Thursday, January 4, 2018

A History and Geography of Homeworld

This piece is the first part of an effort to flesh out some details regarding Homeworld, central planet of the Sol System. It draws a lot of inspiration from the Kingdoms of Legend campaign setting on which I worked with the guys from Interaction Point Games.


A History and Geography of Homeworld
Refer to the map above for the following location descriptions.

The Northern Empire
For many years the lands to the north of the Middle Sea were ruled by numerous kings, princes and dukes, all vying to expand their own holdings and enlarge their groups of loyalists. That gradually came to an end when a single figure—the first Sun King, believed to be the offspring of the god Sol and a mortal mother—began to rally the lesser rulers around him, bringing enlightenment and acting as a spiritual leader and moral compass for them. That was Edmund I, the Light-Bringer, and the founder of the House of Helios. For the most part, life in the Northern Empire under King Edmund and his descendants has been a time of peace and plenty, with the cessation of hostilities providing a chance for agriculture as well as the arts to flourish. 

One exception to this general rule is that life has been harder for non-humans in the lands surrounding the Middle Sea. This is because some of the more closed-minded followers of Sol claim that, that God chose to sire a child by a human woman, that humans must be closest to the deity in their nature. In some places that has led to intolerance, and even persecution. That, combined with the fact that human enterprise is letting them explore and exploit the previously wild parts of the world, has led many elves and dwarves to leave Homeworld behind—the prior going to Starfort Station or venturing beyond the reaches of the Sol System, and the latter finding a home and considerable business in the Asteroid Belt.

Free Cities of the South
As a counterpoint to the widespread worship of Sol is the rise of Ptah's priesthood. Instead of a whole pantheon of deities, this faith maintains that a single deity, the All-Knowing, is the mind behind the creation of the universe, and that natural forces put in place by that deity gave rise to the world as it is, in accordance with Ptah's plan. While this set of beliefs also had broad appeal among the masses, it clashed with the Church of Sol and thus found little sympathy from those clerics. This led to verbal and then physical conflict, putting the new faith in danger. 

The Church of Ptah was saved, however, by its appeal among the sailors who lived in small enclaves along the southern shore of the Middle Sea. Those corsairs gave refuge to clerics of Ptah who were fleeing persecution, providing food and shelter and even doing battle against the followers of Sol. Eventually this led the cleric Imhotep to establish the center of his church there. While not so organized nor as individually powerful as the Northern Empire, together they are a force with which to reckon.

The Barbarian Lands and Eastern Kingdoms
To the east of the Middle Sea lies a broad expanse of terrain dominated by hills and steppes. This area is the domain of the Golden Horde, a loose confederation of clans led by Timur the Khan. They are nomadic bands who live by horse-mounted hunting, along with some limited agriculture. Of late they have also profited from raids on more civilized lands. Although these have occurred only on a small scale so far, certain military-minded leaders in the Northern Empire have argued that some kind of concerted action is needed to “tame the infidels.” The barbarians practice ancestor worship, revering the spirits of those who have led them in the past and striving to be worthy of a place in the afterlife with their vaunted dead.

Beyond those lands, far to the east lie a trio of civilized, relatively advanced states known as the Three Kingdoms. The inhabitants of these realms generally live at peace with each other, working together to defend against the Golden Horde, but there are occasional exceptions. Instead of venerating specific deities, these people believe in a philosophy that they call Dualism. 

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