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Vulcaniaby Marco Dalmonte English translation by Gary Davies
Garl Glittergold (Garal) - Gnomes, inventors and thinkers, science and mechanics, crafts
Korotiku - Wisdom, guile, subterfuge, liberty, jokes, fun
Pyro (Ixion) - Sun, fire, light, strength, war, knowledge, preserve order
Brandan Earth-mover - Progress inventions, conquest, fire, technomancy, Snarta
Ashanti (Valerias) - Love, passion, fertility, arts
Surt (Zugzul) - Fire, power, conquest, war
Hel - Darkness and cold energy, death, reincarnation
The Shaper - Peace, charity, equality, justice, tolerance, combat disorder, protect the weak
Ordana - Nature, fertility, protection of forests and sylvan races
Paarkum - Order, justice, virtue, fidelity, loyalty, sincerity
Great One - Dragons and lizardkin, creation, justice, knowledge, magic
1. Vulcania is a mountainous land blanketed by great forests in central and northern parts, and by tundra and pack ice in the polar and subpolar regions. It makes up all the southern part of Davania, and borders to the north with the Ice Peaks and with the Sea of Steam (in the eastern part), to the west with Pelatan (delimited by the mountains of the Wall of Ice), while to the south it goes down to the polar region, sinking into the opening that leads into the Hollow World in the area known as the Pit of Ka, perennially enveloped in the gloom of the Darklands. The gnomes are the most numerous of the population of Vulcania, followed by the Tanagoro of the eastern area, by fire giants and by humanoids.
2. In 2900 BC Garal placed many gnomish communities in the area, and these became the ice gnomes, expanding and surviving despite the adverse climate conditions thanks to their talent and to the working technology. The ice gnomes are divided into clans but often collaborate between themselves and they are all followers of Garl Glittergold. There nevertheless exists a nation populated by the so-called fire gnomes (see point 3) much more warlike and expansionist who are devotees of Brandan, lord of fire, conquest and progress. The Snartans are in a state of war with the other gnomish communities, some of which have stolen the secrets for building the powerful Earthshakers and opposed to the Snartan imperialism have built its own mechanical giants with which they can counter them in open battlefields.
3. In the central-eastern area of Vulcania is the extensive Empire of Snarta, an isolationist and warmongering gnomish militocracy ruled by the Supreme Dorfin IV. The Snartan Empire is famous for its military strength, which derives besides from the numerous Phalanxes of fearless and disciplined warriors, especially by the construction of tremendous self-moving machines called Earthshakers, operated from inside by the gnomes and used as terrible weapons against their enemies. The capital Snartapolis in which resides the emperor was built on one of these machines and is almost impregnable, since it is able to move along and resist any siege. At the start all the Vulcanian gnomes belonged to the same race, the ice gnomes, created by Garal after the Great Rain of Fire (2900 BC) and positioned near to the Grunlander elves in order to get hold of the technology. In the course of centuries, the gnomes were divided into clans, and the ancestors of the Snartans became great explorers, successfully reaching the remotest places of Davania. It was so that the Snartan explorers contacted the Milenians in the period of maximum splendour of the empire, and some of them remained to live in Milenia for a generation. After having learnt the knowledge and diverse Milenian philosophical notions, these gnomes decided to return to their homeland in order to spread among their kind a new doctrine, called the Philosophy of the Similarity, based on the quest of the physical and moral equality as a way for achieving perfection and pull down the social disparities. It was thus that in the turn of a century the movement of the “hoi gnomoioi” (that is the Similars in the Milenian language, as the first created Snartans were called) succeeded to gain some consent among the gnomes, and its exponents united in order to declare the foundation of the Republic of the Similars around the IV century BC. In the course of the following centuries, the necessity of replacing the deficiency of soldiers because of continuing war with their neighbours, given their extremely belligerent nature, and the constant quest of an improvement and an homogenisation of the gnomish race led the Snartans to develop a technology able to produce clones, that in the course of successive generations brought the total cancellation of the physical differences between the gnomes. It was one of these soldiers, the General Dorfin, who led the expedition that discovered the ancient Grunland ruins in which the gnomes again found Blackmoorian knowledge that enabled them to plan and design in great secret the first Earthshaker called Proboscidaemon (the P is indeed the current symbol of the empire) and of getting hold of the fire elemental larvae (that live in the volcanoes) in order to make the colossal machines work. Dorfin led his soldiers to the first great victories against the neighbouring gnomes and against the fire giants, and later on proclaimed the abolition of the republic and of the Old Ones, instituted the Empire of Snarta (“victory” according to the new Snartan gnomish language) and proclaimed himself Emperor Dorfin I around the VI century AC. Now that the Snartans are all identical of aspect, the next step will be the cancellation of the personal identity. The Snartans are followers of Brandan Earthshaker, lord of fire, strength and progress, the one who has revealed to the first Dorfin the secret of the fire elemental larvae, patron of science and technology and creator, according to the legend, of the Proboscidaemon. The Snartans always sought to invade the other gnomish communities in order to capture other gnomes by converting them Philosophy of the Similarity. However, because of their belligerent nature and of the constant search for new fire elemental larvae, are constantly committed to fight not only the other Vulcanian gnomes, but also against the same fire giants, who consider the elemental larvae sacred and oppose the expansion of the Snartan imperialists on their territories.
