration smooth. Vymthol has been a subject of much debate, the country across the sea to the west has offered support but the Tanxai council has been careful about accepting. While Velan and Vymthol have no past conflicts the beliefs are key reasons not to accept the reinforcements, though with times getting more desperate the council has taken it into serious consideration. Vymthol has promised fifteen thousand troops that could arrive within weeks, more if the battle should draw out longer. It is not clear why Vymthol is willing to provide so much support but Tanxai is sure they will want something in return. While that would normally be an acceptable terms Vymthol soldiers are likely to cause many problems outside the battlefield. Trade has slowed due to the dangerous times but Inaksill touches the borders and as such has made for good trading routes in such desperate days. The northern lake, often a powerful trading hub, is all but closed off now with the recent invasions. To the south lies an expansive desert, unsuitable for travel and trade with Velan's lack of desert transport.
Velan's government is not well centralized, as such national organizations have held great power in politics and the country's development. Houses and Guilds have enough say with the council to alter national policy or request support in their times of need. Younger groups do not share the same rights, any request to the council for national resources to be used for the good of an indpendent organization is weighed heavily and often will not pass in most cases. Guilds Guilds are often collections of people who perform the same job and band together for their greater interests. There are guilds for things from fishing to mercenary bands. Some guilds are almost as old as the country itself and have had greater sway in Council then houses have. Delruth, the Mercenary Guild Delruth is a mercenary guild old as a thousand and two hundred years. They remain tied strictly to national interests and will rarely accept work that even has them leave the country and they never stray far. Because of this the house has garnered respect within the country but little repute outside of it. The guild is made up of professional soldiers, often retired from the Tanxai armies, and they work out of the capital city. With around eight hundred members they have been signing on to assist with the war against the abyssals so Velan can send more forces to Talrae instead. Despite the well known mercenary houses and guilds from other lands, Delruth has preserved a military conduct. They've earned much favor for the lack of boisterous and reckless mercenaries known to be prominent in other guilds. 1 Apprentice 2 Sentinel 3 Journeyman 4 Operative 5 Warden 6 Gallant 7 Champion 8 Commander 9 Guildmaster Taishing, Incarnum Guild Velan's relationship with the incarnum has always been solid over most other forms of magic, because of this the incarnum have set up within the country. While incarnums are not native they have lived within the country for several hundred years. Taishing acts as the collective voice at council and advisor to the council who don't fully understand incarnum and its abilities. Taishing was once from another land but they adopted the local name and bear the moon koshaji now. Over the years they've lost their ethnic differences and become a true part of Velan.