4. In this Vulcanian region are also present diverse clans of fire giants, all fanatic followers of Surt (Zugzul), that live especially in the Vulcanian Line, the southernmost mountain range close to the pole, and in the easternmost of the peninsula called Fire Cape, really because of the fortresses built by the giants in which they perpetually burn sacred pyres dedicated to Surt. A Tanagoro colony once existed here (around 1200 BC), which nevertheless was conquered by the fire giant arriving from the Vulcanian Line around the V century BC. Still the descendents of the Tanagoro were held in slavery by the fire giants and secretly worshipped Korotiku, Immortal of guile and liberty, in the rise to become the liberator to lead them as told in an ancient prophecy. Furthermore the fire giants are bitter enemies of the Vulcanian ice gnomes, and in particular of the Snartan Empire that extends into the centre of the region, with who they are constantly at war for the possession of the volcanic areas in which live the fire elemental larvae, sacred to the giants.
5. The Tanagoro who escaped from the conquest of Fire Cape have settled along the Coast of Fire (the northern coast of Vulcania), and live in villages hidden in the tangle of the forest, always vigilant and alert against possible incursions both of the giants originating from the south and from the east, and of the N’djatwa originating from the west. These Tanagoro worship the ancient tribal Tanagoro Immortals, which are Pyro, Immortal of the sun, justice and order, Ashanti, Immortal of life, love and fertility, and Korotiku, the great master of the deceit that allows them to survive by exploiting the guile to their enemies equipped with great strength and physical presence.
6. The central Vulcanian forests were inhabited by the Evergrunian elves escaping the Great Rain of Fire who here had founded the nation of Grunland. Following the grave telluric upheavals, to continuous eruptions and to the progressive malfunctions of the Blackmoorian technology, the area became dangerous and many elves departed directly northwards following Ilsundal, in search of a safer land. Those that remained very quickly found themselves isolated and regressed to their barbarous state after the fall of Grunland in 2400 BC, following the destruction of the Blackmoorian machine and to the worsening of the environmental conditions. Now these elves live in a barbarous state in the Polar Regions without any memory of their ancient splendour, and worship Hel, lady of ice and darkness, like the tribes of humanoids that live in the northern Vulcanian mountains.
7. The Shaper has founded an extremely important church in the so-called Enlightened Kingdom, the only small unified humanoid nation present in Vulcania, after having pacified them in life and having converted his adepts to an existence marked by tolerance and pacifism. In this nation is also worshipped Paarkum, patron of justice and virtue, the one who freed the ancestors of these humanoids from the tyranny of a Varellyan mage and who taught them the way of the probity and redemption. This small humanoid paradise is hidden in a forested valley that faces onto Fire Bay, and from there the followers of the Shaper and of Paarkum leave every year in order to also evangelise the rest of the humanoid tribes that live in the region and that still remained faithful to the ancient blood-thirsty and crude customs, as well as the other populations that inhabit Davania, frequently ended up by becoming sacrificial victims on the altars of Hel.
8. Ordana is still honoured by the sylvan creatures that inhabit the endless evergreen forests that cover nearly all the Vulcanian peninsula (for the most dryads, fauns, treants and actaeons).
9. The Great One and the dragon lords have diverse followers among the draconic population that infests the Vulcanian land, which however are in perennial conflict one against the other for the domination for the territory.